Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye, 2017

2017, you suck.

Here I am, on the cusp of a new year - is that the right word? - and I've watched the first sunrise of 2018 and although it was beautiful I just feel this dread inside me of not knowing what this new year will bring.

What do I want from 2018?  What do I expect?  I don't think I know, but I do hope that it's a good year.  

I haven't made any resolutions.  I have hopes, things I want to do - but the inevitability of life keeps happening outside of my control.

So I raise my figurative glass to 2018, and I say Bring It On - but not too much at once, because my basket is already pretty full with Life Things.  So maybe just Bring It On Gently. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


I wasn’t allowed to put butter in the mashed potatoes.  Milk, yes, but not butter, because butter cost money, and money was something that we didn’t have.  It’s not a bad memory, just a memory, something I think of as I make mashed potatoes with heapings of butter, standing at the stovetop, reminiscing.  It’s always strange making food for one.  How many potatoes do you need for one serve of mash?  I always get it wrong.  We used to weigh it: 3oz of potatoes per person, unless it was for roast, and then at least double.  There were plenty of potatoes.  We grew whole fields of them, and during winter they were stored in big piles under hessian sacks in the byre.  There was a field full of carrots, and I am told my brother ate so many one day during harvest that he completely lost the taste for them.  That’s not a real memory, but one I learnt from someone else.

How do you separate memories from stories?  Is it a memory I have of asking my dad for popping paper, or do I know it because I have seen it countless times in the video recorded of my childhood?  “Daddy, can I have some popping paper?” is not a phrase I remember saying, but a little voice I can hear in my mind from the recording.

I do remember some things.  I remember sitting in the car to go to Naas hospital when Jonathan broke his leg.  I must have been around five.  I remember reading Tintin in the lounge and choosing to stay reading rather than take Jonathan to the airport.  At eight, I didn’t realise he wouldn’t be coming back.  And when days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and my brother didn’t return, I remembered reading Tintin and choosing the book over my brother.  Is it a bad memory, reading Tintin?  No, but I did wish I had gone to the airport instead.

I don’t have many memories of my brothers before they left.  I was eight when Jonathan went to Alaska, and around ten for Christopher’s departure.  I remember going to Johnny’s Bay, an inlet of Blessington Lake that my brother “discovered.”  I remember running through a wasp’s nest, and stopping because Pam had told me never to run away from wasps, and I remember one of my brothers shouting at me to run – and stubbornly standing still until they started to sting me. 

Jon and Chris had a chin-up bar at the door of their bedroom, far above my head, and dumbbells that Jon had made and filled with cement.  I wasn’t allowed in their bedroom – I shared one with Sarah next to my parent’s room.  Jonathan smashed my face into the carpet one day because I refused to leave their room, but more vividly I remember being spanked because I continued to pick the scab on my nose – something I entirely blamed my brother for.

That was when we lived at the house.  When we moved to the chalet, Chris’s room was the other end of the building.  I don’t remember whether Jonathan had moved to Alaska by this point.  Sarah’s and my room was painted the most awful pink, with pink floral curtains and a sickly pink carpet.  When Sarah finally moved out, my parents bought me a large blue and cream rug to cover the majority of the carpet, changed the curtains to blue ones, and also painted the walls blue.  I don’t think it was so much the hatred of pink as the hatred of having to have pink.  Pink coats, pink bedroom, all the dresses that I had to wear because I was a girl.

I remember climbing trees.  Jon and Chris climbed higher and with ropes if they couldn’t get up by themselves.  I never went that far, but I remember perching at the very top of the laurels and firs, peeking out over the driveway and yelling at passerbys.  I don’t ever remember being cautioned not to fall, although Sarah got banned from tree-climbing for tearing too many clothes – also not a memory for me, only for her.

We had rabbits’ offal on toast, for lunch, and sometimes tuna, although never more than a spoonful, but if you scraped it thin enough you could spread it over two slices of toast. In those days, it was usually margarine, and once we got free tubs of sunflower spread from a grocer because they were out of date.  Unfortunately, sometimes they had gone off and tasted strong, bitter and rank. Kathy always thought they tasted fine, but she would also drink sour milk and strong butter, when we had it.  There were countless lemon biscuits, as they came by the crate load.  Matthew Beaney saved a packet for years and years as a memento of those times.  Maybe he still has it.

As children, we never had homework.  School started at 0830, and finished at 1530, except for the older children, who finished at 1700.  When free of school, we had chores which included looking after ducklings, chicks and pet lambs in the spring.  My childhood bible lists the names and dates of births of all of my pet lambs under births, deaths and marriages – and yes, it lists the deaths (yum) too!  The rest of the time, we were free to roam, unsupervised.  We played cops and robbers, dammed the stream, climbed trees, and I’m surprised that Mum ever kept up with the laundry.  The outdoors, adventure, and exploring, always held my heart.  Of course, I also spent a lot of time playing with Barbies!

It seems like a long time ago, all these memories.  I spend so much time now going through the motions of life: going to work, coming home, eating, watching Netflix, and often I forget to remember what’s important.  Was it important that we didn’t have money?  No.  Was it important that we ate offal instead of steak?  Well, actually I like offal – Sarah doesn’t.  Chris wrote poetry about it “Offal is Awful” but that’s not a bad memory, to me.  Chicken hearts were my favourite – and bacon rinds!  I don’t know what ever happened to the bacon – I never remember getting any.  We were a family, and we were loved, and that’s more important than owning anything, or having nice possessions.  I mean, yes, I wanted a coat that wasn’t pink, but that’s not what made me who I am.

If you’re expecting this post to have a meaningful conclusion, I guess that’s it.  I was sitting on the couch watching Netflix, and then I started to think about what I was going to have for lunch – bangers and mash – and then I started thinking about butter, and that, your honour, is why I wrote this post.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Not enough time

I feel like I need a thousand days off to get done all the things I want to get done.  Mainly because I spend my actual days off climbing mountains or watching Netflix.  Today is a Netflix day as I ache all over and my neck is feeling particularly dodgy. 

So far today, I have cleaned the guinea pigs' cage - yes, that's my newest venture - and bought them oodles of fresh fruit and veggies.  Mind you, I don't get any fresh fruit or veggies, those are specifically for the wiglets, and instead, I have mince pies, chocolates and Cheezels.  Personal health 101...

Blogging is one of the things that has fallen by the wayside, despite epic mountain adventures such as our nine hour hike on Mt Barney, which was exciting and excellent and terribly wet on the descent.  Narrowly missing a rescue on Mt Beerwah a couple of days ago - a couple fell 20m merely 10 or so minutes after we left the mountain.  A sunrise climb up Beerwah was another thing I have failed to blog about, and of course the entire arrival of the guinea pigs to the household.

If I were a real blogger, I would have told you all about these things.  Instead, I've spent the majority of the day watching back to back episodes of The Crown.  An excellent series, I must say.  This is on top of cleaning out the wiglets, of course.  Lily also got fed, because being a mother comes with responsibilities.

Anyway, I'm already running out of oomph for blogging, so the rest must come later.  In the meantime, YouTube calls...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

So much to tell

Beerwah and Tibro today, just because they were there, although now my knees are saying they are also there. We went as a group from the social climbers FB page, and my new hero is a 69 year old woman who flew up the mountains and says she wants to have her 70th birthday party on top of Beerwah next year.  I want to be like her when I'm old!

Christmas tree we helped to build on top of Beerwah.

Yesterday I wrapped tons and tons of Christmas presents, and went to Albury, but not in that order.  

At the top of Tibro with Tash.

Friday, I climbed Tibro, also because it was there, and Thursday, as we are tracking my week backwards, I conquered Mt Warning.  It just keeps on going on and on, steps ad infinitum, with a scramble at the end but horribly man made due to concrete steps and even a chain along the scramble.  It's a 9k round trip and took me 2h16 so I'm pretty happy with that - 1h19 of constant uphill.  I stayed down in Coolangatta the night before, as Warning is a good 2h+ drive from home, and as I was down south for work anyway, it seemed pointless to go home.  I hoped for some good photos but it was totally in cloud. 

No view on Mt Warning...

Then of course backtracking to Tuesday, I was in Osborne for the day and managed to get a tour of the mine.  It was very cool and I got to learn all about the things they were mining - like bornite and chalcopyrite- and even bring home a couple of specimens.  

The mine: there is actually an underground mine opening that continues down to 1200m.

This is an example of the core they drill to decide where to mine.

Anyway it has been a VERY busy week, and I am about to go to Tamworth, so I should close this post.  Also, on Wednesday we plan to climb Mt Barney - expecting a 8-9hour hike, and I have been told I'll need about 5 litres of water, so that could get interesting...

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Oh Beerwah, you are truly gorgeous.

And the early morning sun reflecting off the dam made the view even more beautiful.  Strange seeing my mountains from the other direction: Coonowrin, the crooked neck at the left, Tibrogargan top centre.  You can even see Tiberoowuccum on Tib's right.  I believe Ngungun is directly behind Coonowrin.

It was a much nicer climb in the dry.

Scrambling up the 'bowl' got us to the cliff face, which was incredible, sheer and impassable although people do climb it.

View straight up the cliff from below. 

We then climbed around the base of the cliff to continue our ascent along one of the ridges, as clearly, the cliff wasn't going to be our route.

We even investigated a bat cave, I have no photos of this but John had a torch and we slipped down into the cave on our hands and knees and crawled along to see the little bats.  So cool - creepy, but cool.

The bare path that looks like a river is our rocky scramble up the bowl: probably about 45 degree slope at a guess?  Definitely not as technical as Tib.

From another angle (the opposite side of the bowl)

Made it to the top!  A cool picture even if John is unable to keep a horizon straight!

Proof that I did not climb alone.  This is John, a friendly climber I met yesterday on Tibrogargan, and who helped me safely navigate Beerwah today.  

It was o so breathtaking and o so beautiful.  Dad, you will truly love this mountain!! 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

(Backup) We didn't make it

It rained.

It rained a lot.

Also, Lily threw up in my bed at 0400.  

Also, my plans of climbing Beerwah were scuppered by the rain.  We started off anyway - actually it was dry leaving Mango Hill, so the doubts only set in as we headed on to Steve Irwin Way.  

"It's a bit wet," I commented

"Oh, you noticed that too?" said Ben.

So of course we continued to Beerwah, deciding to see if it got any drier on the way (oh the dreams of fools). It didn't get any drier.  In fact, it got wetter, but that's by the way.  

My doubts started rising, but Ben seemed keen so we started climbing.  It wasn't actually raining at that point, and although the rocks were wet, my "Five Tens" were gripping really well.  When Ben realised his hiking boots were going to make him slip off the mountain and die, he took them off, deciding to attempt to climb barefoot.

It was around that point that it started to rain, the clouds came down to meet us, and the previously wet rocks became rivers and waterfalls.  Climbing up a little further, my heart in my mouth, I decided that especially as I had never even attempted Beerwah in the dry, Beerwah in the wet was not going to happen.  

Yes.  There was cloud BELOW us, and yes, those are Ben's toes.

Cloud above us too, and Ben's bare feet, as proof for Dad.

The main reason I decided not to climb any higher was that Ben told me a story of some guys who climbed up it in the cloud and lost their way and fell off the cliff and broke a leg and couldn't get rescued because the helicopter couldn't fly in the conditions.

Some of what we climbed, with added waterfalls.

A wet and concerned Kate... surely stories of people falling and being unrescuable would scare others too?

When we got back to the bottom I took a photo of Beerwah in the cloud behind us.  The cloud was lower when we were ascending: in fact you can see blue to the left, so the rain was clearly easing!  Maybe we could have achieved it!

So instead, I took Ben up Tiberoowuccum (MY mountain) and got bitten by a thousand mosquitos, all of which seemed to want to come home with us in the car.

And now, I am home, and safe, and dry, and doing countless loads of laundry on my day off to counteract Lily throwing up in my bed on EVERYTHING.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


I'm not meaning to brag, but... (which generally means I am) I completed Tiberoowuccum carpark to carpark in 36 minutes, and that includes going the long way around the back.  I also ran most of the downhill and around the back because I forgot to load my backpack into the car and therefore didn't have any bug spray (or water, sorry, Lily).  Due to running, I managed to escape with only three mozzie bites and one tick.  Which I flung out of the car window in disgust as soon as it was discovered.  I am prepared for my neck to play up due to the running... but hopefully it doesn't!

I also did not stop to take any photos, as I was in a hurry.  I also told Lily to SIT and STAY at the bottom of the cliff part at the end - only to turn around at the top to see her scramble up alone!  I then descended... and she clung to the rocks whimpering, shaking and crying, until I picked her up and hoisted her down (no backpack, remember), so that lost me a minute or two.  Dumb dog!  At least she was able to get up!

Due to the tick on me, I have given her some tick medicine despite it not technically being due for another 10 days.  Call me paranoid, but both my neighbour and colleague have had paralysis ticks on their cats, and I don't want to go through that!

Now I'm hoping to go out for breakfast (if Kaitlyn EVER tells me the plan) and then it's off to work again.  No rest for the wicked! 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Townsville Adventures

I am ever so very tired.  I woke up this morning at 0300 feeling wide awake, and ended up doing my budget on my laptop for want of anything else to do.  Today is officially my day off, but it started in Townsville - again - and so far has involved a 10k hike including Castle Hill (yes, I was tired to start off with), a doctor appointment, and now paxing home.

I wasn't staying in the normal crew hotel, so it was a nice surprise to find out that breakfast was included.  After some eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and fresh fruit - and of course the inevitable coffee - I set off to find Castle Hill.

I was a little annoyed to find that they had closed the Goat Track for renovations.  They are putting in horrible man made stairs.  It always makes me sad when perfectly good trails are made artificial.

I entered at my own peril, but had to change route onto the main road half way due to the construction.  No sign of back burning.

Pano over the bay and magnetic island.  Dad, I can send you a full resolution picture.

It was a really hard climb, partly due to the few beers I had last night, partly due to lack of sleep and partly because it was almost 5k to the Goat Track in the first place!

Townsville Airport.

Me, just about alive - but barely.

Some other man made staircase that I did not go down as I ran out of time before my appointment.

I then descended via the main road as fast as I could - half running until the stitch got too bad (thanks, free breakfast) - and half walking.  I then got an Uber from the base and made it to my appointment, nice and hot and sweaty but on time.  (And then waited half an hour for the doctor). 9k total, plus the 1k walk from the doctor back to the hotel.  Not too shabby for a morning in Townsville.

The reason for the doctor was to check that I didn't damage my ears yesterday while flying.  We had a rapid descent due to various issues that I'm not going to go in to on the blog: if any one wants details, email me!  Everyone was fine, we just had to follow the process and get checked out, and now I'm paxing home to Brisbane, hopefully for days off!

I'm glad I got to see the view from Castle Hill though: maybe next time the Goat Track will be fully open.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


I guess a blog post should have a title once in awhile.  

I have been told that I should stop using my shins for climbing.  I tried very hard not to, last time I climbed Tibrogargan: I was, however, accused of using my knees instead.  I also managed to walk into a tow-bar today, shin first, mainly due to not looking where I was going and partly due to my shins' magnetic attraction to bruises.  I also pretended to everyone in the vicinity, that I had intended to stop abruptly and then squat to look at the nosegear... I'm not sure whether I pulled it off, but nobody actually commented.

I am now halfway through my third overnight of the week, of which only one was actually scheduled.  The first was Townsville, for the second I found myself in Sydney, and now I'm back in Townsville, so I do seem to be doing the grand tour of the East Coast!  In other aviation news, I almost have enough hours to not be considered "green" any more (150), and have almost flown with everyone there is to fly with: this is easy as there are only about ten first officers.  I've also broken most of the airplanes: although I have found that usually they are broken when I find them.  Also, I have killed a cane toad and a rabbit, but have yet to impact any birds.  The Embraer is a bit smaller than the ATR so it's smaller of a target: I must try harder, I know.

In non-aviation terms, I've had to tone down my climbing this week due to anti social work hours.  I managed Tibrogargan on Thursday and Ngungun today - Sunday - and am hoping for Tiberoowuccum on Tuesday but that depends how late I finish socialising tomorrow night.  Also am hoping to complete Beerwah this week... but that depends on a couple of factors outside of my control!

There are thirteen Glasshouses in total and I believe only one of them is actually closed off, so perhaps I should try to find trails up some of the others.  I must try to Collect Them All.

It is now 2042 and in keeping with the Early To Bed Early To Rise mantra, I must try to organise my life, as I have a taxi booked for 0615.  That said, I am working six days in a row - again - and with five earlies followed by a late on day six, I'm doomed!

The good news is it only has to be delayed by 25 minutes for me to get a day off payment........๐Ÿ™„

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Looks like my housemates decided Connor needed a snack.  In other news, meet Connor, my new Christmas Bear, who has joined the family of four other bears.  You can never have enough: if I get one a year for the rest of my life, it's going to be a lot of bears.  So far, I have Bertie 2013, Ollie 2014, Nameless 2015 and Hudson 2016.  Nameless only because I can't actually remember, and Hudson and Connor have their official names on their feet so really the only names I have to remember are Bertie's and Ollie's.  Maybe Nameless should be given a better name. 

Yesterday morning, Lily and I did an impromptu hike of Tiberoowuccum, which was really hard work as I set off too fast and then wore myself out, and then walked into a tree, which killed several brain cells.  Lily had a ball, returning home caked in orange clay.  Then Manda and I went Christmas shopping and I spent all of my savings in one go (it was such fun) and now have to save up again before finishing the shopping!  I have only a couple of gifts left to get.  

Also, my Indian neighbour already has their Christmas lights up, and as I'm not content to be beaten, Ceri has been instructed that his job of the day is to put our lights up!  It may not be November yet, but it's never too early for Christmas!  Ceri should thank his lucky stars that we haven't yet started on the tree...

My last two days off today and tomorrow, starting now with a massage followed by indoor rock climbing... hurrah for me!

And that is all I have time for otherwise I shall be late.


Monday, October 23, 2017

The Art of Flying

"Sometimes, falling feels a lot like flying."

Left base to RWY01 BNE just before sunset

I get that.  And, as I'm a pilot in my spare time, I feel I can reserve the right to use any quote I see fit.  I do have a few favourites.  I also reserve the right to start a sentence with a conjunction as a) it's my blog and b) beer.  PS all the best blogs are written with beer PPS not all PSs have to be at the end (my blog, my rules).

Douglas Adams in the "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" has a good section on flying: there is indeed an art to flying, he surmises, "The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss". 

Learn more at

Or read the book, I dare you.

I'm not sure I've really worked out the missing part.  I guess I need more distractions.

My dog is demanding more Cheese and Bacon shapes.  I think she recognises that once the beer comes out, there is no more Lily-can't-have-anything-more-than-5%-fat rule and Pancreatitis-isn't-a-thing.  -#irresponsiblemother.

I have just finished six days' flying - one was a reserve - and have climbed quite a few Things.  I'd like to call them mountains but I also hesitate to call anything less than 1000m a mountain.  The Glasshouse Hills doesn't really have the same ring to it.  I also want to take Lil up Tiberoowuccum tomorrow but that depends on whether I crack open another beer - but given the amount of food I've eaten today, I should get hiking!

BNE CBD from a little bit south of GLENN.

"Sometimes, falling feels a lot like flying."  

I just thought I'd quote that again.  I really like that quote.  

"I balanced all, brought all to mind.

The years ahead seemed waste of breath

A waste of breath the years behind

In balance with this life, this death."

-W B Yeats

Probably my most favourite poem ever.  Call me morbid but, it's awesome.  

"A lonely impulse of delight 

Drove to this tumult in the clouds!" 

See?  It's not all morbid!

Sometimes you can see the turbulence 

Then there's of course Learning to Fly, by Pink Floyd.

"There’s no sensation to compare with this

Suspended animation, a state of bliss

Can’t keep my mind from the circling sky

Tongue-tied and twisted

Just an earth-bound misfit, I"

It took a long time for me to start feeling lonely.  I think I recognise it now.  I think that having Things Almost Within My Reach has brought on an attack of the Feels.  Maybe the beer is helping, maybe not.  Maybe I will die alone - Lily will only last 10-12 years and I hope I have longer than that - but who knows.  Can I be happy just being me?  Me, and just me, for ever?  My father's father used to say that Forever is a very long time.  I never realised until now how true that was.

"Sometimes, falling feels a lot like flying."

Sunrise, BNE airport 

I have to say that in actual day to day flying, there aren't a whole lot of "state[s] of bliss" or "tumult[s] in the clouds" which, for the benefit of the General Public, is probably a good thing.  But at least flying (and climbing Things) gets me out of the house.

Apparently I was mean in my previous post, commenting about someone being slower at climbing than me.  I disagree.  It's not mean to say what I think on my very own blog.  I tone down a lot of what I really want to say - that maybe I would say, with beer - because of who I know will be reading it.  I don't say what I think because I'm afraid of other people's reactions.  I don't say what I think in Life in General because of Other People.  I don't tell people what I like, what I prefer, what I want to do.  I don't tell people no, I don't say "actually, I don't enjoy this" because I'm afraid I will offend someone.  So yes, someone was slower at climbing than me.  So yes, I was bloody slow when I climbed it the first time.  So yes, I was commenting that she was slower than I would have liked, and I had wanted to climb the whole thing without stopping.  I still want to climb the whole thing without stopping.  Would I take her again?  Yes, of course.  Would I take her again on a day when I wanted to climb without stopping? No, probably not.  Is it okay to say she was slow?  Well, I don't think it would be nice for me to tell her that she was slow, but for me to comment on my very own blog about how I actually feel?  I think that's ok.  In fact, I wish I did it more often.  I don't, because People, and I don't even think that this will make me start: but I do reserve the right to do so.  Maybe that's what got me in trouble in the first place.  You know, with life, the universe, and everything.  Love, marriage, and the non-existent baby carriage.  Not saying how I really felt.  There you have it!  And now, it's me and Lily and if I decide to say something on my blog: so be it! 

Rant over.

And yes, sometimes falling feels very much like flying.

Storm tops 

And sometimes, even drinking all of the leftover beer doesn't mean that one feels any less lonely than one did before.  

And at times like these, friends saying "but I live thirty seconds away, you could hang out with me" really doesn't cut it.  Thanks, and I appreciate it, but wearing my heart on my sleeve and all that, me and Lily just gonna sit here on the couch and continue feeling Lonely.

PS: I'm not an alcoholic

PPS: I plan to hike Tiberoowuccum tomorrow.

PPPS: if it wasn't an enforced day off (day 7) I'd probably volunteer to work.

PPPPS: I'm not an alcoholic Take 2.

Sunset รก la Embraer 

Friday, October 20, 2017

I have the worst headache.  I've never had a migraine so I can't tell you how it compares, but this just won't go away.  I'm also lying in bed feeling sorry for myself, and at the same time debating what to have for dinner, because once again Nobody Cooked and Nobody Shopped and the fridge is full but there is Nothing To Eat.

I got up bright and early to climb Tibrogargan with a group we threw together the last couple of days.  M invited one of the cabin crew, and I invited a couple of pilots, and off we trotted.  Except... the invited cabin crew ended up being the Least Fittest Ever and so it was a long and painfully slow climb.  I tried to be patient and I tried to be nice but I had been thinking I might get to climb Tib all in one go so that was a little disappointing.  However we all did make it to the top - hooray for her - and we all did make it back down again with no rescue choppers involved, so that was a bonus.

Shocking photo but it's all I've got.

Having done that and not feeling as worn out as I would have liked to have been, B and I went and climbed Ngungun as fast as we could.  Okay, I climbed it as fast as I could, he patiently stayed beside me as I struggled up.  He does hill running so my fast walking was barely more than a snail's pace for him!  

Once home, I got the amazing experience of reviewing a manual for work for a few hours, but slowly the headache has been catching up with me and now I have been lying in bed for 30 minutes hoping it will go away, with the help of some Neurofen and Panadol.  It's not working, and not wanting to take anything stronger I suppose I must just deal with it!

Tomorrow morning I am apparently doing Ngungun again - but a much slower version - and although hoping to go rock climbing afterwards, that is no longer happening, and I must find something else to fill my empty weekend - let's face it, I shall probably just end up reviewing this manual I have been given.

It's very easy to feel lonely when you're surrounded by people, and then they all go home and Do Their Thing and you're left sitting at home alone with a Lily.  It's a very nice Lily and it gives very nice cuddles and it is Ever So Happy To See Me and yet, it's not really the same.  I suppose I will get used to it one day.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ngungun in the rain

That was possibly the coldest and wettest climb of 2017.  It started out ok, just some light rain, and although I felt like I had very little energy - despite having breakfast - I was pretty determined.  Initially my goal was to go up and down three times, but realistically twice was plenty!  After the first climb, it started smashing down, so by the time I got back to the base I was thoroughly drenched.  This did, however, keep me relatively cool climbing up the second time.- although once I got to the summit it was freezing!  The wind had started howling across the bare rocks, transforming the heavy rain into horizontal barbs, and the wet gym shirt and leggings were no longer adequate!

I took one photo, and then replaced my camera safely back into its plastic baggy - no water damage for me, thanks!

The entire drive home was pretty cold despite turning the heat up, and the shower once I got home was divine.  I am now lying in bed enjoying the fact that it is warm and dry.  The entire climb (ok entire two climbs) took 1h12 on my Garmin.

I am leaning heavily towards getting a Fenix 5S, as I dislike the fact that my current Forerunner 220 thinks that everything I do is a run - and therefore seems to laugh at me when it says I only do 1k in 16 minutes, etc...

I have also been told that I should get a shell coat to protect me from the elements.  We shall see.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


I'm not sure who's more worn out, her or me.

We found some pretty flowers while looking for the way up, but she didn't want to pose - too much exploring to do!

The view up here is amazing, and it is so quiet except for the rapid breathing of the exhausted dog child.  She even has her own water bottle today: mainly because I decided to carry two as training for when I climb Beerwah!

You can see all of the glasshouses from here.

Beerwah and Coonowrin.


I don't know the names of all the others.

I think I shall just sit here awhile and ponder.  I'm having a bit of a mopey day today: I figure it's healthier to mope on the top of a hill than in my bed.  Which would of course have been easier.

Friday, October 6, 2017


Despite my strong dislike of crowds, I managed to last seven shops before the anxiety hit.  Remind me never to go shopping at the weekend again - actually I say that every time - and at least I managed to get what I actually went for before I panicked and dashed for the exit!  It was the first two shops that started pushing me towards the brink of neurosis.

In Rockwear, the salesperson laughed at me for wanting a top which involved a back - apparently backless tops are all the rage nowadays - and for wanting a top without tangled straps.  Seriously, are comfort and modesty completely foreign notions?  It's not like I was asking for a full sleeve full length roll neck work out top.  

In Lorna Jane, the plastic-surgery ridden woman followed me around like a hyena, telling me all of the things that she thought were "traditional" - sorry love, really, no - and finding me the "most comfortable ever" leggings which cut in most horribly and cost $99 "but I have lots of these, darling, and they'll wear in".  Yeah, no?  

In the shops where I actually bought things, I was completely left alone to my own devices, able to try things on without being given twenty different options none of which I liked but "they look amazing on you" (thanks, Lorna Jane), and much much more reasonably priced.  This way I can buy new exercise gear ten times as often as if I had shopped in the initial places.  (Does that mean I'll be stressed out ten times as much?)

Having braved the shops, and survived mostly intact, I am excited that both of my children return home this afternoon.  I love my space, and my "me time" but having C in Auckland for the week and H in Mackay, it has been very very quiet.  Manda hasn't even stayed over, due to her mum having a hip replacement.  It has just been me and Lily in a very large house, very alone.  Mind you, the bonus is not having to wear clothes but we won't go there.  You're welcome. 

Tonight, I'm going to see Kingsman (the sequel) with The Friends.  I haven't been to the movies in ages - unlike H who goes every single week, on his own - so I'm really looking forward to it.  Maybe you'll even be lucky enough to get a movie review.  Which reminds me, I really want to re-watch Hacksaw Ridge, which C has bought, but Manda borrowed it before I got a chance.

One more day off ahead and then it's back to work.  I have nothing planned on the climbing front yet - although I did traipse up Ngungun this morning.  I'd hate to call it a climb as really, after Tibro... 

So having not involved any photos in this post, I suppose I shall leave you one of me in the cave on Ngungun.

Oh and maybe a misty shot of Beerwah (and Coonowrin) 

Thursday, October 5, 2017


I did it!  I climbed the Caves Route, on a rope, because seriously without a rope is super scary and only suitable for people like M who climbed without a rope so that the rope could be there for me.  And although I did the climb not using the rope, the mere availability of it gave me confidence to climb.  

This is the route we took (pardon the resolution, I stole the photo from Google and M penned in the route)

(We didn't actually fly the last part)

Let's be honest, I was tired before we got to the rock part.  

The first rock face with my esteemed lead climber.

The view from the first cave.

Climbing, ever climbing...

The second cave.  I pretty much stopped taking photos then because, yeah.  Fatigue.

Do I look like I'm dying?

It was so so hot.  Every now and then we would get an inkling of a breeze.  The higher we went, the blacker the rock and therefore the hotter the rock.  I think I changed my shoes three times in between the approach shoes (for hiking and climbing) and the specific climbing shoes (for just real climbing).

I had another bottle of water in the car and oh how I wished I had brought it with me!  My legs wouldn't stop shaking on the way down but they did keep going so I'm home now, alive!

I can't wait to do it again, and next time hopefully inviting E&E (old job).

Did I mention how much pure fun it was though?  Fear, adrenalin, adventure... the whole fear of heights thing maybe makes it even more of a challenge!