Zonked in the Blue Mountains

After an energy-packed cooked breakfast, Danielle and I got in her van and headed up to the Blue Mountains. The old Starwagon complained a bit about the hills, but eventually we made it through Katoomba
to a place called Echo Point.

Upon my initial view of the mountains proper from the van, I think I may have uttered some eloquent and poignant words such as "Holy shit!" The view was absolutely spectacular, and it got even better after we parked the van and strolled down to the main touristy lookout. It reminded me of the Grand Canyon, to be honest – the kind of natural formation of trees, mountains, cliffs, that you can’t really do justice to in a photo. I’ll try though.

[Blue Mountains]
View of the Three Sisters, from Echo Point in the Blue Mountains

We set off down the very steep steps to the bottom of the valley. They weren’t quite as steep as ship ladders, but they probably weren’t far off it. Not only was it severely wheelchair unfriendly, it was pretty bloody able-person-with-two-working-legs unfriendly too. After a few hundred steps, it became apparent that for most people, the human body isn’t used to this kind of behaviour. Sure, I was probably getting fit, but some muscles in my legs were complaining bitterly about the imposition.

[Resting ankle]
Erm… just resting my ankle for a moment. No no, it doesn’t hurt too badly, honest.
Danielle expresses her views on being photographed.

More bloody steps…

Down at the bottom, we decided to head towards the Leura Falls, since a sign at the top had said that the path the other way was blocked by a landslide. After a few minutes, my natural ability to succumb to minor foot injuries kicked in, and I stumbled on what I can only presume was a rock placed there by natural forces to inconvenience careless walkers like me.

I sat down rather rapidly (though Danielle would probably claim I simply fell, and she might be right). My ankle ached like hell for a minute or two, though naturally I tried to be heroic and manly and not sob too much. After a little while it seemed okay and we carried on, with me taking much more care to look where I was going.

We reached the falls, which were lovely. After a short rest and drink we started clambering up the steps back out of the canyon. The steps followed the water for quite a way up, and there were more falls, and other interesting arrangements of rocks, water, trees, and all that stuff.

There seemed to be more and more and more and more steps, but there were frequent spots to stop and sit, of which we made good use. Knowing that eventually we would get back to civilisation and be able to have an ice-cream kept us motivated to keep going.

We got to the top, and found a lookout with a bench and an Austrian guy on it taking in the sun. We sat down with him, had a chat, rested for quite a while, and checked our mobile phone messages (oh, this cursed age of technology). A very loud old man and his friends and/or family came along, and were pretty entertaining for a few minutes.

Then, thinking of the ice-cream, and I think missing the previous tranquillity, we headed along another track back towards Echo Point. It wasn’t superbly signposted, and we took a wrong turning or two, before getting onto the right path.

This one went mostly along the cliff, with some great views over the mountains. I managed to tread on another rock, which made me wobble a bit, Danielle quickly grabbling me to stop me plummeting over the side to my death. That would have put a real dampener on the weekend, after all. We made it back to Echo Point and civilisation, thoroughly worn out and hungry.

We got food on the way back to Danielle’s, and though it was only about 4:30, we were both totally zonked, spending the evening watching amusing
videos, interspersed with bits of the Wizard of Oz, which was on Channel 7 at the time.

And we never did get that ice-cream.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.