Reaching New Heights in Australia's Cathedral Range
Some of the most fun I've ever had has been on last minute weekend getaways. They're the kind where you hit up your friend a few days before and wonder whether they've felt "the urge" too. You know the one.
The urge to break free from concrete dunes, to forget about last week's gossip, to distract from looming Mondayitis. That urge to kiss the air and hug the trees, to love to the wilderness and let it love you back.
The old red Toyota Landcruiser squeaked as Chrissie, my adventure pal and inexperienced driver, crunched it in to third gear. The sun was out, hot for April in south-eastern Australia. Perfect conditions for a mountain getaway.
The air around Cathedral Range State Park was distinctly scented by Eucalyptus and road-dust, reminding us that we were well away from Melbourne. Headed North, we looked to our right and were stunned by the enormous mountain formation next to us. Jagged rocks jutted out along the length of the mountain range, like the scales on a Stegosaurus' back.
Ned's Gully camp-ground emptied of day visitors a few hours after our arrival - and with that, we had an entire camp-site almost to ourselves, except for the curious Kookaburra waiting for us to drop our crumbs.
Bright and early the next day, we'd met about 15 creatures in less than an hour. A pack of Kangaroos of varying sizes on our way to the outhouse, and two hikers making their way back to their car. We shortened their way as we lengthened our own - reaching the car park to the razorback climb. Bracing ourselves, we tightened our straps and pulled up our socks and walked.
Somewhere we took a wrong turn, and rather than exploring some awesome caves, we dangerously climbed a few rock-faces to get to the peak. The trail was little more than scrub and rock, making it difficult to navigate. Our sense of direction relied solely upon previous hiker's track marks and the only way being up.
Sugarloaf Peak was spectacular, and the conditions were perfect. A stunning view of the Razorback was before us, with a hazy horizon providing a eerie feel to our surroundings. While Cathedral Range doesn't host the tallest mountains in the world, it still managed to deliver on everything we were out there for: the opportunity to enjoy nature's finest with a great friend.