Michael had looked at the weather forecast for the week and today looks like the best day for a mountain climb. Fifteen years ago Michael had attempted to climb Mt Amos, but didn’t get to the top.
Before attempting that we had to purchase a day pass to the park. $24.00. We then drove to the car park, passing at the base of The Hazards, huge rocky granite outcrops with brilliant colours and sheer sides. This is what I have agreed to climb. Our small backpacks on with ample water supplies, camera and binoculars, off we went. Like so many of the worlds greatest walks, they start off very gently, it’s a way of leading you into the agony that is about to be inflicted upon you. The gentle rise in altitude was met by the not so gentle rise in my heart rate. The calves began to scream at me and I found my initial spritely pace unsustainable. We stopped. Admired the elevated view of Coles Bay, sent a tweet or two and resumed our walk. Well, that was the easy part! A sign appeared on the track. It said ‘abandon all hope ye that enter’.
And the onslaught began. The lovely gravel track gave way to a slippery granite rock, the trees that gave us something to grip on to had gone and instead we had smooth rockfaces with fucking painted yellow arrows taking us right up the centre. If I thought my calf muscles were upset before… and yet this was still the warm up. The angle of the rock face meant I was able to scramble up by having my weight on my toes and doing a little dance, Michael was a lot more cautious as he scrambled up.
We came across our first set of fellow hikers who where coming down the mountain. They looked very fit and healthy! They told us that we weren’t to far away from the top, however if we thought it was tough up to this point… One of them was doing the track in bare feet, he said he’s shoes had exploded yesterday. The ground is so rocky and rough I don’t understand how his feet survived!
And true to the word of BareFoot Hiker, the track did become harder. The rocks were either smooth and slippery or spikey! I had to place my hands on the rock face to ensure I didn’t topple over and become a rolling body heading down the mountain, my palms red and sore from the rough surface. The scenery as we ascend is stunning, the rocks and the colours are quite beautiful, we are surround by plenty of bushes, trees and flowers, it’s great to be out amongst it!
As we continue up we stop regularly for a photo stop, which was actually just an excuse to stop. My heart is pounding so much that my teeth are rattling in time with my pulse. I’m out of breath and sweating, lots.
Here I am. Climbing a mountain. Back six months ago I would not have been able to do this. I haven’t been fit enough to even think about this for some years. I thought I would never again climb anything! Yet, here I am. Climbing. Loving it. It has been an ambition of my recent get fit campaign, and a goal in my life. Tick that one off.
Finally Michael put his camera away and we both started the final climb up the mountain, and climb we did, almost on all fours at times as we stretched and pushed our bodies up sheer granite rock faces. At last, the top could be seen and I knew we weren’t far away. Fifteen years ago Michael had tried and failed to get to this point, so I stopped and let him overtake me so that he could be the first to the top.
It was one of those moments in life, as you reach the top of the mountain, the view on the other side appears and you suddenly realise just why you bother to do this. All of it becomes worthwhile. We stood on top and our eyes drank in the beautiful stunning scene of Wineglass Bay below us.
The day was clear and warm, a breeze coming across the sea and we sat and looked at the beauty before us.
I’ve climbed to the top of many peaks over the years, and this is the third time in my life I’ve gasped and used numerous expletives as I see the view beneath me. (That’d be the Major Mitchell Plateau in the Grampians, Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and Wineglass Bay)
We sat and ate and drank some water, taking it all in, snapping a few photos before turning around and heading back down. We watched as the clouds rolled in from the west, dragging themselves across the mountains. We admired the few boats bobbing on the water in the bay far below, we saw people walking along the pristine beach. We wondered at the poor sods on the other tourist track who didn’t get to seen the bay in all it’s glory.
If I’d thought that going up was hard work, nothing could prepare me for the going down. I was glad I only had a small light backpack on!
Now instead of scrambling on all fours, I’m sliding on my arse, using my feet as brakes and my hands as anchors. The granite was now pulling at the soles of my hiking boots, and the rubber was coming loose, leaving little bits on the mountain side. I wasn’t sure whether I’d have any boots left by the time I got to the bottom.
Going down is always quicker than going up, but still seemed to take forever, finally the rocky track gave way to gravel and a made path and we arrived at the car park.
That was something worth doing. Be sure to check out Michael’s Picasa gallery, he has a really good eye and is quite the artist when taking photos.
So… what’s next?