Super Vet rogainer and self-confessed ‘word nerd’ Bruce Greenhalgh considers the day to night rogaine experience and the up coming Australian Rogaining Championships.
I’m something of a ‘word nerd’, somebody who takes an interest in words: their meaning, sound, spelling, use and abuse. It follows that I have opinions on many words; for example, ‘languid’, which I think is a delightful sounding and very fitting word. At the other end of the scale are words I regard as less successful. ‘Pulchritude’ springs to mind, it means ‘beauty’, but it sounds to me more like a good name for a boil or a bad attitude. ‘Crepuscular’ is similar. I confess I’d read the word a number of times without knowing what it meant (I’ve never heard it spoken) and had to look it up in a dictionary. It means ‘of, relating to, or resembling twilight; dim; indistinct’. As a word it doesn’t work for me; it doesn’t in anyway evoke twilight, instead sounding, again, like a descriptor for some sort of disease.
Still, it’s a handy way of referring to a significant and memorable period of any rogaine that traverses from day to night (and back, although ‘crepuscular’ is mostly used to describe dusk, not dawn). In our modern lives the crepuscular time of day usually passes without too much notice. When it gets dark we switch on a light or two and carrying on doing what we were doing. We’re normally not aware of the precise timing of the loss of light and generally not inconvenienced by it.
That all changes during a day/night rogaine. You become intensely aware of the fading light and have likely planned for it in some way. Navigation becomes a whole lot harder as day becomes night, as does simply negotiating the terrain. Without any artificial light, apart from your head lamp, you realise how dark, dark is. If you’re attempting a full 24 hours it’s hard not to think that the dark is going to last a long, long time.
During a rogaine I usually spend the crepuscular period with some anxiety. The task ahead seems so daunting. As the sun goes down, I’d bet my heart rate goes up just a little. Then, after a while, I usually accept the darkness and its difficulties (though I curse them often enough). Of course, I look forward to daylight and by the wee small hours I’m positively yearning for it. Whatever happens though, the rogaine experience of crepuscular light and times is always a powerful one. It’s also something like a trip back to earlier times when day and night, light and dark, dictated the activities and rhythms of our lives.
If you haven’t experienced crepuscular rogaining why not set yourself up for an awe-inspiring experience and enter the upcoming Australian Rogaining Championships? If 24 hours sounds just too much, remember you always have the option of heading back to the Hash House to sleep and regain your bearings. There’s an eight hour option as well. It’s still an opportunity to experience the trepidation and excitement that nightfall brings to a rogaine.
And if you enter the ‘Deceptive Lands’ Rogaine it’s also an opportunity to visit country you might not have previously experienced. The rogaine will be held in the marginal lands on the Goyder Line, where, in the past, good years of rainfall deceived settlers about the capacity of the land to support cropping and more intensive forms of farming. The bad years – and even ‘normal’ years – of rainfall brought those optimistic settlers unstuck. In 1867 Surveyor General George Goyder mapped a line between the areas of good rainfall and those liable to drought to inform potential settlers of what was, long term, suitable cropping country. The Goyder Line has proven to be an accurate and enduring demarcation. Good years subsequent to 1867 had settlers ignoring the line only to later prove the veracity of Goyder’s survey. Accordingly, history bestows Goyder a high reputation, but it is interesting to note that Goyder himself, when exploring the northern parts of SA in 1857, was himself deceived by high rainfall and productive looking country. He even concluded that Lake Torrens was a fresh water lake.
The majority of South Australia lies to the north of the Goyder Line, but most of us live and spend our lives to the south of the line. The Deceptive Lands Rogaine gives you an opportunity to explore these less visited lands, more so, because the rogaine is on private land that normally isn’t accessible to the public. So why not sign up for some crepuscular times in deceptive lands or, put more attractively, a memorable and exciting experience in an extraordinary setting? Get a team together, get an entry in and get ready for a unique adventure.
If not now, when?