The Blue Mountains: There Are No Words
When you are stood a-top a mountain-side, the wind whipping through you, and you look out upon something so utterly stunning, you simply can't do anything but gaze upon it and grin.
That was the scene when we first reached Echo Point, in Katoomba, the main town in the Blue Mountains, and the real gateway to some of the best (and most challenging) bush-walks.
We arrived in Katoomba that lunch-time, had a quick introduction to our Hostel from Ross the owner, then having chatted to a couple fellow travellers, we all decided to embark together on our first hike. I suppose I expected an easy one, to guide me lightly into a few days of hiking-type exercise, but no...
Marching enthusiastically to the Three Sisters, our first mountain look-out point, we were rained on, which made for a pretty spectacular rainbow, pouring down into the canyon of tree's. Japanese tourists ran excitedly to the edge to take photo's, and I found myself breaking into a jog too...
This was the first time both Taran and I felt like we were really experiencing the beauty of Australia, not simply looking out a window, or mindlessly wandering through busy cities past shops and café's, but actually seeing something special and unique to this country.
We decided to walk to Katoomba Falls, which was a mostly easy descent across several look-outs, down past the cascades, eventually finding the four of us stood at the foot of a waterfall, and at the precipice of a deathly drop into the rocks below. The wind blew the falls over us, cooling us down, as we looked out on the blue skies and landscape of green hills stretching as far as we could see. Carefully negotiating the rocks we had all climbed over the low and utterly pointless barrier to go near the edge of the falls, but we kept well back, knowing one false step and it would not be good...
Up to now it had been a pleasant walk, full of 'Ooh's and Aah's', then came time to head back. We were going to be losing daylight soon, and our proposed route back, the Federal Pass, was around 1 hour 30 minutes long. Oh, and then we had some steps to walk up. Didn't sound too taxing at that point, but some steps doesn't really accurately describe what we soon found...
We made our way deeper down passing over-hanging rock caves, passing further into the rainforest, amongst the squawking birds and failing sunlight. A brisk slog turned into a slower walk, and then it seemed like we had to pick up pace before it got dark and dangerous.
The thing about fear and caution, is you might be facing a perilous situation but a part of you always assumes everything will be just fine. Yes there are all manner of deadly animals and arachnids surrounding me for miles, and there are muddy, steep steps to be climbed, but you only really focus on each foot movement, on your sweat, your breath, and your desire to reach the end of the path.
There were no tears but plenty of sweat and borderline collapsing, but we kept going, via the light off one of our mobile phones. Soon it was just Taran and I at the rear, the other guys having conquered their climb. Taran tried to motivate me, but I shut him down pretty swiftly. I was trying to get into my head and just tell myself 'You can do it!', mostly because I had no choice! We couldn't stay lost in a tropical forest.
A light, and this time it wasn't just the stars, it was a street-lamp! We'd made it!
Hugs of success and it was time to get the beers! Delirious we walked along, tired and a bit wobbly, but ecstatic. It was such a physical and mental feat for all of us, some of us struggled more than others...
Cider never tasted so good. Pasta with cheese never tasted so deserved. A tired but triumphant game of cards and then bed. Such an amazing first day in the Blue Mountains, one of those days we will never forget, for the beauty, the pain and the beers.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!