So yesterday (15/09/2018) was the start of my weekend off and as I failed to sleep in and we were still without Wi-Fi I decided to take myself for a hike up one of the mountains at work. My work is situated in the Hunter Valley which is absolutely beautiful and I had my choice of many mountains to hike up but I decided to try and start off with one that a work colleague mentioned to me. It was apparently one of the easier ones to climb as there is a track for you to follow so making it harder for you to get lost (or so I thought…but I’ll get into that shortly).
So I set off on my hike about 11:00am. Had my trusty water bottle with me, an apple, ear phones, spare earphones, lip balm and a bandage…just in case. It took me about 15 minutes to walk from mine to the start of the track (it’s a fair distance but I’m a pretty fast walker) and as I began to walk uphill I could feel that this would be a challenging experience for me but I was ready for the challenge. After about half an hour I managed to get half way and the sweat was starting to drip down my face but I still felt positive about the challenge! The hill inclines were getting steeper and there were times where my legs felt like they were going to collapse below me but I kept on going. I’ll admit there was a couple of times where for a split second I debating turning around but I thought to myself, I’ve made it this far, I may as well carry on to the top then I can decide whether I want to do this again or not. So I kept walking. Part of me wanted to sit down and have a rest but I told myself not to stop till I get to the top. After what felt like hours I reached the top of the track at 12:08pm. The track carries on going down the mountain but I looked to my right and there were rocks that I could climb which would take me even higher than where I was. I looked to my left and there was a rough track that the wildlife had walked up and down and some rocks to climb that would also take me to a higher point. By this point I still hadn’t managed to get a picture of the view I was happy with due to there being so many trees on the mountain so I thought fuck it, may as well make the most of the experience. So I walked to my left and proceeded to climb higher. I reached about 510m (according to snapchat…) and climbed the equivalent of 73 floors (according the my step counter) so I picked the perfect rock for me to sit on and have a break. The rocks there were huge and sturdy as hell so I picked one that had the best view, sat in the sunlight, ate my apple, listened to the wildlife and felt the wind cool down my sweaty body. It was just bliss.
I sat here for maybe about 10minutes and noticed that at the top of the mountain was what looked like a huge cave. Where I am there are loads of caves and some of them are aboriginal and still have the paintings in them. I began to walk up the hill a bit more and noticed that there wasn’t really a path for me to stick to but me being the curious cat that I am…I talked myself into exploring further. Part of me said to not bother, part of me said you’ll probably only do this once so you need to make the most of it. Then part of me said “Curiosity killed the cat” and I quickly told myself off for thinking that. I didn’t want to jinx anything because honestly I could have very easily have died up there. So I scramble up this hill and I reach the top of this huge rock which had 1 big cave and a couple smaller ones. I didn’t go in the cave, I was too scared about seeing any spiders so I admired the cave from a reasonable distance but it was fascinating! I made my way around the cave and the rock and after I had taken some pictures I was happy with I proceeded to make my way down the hill and I thought I was going down the way I came up but my gut instinct was telling me it wasn’t right. I was looking around I didn’t recognise any of the trees or rocks and the area was a lot more built up then the way I walked up. I did start to panic slightly so I did what any other saine, normal 22 year old would do and I shouted to the angels and my dad for guidance. I believe my exact words were “Now would be a good time for some guidance guys!”. I could see the yard in the distance and I could see the road I walked down which led me onto the track so I thought to myself I could either carry on going downhill and hope for the best or try and make my way up the hill to the cave and start again but by this point I was pretty far down this steep hill which had loose rocks, branches and leaves on it. So yes, I was panicking slightly. I decided to make my way back up the hill but by this point my adrenaline was starting to kick in and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever climbed up a hill so fast in my life. I didn’t have any fucks to give. I climbed through branches which scrapped against my shoulders and thighs, I lost my footing a couple of times and I swear at one point I ran up that hill. Fuck me it was a workout and part of me was enjoying it. So I’m almost at the top of the hill again and I’m looking around trying to figure out what direction I need to head in. This is where my natural instincts really kicked in. I was looking at the position of the sun, looking through the pictures I had taken when I was sat on the rock and I was trying to figure out which way I was facing and then boom. I knew I needed to keep going up hill but more to the right and after a minute or so I could start to make out a animal track and halleluiah I recognised some of the rocks that I climbed to get to the cave! I scrambled up the hill and made it to the top of the verge and I shouted “Thank you! I love you” to my angels and my dad because whether they helped or not they deserved a thank you! By this point I was talking shit to myself and I was getting fairly delusional so I walked down the hill and sat on my rock again, drank my water, wiped away my sweat and realised I had lost my spare pair of ear phones and my lip balm in the process of my adventure but thank fuck I was alive.
I made it back onto the track and proceeded to walk down it and its safe to say the walk down the track was a lot harder than the walk up. The declines were very steep and the terrain was very loose. I was talking to myself and told myself that I would reward myself with another sit down on the way home and just as I said that my right foot slipped out infront of me and I landed flat on my arse and slipped down the hill a bit. I said out loud “Oh well maybe it’s a sign I should sit down now”, I sat there and laughed at myself. Looking back I’m so glad the mountain is in the middle of nowhere because god knows what someone would have thought if they saw/heard me. After a minute or so I stood up, wiped myself clean and felt a huge graze down my left bum cheek and upper thigh. I laughed at myself again…and carried on walking. As it was very steep to walk down it was hard to walk slow so I slipped quite a few times but eventually I made it to the very bottom, saw a rock and sat in the shade. I still had some water let so I tipped some on the back of my neck to cool me down. I sat there for about 5 minutes and told myself the walk home was just going to be a stroll. I told myself to take my time and chill out. I deserved it.
Eventually I made it home and I collapsed at our kitchen table. I think a few of my brain cells had been burnt, my arse cheek was bleeding, I was covered in dirt and my head was away with the fairies but I was so proud of myself. Not only for climbing the mountain, but for making the most of it, looking after myself and making it home alive. The experience was something I definitely will never forget. It helped me realise how strong, confident and independent I really am which are traits I have but sometimes need to be reminded of having. I haven’t decided whether I will climb up there again. At the moment I’m just glad to say I have done it but with summer arriving in the next couple of months, my adventures up the mountains will have paused as the death adders will be out then and I don’t really want to risk getting bitten by one of those…
But I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on my Australian adventures (when I’m connected to wifi)
Sending my love to you all,