Walsh’s Pyramid. The highest, free standing pyramid in the world. A natural phenomenon. It stands at roughly 922m high and is fairly popular amongst locals and tourists to hike up and today was the day I made it up to the top.
I found out about Walsh’s Pyramid whilst doing a web search of things to see/do in Cairns. It was something I really wanted to do. Be a great workout and the view at the top would make it all worth it. I checked the forecast a few days ago and saw that after Monday it was forecast to rain for the rest of the week so I thought Monday would be the best day for the climb, that way I can have a chilled out rainy day after. Yesterday I climbed the submit of Fitzroy Island which was quite challenging (but again the view made it so worth it).
Not long before this I hiked up Mount Batur in Bali (What A Day) and my legs were still recovering. I’ll admit I am not much of a hiker but as a child I was always adventurous. I loved climbing, walking and I had so much energy to do those things but nowadays it can be a struggle to find the energy. The amount of exercise I have willingly done recently has been rewarding but my body (my joints especially) would disagree. When I got back from my day out at Fitzroy I was undecided on whether to still go through with Walsh’s Pyramid or not. I had a lot of pros and cons going around in my head. Thing is naturally I am a active person, I love a physical challenge, I just have a lazy attitude and that attitude gets in the way sometimes but I know when I set myself a specific challenge I refuse to stop. I hate the thought of failure, feeling like I have let myself or anyone else down and knowing that I didn’t really push myself to my limits. When it comes to a challenge such as hiking (or similar) once I start I won’t stop. I don’t want to do a half hearted job of it. I don’t want to turn around because I know that even if the opportunity comes up I probably won’t attempt it again. I get in the mindset of well I failed once and that was tough, why would I want to go through that again?
Last night I had a phonecall with my mum. We had a good catch up and she asked me what my plans were for Monday. I told her I had planned to go up Walshs Pyramid but wasn’t sure as I was very tired. I knew deep down that I was still gonna go and attempt it, the desire was still there just my lazy attitude was telling me to rest. We had a good chat about it, mum got really into the idea and read all about the pyramid and read all the reviews on Tripadvisor. People recommended that you start around sunrise but with how tired and unmotivated I was, that was not happening. I set my alarm for 7:00am and told my mum I’d keep her updated with my plans. By 7:20am this morning I was on my way to my hike.
Driving up to the pyramid was intimidating. It looked like something only pro hikers would do. Like was I convinced I was gonna make it to the top of that? No. But I was willing to give it a go. I parked up my car and there were a couple of warning signs at the beginning of the hike. I informed my mum that I was just gonna go to viewing platform 1 and I was gonna be happy with that.
I started my hike at 8:45am and by 9:00am I looked like this…
Look at those beads of joy just dripping from every pore on my face. I’ve spoken about how much of a hot sweaty mess I am. It doesn’t take much for me to get a sweat on and I honestly cannot describe how much water weight I have lost today just from sweating. My skin has never felt so clear and soft. The climb was gradual. You are very much thrown straight into the deep end. The incline is steep from the very start. About 45 minutes in I had clambered over huge boulders, actually climbed over rocks, crawled up steep rocky inclines, hung onto trees/branches whilst oddly manoeuvring myself around them but I made it to viewing platform one and it was worth it.
It was a relief but I wanted more. I had made it this far in 45 minutes and I was refusing to stop. I chilled here for about 5/10 minutes and continued up. The sweat was just pouring from me but I honestly did not care. The next part started off tolerable but soon became more difficult. Shit loads of loose rocks and gravel. As I was making my way up I thought to myself maybe you should stop at this one…after all it’s not like I am an experienced hiker but after 40 minutes I made it to the 2k mark!
Me, my fan and my sweat rag had made it to the second viewing platform and once again the view was worth it but I thought to myself imagine the view at the very top? Imagine actually reaching the submit! My mood was surprisingly upbeat. I was motivated, I was loving the workout and I had reached my original goal and more. I sat here for about 5 minutes whilst I ate my apple in the shade and then I decided fuck it!! I carried on going up.
I had gone past the half way mark and crossed paths with a couple on their way down. They offered some words of encouragement and told me I was 3/4’s of the way up but the hardest part was to come and urgh it did. There was a hell of a lot of climbing, like a lot and the climbing was draining more energy than the walking. I had to have several little pit stops but my determination was motivating me to get through it. There is a point in the climb where you can see the top, you can see the end of the hike but it seems so far away. By this point I was becoming slightly delusional. I had gone quiet. I had stopped talking to myself, stopped providing my own entertainment and all my focus was going on picking my feet up so I didn’t trip over. I had found a sturdy stick to help me with my balance and provide a bit of stability when stepping up onto high uneven ground.
There were a couple of points where I could hear my dads voice in my head. He was encouraging me. I was so, so close. He had a big influence on my love for nature and the outdoors. I knew he woulda been proud of everything I have done and everywhere I have been and if I made it to the top this would’ve have been a proud moment for him. The words my mum told me were going round my head. I began to say to myself “Come one Emma”, “Almost there” and after a 3 hour hike…I made it to the fucking top.
I flung my backpack down, slapped my hands down on a rock, laughed and then burst into tears. I had fucking done it.
Not only had I completed a grade 5 hike on my own as a hike novice but I had gone way past my goal and actually made it to the top!! I just cried. Despite the time difference my mum stayed awake till she received the message that I was at the submit.
After spending about 5 minutes crying I sat on the rocks, in absolute silence and took the view in and yet again, it was fucking worth it.
I chilled at the top for about 20 minutes before I decided to clamber down. I was unsure on how long it would take to get down so I wanted to give myself plenty of time before sunset. The way down was more challenging at some stages. I think steep declines are harder to tackle than steep inclines but luckily I had my sturdy stick with my to keep me secure.
The way down was putting a lot of strain on my knees and ankles and it required a lot of brain power. I needed to concentrate and focus on where was safe to put my feet, where was dangerous, where I needed to crawl and where I needed to crouch down to stabilise myself. I’d say the climbing parts were the hardest to get down from. It’s easy to climb up things but climbing down can be a bit more of a challenge, especially when you’re shattered.
After about 2.5 hours I made it back to my car. I just collapsed outside the car. Sat on the floor with my back against the car and let out a cheer. I had made it there and back in one piece. Well fucking done me. The following 20 minutes were spent actually sat in my car with the air con blasting fold air on my face. I was tired. I was ready for a shower and a nap but god I was so proud of myself. A mental and physical challenge that I conquered!
Here are just a couple of sweaty selfies I took to show you guys that sweating is a normal bodily function. Whether you’re sweating from exercise, anxiety, nerves or just because it’s warm. Don’t be ashamed.
To anyone wanting to do the hike pack plenty of fluids!! I took 2 litres of water which was just about enough water. I’m not a huge fan on energy drinks, Powerade is the only one I enjoy but i’m so glad I took a energy drink up with me as well. Don’t forget snacks either!! I took several breakfast bars as they provide energy and they are filling plus a apple which provides some sugar and energy to keep you going. I’d recommend a walking stick if you have one but you’ll also be in an environment where sticks aren’t exactly hard to find. Makes sure you wear something comfortable and allows movement. My shoes are $20 from Target so personally I wouldn’t worry if you don’t have any hiking shoes. Mine worked perfectly fine!
For now I am in need of a early night.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. It means a lot.
Good night to you all,