Thursday, May 24, 2012

Camping with kookaburras

Kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree

Eating all the…pancakes?

Yes, on my camping trip to Cathedral ranges I saw Kookaburra, and he saw the rocky-road pancakes we were eating. One of the clubs I joined is the bush walking and orienteering club which does a ton of awesome outdoor activities including camping, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and orienteering.


The clubs first trip was called Bumbly day out. At the time I thought it was because we were going to a place called Bumbly Lake or Bumbly national park, but no-Bumbly is the name for the new members of the club. I guess I just proved myself to fit the name. Anyways- the adventure was a day trip that gave a sample of several of the clubs activities. The first activity I did when I got there was mountain biking. It was muddy and gross, so by the end of the trail I was covered in mud. The ride was definitely worth it though because I saw my first wild Aussie animal- the wallaby! There were about 5 of them just chilling. Of course I had to get a ton of pictures.


Following a classic lunch of sausages on bread was kayaking. We had to practice wet exits on the kayak in case we flipped because they were closed topped kayaks. Once all of us had proven our ability we started a game of keep away with teams. The first team to get 10 consecutive passes of a polo ball got a point. I thankfully didn’t flip.

The last activity of the day was regaining which is running to find clues on a map worth different points. Well- we were supposed to run. By the end of the day my group decided to leisurely find the points and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. We saw more wallaby’s tooJ.

The next adventure was a Friday- Sunday trip aptly named Carnage. We drove down to the Cathedral Ranges on Friday evening and set up camp. My friends and I toasted marshmallows on the campfire. We got up bright and early the next morning for a full day hike. And by hike I do not mean a walk in a park- it was an intense 8 hour journey up Sugarloaf Mountain, along Jawbone Ridge to the summit of Cathedral Mountain. This trip included scaling up rock faces, climbing through narrow caverns, and several instances where I was scared for my life. However, we all made it to the top, and the view was amazing.


We had tacos that night for dinner. The next morning shared pancakes with our feathered friend before setting off to kayaking. There was no polo ball this time, but there were rapids and a strong current. The experience kayakers taught us how to paddle into eddies what to do on rapids. As to my success on this… let’s just say I became very good by the end on getting out of the overturned kayak. Still, it was a good experience.

My most recent camping trip was to the Arapiles for outdoor rock climbing. I’ve done indoor before, but never outdoor climbing, so this was a different experience. When I went to the gym to practice I’d been doing around a level 8 (this is Australian levels, I’m not sure how others are graded around the world, but here it’s from 1-32. All of our climbs were top rope. I tried an 8 first and was so happy at getting to the top. By the end of the trip I’d successfully completed a 16! I was so proud of myself. I like outdoor climbing better than indoor because there is more freedom to pick your own path rather than having to follow what was given.


The Sunday of the trip was Easter, so the leaders of the trip hid chocolate eggs along the paths we climbed up. It was such a treat to make it half way and find a little chocolate egg sitting there. The climbs were really fun that day. One of them included a cave. After taking a second to explore the cave, the way to end the climb was to do a flying fox jump which meant swinging out and turning around to catch yourself with your feet against the wall before being belayed down. Another activity I got to try was abseiling which is essentially belaying yourself down the cliff. At the top looking down I was terrified! I didn’t want to step over the cliff- it just goes against human nature to walk off a rock ledge! The first few steps were the worst, but then it was pretty interesting.

I’m really glad I found this club to do trips with. The people I’ve meet through it are so nice, and I’ve gotten to try so many fun things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I hope I can continue to do these types of adventures when I get back to the US too.

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