Walyunga stands for ‘happy place’ so what a great place to start! As the sun rises over Boongarup Pool the runners will start their journey on the Pilgrim single track along the river banks of the Avon river, heading down stream. They will then face a steep incline up to the ridge line of Mt Mambup with the Perth city in view and the beautiful Avon Valley behind them.
The descent is on a mountain bike track, which does get technical at points so take your time. It wont be long before your reach the river again and re-join the Pilgrim Trail for a nice flat, fast and technical section to the Bells Rapids bridge, which you cross and make you way over to the Orlov Bridal Trail Tunnel.
From here it is a reasonable climb and then a drop into the valley where you meander up along a creek that takes you to the breath taking Bells Falls. Once you reach the peak of the climb you turn left and run up a granite rock face to the fire trail that sweeps around the border of Avon Ridge Estate.
From Avon Ridge it is fire trail along the ridge line until a meandering steep descent down to a gravel track that is parallel to Wooroloo Brook Creek. This path leads to a small water crossing, the Wooroloo Brook Creek Ford. From here you then face a long steep ascent through some beautiful Wandoo Forrest and granite outcrops.
At the top of the challenging climb you veer left to follow the ridge line that looks over the Avon River and in the distance, the grassy green slopes of Shady Hills Estate. The track joins on to the Survey Heritage Trail heading up towards Ewing Road. A sharp left turn just before the public road places you on a fire trail that takes you out to the monument cairn marking a survey point by John Forrest from the 1870’s, which gives an amazing view of the valley up towards Toodyay and back to where you started at Walyunga National Park.
Here you are at the perimeter of Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary, which is Indigenous for ‘stopping place’. There is a shed and toilet block there that will be the support aid station.
Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary is a single trail heaven! The Numbat track takes you along the undulating valley ridge until you branch off on to the Quenda Trail. These single trails feature small creeks, man made platforms and a monument over another survey marker. There are quite a few steps in this section so it is a good idea to include some in your training.
The far east aspect of the Quenda Trail intersects an access track which is where the 34km aid station will be. This station is not open to spectators. You will be in need of refreshments after a challenging section of hills and stairs.
You are then greeted by a steep descent into a valley with a small creek crossing followed by a steep incline before making a final descent down to the fire trail (not the ARC Infrastructure rd) that is parallel to the train line. You then follow the boundary track up to Guildford Grammar Schools ‘Stronghills’ Property. This is a main aid station that is also not available to spectators. There will be however other relay runners and essential event crew. There is some good shelter and toilets at this location.
You start by crossing a small creek as you leave the campground. After a short distance you enter the beautiful Avon Valley National Park and continue to run along the undulating access road until a right-hand turn which takes you to the secluded Valley Campground (52.5km) where you have the opportunity to refuel at a non spectator site. The final leg continues on the undulating access trail until the right hand turn for Quarry Rd. It is here you head up towards the highest point of the event at 296m. Quarry Rd intercepts South Break Access Road which takes you to the boundary of the Avon Valley National Park. From here you make your way through three private Toodyay properties. You then encounter the only public road for the whole trail: Cobblers Pool Road, please pass through giving vehicles right of way. Relay runners can meet their team members on the north side of the road for the final 400m where there will be an opportunity for you all to cross the finish line together.
At the finish line all competitors will be greeted by their supporters and fellow competitors for rising up and going beyond, transcending the Avon Valley. Competitors have reached the Duidgee region which stands for the ‘land of plenty’, here they will have the opportunity to replenish and unwind. Upon finishing, competitors will have the opportunity to give back to the land and in collaboration with Toodyay Friends of the River, sow a plant in the region to help ensure there is beautiful environment for many generations to experience in years to come.