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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mt. Warning

Mt Warning
We did the most amazing hike of the trip, Mt Warning. It was a 5 1/2 mile, 5 hr round trip. This peak is the first part of mainland Australia to be touched by the sun every morning. It is a very distinct looking peak that we have been eyeing from all directions and could not wait to visit. Mt Warning is 1156 meters tall and is only half the size since it erupted thousands of years ago.
We woke early and packed peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and bananas. They advise that you start the hike early, especially in winter since it can get dark around 4. We arrived at the bottom at 9:30am ready for our adventure!
The first part of the hike is beautiful with massive trees everywhere. We were already stopping to take pictures 2 minutes in! The trail was great with stones and wood planks to help on the more difficult parts of the trail. The air was brisk and fresh. We had the trail to ourselves most of the time which was peaceful. We were out of breath only a third of the way up, we clearly needed this!
There were signs along the way that warn you if you are passing certain points past 1pm to not go to the top. We realized that this is the real deal and can be dangerous if you are caught in the dark or bad weather. We were fine on time since we left early and we had made sure that the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky, so we could see the view at the top.
About 2 hours in there were people coming down telling us that we are almost there! Excitement was in the air. We could tell we were getting close. And then to our amazement we come to the path to the top and it is straight up at about a 75 degree angle. There are rocks to climb and a thick metal chain on the right side to hold on to and pull yourself up the mountain. I felt for the first time I was rock climbing, just without the harness!! You have to imagine we are 2 1/2 hours into the hike and our legs are tired. I also realized the arm strength you had to have to pull yourself up the rocks. It was AWESOME! I felt so alive. This went on for probably 20 minutes around 200 feet to the lookout of all lookouts!
And boy was it worth it! The panoramic view was breathtaking. We had our lunch as we looked out over the east coast of Australia. We could see from Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast where we started our adventure all the way to the Lighthouse in Byron Bay New South Wales where we are now staying. It was our entire journey right in front of our eyes. There were several decks you could walk around to and get different views.
After a while we decided we better start our hike down. Going down was not quite as difficult though at times I found myself almost running being pulled by gravity because of the steepness. We made it down in about 2 hours.
What a day!! We got home and fell into the couches unable to move. I was sore for about 4 days after!! I was looking forward to a nice relaxing beach day.
We had blast and look forward to our future hikes.
Love Kristen and Jenny

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