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