Monday, April 9, 2018

Mount Beckworth

The end of the road
Mount Beckworth is one of the three sentinel peaks that look out across a triangular region of Central West Victoria (the others are Mounts Franklin and Tarrengower) It is a place that I have not visited for years but I was given an extraordinary surprise with yesterday.

My wife Ros, sherpa monarchs Joanne and Rodney and sister Jude took me on a Magical Mystery Tour that involved the second deployment of my very own TrailRider. The ascent, sensibly terminated when we were faced by the rubble shown, involved enormous generosity of sprit and effort from a sherpa team of 256 years combined age.



And this is where we were
Click to see the route map
Some younger blood would have summited but, to even younger blood, we owe the nickname of this peak that is noted for the single, enormous tree on top that can be singled out from far away. The little boys used to call it nipple hill. Check out the distant pics in Google maps. 

The area is a Parks Victoria Scenic Reserve and despite, perhaps unclear signs, about driving we came upon a family in their four wheel drive. Damaging the precious land. Get a life, become a Sherpa.

The irony is that you, and your kids, will live longer.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Grampians Walking Track Support Group

Hard at work - click pic to read more
Imagine my surprise at discovering these guys! In 2009, hot with Ros' photos from Canada, I reached out to the Head Ranger at the Grampians - the, appropriately named, Graham Parkes. (I used to think eponymous was the word to use here - when someone simply has the right name for their job - but reading around it things are not that clear)

By the time we went to visit Graham had moved on and we met David Roberts, as 
Wild Places tells, but he must have kept me in his email address book because yesterday I got an email from him telling me tales of the Grampians Walking Track Support Group  which I never knew existed.

The important message is that, at 10.00 am, Saturday 21st April, 2018 they will begin work/thinking about Golton Gorge.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

BCMOS (British Columbia Mobile Opportunity Society) turns 30!

Can you believe it? 30 years (thirty) since BCMOS was established by Sam Sullivan, ex ski accident mayor of Vancouver.

This video shows the TrailRider being used to guide disabled person to the top of Grey Rock (AKA Quarry Rock) in Deep Cove, North Vancouver.  

When Ros and I lived in Vancouver this was one of our favourite outings. So much so that it one of the places I scattered some of my Dad's ashes.

Wish BCMOS a Happy Birthday on Facebook


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Would that we had been there!

All these people I could have given TrailRider Tales business cards to! A
Networkers delight
Getting around is getting harder and going to Melbourne for morning tea seemed a bridge too far (although not for the two wheelies in the picture)

Anyway the occasion was a thank you, from Parks Victoria, to to all the different folk (just look at them!) who contributed to Healthy Parks, Healthy People winning the recent tourism award

In the words supplied to me John Kenwright, Access & Inclusion Coordinator, who has been the leader in this charge:

Parks Victoria and their Disability Sector partners got together today to celebrate the Victorian and Australian Tourism Awards that Parks Victoria won for their accessibility program in the Specialised Tourism Services category.
Parks Victoria Board member and Chair Victorian Visitor Economy Ministerial Advisory Committee,  The Hon John Pandazopoulos hosted the morning tea which saw PV staff and representatives from Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria, Amaze, All Abilities Consultative Committee Mornington Peninsula, genU Karingal St. Laurance, Scope, Austin Health, Travability and Lonely Planet come together to acknowledge the great work that has been undertaken in the last seven years as well as the two recent awards that recognise Parks Victoria as a national leader in providing nature based park experiences for all ages and abilities.  

Healthy Parks Healthy People.


There would have been a lot of chances to charm but not too much time to do it in. Next time I'll go.


Like Parks Victoria on Facebook 

and Healthy Parks, Healhy People too

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The joys of a non-disabled TrailRider pilot

This is the delightful tale that Doug, at Bournda (also) , sent me. Over to you Doug...


The victorious kids
A short note on on unforeseen TrailRider applications. 

On a recent Year 7 camp a student had an ankle sprain. When discussing the planned 5km walk for the next day, I suggested she could use the TrailRider.
So I spoke to the students and explained the story of how it came to be at Bournda, including seeing you at the Parks congress. I framed the exercise for that day as “Sherpa training” so that in future TrailRider activities they would be familiar with what to do. These students are from Jake’s school and telling them how he covered 11km was I think inspirational.

By the next morning the students ankle was sufficiently recovered so she could walk. However, the TrailRider went as “insurance” and other students got to be the passenger as well. 


The feedback from the teachers who supervised was that the students finished the walk quicker than previous groups and with less grumbling about having to walk!

It occurs to me that the TrailRider has a motivational effect and that may be useful to use as an educational tool about mobility needs, even when there is no client that needs it. It helps the students to see how the simple act of walking in the bush is a joy that is denied to many and something to be grateful for.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Yes, yes, yes!

Click pic to visit Travabilty blog
Don't listen to me, listen to Bill Forrester on the Travability Blog who really lays it on the line about why my post, which directed you to the Specialised Tourism category of the Qantas Awards is on its way to being overhauled - by special becoming mainstream.

Why not throw a Like in his direction?


Sunday, February 25, 2018

A destination or another step on the path?

Surely, Ros and I could be forgiven for thinking we've finally got there watching this video that Parks Victoria have made to celebrate their win at the Qantas 2017 Australian Tourism Awards (Gold in the Specialised Tourism category)

All that is curious about this delightful and inspiring film is fractional, hard-to-grab instant where you can see
 John Kenwright, Access and Inclusion Coordinator at Parks Victoria. He is the person that made all this happen and his modesty astounds me.
Click pic to view the awards finalists. Parks Victoria is in the
Specialised Tourism category
That fleeting instant is captued here (sorry John)
Healthy Parks, Healthy People is the tagline that is on the shirt of every Parks Victoria employee. Click on the Like button to encourage them.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dandenongs Sherpa Training

Three TrailRiders and many green, Sherpa Volunteer Program
T shirts. Click pic to read the full article in the Mount Evelyn Mail
Last Saturday, fourteen new Sherpa Volunteers stepped up to the plate at the Olinda Park training session. Up until now, the only three-TrailRider pictures I have posted have been from Vancouver, where they are made.

In the words of John Kenwright, Access and Inclusion Coordinator at Parks Victoria 

Grants Picnic Ground in the Dandenong Ranges was the perfect location for its iconic and versatile birdlife as well as the many trails which branch off from there.


Sherbrooke forest is such a beautiful area with the lyrebirds, tall mountain ash trees and so for people with disabilities to be able to share that and see that is very important

Hearing from the passenger for the day (AKA pilot) is even more enticing. Karen Fankhauser, a wheelchair user was the first to be given the opportunity to sit in the new chair and she found it comfortable but gave her the freedom to experience nature.

Freedom ... It means I can actually experience bushwalking and that's something you can't do in a normal chair


For someone with limited mobility or no mobility it's an amazing experience ... instead of just watching from a viewing platform you get to be within the park itself.

Consider Liking the Mail News Group on Facebook. One of their papers, the Mount Evelyn Mail, covered the event, 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Welcome to Sherpa Volunteer Training - video

Josh, my senior nurse son, helped me make this video which is "any place, any time" welcome to the Sherpa Volunteer Program that can be used at the start of any session that Ros, me, Joanne and Rodney cannot make it to.

Most recently that was the session at Olinda Park, in the Dandenongs.

Trainees who are on Facebook might want to join the Private Group that Maggie set up after the first-ever session. Sherpa scuttlebutt should remain amongst sherpas.
It is called Australian Bush Sherpas but you don't need to be Australian to join



Friday, February 2, 2018

Have work, will travel

Yes! I am rejoining the labour force. 

Four places where I can, once again, spend my money

As a Support Officer in the, three Shire wide, Accessible Towns project. Funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) this project sets out to make towns, other than Newstead, places where the disabled, the aged, mothers with twins can move about and do their business.


I will be paid to do what worked so well in Newstead - befriend the shopkeepers and lead them to embracing accessibility in an affordable, friendly way.

Early next Monday I will attend a Training Session in Bendigo. For the rest I can barely wait.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sherpa Volunteer Training in the Dandenongs

Click pic to register
In 2013 I was in the Grampians with two fit, young people and we couldn't go anywhere because there was nowhere to find the other two sherpas. I was sad.

Then John Kenwright (Parks Victoria disability wizard) got his head around the way to organise the, now flourishing, Sherpa Volunteer Program in the Grampians. There have been three training sessions so far (1, 2, 3

Soon - Saturday, 10th February - there will be a session in the Dandenongs, to get a program started there, but this time it will be "front ended" by several, shorter, session that will simply handle the nuts and bolts of becoming a Parks Victoria volunteer of any kind,

That way, when you attend the actual sherpa training, you will already have you volunteer formalities taken care of.

You can register for one of these sessions - on Saturday 3rd February for an hour - here

The session will be at Olinda Parks Victoria Office.