The state of New South Wales has many national parks that are popular with bush walkers. One bush walk which I did was the toughest I have ever embarked on. It has many different terrains, wet and dry; and hills to climb and descent. A friend suggested we do the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park bush walk which is North of Sydney. He said the hiking should just takes about 2-3 hours. We agreed to go with the plan as he was usually right from past experience. He was way off the mark.
There were five of us including his little boy Vincent who is 4 years old. The day started with us convening at his house and travelling in one car to Cowan train station. The weather on the weekend of October morning last year didn't look good. It was a little chilly and the sky looked overcast. We crossed the railway tracks into the bushland to begin our walk which started with us descending down the hill which is littered with large rocks. By this time it has started to drizzle and poured briefly. It certainly wasn't a very optimistic start to our walk. Half way done the hill with creeks and water flowing, and having to climb over large stones I think we did briefly looked at each other's face and wondered if we should continue with the hike. I guess we pushed ahead as we have been talking about the hike for sometime now and we just wanted to do it.
The trek took us through some significant vegetation change passing through bush to rainforest vegetation. After about 2 hrs hike and walking along side the river we arrived at the Jerusalem Bay at the bottom of the hill. It was quite rewarding as the view of the bay is amazing with palm trees and a few leisure boats anchored by the side. The water was calm and it was a good time for us to take a break.
After a short break, we began with a very steep climb up the hill. I think there were about 2-3 big hills that we had to climb. At the peak of one of the hill, the view across the plain was spectacular with rich green vegetation and hills. Along the way, we saw numerous water views and diversity of fauna. We also cross a small little dam which marked the beginning of our final descent. At the last hill, we could see from the distance the Brooklyn bridge which was picturesque. By that time we were exhausted and we started to break out into groups.
Vincent has been amazing so far and hasn't really complained about tiredness. Only towards the end of the hike did his dad has to briefly piggy-back him. Vincent reminded me of the Energizer battery ad that you see on TV. That cute tiny bunny that keeps running and running without stopping. Vincent is just unbelievable.
Towards the last kilometre, there was a big down pour of rain and I had to take shelter under a tree which barely protected me from the rain. By that time I have been disengaged from the group and was soaking wet. I did for a moment felt trapped and wondered how long the rain is going to go for. Thankfully it was brief.
By the time we descended down the last hill to Brooklyn station and see 'life', it had been over 6 hours since we started the trek. The sun was setting and we were exhausted, dehydrated and starving. We were glad the trek was finally over. We found a nice seafood restaurant, ate and drink to our heart's content.
It had been an amazing day. It's the story of this little boy Vincent, who regardless of his age shows us his determination and strength to go through the long trek and complete it. What a champion.
Bushwalking website - Cowan to Brooklyn Station
History of the Great North Walk - wikipedia