30km 2-day Coast Walk in 1 day! Royal Nat. Park

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The good thing about this walk is that it tells me how much more work I need to do before I leave in September! I’m sure I’m supposed to find this a “walk in the park”; but going up some of the seemingly endless uphills near the end, I DARED to question why I was doing this (the Qinghai climb), and what I have got myself into.

The others, from Sydney’s SMBC Bible college- mostly younger and fitter than I, except for a guy, slightly older, but a fitness junkie 😉  – were very encouraging though, saying ‘you can do it’, you’ve got 5 months.

I think it was a combination of things that made it surprisingly challenging for me.  We had to keep a brisk pace because no one wanted to be walking in the dark (we were on the wrong end of daylight saving), and we were attempting to walk a 2-day hike in 1 day.  Just days before the hike, a niggling pain started in my knee, which only surfaced again toward the middle of the hike, and because the rim of my boots were rubbing, I loosened them a BIT, which then made me roll on my ankle!  Duh!

The weird thing is that my trusty boots are a good hiking brand and have seen the Annapurna ranges in Nepal and many rocky hills in the Qinghai grasslands, and they haven’t given me any trouble till now, 10 years since I bought them! The other funny thing is I felt more comfortable running a lot of parts when I struggled to walk them! Maybe trail running’s  “ma thang”.

I had a thought the other day that preparing for this Mt. Yuzhu Expedition is like life. You don’t want to go into life ill-prepared, so you go about doing what you need to do to get yourself equipped and get the most you can out of life- you go on courses, you learn things… but then, like life, there’s an element of spontaneity and surprise, and that which we can’t control or plan for, which is what we face as soon as we touch down in Qinghai.  Anything can happen up there on the mountain too. A sudden change in weather would mean we might not make it to the summit… and like life, we have to deal with that! Most mountains in the Himalayan region have one or two climbing windows- May and October- outside of that, it’s too cold or the potential for blizzards and dangerous conditions is increased.

 Anyway, this Coastal walk from Bundeena to Otford in the Royal National Park was really spectacular, and definately worth the challenge. As you can see from the pics, we were walking from sea level to the tops of the cliffs and back down, and back up, and back down, and back up…. I got to a point where I thought it was so unnecessary to do a two-day walk in one day because I was suffering- you’re only as good as the boots you’re walking in, and my boots were giving me no end of trouble. Then I got to thinking this whole Mt. Yuzhu Expedition was unnecessary. But, I’ve come to see that it’s not—-  our expedition  and project, along with the recent devastating earthquake, have highlighted the needs of the nomads living in that region. Like I said, people tend to give generously if they see that I (and my team) are willing to suffer for it, put our necks on the line. To quote aunty LL “By climbing the mountain you are making a statement”.

So I thought this hike was great to train us, because the best training you can do for a mountain climb is that which mimics your mountain. We ended up doing it in 7 & 1/2 hours I think, not including swim & lunch. Because of a few wrong turns (which is all part of the adventure), we were walking the last bits as it turned dark, but not quite enough for torches- another 10 minutes & it would have been (see the last group pic). The mix of up and downhills was good; the scenery and the many unpopulated beaches are just such a spectacular reward!



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