Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Walk in the Bush - Australia

On my (self destructive) quest for fitness, I thought it a good idea to go for a hike in the nearby Royal National Forest between the Gong and Sydney. This is a large natural area that is thickly vegetated, semi-tropical with almost rain forest type of plants. This is appropriately known as Bush Walking in Australia. There are trails throughout the park and the sign indicating Bundeena is 11 miles away as the crow flies. On this trail who knows, it is probably double that distance and doesn’t count the endless ups and downs that are probably along the route. Naturally, I took the shorter route down to Werrong Beach, must to my dismay.

As the sign says, “Unclad Beach,” it is one of the few officially sanctioned in Australia. They only allow the most beautiful and fit people entrance to this particular beach, in spite of me crashing their party. There isn’t a guard at the entrance wearing only a blue and white checkered…collar determining who is fine enough to enter, they use the trail for natural selection of who is fit enough to clamber down to the beach, and survive the return trip back up the cliff. I survived but I doubt I’ll be going back anytime soon.

The trail began innocently enough, with a stroll along what they call the Squeeze Way since it has a metal railing set back from the ever sloughing cliff side and the trail is barely wide enough to walk, let along pass anyone, creating a very intimate and friendly situation. Shortly after the sign indicating a junction in the trail, it begins to go down to the water…and I mean DOWN! I’d read a description of the trail and it sounded bleak and unfortunately it was all too true. While it is in good condition, there certainly are areas where you must be careful as the trail is either very narrow, goes over large rocks, roots, trees, etc. basically the usual debris that collects or is unavoidable on a semi-maintained trail. Some of it is pretty good, having steps set in with large flat rocks or timbers, but generally it’s carved out my many intrepid people who yearn for a naturist experience on a very lovely beach.

Today I do feel a little stiff and my joints ache, but I survived. Maybe I’ll go back when I’m in much better shape, like the guy I met on the way down who was carrying his surfboard back up the trail! I can’t believe it still. The length of the trail is about 2km, most of it at a pretty good incline. By the way, Men: 12, Women: 1, some Bush Walk.