I was already getting really excited for the start of the Tour de Tallaganda, and when a family team asked at registration if I'd like to come out on the course with them, I knew it was going to be a great day! We spent a little while colouring in the map and making some ambitious plans for a route, and then it was time for the briefing, and off we went! I think at first my team weren't really listening when I whispered my advice, because they didn't take the best route out to their first control, #86 (taking the main road, instead of the firetrail). Nevertheless they seemed pretty enthusiastic even going up the steep hill. After the first control my team saw some other family members on the fire trail ahead, so there was a bit of a race to overtake, on the way through to #78 and #77. It seems that lots and lots of teams started out in this direction, as it was pretty busy on the firetrail. After picking up #102 on a very pretty rocky ridge, I was pleased to see that my team had read the back of the map about the nasty vegetation around #67, as we climbed up the firetrail high enough that we could come down the ridge to the control. After that we headed north to #101 in a scrubby saddle --- this was pretty hard for the shorter-legged members of my team, with lots of rocks underfoot in the vegetation. After that we raced on to #75, and looking at the time decided to start heading back into the center of the map, rather than our originally planned loop northwards. Back on the trail, the junior human took the lead, and raced down the hill to #53, then crossing a beautiful little creek and back up the hill to #64. Seeing how much faster travel on the trails was than going cross-country, we had a quick planning session and a snack and set off again, climbing most of the big hill on the way to #55, past the water drop and then out to #93. We were really excited to meet two other rogaining mascots tucked into packs at #93, Ross and Rummage, who were on their way back from a longer loop on the west side of the course. With about 90 minutes to go, and some sore legs developing for both my teammates (not me, riding on the backpack!), we had to work out how much we could still fit in. The cross-country to #93 had gone pretty well, even with lots of fallen trees and some thistles, so we decided to cross the valley picking up #66, then #84 on the spur just off the firetrail, and then south down Palerang Road. Planning to head up to #85 on the other side of the main road, we saw that some teams were playing it safe going the long way round on the firetrails, but I encouraged my humans to just head straight up the hill, and it worked great, arriving right at the control. It suddenly started raining --- my teammates had just enough time to put their rainjackets on before it suddenly stopped again! Koalas don't really need rainjackets, so I didn't mind. From here we strolled down the firetrail to #59 at the water tank, and then, feeling pretty tired out, down to the Hash House, for some much appreciated hot chocolate and veggie burgers!
All up, a great day out! It was lovely to see so many people out enjoying Tallaganda. (And my humans were very happy with their prize in the family division. They very kindly said that they couldn't have done it without my advice and encouragement, and they were glad they'd asked to take me out of the course!)