***Training for Kokoda and fundraising for the Mates in Construction suicide prevention program*** Donate here
When I bought my new hiking boots at the K2 store they gave me a voucher for a free trek with Base Camp Fit. I decided to book one of their more challenging hikes – a 5-6 hour mission up Mount Greville, in the Moogerah Peaks National Park (out Beaudesert way).
Somehow I managed to persuade my friend Melissa to come with me, and last Saturday we completed our most challenging hike EVER, conquering the summit of Mount Greville – circa 770m.
I have to admit I was a bit nervous as we drove out there, I wasn’t really sure about how I would handle the trek… but after several weeks of training I was keen to test my physical and mental endurance. I freaked a bit when the temperature dropped to 2°C at Aratula, but thankfully it was a balmy 8°C by the time we reached the rendezvous point.
There were 15 of us on the hike, and most of us were in training for a big adventure. Our guide Mike talked us through boot fitting and lace tying techniques (his toes were still numb from the Oxfam event where he ran pretty much nonstop for 24 hours).
After some warm up stretches we set off and Mike casually informed us he was taking us a ‘different route’ up the mountain, a route that he had personally discovered and only 12 others had ventured onto – we were going ‘off piste’.
First up was a careful descent through the beautiful Waterfall Gorge, where Mike told me to ‘trust my rubber’ when climbing down the rocks. He taught me to firmly plant my boot on the rocks to secure a good footing and to keep some forward momentum as I manoeuvred myself down the cliff face. At this point I was wondering if I had mistakenly joined the mountaineering club instead of the hiking club.
Next we scrambled up a steep rise of loose rocks and burnt trees (a controlled burn-off had been carried out a few weeks before) to reach Scorpion Gully, so named after the beastie Mike had spotted on his previous visit. We stopped for morning tea at a rocky outcrop with amazing clear views of Lake Moogorah. It felt good to be alive!
About half way up the mountain I began to notice hot spots on both heels and hoped I wasn’t getting blisters.
After more scrambling we reached the summit and stopped for lunch. I asked Mike to take a look at my CamelBak which had mysteriously stopped working. Checking the hose he couldn’t find any problem so he opened my pack to discover I had put the water bladder in upside down. #rookiemistake
I felt pretty pleased with myself for making it to the top. I placed a rock on the cairn, invoking success for all my future treks.
Mike told us it would take about 45 mins for us to get back to our cars at the base of the mountain. With renewed energy I took off down the mountain, picking up my pace and noticing the different stresses on my body going downhill. A couple more hotspots appeared on my feet so I tightened my boots again to stop them from sliding around.
On the way down I got chatting to an older lady called Judy. She told me she was training to join her daughter for a trek on Kilimanjaro. She was 62. I hope I’m rockin’ it that much when I’m 62!
After five and a half hours on our feet we reached the end of our trek. Mission accomplished. We finished up with a good stretch session and stopped at Café 17 in Boonah on the way back for ‘the best thick shakes in the world’.
As soon as I got home I ran a bath and sprinkled in some magnesium powder and essential oils to help relieve my aching muscles. I peeled off my socks to check for damage – blister free! As I lay in the bath I felt pretty pleased with myself. Today was a good milestone in my Kokoda training. But Kokoda is basically this trek 8 days in a row. Hmmmm, that thought is just a wee bit scary.
If you think five and a half hours is a mighty fine effort you might like to donate here