Sunday, 27 November 2011

Chapter 33: Getting back to Nature

It appears, dear reader, I have missed an important part of Kipwil’s journey in 12WBT land.  This was her second mini milestone: a bushwalk of 12 Km in an area 3 hours away from where Kipwil lived with Hubba Hubba and her children.

Hubba Hubba and Kipwil set off in the car to reach The Grampians, an area famous for bushwalking and rock formations.  It was a pleasant drive, especially since Kipwil and Hubba Hubba enjoy each other’s company so much.  They knew it would be a good day when upon arrival, a small herd of deer watched fearlessly from the side of the road as Hubba Hubba drove slowly passed, stopped and took photos.  It was a magic moment.
They approached the local guide office to be met with a small disappointment.  The bushwalk they had chosen was washed out from flooding.  Fortunately though, there was another, shorter route they could take, so armed with maps, water and a light picnic, they set off for The Pinnacles.

The day was bright and sunny, the path clearly marked. All around them was the sound of birds and the rustle of grass as lizards dashed here and there.  It was a steep path in places, with metal steps ascending almost vertically in the side of the mountain.  It wasn’t long before both Kipwil and Hubba Hubba were breathing heavily.

Along the way, they talked of everything from dreams of the future to memories of the past and all that was in between.  Kipwil felt like she did when she first met Hubba Hubba, when everything was new, exciting and overwhelming coloured with love.  They reached a rest point, about halfway up the dirt and metal track, with a gorgeous view of a dam in the distance and the township far, far below them, like a picture in a child’s book.  The air was clean and fresh, the sun warming on the skin, the wildflowers opening their tiny heads to the bees calling upon each one.  After a few photos and a drink, they set off again.

Towards the peak, the going got a little tougher.  The path petered out to rocks and they were spotting the tell-tale arrows to point them in the right direction of the peak.  Scrambling up and over, along and under, Kipwil could not wait to race ahead over the next rise.  And there it was……The Pinnacles lookout.  They had made it.

After peering over the edge at the tiny dots of houses with ribbons of roads, Kipwil and Hubba Hubba found a flat rock to sit on and enjoy a picnic.  A crow came near and made friends with Hubba Hubba who tossed small pieces of apple to it.

“Well that was a good walk but it was over too soon!” Kipwil said happily but a little disappointed.

“There’s another path over there, let’s try that one” Hubba Hubba suggested.

Packing up, they set off down the new path.

This was a rocky path to follow too and eventually led to a narrow crevice with stairs leading down into the dark.  Kipwil leaned down peering along the length and was relieved to see an opening not too far along. 

  She didn’t do well in tight enclosed spaces! A little past the crevice they came across a small waterfall….lovely cool water just trickling gently down over a shallow cave with a pebbly dirt floor.  The water fell into a narrow creek which disappeared under the ground, reappearing on the other of the path.  It was beautiful.

Sadly, continuing on their way, the intrepid bushwalkers ran into a ‘TRACK CLOSED’ sign.  They turned left onto a path to lead them back in a circular way to the top again, stopping for more water and to exchange backpacks.  When they were nearly at the Pinnacles peak, there was another sign…..leading to a car park.
“Want to try it?” Hubba Hubba asked, raising one eyebrow.

“YES!” Kipwil exclaimed and off they scrambled back over rocks and through spiky bushes covered in tiny flowers.

So far, Kipwil and Hubba Hubba had been walking for 3 hours.  Kipwil loved it, her legs felt strong and she could feel the muscles moving smoothly under her skin as she stretched over gaps or jumped onto rocks.  Her mind was at peace and her heart was light. She felt so in control of her own fate and was already making plans to come out again with the children so they too could feel the thrill and the peace of the bush.
Eventually they came out to the car park.

“ Ummm….babe, this isn’t anywhere near our car” Hubba Hubba said quietly, consulting the map they had been given.

“Why, where are we?” Kipwil said a little concerned but giggling….she couldn’t believe they were lost while knowing exactly where they were.

“ Well, we have two options, “ Hubba Hubba said, looking at the map,” we can go back the way we came, or we can go by the main road….looks about the same distance I reckon. But I have to say, my feet are starting to hurt from my shoes.”

“So, let’s go the main road, it’s smoother anyway” Kipwil suggested and so it was agreed.

The funny thing about tour maps is they are colourful and covered in cute little pictures of the view or of local flora and fauna, but they can also be highly inaccurate in measuring distances.  Kipwil and Hubba Hubba, being mindful of the time, walked and ran along the twisting road descending the mountain, expecting around every bend to see the township, only to see more and more road stretching before them.  They came up to another sign.

“Looks like we’ve got about another 5 k to go” Hubba Hubba said, “but look ahead.”

A temporary fence had been stretched across the road in front of them and a large yellow sign assertively told the tiring pair that the Road ahead was CLOSED.

“You are KIDDING me!” Kipwil exclaimed,” do we have to go back?  We’ve just walked 4 k away from the bushwalk tracks!!!!”

‘ Nah, come on” said Hubba Hubba,” we’ll be right, I think it means you can’t drive on it.”

They walked through a gap in the fencing and found themselves cut off from the world.  The silence along the road was only punctuated by the sound of their feet on the road and the calls of the magpies, bellbirds and kookaburras. It was nearing the middle of the day now, and the sun had developed a sting to it.  Kipwil could see Hubba Hubba’s face tinged with red and knew her own face and shoulders would be just the same.
They walked and ran, ran and walked forever it seemed.  Every corner led to another bend in the road and now Kipwil’s legs were starting to ache from the constant movement.  It was the longest 5 kilometres she had ever traversed.  Conversation between them still flowed and while not as free as it was, it was still filled with poking fun and laughter.

And then it happened…..they turned a bend and found themselves back into civilisation again.  Kipwil fet like falling down and kissing the nearest shop window.  They walked back to their car and collapsed inside.

“ I’ve worked out we’ve walked a bit over 21 Kilometres in 4 hours and 11 minutes, Hubba Hubba, pretty good hey! “ said Kipwil wearily.

“ We are LEGENDS” said Hubba Hubba tiredly, starting the car to head home.

“So…..when do you want to do this again?”  Kipwil asked, smiling at Hubba Hubba.

It’s amazing how much a look can communicate.

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