I spend a good portion of my time in train stations sprinting for trains. I can’t even imagine a leisurely stroll to a train that I know for sure is the one I want to board. Rachel and I leaped off the bus, sprinted towards the trains, and managed to arrive, panting, at the platform, only to sadly watch the train pull away. Luckily, some other people also going to the Outdoors Club Boree Log trip were also late, and we were able to ride together on the next hourly train. One of the greatest things about the Sydney transit system: it only cost us about $5 to travel 2 hours to the Blue Mountains.
In the Blue Mountains, it was chilly. We all pulled on pants and fleeces, and Rachel happily donned her green knitted hat. Another outing club member drove up in a car and we piled in. After a quick drive, all of us on the lookout for kangaroos, we arrived at the campsite. Rachel and I were directed through the city of small tents (and in Theresa’s case, a hammock) to the huge communal tent. We located some sleeping bags, and attempted to sleep. If we snuggled close enough, shivering was reduced to a minimum and only our feet were frozen. It was quite the relief to wake up to the laugh of the kookaburra.
Carrots and peanut butter make an excellent breakfast food! (Even though Australian peanut butter will never live up to American peanut butter standards. I read the ingredients. It’s just ground up peanuts, and a little bit of salt. How it tastes so different remains a mystery.)
Saturday was my first experience with canyoning. What a glorious sport! We hiked down into a canyon, blew up some li-los (floaty air mattress) and floated on them down the river, occasionally climbing over boulders and through crevasses, tossing the li-los ahead of us. Since this was a typical outdoors club, we used li-los that did not want to hold up to our abuse, and they popped, one by one, until we were all sharing, 2-3 people per discouraged, deflating li-lo. Around midday we did some cliff jumping. I was warm and comfortable, since I was wearing not one, but two wetsuits. The warmth was totally worth the reduction in mobility.
Upon our return to camp, scents of stew and couscous wafted up our noses. The most difficult part of eating this supper was finding and sharing items that could function as plates and utensils. I grudgingly admit, sporkifes occasionally come in handy. We began to worry when the last group of canyoners had still not come back by nightfall. A search group assembled and set out with head torches. Thankfully, everyone made it back by 9. We celebrated with an elderly-themed party around the campfire. Rachel and I got our hair talced, so our heads were white and powdery for the remainder of the night. Ryan made us chocolate mousse with his trusty powdered milk, which accompanied the pink and white roasted marshmallows nicely.
Sunday was a climbing day! We piled into cars, eager for some glory. But first, to town. Charlie and I walked into a café with a lovely atmosphere and sitting area, yet we could tell that the morsels of food were above our price range. Instead, we went to a cheaper bakery, bought some pastries, and casually walked back into the first café, sitting down by the window. We nonchalantly opened our bags, but as we opened our mouths for the first bite, we were ushered out of the premises. Apparently, they did not sport a bring-your-own-pastry policy.
Climbing occurred, and glory was achieved. The views earned by climbing were beautiful. Nice vertical. The sandstone was a bit crumbly, and it would have been nice to have a few more veins of iron, but I would not ask for much more. On the higher routes, the wind had carved incredible flutes in the sandstone. On this trip, I was introduced to the tradition of buying your friends ice cream when you achieve glory.