Trekking the Six-Foot Track, NSW

Trekking the Six-Foot Track, NSW

May I state with gusto, it was good to get back on the horse (so to speak) and trek with confidence again. My trek last week fell somewhat short of expectations. Irrational or maybe somewhat rational fear kicked in as I trekked solo alongside the Hawkesbury River on the worst trek ever. This week, my last week of gardening leave, I decided to go out with a bang and smash out the 44km Six-Foot Track in the Blue Mountains over two days. This will be my longest multi-day trek since trekking the Tarkine, Tasmania in March 2017.

This time armed with all the essentials; a map, copious amounts of trekking snacks, cool weather gear and a girlfriend crazy enough to come with me. Off we set nice and early departing Central and arriving into Katoomba at nine in the morning. On arrival, we make our own way to the start of the track (a mere three kilometers from the station) by foot, how else? Before I knew it, we were clambering down steep steps and hopping over gushing gullies.

Walking from Katoomba – Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains we opted for a shorter day one and a longer day two, which I’m still not sure is a good or bad thing. We’d booked a night’s accommodation at the six-foot track eco-lodge which is a rough fourteen kilometers from the start. Rolling hills, fire trails and fence crossings spring to mind when recounting my steps. The strong scent of cow manure on the tip of the cool breeze felt both nostalgic and sickly. None the less, the sun is shining and our limbs are feeling great. We find a lunch spot along the way, which is harder than it sounds because there is a significant lack of look outs, scenic detours or hilltop views. When I say lunch spot, I mean a fallen down tree branch that looks capable of bearing both our weight. That is the only requirement at the eleventh kilometer stage. The last three kilometers to the lodge are tedious. We felt like hamsters on a wheel. The scenery, whilst differing from the start of the day was monotonous. Granted we were alongside the river so at any moment we knew we would be approaching the swinging bridge.

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The view: About 70% of the way.

During the past four treks, at one point or another I would be thinking about snakes, I couldn’t get them out of my head. Well, on day one, I couldn’t get this one out of my way. It just lay there doe-eyed and stubborn. With the intent to sound confident dear reader (I wasn’t) I took a few steps back to give it some berth. (‘steps’ translates to: I ran like crazy) I was more than prepared to make a fifteen-meter detour around the damn thing through thick heath but Katie was convinced we could conquer the red belly black snake head on. (Childhood flashbacks consuming my thoughts) Katie takes a few steps forward and before I can say ‘MOVE!’ the snake scurries away. Even still, I sprint past where the serpent was sun baking until we are a comfortable thirty meters away. Gosh it seems I’ve been living in the city for too long.

As we approach the swing bridge we take the opportunity to have a break on the rocks bordering the river and dip our feet in. Cold is an understatement for the water temperature and we barely last twenty seconds before I’m convinced my toes have fallen off.

The swing bridge induces a mix of adrenaline and focus, the kind of focus when you’re really drunk and the bouncer asks you how many drinks you’ve had. You know you could act cool and normal but as soon as you look down or around you or heaven forbid look the bouncer in the eye, you know you’re toast. I’m sure most really enjoyed the bridge experience, I on the other hand wanted it to be over before it had begun.

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You’ve been warned.

We arrived at the lodge, bath in a trickle of cool water from a hand wash basin and put on every piece of clothing we had with us. The eco-lodge is off the grid and our hosts didn’t think ten degrees qualified putting the fire on. We huddled together over a beer and waited for the other guests to arrive before dinner. Kangaroo stew with sweet potato mash. Couldn’t have asked for better.

By eight in the evening, it’s head torches out and we’re all in bed. Our fellow walkers had arrived from Jenolan and it took them nine hours. Either they were slow and steady, they were catching Pokémon or they’re lying. I was hoping for option two, even though they were all in their sixties. They were training to trek the Kokoda track and decided trekking sixty kilometers over two days would sort them out. They’ll be heading back to Jenolan with us tomorrow, although by the state of them, I’m not sure they’re going to make it. I will say this though, they were bloody inspiring!

By six in the morning the six of us are up and at em! We choke down breakfast and chug on a large coffee all before seven. Katie and I are on the road by seven-thirty. We have twenty-nine kilometers to fill today – all largely uphill. And! We must get there by three-thirty to get our transfer back to Katoomba. No. Pressure.

The walk is long. Uneven. Unstable. Uphill and uninteresting. We walk for four hours without a break with no-where to bask for lunch. The track is (obviously) six-foot-wide and surrounded by thick bush. Thankfully the many kangaroos and wallabies along the path entertain us. Katie even found a fun game: rock jumping. It’s shame she had to find out the hard way, those cow patties really saw her coming (**eye roll, city kids). It’s at this point where I’m SO thankful I’m not doing this walk alone. It would be as boring as bat shit. We cross a few rivers and are thankfully able to keep our feet dry in the process. I spare a thought for our limber sixty-year old friends back at the lodge. If I can be still doing this when I’m their age, I’ll be pretty darn happy with myself.

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Uneven. Unstable. Uphill and uninteresting… except for this one tree!

On we go, and on and on. Until it’s two in the afternoon and I actually think we’re going to make it! A few consults with the map and fears go unrealized. The final ten kilometers feel so drawn out, they are without a doubt the most un-scenic!

We make it to Jenolan caves by two-fifty in the afternoon. Holy moly, I can’t believe we did it. We order a hot drink at the cafe and freshen up in the amenities. It’s a shame we couldn’t have stayed, apparently the caves are the ‘best in the world’. I have a sneaky suspicion they all say that.

We board the bus with street cred as we hobble onto the back seat. By five we’re on the train and by seven we’re back in the city. What a whirlwind of an experience. It’s advised to take three days for this trek, I think you’d be bored and you’d be better off spending more time in Jenolan or Katoomba if you can spare the time.

Overall; not my favourite but one hell of a training trek.

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Need a pit stop? There is a winery on day one (only open weekends)

So that’s that! As I write this I’m officially unemployed. I’m on my second cup of coffee and I’m staring out to sea. I have a few days of freedom before the camino commences. It could be my last post for a while, so if you’re craving some camino #inspo jump over to my Instagram page for all the action: @whoislexiconnors until next time, hasta pronto (remind me to learn what that means!)

The Worst Trek Ever.

The Worst Trek Ever.

If you thought this was going to be some sort of click-bait type title to get you to read all about my most joyful experiences trekking throughout Australia, you would be wrong. Not even close. This week, week three of gardening leave I decided I needed a lighter walk and opted for the easiest and closest one I could find near Sydney. I plan to stay in Newcastle this week and this one seems perfectly situated, right in the middle of the two cities.

Finch’s Line & Devine’s Hill Loop.

Travelling to Wisemans Ferry mid-morning after a delicious sleep in, a very long black and a crispy croissant. The car is packed for a glorious few days in Newcastle including; surf board, trekking boots, skateboard (you never know) and Birkenstocks (gotta love a mild autumn.)

Upon parking at Wisemans Ferry, I stare blankly at the front seat where the guidebook sits unassumingly. Should I read the content? Should I take any pictures? Other than ogling at the map, the distance and the title, I unashamedly look away knowing this will be the easiest walk on the books. Easier perhaps than the well marked Taronga to Manly beach walk I did two weeks ago, or the Coast Track or even Kosciuszko? Knowing how well marked they were, I forgo caution and piss into the wind.

I board the ferry, ripe with the ingredients of fresh air and silence. It’s free, much to my surprise and very efficient. Feeling jolly, I ask the helmsman which way I should start. Why should I care less, this is the easiest walk they’ve got. He points vaguely towards Devine’s Hill and off I go. Walking along tarmac for about 500m before actually starting the trek, all before I see my first roadblock. A closed fence. I bound over the padlocked fence one leg after the other, “No-one can stop me!” I scream valiantly to myself. I turn back to witness my not-so triumphant opponent with a pedestrian track parallel to the fence. “Ah shit” I mutter.

And off I go, oh how I walked. Not a soul to be overheard, not a footprint to follow: except my own, I later discovered.

This is of course, the old convict trail located in Dharug National Park for those less informed. (I knew nothing of this before the walk, so don’t feel bad if you are less acquainted.) Constructed between 1826 and 1834, the Great Northern Road was the largest public work attempting to join Sydney with the Hunter. This section is sealed off from motorised commuters to preserve the track and thus is strictly for walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers only, hence the fence, it all makes sense now.

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Built by hand.

It is so charming to walk at ones own pace; to stop and sigh, to reflect and to consume all that can be. The slow burning incline is full of facts, memoirs, stories and sentiments. Really, there couldn’t be more factual information and I immediately sigh knowing I didn’t need to read up on this walk at all, I have a surplus of data. It’s a shame Vodaphone couldn’t rise to the occasion, but who needs google when the faint breath of ferry fumes are lingering on the wind?

And, from there, things got better, more remote if you will. I pass just one lady and her daughter at the start and I realise I haven’t passed anyone else for over an hour. That is odd, surely.  I reach the top of Devine’s Hill and switch onto the Finch Line, a wide ridge running parallel to the Hawkesbury River. I have shifted the focus of the walk from a leisurely stroll to a serious hunt to spot a koala, I stop and pause every few steps to see if I can find one high up among the eucalyptus. To no avail, on I walk.

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How lovely, a dense bush.

A few clearings later, I find a crossroads; one with a fallen down tree across the track and another with a sign post describing slippery rocks. Hmmm. I opt for the latter and the view takes my breath away (note: feature image). The hues of autumn are truly magnificent from way up here.

It appears there is no way down from here and so I opt for the former of the two and climb over the rotting tree trunk. Off I go. Off. Into silence. Seriously, where are the other walkers? What was that noise? Don’t be silly, keep on going not far to go now. Shouldn’t I be looping back by now? I passed the ferry ages ago! Oh shit! I’ve missed a turn off… but where was the sign! (From here, you can read my internal dialogue, the dialogue of a person who was so close to the end of the track, about 2km to be exact, but a person who panic’s is a person who isn’t thinking rationally.) I opt for google maps to help me out; this is what I see:

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What. The. Crap

Well. That’s just great. My fear increases. I’ve missed the path somehow. And then. I make the cardinal sin. Something I never, ever do. I turned back. I pace back, quicken my gait, the clouds are threatening a month’s worth of rain over three days, predicted to commence any second now. My mind shoots to what I’m carrying. It’s okay; calm down, you have a sandwich, a banana, a poncho that can be constructed into a tent should you need to stay the night, which you definitely will at this rate; that is of course if a bush bandit (not sure if a thing) doesn’t come out and snatch you away. All of a sudden I’m actually frightened. I make it back to the cross roads and search for a path near the slippery rocks… I actually contemplate scaling the rocks, a mere two hundred meter scramble. Thankfully sense kicks in. I turn back again, again opening google maps. Where the hell is this stupid blue little line track? And why the hell is there no sign! I retrace my steps a final time (in the right direction) before giving up hope. I resign to the fact that NSW National Parks must have spent all the allotted money on signposting the Devines Hill walk with nothing left for this one. Why? Why didn’t I take a picture of the map in my guidebook? Argh!

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My demise came moments after taking this.

It’s two in the afternoon, I make a judgement call not to call the police (insanity rising) to report the sign issue or my own stupidity and stomp back along the way I’ve just walked for the past 3 hours. A simple 11km walk soon turned into 15km after my epic misjudgement.

Ah sigh! Let’s put this one down to 99% of the blame on NSW National Parks and maybe 1% on me, even though we both know that’s beyond fair. I make it back to the ferry by three in the afternoon and hang my head in disappointment, I can’t believe I just did that. I cant even use snapchat, instagram, facebook or chrome to lift my mood (would they anyway?)

The drive to Newcastle was sombre, the clouds roll in and out with a few droplets of rain, no downpour was to come at all. A massive oversight by the weatherman, somewhat like my mid-walk reaction perhaps.

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Seriously though, where are the koala’s?

The lesson here is: Read. Take pictures of maps. Take sufficient supplies. But above all: DON’T PANIC. Oh, and if NSW National Parks could fashion a sign soon, I think that would be helpful too.

Until next week, my final week of gardening leave and I’m going out with a bang: The Six-Foot Track in the Blue Mountains. I have been advised this is both incredible and dull, from separate sources. I will report back in due course.

Trekking Kosciuszko, New South Wales

Trekking Kosciuszko, New South Wales

Greetings from week two of gardening leave. I can’t say I feel entitled enough to deserve this amazing (paid) break, but I sure am grateful for it. It feels oddly unsettling knowing I won’t be working for nine weeks (for five of those I’ll be camino-ing) particularly when it was unexpected. Alas, I digress! This week Moo and I decided to tackle the tallest mountain in Australia, Mt Kosciuszko. After all, it was our three year anniversary and so, why not eh?

With a mere two weeks left before the Charlottes Pass gate is closed for winter, we felt this was an opportune time to go, and hey, maybe we’d luckily get another repeat of the Cradle Mountain Trek and walk in snow again? (hint: that was sarcasm) Not wanting to wait and find out, I check the forecast and it appears we have clear skies. Moo can’t take any time off work as he’s just started a new job (rats!) so we’ll be attempting this feat over a weekend.

We set off Friday afternoon, in the peak of rush hour, we are immediately sandwiched between commuters and lorries. I cuss and curse, I would say every 30 seconds, Moo would retell it was more frequent. It takes us a good two hours to break free from the mecca of Sydney traffic and get on the open road. A pit stop in Goulburn and before we know it (five hours later) we’re in chilly Jindabyne.

Depending on what route you want to hike, you could also stay in Thredbo. I have my eyes set on the Main Range Track and due to sheer proximity, we perch in Jindy.

We rise early on Saturday and apply layer after layer. This fair weather walker is not used to such degrees and as such has brought enough clothing to cover a juvenile netball team for such conditions. Charlottes Pass is a hop, skip and 40kms from Jindabyne. So as Willie Nelson claimed it, we were ‘On the road again..’ Upon pulling up we sneer at a group of young British hikers and aim to leave as soon as physically possible to place ourselves as far as possible from them. Why are they so loud? Why do they never have any Australian friends? Why do they not integrate? I guess the same could be said about Aussies in England, but I’d like to think that’s not true. To our joy, the Main Track is a measly 22.5km loop, which means: no small children! Yippee!

From Charlottes Pass you have two options as to how you’ll reach Kosciuszko, the Summit Track (a return track) or the Main Range Track (a loop). Opting for the latter, we set off down hill and feel minuscule immediately (see feature image). The mountains surrounding us are all consuming and our urban shoes feel a provincial soil underfoot. We reach a stepping stone ‘bridge’, which dares me to test my waterproof shoes, but the frosty, biting wind make me second guess the idea. From there, it’s up, up up! For what feels like an hour or two. We pass Blue Lake, which, if I had my time again, I would absolutely forgo the extra rest and take the additional 2km return walk to see the lake up close.

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The path to Blue Lake

You’ll witness three other peaks along the walk; Carruthers Peak (2,142m), Mt Townsend (2,210) and lastly Mt Stilwell (2051m) however let me state, it’s impossible to get lost along this trail. Once past Blue Lake, prepare to whip out the tissues, my guide book didn’t lie when it states the ‘wind that can make eyes water, noses run and teeth ache’ in that regard, it didn’t disappoint.

Further up you go before hitting a glorious plateau stepping parallel to Carruthers Peak. **Walker listen up, this was the most beautiful section of the entire walk, dare I say it, even better than the summit itself. So, take it in. Find a wind protected rock and perch yourself here for an extended pit stop or lunch break.

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As far as the eye can see…

Approaching the summit, you can hear the crowds congregate, human interaction lingers on the wind and I immediately think: take me back to Muellers Pass! The spiral-like track up to the top is accessible for all, I really wanted it to be more challenging to feel more rewarded up the top. Upon reaching the top, all 2,228m of it, dare I say it, it’s a little underwhelming!

Not wanting to be near other humans for too long, we kicked on to Rawsons Pass. Here is where the Thredbo walkers will meet the Summit Track. We continued on left all the way to Seamans Hut, an adorable shack with firewood, snacks, a billy and a safe haven should you find yourself stuck here in dire conditions. Crossing the Snowy River a final time we meander along the Summit Track all the way back to Charlottes Pass. It’s a rather long and exposed track, quite flat with a scenic backdrop. The old snow-gums here will have you stop and stare quizzically. The autumnal colours of shrub, low bushes and moss carpet guide your way.

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The adorable Seamans Hut

Upon completing the trek, treat yourself to a crispy Kosciuszko Pale Ale and one heck of a feast at Bacco Italian Restaurant, Jindabyne. There’s no website, so you’ll just have to trust me!

Overall, a beautiful day walk, mind the tumult of other walkers. A long way to travel, yet a sight for sore eyes. A grand landscape with little protection. But above all, the closest I’ll get to heaven from the little land down under.

Until next week…

The Coast Track – In one day.

The Coast Track – In one day.

It’s been quite some time since my last post and if you detect a certain laissez-faire approach to my next few posts here’s why: I’ve recently been placed on gardening leave. After resigning from my job I was told to go home for the next four weeks, suspended from work. I have no access to emails and have no scheduled meetings. I’m literally paid to answer the occasional phone call whenever troubleshooting may be required. To an adventurer this is quite literally a golden ticket to cram in as much as possible over the next twenty eight days.

After a very fortuitous catch up with a dear friend from Melbourne, I went home reflecting on just how to spend the next four weeks of my life. And just how to make the most of it. A fellow adventurer herself (we actually summited Annapurna Base Camp together back in 2010) she gifted me something that could not have been more perfectly timed. A book. She gifted me a ‘Top Walks in Australia’ guidebook by Melanie Ball. Happy thirtieth she blurted just as she revealed what was soon to be my inspiration source for the next few weeks, months… years?

As I flipped through the pages under New South Wales and mentally calculated how many walks I could fit in, my phone is instantly put to use with multiple safari tabs open for various train and bus timetables. I didn’t get past page eight until I found something to suck my teeth into. The coast track, in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney would be my first epic day hike. I say epic because it should really be tackled in two days at 28.7kms. But this wayfarer is heading off to trek 800kms in just under five weeks time and is in need of some training. And so, the goal was set. Week one of gardening leave goal: Master the epic day walk!

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Not a bad view for a dip…

Read on for my tips on how to tackle this epic day walk:

What is it? What are you on about?

Starting in Otford and wrapping up in the picturesque town of Bundeena. Admittedly you can walk in either direction, but this way felt more natural for me. Also! Did you know the RNP is the second oldest national park in the whole world? That’s pretty darn jaw dropping if you ask me!

How did you get there?

Not wanting to be stranded with the car 30kms away, I opted for public transport. I caught the direct train from Central to Otford (about one-hour and a half)

What did you take with you?

A heck of a lot of water! About three and a half litres was suffice. I wasn’t looking so I can’t be too sure now, but I don’t think I saw anywhere to refill water bottles. Lunch accompanied fruit and energy bars. I took a rain jacket, first aid kit for sore feet (the real saviour) and headphones (second saviour)

Did you use a map?

The track is very well signposted, so no I wouldn’t recommend you take a map. Full disclosure, I did get lost and headed inland to Garrawarra Farm right at the start which added significantly to my day’s step count. This unfortunately meant I missed out on walking along the coast past South and North Era. I walked on tarmac for a solid hour to get back onto the coast track not wanting to retrace my steps. I popped out onto Garie beach and continued north from there. I’d like to blame NSW parks for re-developing the footpath which was disorientating for me…But let’s be honest, I only have myself to blame. Stick to the coast and you can’t go wrong!

Any POI’s? (Point of interest)

So many! If figure eight pools doesn’t take your fancy, how about the famous Wattamolla rock jump? Ever heard of Wedding Cake Rock? Do you like chasing waterfalls or hopping over sandstone rocks? This walk is absolutely beautiful with so much to see and soak up.

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The infamous figure eight pools, at low tide.

How did you get back home if you started in Otford?

Easy! Take the quaint ferry from Bundeena to Cronulla (thirty minutes) and then the train back to Central from there (one-hour)

Are there toilets along the way?

Yep! Every tree is a lava-tory (that joke may not translate, but is obviously hilarious.) There are bathrooms at Otford, North Era, Garie, Wattamolla and Bundeena.

Sounds good, but also hard! Did you want to quit at all?

Ummm… Absolutely! Like, three times to be exact. I think the hardest part mentally was knowing that once you started and had passed Era beach, there are no other options than walking; no train lines, no buses or coaches. You are literally in the middle of the park with no-way out (unless hitchhiking takes your fancy) without making it to the end, which made it pretty daunting. I first wanted to quit when I’d made the wrong turn at the beginning. After an ugly tarmac walk I finally reached Garie beach having already eaten my lunch and all my snacks, I here realised that I was only a quarter of the way done, ouch. I wanted to quit at Wattamolla, knowing I was only half way done and it was already two in the afternoon. Here is where I saw a helicopter land (delivering infrastructure for the new foot path) where it took all my strength not to ask for a lift. I wanted to quit at Marley beach as the sun was beginning to set and my legs and feet were burning, increasing with every step. My body was starting to feel weary and I was pushing too hard to get to the Bundeena ferry wharf for the 5pm shuttle, not wanting to be stranded for an hour with sore feet, smelly clothes and a hungry stomach.

What got you through?

Music, the jaw dropping coast line and the feeling of achievement (super cheesy, but true.)

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I like big rocks and I cannot lie!

Tips?

Download a podcast or two before arriving (phone signal was patchy), take more food than you think you’ll need and have a back up plan if you can’t continue. It is without question that this would be more enjoyable over two days instead of one. But I felt pretty damn accomplished once I’d made it to the end.

Overall it took me eight hours to complete the 32kms and I can’t imagine ever wanting to walk another step further. I took frequent but short rest stops however I wished I had more time to take a dip at one of the many tempting watering holes. One in particular where I felt compelled to loop back on myself to witness the famous figure eight pools (just near Burning Palms, our feature image) which ultimately added to the length of the day.

Any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

All in all, I guess this gardening leave thing is pretty darn fun after all! Looking forward to what hike I’ll tackle next, and by all means, if you have any suggestions they will be greatly appreciated!

Top 5 short walks in the Tarkine, Tasmania

Top 5 short walks in the Tarkine, Tasmania

To me the rugged coastline, rainforest and arid planes were the essence of the Tarkine, Tasmania. Huon pine, button grass, thick seaweed upon lapping shores, myrtle and sassafras define the smells and sounds.

And yet, no one has really ever heard of this beautiful place in the small state of Tasmania. It’s true, Tassie is on the map, so to speak. But when I’d previously heard about Tasmania, I’d have thought of vineyards, seafood and isolated beaches on the eastern coastline. When in fact, the west truly has just as much to offer, they’re just not getting the same tourism dollar. Well, not yet anyway. Enter, you. I’m hear to tell you, there is an abundance of things to do on the west and north regions to satisfy every traveller – and you don’t just have to be an overland trekker to know that. Nature lover’s combine, this is the place for you! Alas, this blog isn’t about to start a crusade for Tasmania to open more café’s on the west coast. I’d like to share with you some day treks I recently checked out, all in the name of ‘bleasure’ (combine business and pleasure and… you got it!)

Read on for my top five short walks within the region well known to locals as the Tarkine.

Mt Donaldson (near Corrina)

This was probably the most challenging of the five, so I’ll start here. Starting by the Savage River the walk begins in a tall forest. The fallen leaves carpet the path as the branches allow for only a few beams of sunlight to dart through. Within an hour you’ve left the forest long behind and you’re making the ascent along the surface of the mountain. You are mostly exposed to the elements from here on in, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The narrow gravel path winds and loops along the face of the mountain and a wide-open, button grass plateau is largely what’s on offer. The view gets more and more breathtaking as you keep on and slowly the Pieman and Whyte rivers come into view (see below). Anyone craving connection will be very happy upon summiting this mountain as even Vodaphone had reception on the top (a great feat mind.) The walk should take you anywhere from four – five hours with a decent break on the top. This walk wasn’t too challenging and fine for anyone who is capable of walking that long. The walk wasn’t too steep, however trekking poles are always a great idea to alleviate pressure on the joints.

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Montezuma Falls (near Tullah)

How on earth could one visit Tasmania and not see Tassie’s tallest waterfall? It had to be done. Full disclosure – it’s not that impressive, it’s one hundred and four meters tall and I’ve honestly seen better, but it IS a lovely walk and the waterfall is a nice prize for making it to the end. The return walk should take you roughly three hours return depending on how many selfie’s you want to take at the bottom of the falls or how dare devilish you feel on the (narrow) suspension bridge. What makes this walk so interesting is that the track follows the historic route of the former North East Dundas Tramway right to the base of Montezuma Falls. The walk is choc-a-block full of moss-covered heath with a scenic rainforest backdrop.

Pieman Heads, South Coastal Tarkine (near Corrina)

This walk will be liked by all, firstly because it involves a one and half hour river cruise down the Pieman river. It’s not only relaxed and tranquil, it’s educational and scenic (I mean, have you seen the feature image??) Your MV Arcadia captain will be able to point out the difference between a male and female Huon pine, multiple birds and points of interest along the way. Once you arrive at the river mouth, you’re spat out and left to your own devices (with a guide of course) which was a spectacular experience knowing and feeling just how remote one can actually feel after living in a major city for 10 years. The rugged, jigsaw like and almost daunting coastline stretch for as far as the eye can see (especially if you’re comfortable scrambling to the top of a few rocks.) You really can walk as little or as far as you like, with your guides assistance through the terrain. Expect pebbles, uneven surfaces and a generally pleasurable walk. The most fascinating insight on this walk was stumbling upon Aboriginal midden sites. Shell midden sites are where Aboriginal people have left debris after finishing their meal. Substantial deposits have grown over time as generations have used the same area time and time again. Some middens are apparently meters deep. Wow!

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Arthur River Coastal Tarkine (near Smithton)

Another coastal walk, you wane. Yes! Of course! Take a walk (or two) from Arthur river to Couta Rocks. The best surprise I found on this trip was arriving to find a plaque with “End of the World” inscribed, with the following poem below:

The Edge of the World

North West Coast Tasmania

“I cast my pebble onto the shore of Eternity.

To be washed by the Ocean of Time.

It has shape, form and substance.

It is me.

One day I will be no more.

But my pebble will remain here.

On the shore of Eternity.

Mute witness for the aeons.

That today I came and stood.

At the edge of the world.”

Brian Inder

Which, I may just be in love with every single time I read it, over and over again. The coastal walk today is again, as close or as far as you please without a guide required. We walked to Couta Rocks and stopped for a lunch break and swim in between. The crystal clear waters were enough to tempt me, although to be honest, it doesn’t take much these days. We would have walked around seven kilometres in total as we shuttled along the coast. To any ocean lover, this place was an absolute haven.

 

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Trowutta Arch (near Edith Creek)

How short is too short to mention a short walk in this blog? You’re about to find out. Fifteen minutes is all it takes to reach Trowutta Arch and oh my, how worth it to make the effort to see what’s on the other side of this one. The ‘Arch’ in Trowutta Arch is a natural occurrence created by the collapse of a cave and the creation of two sinkholes either side of it – one dry and one water-filled. The walk through here felt like where pixies might migrate to for the summer, or where Alice from Wonderland might frolic. It was simply magical.

So there you have it, it might sound too whimsical, maybe not intense enough or maybe a little boring in text. But seriously I must persuade you, this is a special little place on this earth and I have for certain, left a little piece of my heart on the coast, at the edge of the world, in Tasmania.

Trekking Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Trekking Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

For my thirtieth birthday I wanted to visit somewhere in Australia I’d never been before. A destination not too far, not too close and with some serious mountains to conquer. From the title, I think you can guess where Moo and I ended up in February this year. Check out my tips for trekking the beautiful mountain range that is, Cradle Mountain.

There are many trail options for those wishing to trek or simply just visit Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park. Not that we knew that before arriving, in fact if I had my time again, I would have researched a little better about Cradle and the surrounding area. Let this be my gift to you, all the things I guess I wished I’d known before arriving. Moo and I ended up doing a five-hour day walk along a few of the tracks in and around the National Park. Those wishing to trek the Overland Track might not find this useful, but hey! Read on and find out!

Firstly, let’s talk about accommodation! You have a few options (five) and it was my birthday so Moo decided to splurge and we stayed at the Wilderness Village in a premium cabin, complete with spa bath, kitchenette and brilliant central heating. Plus! It’s just a hop, skip and jump to the Visitor Centre. Being so close to Cradle Mountain is great for many reasons for starters, it’s close to the track and shuttle bus’ delivering walkers to various drop off points along the way and it’s in the heart of the wilderness which means a remote and peaceful stay. Something I wish I had known about Cradle Mountain Village before visiting is the obvious down side to being remote, that is, if you want to buy your own food for trekking snacks, breakfast or maybe even lunch you’re going to have to buy it from the local ‘shop’ which is somewhat limited for choice and obviously more expensive for the convenience. Finding out our hotel didn’t provided breakfast added an extra stress to go out and buy goods to ensure a quick start to the following trekking day. The closest supermarket is 45 minutes away.

I guess you could say this oversight was our first mistake, the second so eloquently was the weather (yep, even in February temperatures can get as low as freezing in a mere moment) coming from Sydney we really didn’t expect to find any temperatures cooler that 15 degrees this time of year. Annnnd, that would be very wrong to assume.

On arrival into Cradle Mountain you’ll need to drop into the Visitors Centre. I should hand it to the staff here, dealing with idiots like us all day who haven’t researched a thing and who haven’t brought nearly enough warm clothing or planned their trek in the slightest. We picked up a map and are told straight up, we won’t be able to summit Cradle Mountain. Our shoulders slump a little. In fact, we should be careful at any altitude over a thousand meters because it’s already snowing and it can make the trek slippery/hard to follow. Sorry? Snow? Huh? Urrmmm, there must be a mistake.

The morning of our trek we cook our own bacon and egg combo much to both our delight and get on the road. We stop into the Visitors Centre one more time to purchase our National Park Permits and a neck buff for me (saviour of the day) and a rain jacket for Moo (bigger saviour). Whilst I’m overall reasonably happy with what I’d brought to wear (Leggings, rain jacket, thermal t-shirt and Merino socks) I’m kicking myself I brought Nike trainers instead of my sturdy Merrell trail walkers, the grip alone would have been helpful, let alone the waterproof technology. Lesson learnt.

We park the car at Ronny Creek car park, sign into the walkers’ logbook and get started along the Waldheim Track for about 10 minutes before the path forks and we veered left onto the Overland Track. I really liked the purpose of the logbook, the idea is that you detail your intentions for the day by signing in and then detail on signing out whether you achieved your goals or not. Overall this section is a beautifully modern boardwalk along low shrubbery and babbling brooks. To be honest, we were surprised how well kept the track was and expected more of a challenge straight off the cusp. It’s a flat and smooth walk until you reach Crater Falls as you experience a more gradual incline all the way around Wombat Peak (1,105m).

I couldn’t say whether it was divine ‘cloud’ timing or simply because Crater Lake is in fact more breathtaking than Dove Lake but both Moo and I were much more impressed by the exposed view of the former lake. The depth of the lake in contrast to the sky-high mountains, the dark navy syrupy water was mysterious and the track looped around to reveal limited glimpses. It’s no surprise that Crater Lake is of course the feature image to this blog.

Upon reaching Marions Lookout we could finally take in the scale of these mountain ranges and while the clouds and rain were threatening to take the view from right under our noses, we did get a hide and seek snap shot of Dove Lake & Lake Lilla. Mind you, to get here involved some pretty serious boulder scrambling, not for the inexperienced hiker. From here we continued onto the Overland Track over the hill, along boardwalks to Kitchens Hut (1,256m). Between these two sections felt very doable, almost surprisingly easy.

At this point, the fork in the road separates the day walkers from the six-day Overland Track hikers. As the Overlanders’ veer right, we turn left. Our inner mountaineer selves are keen to ‘attempt’ the summit (1,545m). We take the right hand turn up the mountain for a steep and stern mouthful of rock scrambling. Unfortunately, the conditions weren’t favourable to us in the slightest, and the snow-covered rocks were slippery beyond belief. At one point, I thought about those news stories you hear about hikers who have gone out against the advice of others and imagined my own picture on the news feed. I quickly shook that image out of my head and focused on each rock; it’s shape, texture, snow quantity and angle. We wrap around the face of the beast and as I look up, the mountains look back at us as if to say ‘boulderer beware’. The daunting fog lifts of the mountain at any given time without notice and we notice we’re among the clouds within moments. There are plentiful snow poles to lead you in the right direction and we’d use them as ‘reassessment moments’ knowing we would have to turn back soon, but our egos were delaying that moment for as long as possible. I predict we made it half way up (well up and over the gigantic dolerite boulders) before the snow started to fall more and more gradually. It’s not like me to turn my back on a challenge, but my inner conscious was nagging me to turn back. Once we finally made it back to Kitchen’s Hut, it started to snow and then rain. We looked back up the mountain and were glad to be back down again. All I know is that I felt defeated by the weather and I will be back to conquer you mountain!!

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Knowing we didn’t want to go back the same way we came up (I have a real life-long problem with going backwards) we opted to take the Face Track past Weindorfers Tower and Little Horn. We got about 30minutes into the trail before it started to snow, hard! We couldn’t see any further than five meters in front, behind, up and down. I kept thinking to myself. It’s Summer, in Australia, how is it snowing!!?? We continue and my Nike shoes are completely soaked, consequently, so are my toes, arches and heels. I use my rain jacket to hold onto anything I can to avoid stepping in puddles but eventually I do by accident anyway and so it feels rather pointless even trying to stay dry. By the time the left-hand turn for Lake Wilks Track arrives we are completely disoriented.  We slowly start to descend and as we do, the snow eases, the clouds lift and the fog drifts into oblivion. We finally see the view and it is spectacular! Lake Willis is absolutely beautiful and I almost feel sorry for the people doing the Dove Lake Circuit as they scurry beneath us, completely unaware this lake is here. The earthy red tannin on the edge of the lake give a natural discolouration to the stream as it rushes to the next set of waterfalls. Blue sky emerges as we slowly make our way along and my first thought is “Should we go back and try to summit again?” but we opt for a photo instead and keep on going on. Before too long, after we’ve used chains to scurry down rock faces we’re immersed in rainforest. My next thought “Please no leeches!” The moss lays a dreamy carpet along the way and we’re conscious not to hit our head over the low hanging branches that take over the track.

We hear other voices before we see the Dove Lake Circuit and we’re immediately reminded of how quiet it was before reaching lake level (934m). In fact, we really only passed a handful of people before reaching Dove Lake, so if you’re like us and enjoy minimal crowds, follow our route! The view from Dove Lake Circuit is pretty darn great too though, as you can see.

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We crawled along the circuit piece by piece until finally reaching the car park. Much of the terrain was man made steps, board walks or smooth surfaces for the nature-newbies. Just as we arrived, the rain cam pelting down, but this time, we got hail! Oh Joy! We hurry into the walker logbook hut and await the next shuttle to take us back to Ronny Creek, just eight minutes or so. I’d like to think I would have walked it if the weather were better – but to be honest, I really don’t know if that is true. It took us 5 hours in total to get back to Ronny Creek with very minimal rest breaks. Overall the track was a beautiful change of pace, four seasons in one day experience and a tempting adrenaline rush along the way. Certainly a trek to experience firsthand… but check the weather first!

In summary:

  • BYO food, don’t rely on the restaurants for all your meals during your stay.
  • If you are keen to eat out for each meal, there are three restaurants. The top tip is: Make a reservation. Trust me.
  • Pack right! Waterproof clothing, gloves and a beanie all would have made our trek that much more enjoyable.
  • Know your capabilities (we knew when to turn back, but I’m sure others don’t)
  • Mix it up! There are so many more tracks to experience (I think there are 20 in total! All with varying degrees of difficulty)
  • Walk around the national park at dawn/dusk to sight some very happy wombats.
  • Leave no trace! As always, take your rubbish with you, it’s honestly not that hard!

Want to do the walk some justice? When you get back to your hotel: thinly slice up some cheese, lay out some crackers accompanied by local Tasmanian tomato chutney and sip on a lightly chilled glass of Devils Corner Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir. Superb. That’s something we did do right.

Trekking Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal

Trekking Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal

By now you’ve noticed I really enjoy trekking. But! I didn’t always and I guess like all hobbies you have to start somewhere right? Often people will ask me how I got into trekking, and did I love it right from the beginning. Well, it’s very safe to say that answer is a very hard and very firm NO!

Not to do anything by halves, my first EVER trekking experience was back in 2010 trekking Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal. Read on for a ridiculous rehash of accounts, and I guess, if you’re about to go on your first trek just know that it will honestly be okay! And hey! Even if you have a horrible time, it’s still the most amazing experience…EVER.

I must warn you, this is a very raw day by day account written in my diary each day. There may be a few extra adjectives or exclamation marks, but you’ll get it just fine.

This year I’ll be embarking on my 5th iconic trek, The El Camino in June 2017, feel free to follow the blog for updates on how that goes. I’m sure it will be like nothing I’ve experienced before and I just can’t wait to get started! But first! Where did it all begin? Read on…

First Day of Trekking – Start Naya Pul – Ulleri, 30th May

We meet our guide Gonga at 10:30am. We get in a taxi and drive 30minutes to our first descent. We start walking at around 11:30am and we get straight into it with a decent 6 hour jaunt to reach Ulleri. We stopped often on the trek and it was seriously challenging, the last 2 hours were extremely steep, and yet the motion is very repetitive. I predict our backpacks weigh around 5-7kgs. Even now at this early stage, I thought about giving up.

Once we arrived, we showered and tried to rest our weary bodies. Ate dal bat for dinner, met a funny Italian girl and walked 5 minutes to the town center to see a crop festival. As this is the start of monsoon the locals pray for rain. We watched the villagers in traditional dance. Before getting too tired and too cold we leave half way through to come back to the hotel to rest. It’s freezing!! We are used to warm and balmy nights, I feel like we will be reaching some chilly peaks. Onwards and upwards. Sleep is desperately needed.
From Tikkagonda to Ulleri = 3800 Steps, we’re currently at 2080m above sea level.

2nd Day of Trekking –  Ulleri – Ghorepani, 31st May

Note to self: Pan Bread is Tibetan and is a deep fried bread – Not so good with an egg omelette. We start our trek around 9am. The initial descent is pretty tough, we are sweaty quite quickly. Overall, the 4 hours was very relaxing and not too intense. A lot of forest walking, waterfalls and bush like scenery. We are starving by 1pm and reach our guest house just in time for some vegie noodle soup. We were surprised how easy the walk was and would have preferred to keep walking – oh well! I’ve just washed my clothes very much Italian style with a wash board, bar of soap and a scrubber.Feeling chic and timeless.

We are currently at 2750m elevation.

We nap for a few hours, in the afternoon we go for a short walk around the village and bumb into a Sadu Baba, a real holy man. We come back, change clothes, order our dal bat with chapatti, and talk with the Californian tourists who are also staying here. I eat with my hands, just as the locals taught us and await my apple pie dessert. We will go to bed early as we have a 4am start to view the sunrise. It’s so bizarre to look out the window and only see white! We are one with the clouds now! It’s like we are on a plane but we are driving the elevation. My shower was simply delicious, very peaceful this place.

3rd day of trekking – Ghorepani – Chomrong, 1st June

After listening to our American neighbours bicker about who knows what, we finally get to sleep. We are up at 4am and walk the 30minutes to Poon Hill, elevation 3210m. It was brutal!! I thought I might throw up. The top of the hill was surrounded by approximately  30 other tourists – all waiting for the lovely sunshine. The clouds were very discreet about revealing the view, but after an hour or so we got a good view of Annapurna 1 and Machha Puchhre Mountain (feature image.)

We come back to the hotel, eat breakfast and leave by about 8:30am. We trek for a solid 4 hours and stop at Tedapani for the worst lunch we’ve ever had = disgusting veg soup. We’ve only just noticed that we are running out of money FAST! Our first conversation to negotiate a shorter trekking time (longer days, less nights) with our head guide is sour understandably, and so we push on, it is our goal to cut out a nights stop and keep walking to Chomrong.

Little did we know, it was a hard core incline. By 3:30pm it was pouring down with rain. By 4:30, I broke down. It was too hard. It was pouring – we were soaked. And it was all up hill walking. I started crying, it was getting hard to breathe.  I finally get a hold of myself and we reached our guest house soon after. We take a hot shower immediately and get some dal bat. We walked 9 hours today. ‘Mechi Lemon’ tea = actually the best thing possible! Everything is Wet! 2 x slimy leeches. I fear there is one in my hair. I fell over 3 times today. Walked downhill backwards. There is officially no more bottled water available from this point (height) on. Need sleep and it’s 7:30pm. Bah!

4th Day of trekking (2840m elevation) – Chomrong – Himalayan Hotel, 2nd June

Forgot to mention yesterday we passed some villagers who were looking after 350 goats. I was impressed.

We left at 9am this morning, for some reason we cant sleep in! SO annoying! We both woke up at 5am however the sunrise was incredible. Once we left the guest house, my body was completely shutting down. I couldn’t find the energy to talk, let alone walk a 610m ascent! I felt so weak, my body ached. We passed two guys on our way up, one had lost his wallet so they have obviously had to cancel their trip, so we haven’t seen them again. So sad! And so it goes…

We get to Bamboo by 12:30pm and have lunch. I feel better but still not great. We push on to Dovan, by this stage Kate and I realise we are VERY low on cash. We have not brought enough money at all! Once we arrive in Dovan, we meet an American father and son and tell them about our financial predicament. “Hey Aus –tray-lya!” they call out to us and are kind enough to give us 2000Rs on the condition that we do the same to someone in need when we are older = GOD BLESS AMERICA!!! We have taken now to sharing all meals. The walk from Dovan to Himalayan Hotel is pretty good. Lots of water falls. The clouds are right next to us now. We reach the hotel at 4:30pm, shower, eat and hopefully = pass out.

~~ On the way we passed a sacred point where you cant bring through any meat or eggs. We are now in the Annapurna Sanctuary.

5th Day of trekking, 3700m – Himalayan Hotel – Machha Puchhre Base Camp, 3rd June

We literally slept next to a water fall last night, the sound was like the ocean, heavenly. I finally slept well. We share an oat porridge and make our descent by 8:30am and by 1:30pm we reach base camp. It was essentially ALL up hill. BRUTAL. We decide to stay here tonight to try and adjust to the altitude. And to not over do it by pushing too hard. We have decided to splurge on our lunch/dinner on a tomato and cheese pizza for 400Rs. There is no electricity so we will aim for an early night. Forgot to mention, when we were on our way here I had a bad case of diarrhea so I had to go behind a rock…explosions! Then I see some other trekkers and sit down and squat and… yep… you guessed it, I sat down. Vertical. Right on top of you know what. Everywhere. HELP!

6th day of trekking, 1430m – Machha Puchhre Base Camp – Chromrong, 4th June

Our day consisted of visiting the following places: Annapurna base camp, Machha Puchhre Base Camp, Himalayan Hotel, Bamboo, Dovan, Siwaya, Chomrong = Crazy ladies!!! 10 hours of walking!

Okay, day starts at 1am.

Kate: “Lex?”

Yeah?

Kate: “Give me the torch, there’s something crawling on me”

*Grumbles*, passed the torch and roll over.

Kate turns the torch on again at 2am. “There’s a f&*king mouse in my bed!” The cheeky little thing had jumped onto her bed, then onto the table and then onto my bed. Convinced that the mouse had crawled onto her face, Kate was hysterical. Truth be told it was actually hilarious. She kept saying “Lex, we haven’t had our rabies shots” “We’ve got rabies!!” It’s very difficult to get back to sleep after this, as you can imagine. By 5am, we’re up again – this time in order to catch a good view of ABC at sunrise. It’s a 2 hours walk up a 430m ascent. And its SO cold!!! Another reason sleep was difficult!

Last night I had to pay 150Rs for a bucket of hot water. A small price to pay to get some dignity back. I cleaned myself from the hips down. The water was very nice and warm – the air was bitter cold = ouch!

We started walking by 5:30am, we get hot quite quickly but it’s too cold to remove gloves or jackets. For the record, I hate walking up hill. Fortunately the walk wasn’t too strenuous, the waterfall hums gently in the background. It becomes the soundtrack to our journey. It’s so lovely to see flowers among all the grey rock and murky clouds. They are vibrant, red, yellow and purple flowers.

We reach the sign, THANK GOD!! I thank my body, my heart, my mind and my spirit for getting me this far. The base camp is among the mountains we have been admiring for the last 6 days. We are filled with joy, accomplishment and pride. We continue up to the lodges, past a volleyball court and come to a shrine for Anatoli Boukreev who was killed by an avalanche. The view is somewhat of an anticlimax as there is a huge ‘moraine/glacier (?)’ which is literally a huge hole in the ground. We quickly take as many photos as we can before the clouds steal the view away. We head back to the lodge for a cup of hot coffee and read all of the letters from fellow trekkers. Kate finds a photo of herself and sticks it among the many hundred. I scramble to find a pen and paper and write:

“It’s not the journey, it’s the destination. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. … either way, WE MADE IT! Kate, Lex, Ganga, Australia, 2010”

It was very fulfilling! We make our descent soon after back to MBC. We have reached the point now where we just want to get back to Pokhara. We’ve loved the experience and wouldn’t take it back… but… we’re kind of over it. I know, I know, it sounds terrible, but I think its our guide, the weather and the insects. We decide to try and get back in 3 days. We share a veg omelette and walk at about 7:30am. Within half an hour Kate’s knee really starts to hurt. 7/10 pain level. So we take it easy back to the Himalayan Hotel. We arrive at 11:30am and have some lunch with our new friends we’ve been following for days.

We wait out the rain and start walking again by 12ish. Kate starts popping the drugs and gets her knee strapped. I walk behind her the whole way through Doban and Bamboo. At Bamboo we reach a mental crossroads: I feel fine to continue, Kates knee is killing her, but she just wants to get back. It’s 3pm. So we make the only choice possible = Rock, paper, scissors. Which has been a key decision maker for us this whole trip so we trust it’s judgement. I won, so we kept on walking to aim for Chomrong but settle for Sinuwa as it takes much longer than expected. Our guide isn’t pleased with us for pushing but we are determined and extremely low on cash.

Kate yells “Our generation wants everything faster, cheaper, better” and I yell “We’re young and crazy! We’re crazy, but we’re not stupid!!” Whilst Ganga is annoyed at us, he is also very much pleased with himself. We are the first people he has ever trekked with in 4 years that have gone from Ghorepani through to Chomrong and then ABC to Chomrong in a day. The locals are also surprised as we pass through. Kate finds a leech on her stomach, disgusting!!! We reach Sinuwa and hate the idea that Chomrong is only on the other side of the river. The river is only 1 hour… so… we push on further! As the walk is mostly stairs it takes us at least 2-2.5 hours. We walk down to the suspension bridge and then face the BRUTAL vertical steps. For ONE section of the walk uphill I count 661 steps. That was only for the consecutive section. The rain is teasing us and will stop and start at any given moment. As we reach Chomrong it’s about 6:30-7pm!! BIG DAY!!! We stretch, shower and eat Dal Bat for dinner before heading to bed. We estimate we will probably have enough money to eat our OWN dinner and breakfast and then share lunch tomorrow. We will try to get back to Pokhara in 2 days. We are already planning on how to treat ourselves upon returning back to our bank balances and bars and shopping and souvenirs and food and our clothes………………..

7th Day of trekking – Chomrong – Pokhara, 5th June

Ahhhh luxury. We wake at 7:30am, now considered a sleep in. So glad to have put the Chomrong stairs behind us. We each have a lemon tea and I order a oat porridge with fruit for myself! We aim to get to Jinue (Hot springs) by around lunch time and then get ½ way to Naya Pul. I would love to go straight to Naya Pul – but we could be pushing it with Kate’s knee. Anyway – onward and upward.

The day started terribly slowly, as the descent was all downhill (stairs) so Kate couldn’t push herself, so to amuse myself I listened to music and took photo’s of…. well anything. We make it to Jinu and decide against the hot springs. Instead our guide organises a taxi for when we reach Naya Pul. This is when we realise our reality = We’re coming home! Yah! The remaining 6 hours of the walk is mostly down a gravel driveway. We smile and say Namaste to all the locals. By 6pm, we’ve made it! Someone was having a laugh when they decided to add a load more stairs at the end! We get back to Pokhara, say goodbye to Ganga, See Ya! We eat like Queens, get to our hotel room and SLEEP!

Some findings from the trek:

  • Customary to say: Namaste to every. single. person you pass
  • Pan bread or gung bread = under no circumstances
  • Leeches = sneaky, disgusting creatures
  • Meichi lemon tea = delightful
  • Most useful item brought by Kate = A Head Torch, Lex = Toilet Paper
  • Most embarrassing injury = Lex on edge of cliff
  • Hint to future trekkers = Air guitar whilst walking downhill does and will result in slipping over
  • Mountain Angels =The Americans
  • Word of the week = Make shift
  • Most thought about lyrics = “Too much of anything is not good for you baby” – Barry White
  • Most common song sang by guide = Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley. Note, this is the only line known.
  • Best advise = If your guide says a route is impossible, tell him to recalculate
  • Couldn’t have done without = MUSIC!
  • Would have been better with: Lex = A warm cardigan, Kate = Camera strap
  • Lame movie quote to get me up stairs = “I shall conquer this…. I shall!”
  • Most importantly = Budget your finances for God’s Sake!