With my feet up on the coffee table it’s hard to believe the anguish I was going through earlier today climbing up and down the gorges inside Berowra Valley Regional Park. 14km felt more like 40km with the amount of climbing involved in this section of the hike.
I woke at 6am to kookaburras and buzzing mosquitos and after completing my back stretching ritual, started packing my backpack before taking down the tent. The Crosslands campsite was actually only 10 minutes down the path but there was another school group camping there so I was thankful I had my own quiet spot.
At Crosslands I met a Chinese man and his elderly father who were also planning to hike to Cowan. They were enquiring as to where the trail started so we walked to the beginning of the track together and I left ahead of them, hoping they wouldn’t catch up too quickly given the father had to be in his 70’s.
The climbing was TOUGH! There were many parts where I had to fold away my hiking poles to hold onto the rocks and haul myself and the extra 1/4 of my weight up. There was one particular climb which just never seemed to end. I was muttering obscenities under my breath and would have yelled so the whole valley could have heard me if my two friends weren’t close behind me.
I took a quick snack and toilet break at the base of Berowra Waters and was surprised when my two Chinese friends were sitting there happily eating their lunch. The younger man only spoke basic English but after expressing to them what a tough climb it had been he just laughed and nodded. His father hadn’t even worked up a sweat! They insisted I take the rest of their food because I obviously looked like I needed it. On one hand the juicy apples looked delicious, on the other hand the thought of carrying any extra weight was too much! I compromised and took only one giant apple, and some kind of preserved beef snack.
Despite my whining this was a truly stunning walk. What it did teach me was that every ounce of weight DOES make a difference, and that I’ll need to be meticulous when packing, especially if I’m expecting to carry seven days of food as opposed to just two!