Since my last post on this topic, I can say that the bike lane linking the Barwon with the Bay is complete and gets regular use.
|The Esplanade, Eastern Beach|
None-the-less it wasn't too unpleasant and the view was as spectacular as always. Of course, with the co-incidence of school holidays and a temperature increase of a few degrees, it seemed like we were jostling for space with half of Geelong. And the powers that be have certainly done a great job of creating a world class public open space.
|The Geelong skyline from Western Beach|
|Boats moored at Western Beach|
Most people would know the path which runs from Limeburner's Point on the east to Rippleside on the west, with its views towards the You Yangs and Jan Mitchell's internationally famous bollards (a concept which I think could readily be extended to the banks of the Barwon).
|Bollards at Western Beach|
Once there however, we came across the following residents enjoying the weater and the low tide:
|Pied Oystercatchers at St Helen's Beach|
|Eleven-armed Sea Star|
At this point we were required to navigate a few back streets and semi-trailers before we picked up the bike path once again beside Corio Quay Road. Sadly, not much has changed since last year and several parts of the route were more overgrown with weeds and less appealing than they were over a year ago which is disappointing to say the least. There was still not the slightest indication of where any of this section of the trail lead or where connections needed to be made. Were these issues to be addressed, this could be an interesting and informative ride through Geelong's industrial heartland.
|Piles of wood chips at Corio Quay|
|Looking across Limeburner's Bay towards Point Henry|
Back on the bikes we headed up the creek. I would like to be able to say that Hovell's Creek is somehow connected to the Barwon and thereby provide a little more relevance to this post, however this is not the case as Hovell's Creek rises in the foothills of the Brisbane Ranges and the You Yangs before flowing directly into Corio Bay at Limeburner's Bay.
|Mangroves lining the banks of Hovell's Creek|
In the case of Hovell's Creek, it was only on this second trip that we discovered the boardwalk. From it, we were able to get up close and personal with the creek, the mangroves and any number of White-fronted Chats which at one stage looked as if they were sprouting from the mangroves. They were accompanied completely unseen, by an endless chorus of Little Grass Birds as well as a few swans and high overhead, a Black-shouldered Kite.
|Boardwalk extending into the mangroves at Hovell's Creek|
By this point in our ride, time was of the essence, so suffice to say that once again we rode as far as the Princes Freeway, looked up the hill in the direction of Lara, paid a quick visit to the monument to Hume and Hovell which stands nearby and then headed for home at a somewhat less leisurely pace the outward journey.
On returning home, I think I calculated the entire distance from Lara to Limeburner's Point below the Eastern Gardens as somewhere between about 18.5km and 19.5km depending on the exact route. Not a bad distance for a run and with some stunning views along the way, but I am yet to decide how keen I am on sharing road space with semi-trailers while I'm running.
One way around the problem however, may be provided if plans I have seen mentioned in the paper go ahead. This would involve the addition of a section of track extending the current Ted Wilson trail beside the Ring Road to connect at some point with the trail at the foreshore leading out to Lara.
I might also add that this is just on point at which the Ring Road trail comes close to the various sections of track around the bay and where a connection could be made. As I believe I have mentioned before, the Weir Deppler Park at the end of the Cowie's Creek Trail is only a matter of 800 metres from the end of the Tom McKean Linear Trail running over to Fyansford via the old train line and some 600 metres in a direct line from the Corio Quay track which we used on our ride to Lara on Tuesday. So near and yet so far...