Pair ride out for recovery
A PAIR of horse riding enthusiasts will embark on a near month-long trip on the Bicentennial National Trail next weekend.
Myrtleford’s Mick Dwyer and Freeburgh’s Dean Cunico will share the trek along the track originally known as the National Horse Trail, which stretches 5330 kilometres from Healesville to Cooktown in Queensland.
But the two won’t go close to that distance.
They’ll ride 400km from Healesville to Omeo, a journey that will take them three and a half weeks.
They set off next Sunday, just two days after Mick, a teacher at Myrtleford P12 College, officially retires.
“A couple of years ago I got crook with Guillain-Barré syndrome and spent a bit of time in intensive care,” he siaid.
“It paralysed me completely from the shoulders down for three weeks so I thought I want to do something like this while I can.
“I have done a lot of five and six day trips but they’ve always been with a backup vehicle.
“This will be the first full-on pack trip I’ve done. “I’m really looking forward to it. “It will be a great way to cleanse the mind.”
Dean has also had his own health issues - he suffered two strokes when just 15 years old which left him with paralysis down his right side.
“I’ve been riding for seven years now but I wouldn’t be doing this without Mick,” he said.
“I’m excited but a little bit nervous too because of the unknown.”
Dean said the trip had been a year in the pipeline.
“Some days we will ride 40km others 18km depending on the steepness and the terrain,” he said.
“We will obviously carry everything we need from food, first aid, shoeing gear, swags, wet weather gear, some protective tarp, a solar charger, satellite phone and epirb.
“We have a rest day every four days and have people coming in at different stages to bring us supplies.
“We’ve got to stick to the schedule because of the fact those support vehicles are meeting us on certain days.”
The two completed a full dress rehearsal last weekend taking their three horses - Cisco, Ringer and Meg - to Nug Nug where they camped the night before returning on Sunday.
“We had a couple of problems on the way out but the trip back on Sunday was all smooth sailing,” Mick said.
“We did the 16km in about three and half hours so that was pretty good time.
“We’ll make the load on the pack horse a little bit lighter and not as high so it was good to identify those things ahead of the actual ride.”
LONG DISTANCE TREK: Dean Cunico and Mick Dwyer will ride their horses from Healesville to Omeo later this month.