Sore feet and hyperthermia….my suspension bridge adventure
You will find a number of my Life List goals are derived from movies I saw growing up. I love the adventure portrayed on the screen. Back in the 80’s I saw the film “Romancing the Stone”, I vividly remember seeing Michael Douglass and Kathleen Turner cross a rickety old swing bridge. That was my inspiration for achieving this goal.
I found myself a suspension bridge. The only issue walking on it required a 7 km journey to get there. With an uphill slog back out of the valley. Seriously how hard could it be?
I pitched my idea to my friend Tony who loves an adventure. He immediately decides to join me on the hike.
We are going rain, hail or shine
We set off with much anticipation and a backpack over-stocked with food, water, cameras, binoculars, a first aid kit and a few cold beers. The hike into Bowtells Swing Bridge which hangs over the Coxs River in the Megalong Valley of the Blue Mountains was magnificent, plenty of bird life, the roar of Cicadas, a few lizards and a snake. The traverse down to the valley floor is approximately a 600m vertical descent, which doesn’t seem overly steep as its spread out over 7 kms.
We decided to hike all the way to the bridge before we have lunch, which turns out to be the best decision of the day.
Arriving at the bridge I am so happy to find a bridge with a span worthy of the long walk. The traverse across the bridge is a little scary at times as the bridge moves and sways enough to unsettle me. It’s that height thing again, I don’t like it very much.
The fact that Tony and I are the only ones here makes this adventure so much more intimate. My inner child is creating a movie scene in my head – we are being chased by pirates who want our treasure and we must safely cross the bridge to escape…. Imagination, isn’t it a wonderful thing?
I busy myself filming everything in sight for prosperity.
Tony breaks open the back pack (which he has lugged in all the way) and we devour lunch, washed down with those really cold beers, it’s the Australian way.
How’s the serenity?
The water looked so inviting we just had to have a swim in the river. The day is heating up, I am grateful to get wet and cool off. If you take the time to look around there is so much activity, with freshwater crayfish going about their business, some small freshwater fish and hundreds of insects like dragon fly’s and butterfly’s hovering near the river. Unfortunately the reality of trekking out of the valley was soon upon me, I really didn’t want to leave this peaceful place but I have a family who would be missing me if we didn’t return on time.
Tony has cleverly carried the pack DOWN into the valley. While I am tasked with hauling it UP and out. Although It’s a bonus the pack is significantly lighter on the way out. I load up and off we go. I set a cracking pace as I have a suspicion I will struggle. Sure enough I reach a point somewhere into the journey where my mind shuts down and the heat takes over. I’ve been here before during my cycling adventures and it’s not good. Tony has packed some ice bricks to keep the beers cold….good thinking my friend. We used those to cool me down and Tony takes over carrying the pack once again. He is some kind of machine.
I’m going to need new boots!
Finally we make it back to the car. Tony is exhausted, I’m utterly wrecked and I complete the final kilometer of the hike with only one boot. The sole of my boot completely rips off!
To get a perspective on our hike we decided to take a short detour to Hargraves Lookout. The view is unbelievable. If you look at the image you can see why the Blue Mountains got their name. It is densely populated by oil bearing Eucalyptus trees. The atmosphere is filled with finely dispersed droplets of oil, which, in combination with dust particles and water vapor, scatter short-wave length rays of light which are predominantly blue in colour.