I don’t know what it is about hiking, but it makes me unexplainably happy. I very rarely find cycling up a mountain fun, mostly because it’s not. It’s hard and if you stop it’s really really hard to get going again and did I mention that it’s hard? Well, it is. But hiking up a mountain is so much fun. Even when you’re panting and sweating and your thighs are burning you can just stop, drink some water and admire the view. Maybe even sit down for a while and have a snack. When you start walking against you haven’t lost any momentum and it’s not very likely that you’ll fall over because you’re going too slow. Yes, I’ve seen that happen to cyclists, I almost had that happen to myself when cycling up the dreaded Mur de Huy in Belgium.
So you can only imagine how happy I was when I was about to hike up Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain at 2228 meters. You can walk from Thredbo village to the highest point, but that’s not what most people do, and neither would I. Instead I got on the chairlift to where the mountainbikers were about to head down the mountain again, and got on the 14 km round trip to the very peak.
I had a mountainbiker in front of me. I hope they have lightweight bikes, because they just had to hold on to them on the chairlift.
A stream coming down the mountain.
View from the top of the chairlift, where my 14 km hike would begin.
Some kids who had been camping up in the mountains were having a snowball fight. I hate snowball fights. I used to be scared of loosing contact lenses and now I’m scared of breaking my glasses. I value being able to see over getting ice in my face.
The actual hike was pretty easy. Since the ground is very uneven and wet they had put elevated walking paths everywhere so it was not very challenging.
I made it! Well, I think anyone who can walk 14 km can make it but still! Yay! I was the 5th person on the mountain that day, and on top I met this super cool guy who has been cycling around the world for ten years. TEN YEARS. Wow. He had even cycled in Sweden. He’s on the home stretch now and will finish in Melbourne soon. I also met a girl from Germany who was super nice. We sat at the top talking for almost an hour before it got too cold and windy and had to begin the hike back down.
The hike was supposed to take 4-5 hours. Even with almost an hour break at the top it took me 3,5.
I found a dandelion! I love dandelions. I even have one tattooed on my arm so that kind of proves that.
And then I had to take the chairlift back down again. It was terrifying! If I thought the ride up was scary then the trip down as awful! I look happy but I’m clutching the bar and that smile is just a tiny bit forced. I was scared I’d fall down, and that my backpack would fall down or that I’d drop my phone. Oh wow.
Here I could talk about how much I hate driving on small winding mountain roads that are too small and with crazy Australian drivers but I’ll skip it. It was scary enough just having to live through it once, I don’t want to relive it.
Anyway! The next day I headed for the Yarrangobilly caves. It’s low season but I still expected there to be some other people but nope, apparently I was the only one there. I started out at the thermal pool which is so cool. The water in it gets heated in the underground and then flows into the pool through cracks at a speed of 100 000 liters an hour. It was so warm and nice, even though the bottom of the pool liked quite creepy.
I saw my first kangaroos in a long while! As I was walking down this path to the pool they jumped out in front of me. I froze and they froze but I managed to get a photo before they jumped off.
After a swim in the pool I walked along the river to The South glory cave. There’s a lot of different caves there, so I was very excited. Little did I know what was waiting for me…
As you can see from these pictures, the cave was very dark. And very empty. I was the only person in them. The lights were motion activated and sometimes it was completely pitch black until I got right up there. And since they were activated by motion I couldn’t turn around, it would have been completely dark until I had passed them! I was so scared. The dark and being alone and only hearing my wn steps echo through the cave. Nope, that’s something I’ll never do alone again. Never.
I quickly left the Yarrangobilly caves. I recommend going there but not alone, and not at low season. I kept driving but had planned to camp within the park for the last night, right by a small dam
As I drove in and parked, I saw a kangaroo. Then I looked around me and realized that there were dozen of kangaroos around. I hadn’t seen any for so long, and then suddenly they were all around!
Whenever I moved they all stopped and stared at me. I kept my distance though, they’re still wild animals.
I enjoyed a leisurely afternoon at the camp site, I even tried out my camp shower for the first time. The camp grounds at the national parks have toilets but nothing else so I hadn’t showered in a while. It was nice though, even if I had trouble getting it high up so I wouldn’t have to squat underneath it.
Tomorrow I’ll reach the blue mountains national park which I’m so looking forward to. I have an entire week to spend there before its time for me to go to Sydney. I’ll be hiking a lot I hope, and just enjoy the views.
Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.