“Just one more break.” I plead, sitting down on the hard ground, my backpack thumping behind me. My legs are screaming at me in protest as I stretch them out over the dirt, and my breathing is laboured but slowly leveling out. It feels like I’ve been running for days. In reality I only just finished the first staircase of many, many more to get back up to the top of the mountains we just clambered down.
I was out of water, stupid me I thought one bottle would be enough for a small hike around a valley. My bag was heavy with the weight of my Nikon in it, and more than once I debated throwing the entire thing into the stream beside us. My friend, an ahsmatic, seemed to be doing better than I was with this torturous walk. Pathetic.
With that thought in my head, I oh so gracefully stumble back onto my feet, almost falling over in the process, and continue my journey up the stairways of hell. One foot after another, one step at a time.
My friend Amy and I went to the Blue Mountains for a hike.
Going from Sydney, the train ride for me was two and a half hours, and because I went on a Sunday it cost me only $2.50 (yay!). I also had to wake up at 6am to catch my 7am train to Katoomba, which wasn’t as much fun… But after a quick nap on the train I was ready to take on the mountains!
Or so I thought.
The Blue Mountains really and truly are blue, which is due to the light refracting off of the eucalyptus leaves. And as you can see, the mountains truly deserve their name!
Starting off at Echo Point (a short bus ride from Katoomba) Amy and I started out adventure. From here you have a gorgeous view of the Three Sisters and the mountain ranges in the surrounding area. I recommend going into the information desk here, as at the back of the store there is a guide that can give you the best route depending on your interests, time and fitness. We decided to take the road less travelled and go in the opposite direction of everyone else towards Leura.
This meant going down the Giant Stairway (better than going up!)
And we counted the steps! We counted 870 steps, give or take about 50 (that was my fault, I kept skipping numbers) So by the time we got to the bottom we were tired and my knees were slightly trembling from my fear of heights.
And then we turned our attention to the left. Most people go right, but we’re rebels. In retrospect I feel as though going right would have been easier. Might do that next time.
As we wandered along, following the well trodden path in front of us, going over streams, rocks, mud, logs and trees, it felt as though we were in the middle of a Jurasic Park movie. Everything around us was so alive, and so very green! Between the moss, ferns and trees I don’t think I saw another colour but green for hours.
Finally taking our lunch break at a mini picnic area a short walk from the falls, we made a friend.
Unfortunately, a group of hikers at another table was feeding Patrick, thus making him relatively aggressive towards them, us and another hiker at a different table when he wasn’t given more food. Note to everyone who cares: I hate it when people feed wildlife. They are wild, you are in all reality hurting them by feeding them people food. Just stop.
Enough of my rant, the Leura falls were just a short walk away, and oh my goodness were they gorgeous. Reletively small, but they came down the entire mountain. By this time, I had drunk the last drops of my water, and was highly debating risking sickness and refilling it in the waterfall. Amy quickly talked me out of it, but the hike back up the mountain was not as fun as I was hoping for.
Stairs. So many stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. Worse than climbing Mount Doom stairs.
The thought of giving up and living in the moutains for a while instead of climbing the remaing stairs kept rolling through my head. I mean, I had an apple and half a subway sandwich. I could survive a couple days on that… Right?!
With a little persverance, a couple nudges from Amy and our new American friend we made it up the stairs, out of the abyss of trees and ferns. We were tired, sweaty, and extremely thirsty.
And we were rewarded, with this gorgeous view of the valley below!
A beautiful end to a long, tiring, sweaty, will-breaking hike. I might have to go again and turn to the right this time!
Thinking about going to the Blue Mountains yourself? Here are some suggestions from yours truly.
1. Wear comfy shoes. You may think your converse are comfy, it may not be the case.
2. Bring twice as much water as you think you’ll need. No, three times. Maybe four just in case.
3. Bring a light jacket or sweater with you, when you’re down in the trees it can get a little chilly.
4. Do not feed the animals. Seriously.
5. Don’t take a guide and pay the $150 they’re asking. Just go yourself! To save some pennies go on a Sunday, with the opal card it’s only $2.50 return. This way, you can continually stop and take as many photos as you want, without feeling the urge to keep going when you want a moment. Plus it’s in all honesty a waste of precious money you can spend at the bar when you get back to Katoomba waiting for your train.
Have you been to the Blue Mountains? Would you want to? Do you have any other ideas of great hiking locations around Australia I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!