The Great Ocean Road Walk… that’s a wrap!
Total distance: 97035 m
Max elevation: 276 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 3328 m
Total descent: -3276 m
So there were 7 of us. Myself, my sister-in-law, my two nieces and our friend of 20 years and her 2 sons…
Thanks to Andrea and Carolyn for organising and booking the trip and having me along for the hike! It was no ride!
The first day was a fairly easy hike and we had a taste of the stunning beaches and landscapes and wildlife… then there was that 37 degree day where there was bushfire warnings and all Trekkers were advised not to walk… so it was all about staying cool in a local river.
The 4th and 5th day were by far the hardest and you had to dig deep… every peak felt like it was followed by another peak and the ups seem to go on forever… by this stage my feet were burning with blisters (believe me I have tried many of your ideas for preventing them, but not of them have worked yet!), and we were carrying full packs with our tents, sleeping gear, food, clothes and water…
There were many times on the hike I had to have a serious talk to myself and it is proven yet again that it is so often about the mental game and what is going on in your head. On the last day when my feet were screaming at me and you wonder if you are having fun and why you just don’t take up knitting instead, you have to call on yourself to step up and change the conversation you are having with yourself…
‘I am tired, I can’t do this anymore…’ BECOMES… ‘Julie, you are a machine, you have got this… you have climbed bigger mountains than this in your life… they will not be sending a helicopter in to get you because you have a few blisters, so you get those legs pumping, you drag yourself up that bloody mountain like you know how to do!’ And you literally feel your body become stronger and you tune out from the pain.
‘I am not sure I can make it up this one’… BECOMES… ‘Women in Africa walk miles and miles with no shoes on to collect clean water for their family, and they aren’t complaining, now you get your arse up that farking hill and quit your bitching’ And next thing you look around and you are at the top of the mountain looking at the most beautiful view and wondering how you got there.
So, why do it? It sounds painful, and a lot of the time it was. And you certainly don’t do it just for the views, because I can look out from the comfort of my balcony and enjoy a stunning view…
You do it because the views I got to see are views that vehicles can’t get too and only those that dare to get uncomfortable and challenge themselves will get to enjoy.
You do it because it is the road less travelled and only those that keep on when their feet hurt and the load gets heavy will sit on the side of mountains and know that they are a part of a unique group that dare to challenge themselves.
You do it to immerse yourself in mother nature, to be serenaded by the birds as the sun sets and rises, to not just look at mother nature but to truly be in it and feel it… to feel her strength, her beauty and to know how nurturing she can be but also how demanding and tough she can be, and you experience how she has a way of getting the best out of you.
You do it to know who you are, to challenge yourself and discover stuff about your self that you still need to work on or to find out you are much stronger than you give yourself credit for.
You do it to get back to the basics and free your mind from all of that ‘other stuff’ that consumes our thinking. It is about walking, eating, having clean water to drink and setting up your shelter at night…. Basic stuff. And suddenly your mind is free allowing yourself the space to tune into the universe and lots of great ideas.
You do it to challenge yourself physically and to stay fit and strong… you let your body know she is still needed to keep walking you through a big exciting and challenging life!
You do it to know those around you better… my focus this year is to ‘go deeper’… go deeper into relationships into knowing myself, into my local area… go deeper into my community and into all that I do… this trek took me deeper in all kinds of ways including deeper into the relationship with these people that I love.
And I also discovered that Thomas is right… sometimes saying F#%k really does help… they were never just steps, they became ‘Mother Farking Steps’…
YES, it hurt, but just because it hurts a little doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you, because remember, sometimes life hurts a little and sometimes a lot… my blisters will heal, but the lessons I learnt I will reflect on forever and the nurturing my soul received, and the mental work out I got will forever empower me and have an impact on how I move through my personal and professional life.
Such a great experience!
P.S. You can read Part One here.