As the skies began to darken, so to my feeling of dread. I was carrying it around in my bones.
As if my backpack wasn’t heavy enough, I was weighing myself down with self-doubt and inner-directed negativity.
Why were we doing this? Why would anyone think this was fun?
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
Arriving to collect our travelling companion, I was surprised to see the gentleman was wearing thongs. Surely he wasn’t going bushwalking in rubber flip-flops.
My husband and I had left the house with our appropriate footwear already in place and all our kit for the day neatly packed. Here was someone who looked as though he’d just stepped off the beach, with his belongings barely held in his arms as he hastily tried stuffing them into his backpack.
I smiled as I thought about how organised I was.
The drive up the mountain had been rather ordinary. I’d thought to learn all about bushwalking from this professional walker but struggled to maintain the flow of conversation. The extended moments of silence pulsated and several times I pictured myself in an elevator instead of the front seat of our car.
When we reached the starting point, I soon discovered why our companion was not ready to immediately head off. No one else was either. There we were with everything on, backpacks, sunscreen and hats, boots and all, standing in the midst of 18 other people tying laces and changing clothes.
Yes, changing clothes. I turned away when our companion dropped his trousers to pull on a pair of hiking shorts. But after patiently waiting half an eternity, watching the sun quickly position itself higher and feeling the temperature increase to match the Sun’s position, finally, the group meandered towards the sign that said ‘Start Here!’.
The days’ adventure was a 22 kilometre* hike through a mountain rainforest wilderness. We’d stop for lunch, have lots of photo opportunities and finish the day with a debrief over coffee and cake at a little café down the road.
I was excited. We were entering the world of the professional bushwalker and I was in my element. There was no other place I’d rather be.
I loved being outdoors in ‘nature’ somewhere, gazing upon ancient trees and listening to the birds singing their praises to the day. I loved sitting on rocks that edged rivulets and relaxing as water flowed or trickled past. I loved getting lost amid the raw beauty and wonder of a rainforest.
Truly, right here, I’d found my slice of heaven on earth.
But as the rain began to fall I discovered that heaven can easily turn to hell.
* 22 kilometres equals 13.6 miles
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