Saturday, 9 January 2016

Be More Adventurous (but read the signs)

You know what, life is hard. The daily motion of just getting out of bed and dealing with the day in such a way that you make it back to bed with most of your faculties and without killing anyone is sometimes what makes a day a success.

Ok ok I know that sounds a bit overdramatic but I sort of mean it.

So in retaliation I have a tendency to think jeez I have a day where I can do almost anything I want and so seeing that life is hard I shall take this opportunity to chill the hell out. I'll sit and read my book, watch some crap on tv, I'll do a few chores (and then feel exhausted because I did a bit too much) and generally spend those days where I am free to do anything, doing very little at all.

And you know what, sometimes that is totally ok. And sometimes it really isn't. I am by nature quite lackadaisical, always have been and I mother in quite a lackadaisical manner. For the most part this has worked extremely well. But when it is taken too far it also means we don't 'DO' things. We chill, we love, we laugh, but we often get to the end of time off and wonder what the hell did we do.

To combat this I've been trying to be more adventurous. Sometime an adventure is just taking the boys out of the house when they are obviously are going to bicker and whinge. Sometimes it's doing more than one thing in a day. And sometimes it's far more that that.

I decided this school holidays to spend some of our time doing things we wouldn't usually do. And seeing it's summer a lot of that is around going swimming.

We live about a 20 minute drive from some gorgeous beaches but I have a strong dislike for the beach (the many reasons behind which are a post all of its own). I put this down to the fact that I grew up in a rural environment. My idea of a lovely day swimming has to do with rivers. Clear water, birds chirping, the occasional eel, rocks and shade and that peaceful feeling I can only get from being in the bush.

I decided to take the kids for a drive to a waterhole I had heard about. From the blurb on the internet it was a 45 minute drive from Sydney and the an easy 20 minute walk through the bush to the spot. It sounded and looked from the photos like the perfect spot to be adventurous.

We grabbed all the water and food for the day, our swimmers, sunscreen a book and a friend for the boys and headed off.

The drive was easy, if you can call 45 minutes of eye spy easy. We arrived and parked and I realized that although the internet had told me to park at the train station, the directions from there to the actual track, let alone the pools were somewhat lacking. I found one of the guys working at the train station and asked if he could direct me to .. he promptly cut me off and told me to walk to the other side of the station down a road, past the shops and the path started there, expect an hour or so walk.

In hindsight I probably should have thought two thing: a. He obviously gets asked this all the time so is this going to be the serene place I was thinking and b. Was that hour from the station?

We found the beginning of the track 15 minutes from the recommend parking spot (FYI if I had have driven an extra 10 minutes we could have parked right next to it) and started our walk. It was so pretty, birds were chirping, the boys were laughing the grass was beautiful and green and everything was flat and calm. And then we found the real beginning of the track. Apparently that first bit was just another bit you have to walk to get to the actual beginning. And there it was, the Sign.

The pools were from here an apparent 2km walk that was rated as hard.

My poor little lackadaisical brain went into pure denial .. They are only saying that for old people, cause who else but old people actually like bush walking. So a hard walk that is meant to take over an hour must be old people rated but three kids and a semi fit mother ... easy walk for 20 minutes surely ... I'm an idiot.

15 minutes into the walk and we were already sweating. It was rocky, like jump from here to here, don't fall in the mud, up down up down rocky. At 40 minutes we met some people coming back up and heard them say they had been walking for over 1/2 an hour ... Must be a different path my lackadaisical brain thought. About 10 minutes after that we started going down a very rocky steep decent ... And my lackadaisical brain started thinking, we are going to have to walk back up this.

Another 15 minutes and we heard water and everyone pepped up. We burst through the bush to our serene waterhole to find that at least 100 other people had also made the trek down.

I stood there for a second ... Trying to take I the scene. Then we found a rock, stripped to our swimmers and jumped into the coldest water I have been in for quite a long time.

Now I could stop the story there, and it would all sound horrendous. But actually once we got used to it the water was amazing. The kids ran and jumped and slid on slippery rocks for over three hours. We had a brilliant time. The crowd wasn't quite what I expected, but then what is an adventure without a few unexpected things.

As the sun started to make its way down we decided it was time to leave so that we would be home well before dark.

And then the hard stuff really started. If we had thought the walk down was tough. The walk up after hours of swimming was incredibly tough going. Of course it was doable, it was just so very tiring. Both of my boys did a fair bit of 'OMG I'm going to die'. The lovely other child didn't dare but occasionally gave me this look that told me if I had have been his mum he might have also mentioned he wasn't sure the pools were worth the walk.

By the time we got back to the car all of us were totally spent.

We silently drove for about 15 minutes before I dared ask ... So was it worth it? and to my surprise they all said absolutely.

So another adventure is done. And yes if you ask me it was worth it. Maybe the swimming hole full of people wasn't worth the crazy walk. But the effort of doing the thing was worth the reward of feeling like we had done something a bit special and had a day that of all the days during the holidays we would all remember.

All in all I think we might all think that this adventure was totally worth it.

PS. Once I got home I looked at the internet again and yes I had misread. That whole 20 minute easy walk was the explanation of the walk from the car park to the beginning of the track. The pools however 1.5 hours hard walking .... Next time I go on an adventure I'm going to make sure I actually read the blurb properly.
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