Trail Running

Long weekends provide a great opportunity to get out into the wilderness and do something challenging and spontaneous. The Easter long weekend, I decided to take my boy friend trail running for the first time. We drove up to the Blue Mountains todo the Three Sisters trail.
To be honest, our plan was to walk, but we got enthusiastic and ran most of the way. The last time I did the entire round trip from the Echo point look out, to the cable carts and back took me 2.5hrs. This time we did the whole thing in 1.5 hours.
IMG_6887 When I was in my early 20’s as a newbie personal trainer, some friends of mine and I, would drive to this location to run up and down that giant stair case as a “workout”, thinking back I think we were crazy!
 This exercise adventure is quite advanced and the initial part of the trail is the hardest. You must have good balance and feel quite comfortable in narrow spaces and with heights. The Three sisters trail descends down the cliff face with tiny little stairs. If you are going in the early morning or during winter it can become slippery. The staircase should take about 20minutes, or a little longer if it’s quite busy.
 IMG_6884 It’s a hot spot for tourists, so take that into account if you’re planning a gruesome workout, you may get held up in spots. For example you may have to wait for others to slowly make their way down the stairs, because they are too narrow to fit two people side by side. I suggest getting to the Three Sisters early in the morning before 9am, to beat the tour buses and don’t do a leg workout the day before!
Pack your own water approximately 2L  and take some snacks because there is absolutely nothing to eat or drink along the way, unless you pack it yourself.  A camera is a must because the scenery is amazing.
IMG_6882 At the base of the stairs follow the signs to the scenic railway, approximate distance is 2.5km time estimation 1.5hrs. We ran most of the trail in 45min including stopping to take pictures, drinking water and being photographers for a few tourist couples.
Once you get to the scenic railway, you can catch the short train ride (1min) up the cliff face this costs $12 which you pay for at the top. You can also run 500m further for the cable cart. The cable cart ride requires a bit more courage as it passes over a gorge, if you’re afraid of heights, it’s probably not a good idea.  

IMG_6886On the other side of the cliff, follow the signs back to Echo point, this time the trail runs along the top of the mountain face. The view is a little different and you will see a lot more people around picnicking in parks.
IMG_6880To finish up, visit one of the local café’s, pastries or chocolate houses, for a small indulgent treat. Considering it was Easter, I choose this quaint chocolatier cafe, for hot chocolate. It was divine! The milk is served boiled in a fondue dish, with the solid chocolate on the side. To make the hot chocolate, melt as much chocolate in the milk as you like, stir and sip with your spoon, which was conveniently acts as a straw as well.
 IMG_6889 We even managed to catch a little clothing boutique before it closed. I picked up these gorgeous mittens for $12, just perfect for winter.

Elizabeths lookout 

Let me also tell you about another trail run I did the weekend before. If the Three Sisters walk sounds like too much, Elizabeths only takes 45min. If you are really up for the challenge, you can probably do both trails on the same day, as Elizabeth point is at the base of the Blue Mountains, 40min down the same highway as the Three Sisters.
If your looking for something a little shorter and closer to Sydney, Elizabeths lookout, at Glenbrook is a run trail run. I usually park at Emu golf course just off the M4 motorway at the base of the Blue mountains. There is a small fire trail behind the football ovals.
IMG_7028 Follow the trail, which takes you under the highway through tunnels. After you pass through the tunnels you will see the Zig Zag railway build on giant sandstone pillars.
 From there, the trail starts, take the stairs to the dry creek bed, use the moss covered stepping stones to cross. Then the ascend starts, you now have a 20min hike up multiple never-ending stairs. I’ve tried running it before it takes about 15min up and back, but it’s a heart stopper. Even if you’re fit you will be left breathless, the incline is severe.
Once up to top of the hill you can see the view of Sydney, have a drink break and a sit down, rest the legs before you descend. This trek is free and there’s multiple tracks that lead off, just don’t get lost!
IMG_7009 As you can imagine, throughout the entire Blue Mountains area, there are fire trails, known hiking paths, jelly bean pools, loads of antique stores and quaint cafes to visit. If you get time one weekend take the day trip to discover amazing things. Did you do anything adventurous over the long weekend? 

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