15 May, 2014

M~M 2014: the end is nigh

On Friday and Saturday the 9th and 10th of May, I participated in the 2014 Mountain to Mouth extreme arts walk from the You Yangs to Barwon Heads. Parts 1 and 2 of the journey are described here:
M~M 2014: the journey begins
M~M 2014: across The Bellarine
Having endured the rain and the blisters, enjoyed the sunshine, listened to the music, seen the displays and walked the first 10 circles, we were nearly at our journey's end. A mere 11.5km or thereabouts remained. Nothing really, considering the distance we had already travelled. Right? Well, except that 8 of those kilometres were across sand.
After a brief stop at Point Lonsdale, we formed up once again and trooped out in the direction of the Point Lonsdale Surf Lifesaving Club. After a short walk along the road behind the dunes, it was up and over for our assault on the beach.
The flag-bearers departing Point Lonsdale
Throughout the journey I had heard murmurings from the walkers about tide levels, concern that it would be too high to walk and mutterings from the organisers that those who fell behind would be bussed to the next station (something I was determined to avoid by this stage). Fortunately, everything went to plan, we stayed on schedule and hit the beach with enough sand to walk on albeit with a clearly rising tide.
Heading to Ocean Grove
By this time, an 8km slog over a semi-solid surface was challenging to say the least, but we soldiered on. The weather remained picture perfect as sunset began to approach but whilst some of the travellers may have struggled with the sand, one did not:

The canoe getting a lift
On a custom-designed trailer, the canoe made its way across the sand towed behind a surf rescue vehicle, with its bottles of water from the wells at Big Rock still safely intact. And then finally, we had reached Ocean Grove.
The flag-bearers passed through the circle and I was greeted by my family who had arrived in time to walk the final section with the group.
Centre piece of the Ocean Grove walking circle
 We also walked the circle and had our "passports" stamped to mark our presence, after which I glanced around only to discover that the flags and the canoe were nowhere to be seen!

The canoe passes through the walking circle
A quick scramble - it could hardly be called a jog at that stage - ensued before I once again had the canoe and flags firmly back in my sights. I hadn't walked 77km only to miss the big arrival!
The final approach across the William Buckley Bridge at Barwon Heads
The final stage was a short one over firm ground and with a definite air of elation we crossed the William Buckley Bridge at Barwon Heads to be greeted by around 1,000 spectators who had come to join the festivities and watch the closing ceremony which was tipped to be a belter!

Flag-bearers walk the final circle at Barwon Heads as darkness descends
So, with darkness now upon us, we also walked the final circle and then took up position for the grand finale.

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