One wild Saturday night when Jack and I stayed in, watched a movie on the couch and went to sleep by 10:30, we decided to take advantage of our “homebody-ness”, wake up early and go on a day trip to the Cathedral Ranges. Jack said he knew of an easy hike that I would love. I was picturing a serene walking environment, perhaps one where we could meditate and reflect on life as we slowly made our way up to the top for a breathtaking view. I was thinking something like this hike, and I trust him, so I agreed to follow his lead.
The hike up to Sugar Loaf peak, the highest point of the ranges, is not a hike though – it’s borderline rock climbing and it’s no joke. The only reason I didn’t turn back was because going back down the way we came looked even more dangerous.
The sign for the Wells Cave Track, the one we did, stated, “Steep rocky terrain, challenging rock climbing in rugged, exposed situation. Recommended as an ascent route only. Experienced climbers only.”
I love Jack for always believing in me and pushing me to face my fears (like that one time we went skydiving), but when I saw him “testing out rocks for me” in our path and scrambling along a completely vertical rock wall with nothing below to catch him if he fell, I wanted to cry.
Luckily, we came across a couple fighting right in the middle of the hardest rock formation. I waited five minutes for them to move and grew so annoyed I tightened my backpack and nervously climbed past them. Before I knew it I had made it past the hard bit and faced another. Then, with the help of a lovely, experienced and geared up couple, we somehow made it to the top!
The view was breathtaking –or maybe I was short of breath– and the feeling of finishing something nearly gave up on was so, so, so good.
The Wells Cave Track isn’t the hardest or longest hike I’ve ever done, but it was an unexpected challenge and I wasn’t mentally prepared. It took a total of four hours, counting the time(s) I held up the group to do a little cursing, and our time at the top of the mountain. I wanted to celebrate up there for ever.
Instead, we climbed – well, slid – down the rocks and celebrated like a couple of Aussies. We went to Beechworth Bakery where I was all like, “I’ll take a meat pie, mate. And a lamington on the side. They’re bloody good those lamingtons, hey.”
Okay, no. I didn’t say mate. I’ll never say mate but I did say bloody, which I’ve been saying an awful bloody lot and I really bloody love!