For Week 5, we went back to Mornington Peninsula.  Steve to play golf; Claire to continue the hiking challenge.  There’s a ~30km coastal walk along the southern end of the peninsula, so I set out from the golf course towards the coast and just kept on trucking. (Full pictures)

Week 5: Cape Schanck (golf course) to St. Andrew Beach / golf course
Distance: appx 15 kms
Grade: moderate
Weight: 10-12kgs

From the golf course, I set out for a familiar landmark – the lighthouse at Cape Schanck. Just 3kms in, I arrived there around the boys’ tee time, so figured a side jaunt down to the beach and back up would help lengthen my overall time and simulate a little elevation change.

From there, I followed the water’s edge on the cliffs for a 7km stretch to Gunamatta Beach.  The brush offered a welcome respite from the blistering midday sun, and the trail was a challenging mix of soil and sand.

I had some company along the way — no humans to speak of, but dozens of monarch butterflies flitting along the path.  The path looked like no one had passed this way in a long time, other than perhaps the wayward wombat.  So I was forced to adopt a robot walk through the thickest brush, to avoid spiderwebs to the face. It’s a technique I perfected in college, in the back woods of Rocky Mount NC, when trips home for the weekend usually involved me patching the fence or clearing brush from mom’s 5 acre homestead.

As the path grew more sandy, my legs grew more tired. Hiking in sand dunes is no easy feat.  Finally, I broke out onto one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen in the greater Melbourne area.  Extremely hot and due for a bit of a break, I dropped the pack and went for a swim.

The last leg of the journey would continue on the beach.  Good grief, more sand.  As the sun set on a beautiful day, I only wished I had the legs to go further (the coastal walk extends another 15 kms or so to the tip of the peninsula at Sorrento).

Miraculously, though I was thoroughly exhausted Saturday night, I only felt slightly stiff on Sunday.  All this practicing is paying off!

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