It was raining on the morning of my birthday – that sort of large-dropped, heavy, straight-down rain that you feel will settle in for a while.
After a very early coffee (and a quite spectacular gift), Don asked how I’d like to spend the day:
+ Would I like to take a drive into the nearest large town and enjoy a leisurely lunch?
+ Or would I prefer to climb Satan Mountain (not its real name)? In the rain.
I thought quite a bit about the decision, I mean I’m not one for signs and intentions, but it seemed like I should do something momentous and set the scene for the year | decade | rest-of-life.
So Satan Mountain* it was!
*(Actual name Devil’s Climb, or more prosaically Cattle Run Firetrail).
After a breakfast of champions, we headed out.
Our route – I really want to learn to draw an accurate cross-section of this (so many red lines)!
It was quite a walk on the dirt road to even get to the start of the trail (between the green arrows on the map). We’d later look back on these flat sections and gentle slopes with fondness.
The wildlife was abundant!
See that hill in the distance? That’s where we were headed.
Devil’s Climb. Difficult 3-4 hour walk.
The view from that earlier hill. You can just make out the road in the middle of the first photo.
Spectacular! Don had to take the photos – I don’t mind heights in the least, but edges with nothing solid to hold onto give me vertigo – just the thing for climbing a Giant Hill.
Little did we know that from here it would only get higher and higher. I mean, of course we did know because we had the map, but I don’t think we fully appreciated how high.
Pretty soon we were in the clouds:
What’s not pictured are the dozens of wild goats which we spied through the mist and seemed to be always just ahead of us – really quiet eerie and otherworldly, but also somewhat comforting.
At the peak! Except it really wasn’t.
Each time we thought we were at the top, it turned out that just around the corner was yet another climb. We quickly agreed this was the Devil’s part of it – that and the inclines and precipices.
This was the steepest terrain I think I’ve ever walked on. Definitely the slipperiest (so many loose rocks and wet leaves) – thank TheUniverse! for that improvised walking stick.
This was possibly the most scary thing of the entire Scary Walk. Just past the actual peak (1034m).
If I thought uphill was bad, downhill was THE WORST! So very slippery. And while the path was quite wide, the edge of the path dropped off pretty quickly. Don pointed out that it made for exceptionally mindful walking. Or abject terror – depending on how you look at things.
The downhill climb took probably twice as long as the uphill – finally and wonderfully we hit the bottom and came upon some sort of satanic circle.
It was like that when we got here.
The walk along the river was much more pleasant and relaxing, even though we had to take our shoes off to cross.
We celebrated our survival with Nostalgia Noodles. Nostalgic from camping trips past – but insanely salty.
By this time it was getting sunny and was pretty humid, but we started a really quite pathetic campfire (everything was still very wet!) – just so we could say that we’d made one.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon lounging about reading, then early dinner of cheese and bikkies.
And a pretty good craft ginger beer (who needs wine?)
Followed by a postprandial stroll along the river.
I skipped stones for the first time (not pictured) and managed to get 3 skips! Don, ever the over-achiever, was much better and got 9.
We finished up with a rousing game of sequence (banned in texas!) which we found amongst the board-games thoughtfully provided in the tent.
And retired pretty early before the bugs ate us.
I conquered a Mountain! In the Rain!
All up GENIUS BIRTHDAY!