|Numbers 1 - 7. I'm #2 on the far right :)|
Well, well, well. I am never pre-naming blog posts again. I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep on Friday night, and decided the blog post I would write about the following days event would be titled "Princesses do not bushwalk". I thought it was funny and apt for me and that it would be a kind of cool title for what could then be a post about an event that I conquered. That was it. Never did I think that the title would be so true.
This, kids, is a story as to why princesses definitely DO NOT bushwalk. :)
So my friend Cathy had this crazy idea to go for a bushwalk. Not just any bushwalk, it was the Queen of all bushwalks! This was the start of the blurb on the Facebook event:
They say it takes 4 days to do - but they haven't met the awesomeness of the Queensland 12WBT crew!
|Good morning, sunshine!|
This is a 58km walk. There are several access points, YOU CAN JUST MEET US FOR PART OF THE WALK - we may not make it to the end - but what's the harm in giving it a go?
Well the harm is actually you could end up in the ED of the Nambour Hospital - but that is a tale for the end of the story. :) Funny, the QLD 12WBT crew IS awesome, but they haven't met Princess Kate.
So Cathy created the event, I 'ummed and ahhhed' for many weeks and finally decided on Wednesday that I would decline it. I wanted to go- but I am not experienced and I didn't want to hold back the pack. On Thursday I saw Cathy and Ruth. Within 5 minutes I was now doing the event. ;) They didn't have to twist my arm, they barely just touched it. I did want to do it! Cathy said she'd hang with me at the back if that's where I was and wouldn't leave me. Oh gosh- didn't that turn out to be true. ;)
So that is the turn of events that led me to waking up at midnight on Friday night (my usual bed time!) I had 2 hours sleep, packed my backpack, grabbed my Mexican hat (?) and drove up to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. I had pre-Googled where I had to go. Initially I had to go to a place called Obi Obi. WTF? Where was I going? It all sounded like some remote, far away land. This was so far out of my comfort zone I couldn't even see my comfort zone anymore. It was so far away, probably in a place called Obi Obi or somewhere like that. ;)
|The scariest looking lake I could find on Google|
I was so nervous. I didn't explain to anyone why this was such a big deal for me. It wasn't even the 40km walk (Cathy and I planned to do 40km, not the full 58km). The thing was, I don't, well didn't, bushwalk. All my life I've hated bushwalking. I am not a nature person. And I'm scared of animals. All animals. But there's a few I'm utterly terrified of. I have an intense phobia of....rodents ('R' and 'M's') and can't handle seeing them. And birds are a close second. I can handle most animals: bugs, dogs, small spiders, it's not too bad, if they're at a safe distance. But R's and M's, I can not even talk about. And I'm not good with other animals that jump. Even at the big grown up age of 31, if I visit my parents and there is a toad between my car and their front door, I will phone their house phone from my car and ask them to come and accompany me into their house (ie protect me from the toad). I know. When I was a teenager, if I heard a rustling in my room from a 'M', I would scream for my little (!) brothers and stand on their feet as they would walk me out of my room. It is a real phobia. I love my friends, care for them like you wouldn't believe and would die for them- but when it comes to animals, I will sacrifice my friends first. Always. ;)
Many years ago I was overseas for work and we visited a jungle as part of a tour we were on. We walked a short distance to see a pretty waterfall. It really wasn't a big deal. I remember almost chucking a little princess hissy fit because we had to do this. I didn't- my princess hissy fits are always done in my head, but I think that day there were tears. I hate the bush/jungle! That is all. In bed on Friday night I remembered this and was proud that I wasn't like that anymore. Not that I liked nature all of a sudden, but I was proud that I was giving this a go and pushing my limits, and wasn't the princess I used to be.
Or so I thought.
But apart from animals, I was moreso worried about my foot that I hurt the week before. It had gotten better but had started hurting again- I didn't tell anyone just how much because I didn't want it to be seen as an excuse not to do this event. My leg was throbbing in the day leading up. But suck it up princess, I bought some strapping tape and I was going to try anyway.
Sooooo. Just before I made it to the meeting point, I went to the wrong spot and had to drive around a lake. I can't remember the last time I was that scared. I felt like I was in a scary movie. It was dead quiet, eerily serene, and I was driving around a lake in the middle of a mountain at 2:30am. All I could think of was "this is where girls get murdered" and I had my hand over my mouth as I drove. Terrifying. Close by though I found Cathy. She agreed about the lake - but didn't help my cause by pretending to do the Blair Witch Project thing with a torch under her face, whispering "The Lake....The Lake..." in a scary voice. ;)
|WTF am I doing here?|
The rest of the group arrived and we were handed maps and glow sticks and a head torch was put around my head. Oh wow, these guys knew what they were doing! I thought it was awesome that I was handed a pink/red butterfly glow stick / wand. It wasn't even planned that way! :) We even numbered off so we could call out in the dark to check we were ok. I was number 2. I felt like a bushwalker already. :)
We set off at 3:30am. The first half an hour I was a ball of anxiety. I was so scared. The enormity of what I was doing hit me; we were trekking through a bit of uneven ground, some was slightly uphill, and I was simply just scared of animals. Each noise sent waves of panic through me. I was breathing so heavy, I think 40% was my heart rate and 60% was anxiety. :)
The next half an hour or so I tried to calm down and I chatted to Cathy. The other girls were a fair way up ahead which was cool, Cathy stuck with me at the back and we just went at my pace. Cathy's awesome. :) I told her about my blog post title idea and we laughed about that.
|There's always time for smiling selfies #whatankle #mcgeeatheart|
I should never have said anything :) because it was soon after this that it happened. I don't know how exactly but I ended up on the ground - I slipped or tripped or both, and down I went. I couldn't help myself but to scream out and act very princess-y for a couple of minutes. I was calling out "my ankle, my ankle!" or something and wriggling on the ground. Very unlike me. I couldn't talk to Cathy or explain how it was, I was in so much pain. It wasn't even my sore foot/ankle from last week, it was my other one! I couldn't get up straight away and we didn't think I could walk so she ran to get help. I don't know how far the other girls were in front of us but it was a fair distance, and Cathy ran the whole way, in the dark, through the rugged terrain.
I was lying on the floor of the bush, in the pitch black but with my trusty head torch, in agony, when the reality of my situation set in. I was in the middle of the dark bush, alone.... Screw any thoughts of scary murderers by the lake, I could be surrounded by animals right now! This thought alone terrified me and I decided I had to get up. Cathy said to stay there but I was petrified. I didn't think I could stand let alone walk but it's amazing what you can do when you're that scared! Somehow I got up and kept going, barely walking, terrified and trying to find Cathy. I felt like I was in the movie Wolf Creek. We finally met as she was running on her way back to me.
|Cathy on one of my ankle rest stops on the way out|
She suggested we go back the way we came in. We could have gone on but it was shorter to go backwards. I wanted to continue with the hike for the day so struggled with this decision. I sat down and strapped my ankle. I thought I could feel a bone, or something poking out and I freaked out. I didn't tell Cathy this for a couple of hours. But this is what helped me decide that yes, we should go back. We were about 6-8km in we think. In my mind at the time, I thought we could get our cars and drive to meet the others and continue on with the walk. My agreement to go backwards was purely logistical. It was just to make up on the time we had lost. Miss Determination wasn't going to let a potentially fractured ankle stop a 40km walk!
I didn't know if I could walk. But the alternative to getting out of there was a little bit too dramatic to think about, so I just did it. It took us about an hour to walk into the bush, and it took us about 2 and a half hours to get back out. It was a mixture of limping, leaning on Cathy, getting piggy backed by her down stairs and at one point I had to drag myself along on my bottom.
We kept ourselves entertained by taking a lot of video and photos to make a vlog (link below!) and Cathy sang to me a lot :) She/we sang the French national anthem, the Brady Bunch theme song, Eidelweiss, Mondo Rock, very random things :) I was in a lot of pain, and we were both not in the situation that we were hoping for, but in saying that, I laughed a LOT in those 2.5 hours. :)
I was calm, I don't think I complained, and I didn't tell Cathy how scared I was or about my terror of animals. I was starting to think I had truly changed out of my old "get me out of this freaking jungle," ways. Impressive. Until the one and only true #princessmoment. Oh gosh. If this hadn't happened, Cathy may still respect me now. ;) But really- this is not how I planned her to see me. It was daylight by now.
I saw something. I thought I knew what it was but I knew this was not a time I could crumble. And I physically couldn't run away. So I tried to ignore it and keep hobbling.
Cathy: "What is it?"
Me: "It's nothing, it's nothing, let's just try and go faster."
Cathy: "Oh it's just a-"
Me (risen panic): "Don't say it!"
Cathy: "But it's fine, it's just a little-"
Me: "No, don't!"
Cathy: "No, really, it's only a-"
Me: "Don't say it, if you say it it will really be there!"
Cathy: "It's really ok, it's just a bush rat!"
Insert mega princess moment here.
There was flapping of the arms, there was squealing, there was jumping up and down, there was a lot of embarrassing things that I'm trying to block out. It was NOT my finest moment. I gave Cathy some great laughs, that's for sure. :) And that's when the vlog idea was dreamed up.
|Real life fairy bush princess in her unnatural habitat|
It was so not how this walk was supposed to go.
But we got to Emergency and I got X-rayed. The doctor thought it might have been cracked but it was only sprained. I'd hate to feel a broken ankle! We documented the whole thing, I was even so dedicated to this vlog that I secretly videoed myself while on the X-ray table! The things we do for a vlog. ;) I'm now on crutches, am not allowed to drive and my old 'bad' foot from last week that I was worried about is now my 'good' foot.
So, that is it! That is why princesses do not, and should not, bushwalk!
We're actually going to redo it in a few months - and this time we will complete it, even if I do have to wear a tiara. Cathy is phenomenal. She created this event and in the end didn't even get to do it herself. She stuck with me from the moment of the Blair Witch Project scary lake, to the moment she drove me home, a 200km round trip. She didn't complain or make me feel bad. She got me out of there- seriously, she sang to me as she piggy backed me downstairs! For someone with weight issues that was a trust exercise in itself. She also danced for me. I would have danced for her if I could, but I could hardly walk. ;) She is an example of the incredible 12WBT spirit and community that we have.
What happens in the bush, or the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, or Obi Obi wherever the hell that is, stays in the bush. Or on the vlog. Which we hope you will enjoy - link below. :)
Princesses do not bushwalk.
They shouldn't bushwalk.
They tried to bushwalk.
Cathy taught me failure is a good thing,