Sunday, September 15, 2013

all the way up

the signpost at the start of our walk classified the track as 'hard' but tony's father assured us that the assessment was probably exaggerated and written to ward off inexperienced walkers. and so we began, a party of four, walking steadily but carefully over the trail of orange and brown rocks.

I've driven past the rock many times, at all times of day but it's taken close to three years to actually attempt the climb. it was cool today and we had visitors, so in the tradition of our now weekly sunday walks, we thought we'd give it a go.

for me, it was a cheryl strayed inspired adventure. her book 'wild' might be the best thing I've read this year, it was empowering in a way I'd never experienced a memoir and totally addictive. and so I walked with some confidence, and thought of her when we reached our first confusing fork in the road.

a family of five had set off a few minutes before us, with the three girls running off ahead of their parents. as the walk progressed we would overtake and be overtaken by the family, and eventually worked out from snippets of their conversation that they walked the rock annually and that it was a race to the top.

the kids would walk ahead and call ridiculous things back down to their parents, talk about turtles and who was currently winning the race.

at the summit, the mum would congratulate one of the girls who she kept calling chook for making the climb faster than the year before. they would busy themselves taking photographs and trying to locate their property and its proximity to particular canola fields.

as we climbed higher, there were more choices to be made, and greater potential for injury. when there weren't clearly defined stairs, we had to pick our way between rocks, quickly trying to strategise the safest option. I clung to tree trunks in parts and crouched down to climb over tricky rocks. I eyed a walking stick but held it for only a few seconds - it was slimy and unwieldy.

three quarters of the way into our walk, we lost tony's parents. we assumed that they'd catch up so we kept walking.

I loved the camaraderie between the walkers. an older couple who had sensibly brought walking poles pointed us in the direction of a lookout, which they said had a better view than the rock's peak. we stopped to take photos for a trio of friends and waited awhile in the shade for tony's parents.

thinking they'd given up, we continued on.

we passed a woman in the most pristine walking outfit I'd ever seen. she wore a sleeveless white polo shirt that was tucked into her light brown walking shorts. she had a matching hat and had a neat looking water bottle slung across her body. she smiled and said hello and smelt like flowers as she passed.

we kept puffing our way to the top.

^^ tony rarely takes photos on his phone, and this is part of a collection of photos of me looking sweaty :( the only other photo he's taken recently was one of me looking sweatier during a climb in tasmania. during this walk I learnt that jeans are not a good choice of walking pants.

while the lookout had been still and quiet, the sound at the top of the rock was incredible. suddenly there were flies everywhere.

the journey back to the car was hilarious in parts. my legs had turned to jelly and each step was about balancing my weight so I didn't topple over and slide down the track.

at one point the father from the family of five bounded past us wearing a butterfly backpack. two of his kids were lost. at the summit, they'd told their parents they were going to find a shady spot to rest but they had all but disappeared.

then we heard the father bellow.

'oi! what are you doing down there? you said you were going to find a shady spot!'

the kids protested that they had found a shady spot and he gave them a stern word about how far they'd wandered.

we had a scare of our own when we reached the car. we had assumed that tony's parents had given up halfway and expected to meet up with them again in the carpark. we hadn't passed them on the way down but couldn't see them in the carpark.

we found them 20 minutes later, though not before I'd contemplated calling local hospitals and tony had thought there may have been a fall. they'd taken an alternative track and spent time clambering over rocks to meet the summit.

we drove home and made prawn sandwiches for lunch. 


  1. Oh gawd! How stressful!!!! Great photos hon. xsx

  2. We have lived here for thirteen years and I have never been to the Rock, let alone tried to climb it! With visitors, we always just go to the licorice factory. Well done, you two!

  3. Wow. What an adventure. All those continuous sweat is paid off! What a beautiful view :)