Tears, tantrums and triumph!
Matt and I set off with a group of hikers to head up Mt Warning today. Having never done this track before we had no idea what really lay ahead. The sign at the beginning warned that there were many steps and steep inclines .... but nothing could have prepared me mentally for what this really meant.
The Wollumbin National Park, at Mt Warning, Summit track is NOT for the light hearted! 6 months ago there is NO WAY I could have made it up the 4.5km track (9km return) ... well, not in the 2:15 hours we did it in. The track is listed as a 'difficult' climb, with many (many, many) steps, followed by a steep rock face (with a chain to assist the climb).
By 2km I knew I had bitten off more than I really wanted to chew.... but refused to give in to the voices in my head. I may have chewed poor Matt out for his attempts to support me mentally. Definitely not in the right headspace for this today - but so grateful that I persisted.
Tears were shed as we got nearer to the top, which still seems so far away. Then we reached the steep rock climb. OMG! By the time we reached the rocks poor Kathline (one of our group) had already decided she just wasn't doing this today. What to do next? Do I join her and give in? Or do I push on and conquer this beast - and the demons in my head telling me I can't? Push on! Yep, I'm stubborn! At around 50m up the fear and doubt kicked up a notch and I had to remind myself to breathe. I've faced far worse than this - and survived! So I pushed on... and on... and on. Our hands were freezing. There was a choice between the cold chain or cold rocks. Either way, the impact on our hands was almost crippling. Note to self: if hiking in winter PACK GLOVES! Matt was an absolute rock. He was on my flank the whole time as I harnessed my inner Spider Monkey and made it most of the way up without even using the chain. Sheer determination by this stage!
Once at the top I was still a little shaky to fully appreciate the view... so we sat and ate lunch. Man, food makes a difference! Definitely did NOT eat enough carbs for breakfast. A toasted sandwich and a boiled egg is NOT hiking food. Should have eaten my protein bar during the walk when Matt suggested. Man, I really get grizzly when I'm fatigued and out of fuel. Lesson Learnt!
After lunch Matt and I went for a walk around the platforms, which give amazing views of everything! The skies were crystal clear and the air so clean (but cold enough to take your breath away too).
The hike down was so much easier. Not easy. But definitely easier. We made it back in just 1:45 hrs. The knees will be telling me all about it tomorrow. Tonight's epson salt bath went down a treat.
So, if you are heading off on this hike. Please prepare yourself. It is physically and mentally gruelling for the inexperienced hiker. Experience hikers, like Matt, found it a piece of cake.... but not this little black duck.
Was it worth it though? Yes! Shhh .... don't tell Matthew that I said that.... but yes, it most certainly was worth every gruelling step. Your mind most certainly does give up well before your body does! Persist and push on! You'll be happy you did!