Saturday, 24 May 2014

Kate Von Trapp-Grylls

I've said this many times and I will say it again but I have so much to tell you!  I have so
Climbing under and up!
many stories and updates milling around in my head that I really need to get out on paper (blog).  I will!  Very soon.  But for starters though, I have to tell about my little adventure this morning.

It's been a while since I've done one of those 'I can't believe I'm doing this' Kate Crazy Adventure.  But, today was one of them.

One of my 12 personal challenges for this round (we're supposed to do 3 milestones, I love them so much I do 12!) was to 'Find a new mountain, and climb it.'  I do my regular mountains around here, and they're great, but I wanted to try something new.

I didn't have to go far to find one, because just after I made the goal, my little brother, Nick, and his partner, bought a 44 acre property that went from a valley and up over a mountain!  My little brother now owns a mountain!  Okay, it's not the entire mountain, but his property extends to the top and over a little bit, so to me that is practically like having your own mountain :)

Find a new mountain.  And climb it.
To be polite, I waited for a couple of days after settlement and then asked them my pressing question: "could I climb it??"  hahaa.  They were happy for me to!  The thing was, though, this was not like Mount Coot-tha, Mount Coolum, Mount Ngun-Ngun, all of my regular haunts.  As I like to call it, 'Nick's Mountain', doesn't have daily visitors. There's no path cleared or man made road or steps.  There's no toilet block and water bubbler half way
My brand new steel cap boots...$10 from a charity sale this week!
through, or sign posts on the gravel road.  This is thick, dense, bushland, that is essentially untouched.  Why I thought this was a good idea for someone to climb who's petrified of all animals and hates nature, I don't know.  But I decided it would be awesome to climb a private mountain, and so set my heart on it.

I made a date about a month in advance and invited a stack of my local 12WBT friends to join me.

Nick offered to climb it first, to make sure it was doable, and to mark out a bit of a trail.

Now Nick, (together with our other brother), is like this most amazing brother.  He and his partner climbed it twice, and cleared some of the scrub for us.  They put some red tape on scattered trees to the top - and when he went back to check it for us yesterday and noticed the red tape had started falling off, he climbed it a third time, and this time tied string the whole way up, so that we wouldn't get lost.  Not only that, the string was
Nick's treasure map :)
coloured, in a specific order, so that we knew how far we had gone, and, (his idea), for it to be like a motivational tool for us!  This is the text he sent me with the order of colours: BLUE string was our goal, like a treasure map!  When we were kids, I would draw up pirate treasure maps and mazes and made up a Spy Club for my brothers and I, and this was kind of like him doing a treasure map for me!

He sent me photos, videos, Google Earth images, mud maps, land division maps, offered me his machete and Camelbak to take (if I needed to clear more lantana), and offered to pick us up at the top of the mountain and drive us back to our cars.  He also dragged a piece of carpet partway up the mountain to put on top of some barbed wire.  He is just incredible.

In the end, it ended up being just my beautiful friend Alana, my
Mum, me and Alana :)
mum, and me, who did it.  I couldn't believe my mum was keen.  I jokingly asked her just two days ago, if she wanted to come.  I never expected her to say yes.  She doesn't really do this kind of stuff.  She plays tennis, walks sometimes and has a very active job......but she's also 58, has bad knees, and doesn't do the fitness stuff I do.  She was intrigued after I told her about when I did Spartan, and told me she was keen to do an obstacle race, so I guess she's been
Mum crawling over the carpet on barbed wire
wanting to do something a bit different for a while.  So, she said yes.

As with all of my crazy adventures, I plan them with the bravest and naive intentions and then the day before start to freak out and wonder what I've gotten myself into.  This was no exception.  My mum started talking about how she was going to bring a snake bite kit, her CPR mouth piece, (she just did her first aid/CPR refresher last week) ;) , stuff for broken bones and first aid friend reminded me to be aware of standing on snakes....all of this talk was freaking me out!  I was fine planning it, making an event on Facebook wasn't very scary to do.  But the day before, with all of this talk, I started realising the dangers.  Oh my gosh what was I doing?  I was really worried about seeing animals and freaking out.  I was worried about my mum.  She's in no way elderly, but, well, she's my mum!  I started doubting the whole thing - I've never done anything before that had a list of things that I needed to bring that included a snake bite kit,
machete and steel cap boots.

Last night, I really wanted to cancel.  It was dangerous, scary, and I've had an awful week.  I actually should have been lying down at home.  And you know what?  I just wasn't looking forward to it.  I wondered why I made the goal in the first place.  To be honest I was prepared to give up on the goal all together, which is never like me.  But I wouldn't let people down...and besides, when I rang Nick to check on last minute details, and he said he was putting the string up, I
The start of the walk.  WHERE DO WE WALK??
knew he'd gone to a lot of effort for me.

I woke up early this morning, praying that both Mum and Alana had texted me to say they weren't coming.  There were no texts.  Damnit.  LOL

We got to the property, at the base of the mountain, and searched for good sticks to walk with.  There was a bit of a miscommunication about the machete, and I didn't end up getting to bring it.  Which is probably a good thing, seeing as I not too long ago, thought a machete was a gun....can you tell I'm a bit of a girly girl??  I didn't tell Nick that, as he probably wouldn't have lent it to me in that case haha! 
This string was the best idea!

We started looking for the first bit of string.

Even though I knew about the untouched terrain, I was still shocked when I saw the red string.  I must have been fantasicing that there'd be at least a little clearing?  Nope.  It was like string had been dropped from the sky into thick bushland, through trees.  THIS was the start?  Where on earth were we meant to walk??  I think my exact words were "are you freaking kidding me??  This is the start??"

I felt a bit like Jane from Tarzan and Jane as we navigated the vines and trees.  Actually, the whole way I felt like a combo of Jane, Bear Grylls, Maria Von Trapp (scaling the Austrian alps) and John Oxley, the explorer I did an assignment on in Year 4.  'Kate Jane Von Trapp-Grylls-Oxley'. Yep, that was me, today.  'Kate Von Trapp-Grylls' for short.  We were pioneers!  (With coloured string to show us the way...........practically the same thing that those guys would have had). ;)

It was tough.  My heart rate peaked at 169 but stayed at fairly high numbers the whole time.
  It was a combo of hiking, scrambling, climbing, crawling on our hands and knees, climbing under and over tree trunks, wading through waist deep grass, dodging vines... There was lantana, cactus's / prickly pears (?) and vines with thorns on them.  I didn't need a machete, Alana was like this powerhouse - a few times she got her stick and 'swoosh swoosh swoosh'!  This sweet, lovely girl I know, swooshing, knocking stuff out of the way (including spiderwebs!) for Mum and I.  Go Alana!  She was incredible! 
She just went for it!

At one point I had to crawl under some vines and it was intense...I couldn't get out straight away.  I remember thinking that this is one of those insane moments in my life...I'm on the side of a mountain, in a ball, trapped in the middle of vines.  What am I doing?  It was fine, but really...what am I doing?  Who was I?  The bush princess!

So many times we got to the bottom of a rocky incline and were just like "wow, ok, how are we going to tackle this one?"  But we did it each time.  Alana pretty much navigated the whole way.

And what kept us going, was that amazing string.  We
Beautiful view looking out to Moreton Bay
got so excited each time we saw a new colour!  We couldn't wait for the 3rd blue...that was what we wanted to get to!  We were soooo thankful to Nick! 

There were beautiful views of Brisbane's Moreton Bay, from about halfway up, and we stopped for water and (and one Carman's Dark Choc Blueberry, Seed & Nut bar) breaks often. :)

Apart from powerhouse Alana, what really impressed me, was my Mum.

I did not give her credit.  My 58 year old mother powered up that mountain!  She crawled under trees and pulled us over the carpet barbed wire and over rocks and encouraged us and kept going!  She was so fit and agile and to be honest, was better and faster at this than me!  I am so impressed by her.  I don't know that she's ever done anything like this before!  She also wanted to walk down the mountain!  Alana and I were keen for the lift!  When we encouraged her out of going back down the way we came, she then wanted to walk the roads - the LONG way around, which winded up to another mountain, then back down to my car.  The only reason she agreed not to do that, was that Nick estimated it would have taken about 6-8 hours, and we had places to be!

We eventually got to the end of the blue string.  It was an amazing feeling.  It was next to an
Kate and mum Von Trapp
electricity tower - it was what we were aiming for.  It had been a success.  We had no injuries (a few scratches, that's all).  We had seen NO animals...the only animals we saw were butterflies :)  Can you believe it? :) 

We felt accomplished.  Mum and Alana discussed their FitBit steps (I recently gave Mum a FitBit Flex and she loves it) :) and I kept checking my Polar calories.  We were pretty proud.  Now, it was time for bacon and coffee.  We just needed to find the cafe that Nick and his family were meeting us at for breakfast....  We were a bit lost with no coloured string!  After a call to Nick, we worked out where to go and I think we all wanted to cry when we realised we then had to climb another ridge, to get to the main road, to then walk a kilometre, to get to
My amazing mum!
the cafe.  But at least that last part was on a dirt / gravel track.

We got to the main road, almost dancing down it in pure pleasure to be on bitumen and so close to coffee/Diet Coke!  On the way, Alana spotted an injured kookaburra!  We had seen no animals really in the bushland, then see one on the side of the main road.  It
The end of the string!
looked dazed and injured and we stood right next to it (me hiding behind the others) and it didn't fly away.  Alana called the wildlife rescue place, who were going to send someone to rescue it and said they'd call her back.

Instead, Nick's partner (and Nick) used to be emergency wildlife carers (of all the people we could have been meeting!) so instead, Nick drove back and picked up the kookaburra, wrapped it up and they've taken it to the vet.

And that's it!  It took us just under 4 hours to climb, and that was including the kookaburra phone call.  Nick said it was an 850m climb but Mum and Alana's FitBits said
we walked about 5-8km.  It was about a 50% gradient and I burnt just under 1700 calories.  And we had bacon and eggs :)
Beautiful heart Alana checking on the kookaburra

All I wanted after that was a shower and to chill out, but I had to run straight to Marathon School.  It's now Saturday night and I am yet to have a shower.  I feel so gross!  I am off to have one now :)

I can now tick this challenge off!  Nick's Mountain has been climbed!

Love, the very brave Kate Jane Von Trapp-Grylls-Oxley xx ;)

My scratches.  Like Bear Grylls

We climbed that!

The amazing Alana

One of those "how do we get up there" moments

The vines I got tangled in

We were in the thick of it!

Ahhh goal tower

The second ridge we had to climb up! :(
One of the butterflies!
Mum very excited about her coffee!

And I got a selfie with the machete ;)


  1. Wow, you continue to amaze and inspire me Kate. Tell your mum I think she is AWESOME!! And Alana is pretty cool too :D

  2. Wow! Your very own mountain! I reckon there'll be a track worn before too long. I'm climbing my first mountain in June, I'll definitely be channeling my inner Kate. xox