After consecutive days of eating like the fat American that I am, we were off to the Blue Mountains for some nature and much needed exercise. Much, much needed exercise. A few hour train ride later we arrived in Katoomba ready for a hike.
Even though I had recently completed the Tongariro Crossing in NZ, I’m far from an expert hiker, and a definitively shitty map reader. Relying on my companions for the map reading aspect of the hike, we engaged in the Leura Falls loop which was slated to take about 2 hours with an extra hour extension where we could end at a location with some nice views.
The hike ended up being pretty easy with not too many ups and downs but after coming from a drought in New Zealand, there was quite a bit of mud and water on the trail. And also the directional signs were kind of confusing, so … guess who got lost…
Eventually after going in a few circles, we finally found our way back onto the trail at which point we realized the sun would be setting within the next 2 hours so we would have to cut our hike short and end at “The Giant Stairway.” A stairway which has approximately 900 steps. If we had done the trail in the other direction we would’ve went down (TWSS) but instead we were going up. Up 900 stairs. FML.
My goal was to do the whole thing in one shot without stopping so I took off ahead of the other two. I started with counting the stairs. I got to about 150 before I got distracted. Then my focus just switched on continuing on. The sweat was starting to drip down my back, but my legs were okay. So far so good. I was gaining distance on the other two who had stopped under the pretense of taking pictures. Trudging along my legs started to get a bit tired, but as they say “Feel the burn!” Another who knows how many hundreds of steps later I’m pretty sure I thought I was dying and slowed my pace to whip out my water bottle. As I looked up ahead I had the feeling a break was necessary. Fortunately, people were coming down one of the narrow staircases so I had the opportunity to stop for a minute, you know out of kindness to let them pass.
As a testament to how small the world is, as the group approached me I randomly yelled out “Hey!” to one of the guys in the group. It was the Dutch guy I had met on the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand who had taken a 2 hour detour to a mountain summit and still finished the hike ahead of us. Small ass world this is. Taking a quick break to chat with him I felt refreshed and headed back up the rest of the stairs with only one more stop to pretend I was taking pictures of cool birds.
Eventually I reached the top. Stopped. Shut em down, opened up shop. By which I mean I drained my water bottle and leaned on my knees panting like a dog. Could definitely feel the burn but it was totally worth it.