Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

Why am I pleasantly surprised??? Yesterday I walked around 30 kms up and down hills and through a variety of terrains and I am actually pleased to report that I feel great today, no sore or stiff muscles.

Julia and I caught the train at 6.60am to Otford where we met our cheery leader (volunteer from the Royal National Park Association (NPA)) and three other ladies who were joining us for the days trek to Waterford.

Introductions made, we were off at a cracking pace up a steep incline (I think the group leader was just sorting out, our fitness level to start). Soon we were on the top of a rise overlooking the ocean down to the The Cliff Bridge and could see in the distance glimpses of Wollongong. Throughout the morning we walked along the cliffs, up hills, across grassy knolls and sandy beaches, and yes our fearless leader kept up the cracking pace. No time for my usual happy snapping with the camera every time I saw something that caught my fancy. As we paced it out the group got to know each other between puffs. They were all keen walkers and one other group member was heading off to Nepal in the next two weeks. She had been there before on a number of times so I was keen to learn as much as I could from her.
We stopped for morning tea on a rock platform, refueling before we clambered up another steep hill. Each climb was worth it though, with sweeping views up and down the coast. At around mid day we turned off the cliff track and headed away from the ocean into low scrubby country, that was full of wild flowers. Our leader, was a mine of information on the different species, giving them all their botanical names, and a description of the plant family. Shame I can't remember any of them.

Soon we found a little stream with a nice rocky outcrop, that made a good spot for lunch, and a good opportunity to air the hiking boots and cool our feet. It was during our lunch time conversation we found the sneaky side of our leader. We were all under the impression that our walk was about 25kms, however he let it slip that it was closer to 30-32kms. Not much that we could do about it when your half way through the walk. No quick way out

Our afternoon trekking took as through some more scrubby bush and then down into a deep valley full of dark mossy spots and huge trees that went up for ever. One of the afternoons highlights was when we stopped and rested for an afternoon break and our leader spotted a bright red glow amongst the trees about 200 metres away which turned out to be two beautiful waratahs!! they really were beautiful and soooo red!! I have included a picture of them on the side of my blog.

The last couple of hours was spent clambering up out of the valley on a very steep and rocky path. It was head down and one foot in front of the other. We finally arrived at Waterfall around 4.3o pm . We waived goodbye to our fearless leader (who looked like he had just had a quick stroll around the block) and five very tired, feet weary ladies stumbled down to the train station. The other members of the group only had short train trips home. I waved by to Julia and continued my trip to Hornsby, and it was just after 7.00pm when I finally arrived home. The hot bath and glass of red wine went down very well!!!!

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