May 10, 2011

Climbing and Campfires

I hated walking when I was a kid. You either ran there, or you didn't go at all. But I'm a big fan of walking now. Which is what I did this past weekend: I camped out and walked my way up Mount Warning.

Mount Warning is a two-hour drive into New South Wales. And as we discovered, there was a lot to see along our way. We kept seeing signs for a 'land bridge' that lured us to two different spots. One was a park with no land bridge-like things but a very pretty creek.

The other was the actual land bridge with a foaming waterfall raining through it.

And this is what I love about Australia: there was hardly anyone there. It was so easy to grab pictures without having to ask overweight guys in sweat-stained Hawaiian shirts to please move over a smidgen. Not that I don't love those guys: I just don't need a copy of their sweaty pits to keep for all eternity.

We camped out in the middle of a field, built a fire, ate sausages, and listened to our neighbors two tents over trying to play the harmonica. The weather was glorious and there were no bugs, which was nice, since they generally seem to have a thing for my flesh.

And then we got up semi-early and climbed the slightly ominous-looking. Mount Warning.
I know it doesn't look all that impressive, but that's just my photographic inability to capture the depth of this mountain behind the trees. Looking at it from the parking lot, it looked like the climb was going to be quite literally straight up. Captain Cook named it Mount Warning because it was so pointy and distinguishable from all the peaks around it that it was impossible to miss. But we sweated our way up it anyway, through through cool rainforest draped with spongy moss fingers and giant spouts of grass straight out of Honey I Shrunk The Kids. The last gasp was a craggy climb so steep that we had to use a fixed chain. Just when I thought my legs were going to call it a day two things happened: first, an unfit and very cranky-sounding woman came screeching down the maintain past us. She was a completely hysterical, swearing mess (much like I was on Mount Tibrogargan, aka the mountain that conquered me). And I couldn't help but laugh because... well, she wasn't in any danger, and I guess I'm just a little mean that way. Second, we were told that an eighty-year-old lady was enjoying her birthday at the summit. So it didn't take much longer for us to make it to the top.
Campfires, rainforests, and an excuse to eat salami and cheese sandwiches... this is the stuff like should be made of.

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