HOT DESERT TRAIL: The Ultimate Team Challenge
When : Saturday, 19th May 2018
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Welcome to the ultimate team challenge – walk 27kms of the equally iconic Larapinta trail AND raise, as a team of four, a minimum of $1600 for Rotary’s charity effort. This event is part of the Henley on Todd dry riverbed regatta that the three Rotary Clubs of Alice Springs hold on the 3rd Saturday of August every year.
What is the HoT Desert Trail?
The HoT (Henley on Todd) Desert Trail is an event held on, Saturday, 19th May 2018, prior to the Henley on Todd Regatta on the 18th August 2018. The Henley on Todd Regatta and the HoT Desert Trail are both organised by the three Rotary Clubs of Alice Springs to raise funds for projects and charitable works that are in need of the Rotary Clubs’ support.
This year, one of the main focuses of this support is the purchase of urgently needed equipment for the Eye Clinic (headed by Dr Tim Henderson) at Alice Springs Hospital. This equipment assists in the pre- and post-operative care of cataract surgery patients and in the detection of other eye diseases including Trachoma, a debilitating eye disease which is the focus of Rotarians nationally.
Starting at the beautiful Simpsons Gap after a bacon and egg roll or fruit salad and yoghurt for the vegetarians amongst us – prepared for you by Rotary, you head back towards Telegraph Station at 8.45am in the morning. You walk the whole length as a team of four, or two legs in pairs, or each leg individually. There are three points at which your team members can take over the walk.
1. Leg 1 – Simpsons Gap – Wallaby Gap – 10.3km (1st changeover point at Wallaby Gap)
2. Leg 2 – Wallaby Gap – Geoff Moss Bridge – 8.6km (2nd changeover point at Geoff Moss Bridge)
3. Leg 3 – Geoff Moss Bridge – Telegraph Station – 5km (3rd changeover point at Telegraph Station)
4. Leg 4 – Telegraph Station – Henley on Todd site (Snow Kenna Park) – 3km.
NOTE: (All four team members must walk this last section)
Please read the later section “Managing your walk” for all the information on how this is accomplished.
How do I do this?
Firstly, download the A5 flyer here to give to friends, family and colleagues. Secondly, find three other friends who are willing to do this walk with you and who are willing to also raise $400 (or $1,600 total per team). As you can see from the second page of the brochure, there are leg lengths suitable for any level of walker – from experienced to novice. The distance someone walks is not important, what is important is that the four of you are accomplishing this as a team, but not just as a team but a team that is committed to making a difference.
The $1,600 per team should be considered a minimum and a prize will be given to the team who raises the most money.
Then work out how you will walk the trail:
• Are all four of you going to walk the entire trail?
• Will you walk in pairs covering two legs each?
• Will each of you walk one leg each?
• NB: All four walkers must complete the last leg together
Work out what your team’s name will be and whether you are going to wear a lightweight costume for the walk (or whether you will canoe or sail down the trail!) Then jump on line to this page and register your team (even before you have raised the funds) – by clicking on the Register HERE button above – this way we can support you in raising your funds.
How do I raise these funds?
There are a number of ways that funds can be raised – holding stalls that sell goodies; holding fundraising events, holding lunchtime BBQs, the “cost of a coffee” days, sponsorship from your organisation – any number of ways to raise funds – just make sure it is legal! Another method that has been successful is having friends, family and colleagues sponsor you for $X per kilometre.
What are these funds for?
For the last 55 years, the three Rotary Clubs of Alice Springs have held the Henley on Todd Regatta to raise funds for the various charities and projects each Rotary Club supports. To date over $1.6 million has been distributed from the Henley on Todd to initiatives such as the Central Australian Education Foundation – supporting Central Australians seeking tertiary education outside of Central Australia; the Royal Flying Doctors Service; The Fred Hollows Foundation; disaster relief all over the world as well as supporting Rotary International projects such Polio Plus.
As a side-note, this year may well be the year that Rotary International in particular and its partners throughout the world eradicate Polio. There is only one country left in the world in which Polio still exists – if there are no new cases this year, polio will have been eradicated through immunisation. All three Rotary Clubs of Alice Springs have generously supported this project.
Shortly before the Henley on Todd Event all our 2017-18 projects will be published on this website, however the majority of funds from this Challenge will fund the eye equipment mentioned previously.
Managing your walk
At Henley on Todd we are committed to your safety and well-being. Please read the following sections carefully and make decisions based on your level of experience, fitness and capabilities. Please note that for much of the walk, except for the changeover points there is very little access to the trail. Of course in an emergency we would be able to extract anyone from anywhere on the trail but this is not without its challenges.
We will have St Johns or First Aid trained personnel wherever possible on the trail every 10 km to deal with the usual sprains, cuts, bruises and blisters.
Mobile reception is available for most of the walk , if it isn’t available on the track, having a fellow walker climb to higher ground will ensure mobile reception.
A medically trained “sweeper” at the very back of the walkers is equipped with a satellite phone to call for emergency help if needed as are the volunteer posts at Wallaby Gap, and Geoff Moss Bridge.
The organisers of this event have personally walked this trail at a slightly above average speed to gauge difficulty, water required, endurance and impact.
The following are our recommendations:
1. Leg 1 – Simpsons Gap – Wallaby Gap. Despite this leg being the longest leg (10.3km) the terrain would be described as mostly Grade 2- easy with a couple of moderate climbs only. Average walkers could expect to undertake this section in 2.5 to 3.0 hours at a walking speed of 3.5 – 3.8kms per hour. Do not rush this leg, give yourself time to warm-up and reduce injury.
2. Leg 2 – Wallaby Gap – Geoff Moss Bridge. This leg (8.6km) is the most arduous leg of the whole section with a steep climb out of Wallaby Gap to the razorback edge of Euro Ridge (spectacular views from here though take care as winds are strong from the North West and there is no safety fence) from there the trail undulates until Geoff Moss Bridge. This leg of the trail has a loose rocky base and care needs to be taken on where feet are placed and how you are balanced. This section seems much longer than it actually is. This leg we consider is Grade 3 – moderate and thus should be considered as the section most suitable for experienced or fit walkers without knee problems. Average walkers could expect to undertake this section in 3.0 to 3.5 hours at a walking speed of 2.5 – 2.9kms per hour. NB: As this section has steep climbs and long slow descents considerable pressure is put on knees thus anyone with knee issues is recommended to NOT undertake this leg.
3. Leg 3 – Geoff Moss Bridge – Telegraph Station. This leg (5km) is Grade 2 – Easy with undulations. This leg partially follows the Charles River and partially follows the old Telegraph line and is suitable for inexperienced walkers. This leg is crossed multiple times by the new mountain bike trails and care should be taken to only follow the trail marked by the Larapinta Trail blue triangles. Average walkers could expect to undertake this section in 1.3 to 1.5 hours at a walking speed of 3.3 – 3.6kms per hour.
4. Leg 4 – Telegraph Station – Henley on Todd Regatta site (Snow Kenna Park). This leg (3km) is almost Grade 1 – Easy (and has disabled access) and thus suitable for everyone. This is the leg that all four team members must walk and thus the leg in which all walkers are on the track at the same time. Expect that this leg will take 1.0 – 1.25 hrs to walk.
Based on these times it will take each team between 7.8 – 9.25 hours to complete the walk and arrive at Snow Kenna Park between 4.30pm and 6.00pm.
Based on the above, it is our recommendation that only teams with all four members being experienced walkers, undertake the whole team walking the entire HoT Desert Trail.
Food and Water
Please note that the expected temperature for this day is a sunny maximum of 22°C and hydration and heat management are important. Drink water at every opportunity!
HoT Desert Trail will provide bacon and egg rolls or fruit salad for vegetarians and two bottles of water for each walker at Simpsons Gap. At Wallaby Gap HoT Desert Trail will provide a small wrap, a muesli bar, a piece of fruit and a bottle of water. Water will be available at Geoff Moss Bridge. Fruit and water will be available at Telegraph Station. Water and either a beer or glass of wine will be available at the Henley on Todd Regatta site when you all finish!
If you require more water than this, we suggest either carrying more in a small backpack or in a ‘camelback’ backpack.
Please note that there are no rubbish bins on the trail except those provided by HoT Desert Trail at each changeover point. Please dispose of any rubbish only at these points.
Recommendations from our Sports Director:
Walking the Larrapinta trail is hard work but we accept that as the price of this fabulous experience.
When the walk ends the hard work should end and we should be ready to enjoy ourselves.
What we don’t want is an injury of any kind hanging on afterwards and detracting from the experience.
Barring serious injuries, which are unusual but do happen, the things that can cause lingering discomfort are cuts and abrasions, sore feet, muscle stiffness and sunburn. We will also talk about water.
Wear sturdy footwear (joggers will give you blisters). Preferably with a stiff sole and preferably worn in and a good fit. You don’t want to develop a blister half way through and a flexible, soft sole, such as most sports shoes have, will let the bones in your foot grind against each other and you will be really sore. So take sturdy, worn in foot wear.
Muscle Stiffness. If we haven’t done much physical stuff for a while and then tackle the Larapinta trail you will be stiff for a few days afterwards. You don’t have to be super fit but a bit of tough uphill/downhill walking for a couple of hours the week before, enough to make you stiff afterwards, will be beneficial. The older you are the more important this is.
You may get scratches from branches of trees or you may injure yourself if you trip over on the very uneven ground. Most such injuries will not need treatment but you may want to carry Band Aids or other dressings to keep the flies off any open scratches.
If you haven’t had much sun for a while, be prepared. Wear a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off your cheeks, face and the back of your neck. If wearing short sleeves, or no sleeves, use sunscreen and re-apply every now and then as required (Sunscreen is available at every leg station).
Lastly we need to talk about water. Be fully hydrated before you start. That means drinking water the day before and reducing your intake of things that we know dehydrate us. The big one is alcohol. Don’t start the walk with a hangover. A little known fact is the more dehydrated you become the sorer you become! The danger of not drinking enough is that you can become disoriented, mental function will be reduced, you will have poor concentration and co-ordination (which may lead to a trip and an injury), your body temperature may increase, you may be nauseous, you may experience muscle and stomach cramps and a dry mouth. It also makes it much harder work and you won’t enjoy it. Most people need to drink between 3 and 4 litres during this walk to keep things normal. Generally most people don’t need extra electrolytes but the walk is a form of extended exercise and you will sweat so if you think you need to replace electrolytes then sipping on one of the sports drinks as you go may be useful.
There it is. Protect yourself from the sun, be ready for small scratches, be appropriately fit, have sturdy, worn in shoes and drink water as you go.
As mentioned earlier there are only four points where team members either start or leave the walk. To assist you in these changeovers, we are providing bus transport from Anzac Oval carpark to the changeover point.
The bus schedules are as follows:
Simpsons Gap walkers: Bus departs Anzac Oval at 7.45am arriving Simpsons Gap approximately 8.00am. Walkers have breakfast, safety briefing and walk commences at 8.45am
Wallaby Gap changeover walkers: 4WD Bus departs Anzac Oval at 10.15am and arrives Wallaby Gap approximately 10.45am. Please note that track in from Larapinta Drive to Wallaby Gap is rough and access is by approved vehicles only.
Exiting walkers: Walkers who are leaving the Larapinta trail at this point, their bus will depart for Anzac Oval at 11.45pm.
Geoff Moss Bridge changeover walkers: Bus departs Anzac Oval at 2.00pm and arrives Geoff Moss Bridge at approximately 2.20pm.
Exiting walkers: Walkers who are leaving the Larapinta trail at this point, their bus will depart for Anzac Oval (via Telegraph Station) at 3.00pm.
Telegraph Station: All walkers (1st, 2nd and last leg walkers) should be ready at Telegraph Station by 3.45pm to greet the 3rd leg walkers and for the full team to walk together from Telegraph Station to Henley on Todd Regatta site at Snow Kenna Park.
Do No Harm
The HoT Desert Trail subscribes to the “Do No Harm” regime of injury management. This means that the primary remedy for muscle injury is the application of ice to stop bleeding in the injured area. Massage, heat packs, hot showers cause greater bleeding and therefore the chance of greater injury. Ice packs and ice baths will be available at Henley on Todd Regatta site to manage injury.