The most accurate word to describe this weekend's inaugural trip. The perfect weather and I'm just going to put it out there, the perfect group!
We started at 7:30 am at Central station and after some brief introductions, started making our way towards Leura. A quick coffee and custard tart refuel were deemed essential (but of course!), before arriving at the track start, Leura Cascades, for pack packing and map mapping a.k.a. pre-departure briefing.
Am I describing a bear chase here, or just the climb up Mt Solitary? 😂
And then we were OFF!!
We chatted, laughed (a common theme of this trip), and got to know one another as we made our way to lunch through the forest. By the time we arrived, we had in-jokes (feedback form) and had coined the next big thing - BACKPACKERIES (a daiquiri consumed while hiking) – Thank you Andy!
After our kaleidoscope of fresh salad wraps for lunch, we finished off the walk to camp by scrambling over the landslide, learning about the history of Scenic world on the way, and ducking into the cool forest towards the base of the Ruined Castle. Hot drinks were quickly arranged upon arrival, before we grabbed our daypacks and scaled up the Ruined Castle for sunset. The timing was perfect, and the light was simply magnificent; so we stayed for as long as possible, and took some time to feel a little small.
Eventually, our rumbling bellies took charge, and we scrambled back down towards our three-course feast. It wasn’t long after dinner, with extremely warm and full bellies that we all said goodnight and snuggled into our tents for a well-deserved sleep.
Day two started with a spectacular sunrise, and a fresh pot of bush coffee, and a little challenge; to prepare the most beautiful (i.e. Instagram worthy) bowl of porridge. 👇👇👇
Who do you think won?
I knew it was going to be a hot day (+27c), so we decided to head off early for the mighty Mt Solitary, to beat the heat. We climbed, we conquered, we marvelled, and we laughed (did I mention it was the theme of the trip?)! Katie even tried two poles on the way back down...
Back at camp, we set about packing up, refuelling and setting off back home. By this time, the sun was high in the sky, and the temperature was rising quickly. As the exhaustion set in, one by one those little aches and pains took over, and by the time we arrived at the base of Furber Steps and Scenic World, there was a general consensus to ride the train out, rather than take the stairs.
I rode the train years ago as a child, but I have no real memory of it, but let me sum it up in three words. SO. MUCH. FUN! For anyone planning on coming along on either a Ruined Castle Overnighter or a Mt Solitary Circuit tour, pack an extra $23 bucks because this is the best way to finish the trip!
For one final special moment, to seal off the experience, we were gifted with a spectacular mating display from a Lyrebird in the bushes. He has his tail flipped right over, and was on a non-stop loop of his entire repertoire of sounds, mixed in with some mightily fabulous shimming that would put ABBA to shame. Unfortunately, his advances were unsuccessful (too much of an audience perhaps?), but it was undoubtedly an exciting finale for us.
Just before the final set of stairs, we all took off our shoes and soaked our feet in the cool waters of Victoria Falls, on the pretence of recovery, but really to eliminate any nasty smells on the way home!
Thank you first and foremost to the beautiful Heather for co-guiding with me on the trip. And thank you to the four beautiful guests, for supporting me on this first trip, and making it such a roaring success. It’s safe to say the sorest part of my body was my belly.