My partner Scott initially booked our vacation to Bali for five weeks in an attempt to relax and chill after a busy summer season in Ibiza.  After realizing that you needed to extend your visa in Bali if you stay longer than four weeks we decided that it would be a great idea to hop across to Cairns in Australia and do a three-week road trip down the Queensland coastline (not so relaxing, I know), and then go back to Bali for a week to wind down before flying back home.

Luckily for us, we just got out of Bali in time before they stopped the flights over the activity of Mount Agung, there was continuous activity for the end part of 2017 and quite a lot of people got stuck there for a few weeks in November.

Once we arrived in Cairns, we picked up the hire car and went directly to K-Mart and bought all the bits and bobs that we thought we would need for our camping trip.  We bought a tent, sleeping bags, a couple of floor mats, blow up pillows, plates, cutlery, a pot to cook in, a small gas stove and a cool box it all came to less than $200!  We then went across to Coles bought our food and drinks and filled the cool box topped it with ice and we set off on our merry little way.

We drove north straight onto the Captain Cook highway and headed towards the Daintree and Cape Tribulation area, stopping off at Port Douglas for a quick dip and a read of Lonely Planet to see where we could camp and what we could do.  I was instantly drawn to an activity in the sight section of the book.

‘Fit walkers should lace up early for the strenuous but rewarding Mt Sorrow Ridge walk’.  

There were not many activities listed for the Cape Tribulation area and I thought that would be a good way to start the holiday.  We could camp somewhere close to the walk, and then get up early and head off on the trial for our first adventure. We stopped at Lync-Haven Rainforest Retreat for the first night.  It was a campsite with some small chalets, and a small wildlife pen with some Kangaroos, birds and a couple of easy walking tracks.  We actually got to see some wild kangaroos on our first night which was exciting.  They were just roaming around the park, probably looking for left over scraps from the campers but I thought that it was a nice experience for Scott to see wild roos on his first night in Australia.

The next day we were up early, we had gone to bed early as the mosquitos were intense.  It was like a sauna in the tent in the morning, so, we had a quick breakfast, packed the tent away and we were back on the road again in search of the Mount Sorrow trial. With only a shop, a few campsites and a restaurant that did exotic burgers, Cape Tribulation felt like the smallest village in the world.  We found a campsite that had the all-important swimming pool and bar and was enough to keep us entertained for the next couple of days ahead. We drove off in search of the Mount Sorrow trail.  We drove round to Cape tribulation Beach car park where the Lonely Planet had said the entrance was.  We searched around the carpark, around the toilet area and we took the miniature walk on the boardwalk to the south of the beach but couldn’t find it.  We then took a walk out onto the Cape Tribulation beach but had no luck. The Lonely Planet had said that you needed at least 5-6 hours to do the walk and not to start past 10am, so after taking a stroll along the beach we decided that it was a good idea to find the trail quickly or we would have to call it quits.
We drove round to PK’s campsite with the pool and the bar and enquired inside.   We were told that it was up by the carpark but just up the road a little and was a bit tricky to find so off we went again back to the Cape Tribulation car park in one last search to find the path. At this point after parking the car we encountered our first Australian traveler.  He was a typical stereotyped Australian man, he had the jeep, wore the clothes and spoke in the thick lingo.  We asked him if he’d seen the track and he replied “Ar yeah, we were looking for that track to Mt. Sorrow” and he continued “Nah but, I found an interesting path that leads straight to the dunnies”.   Scott and I thanked the man and hurriedly departed in search of the path. Finally, without the Australian in tow, we found it.   It was nestled just up the road from the car park, so we checked we had everything again and we set off.
The track was decent to start, just like a normal bush walk but when we were about thirty minutes into it the walk started to get harder, the path got a little smaller, the hills a little steeper and the mosquitos thicker.  At this point we started to wonder if we should turn back, it was piping hot and the mosquitos were becoming really annoying. Then two girls appeared on the trail coming back from the opposite direction, I was re-assured at this point as I’d thought that they had made it to the top and were heading back down. This was not the case at all! They had been walking for about an hour and a half and then when they reached the steep part of the climb where you had to use a rope to get up, they decided to turn back.  They had done two thirds of the walk, but they did not have enough water and the last part was the hardest. They thought it was too difficult to continue, and in hindsight, we should probably have done the same.
However, I was determined to get to the top and was keen for the challenge.   Scott wanted to head back, but I convinced him to continue. We continued along the track for what felt like forever.  Every time we got to a steep part of the track we thought we had reached the part that the girls were talking about, but we had not.  We kept on going until eventually, we had reached it. It looked pretty intimidating as was steep and rocky, but it did have a relatively thick rope to help you up.   We were both super tired at this point and decided to press on.  After all the map at the start had said that the last part of the climb was only 1km.  We’d already done the majority and 1km really isn’t that far….. I was wrong, it was difficult, the climb was painful and hard on the thighs and it just never seemed to end.  The heat was excruciating, the mosquitos were agonizing and the leeches at the bottoms of are legs were just unbearable.

At this point I wanted to give up…. 

BUT I COULD NOT TELL SCOTT I FELT THIS WAY….

I tried to be positive, and we kept on pushing on.  “We had to be close” I thought, “we’ve been walking a good two and a half hours and it is going to take us at least that to get back down”. I kept on saying to Scott (whilst convincing myself at the same time), “it really must be just over this bit, It has to be just here, we are almost there”. Then suddenly out of the blue a couple was coming towards us.  “Horay! There is someone else on this walk”, I thought.  I asked them if we were close to the top.  At this point Scott was taking a little mini break a bit further down the mountain.  “About five hundred metres”, they said.   They were not looking very happy and kind of tired off the whole experience but to be honest I could completely understand why. I waited for Scott and we pushed on for the last part. Finally, after about three hours, we had made it to the top! It was a small platform that overlooked the Cape Tribulation area, the vast greenness of the tree tops and crystal blue sea water was amazing.  We had climbed 850 meters up the side of the mountain and it was a real great achievement.
However, the viewing area was not exactly what we’d hoped for.  It was over grown and it would have been nice if there was somewhere to sit down…. I mean, our legs were super tired.   There was a massive number of mosquitos, more than what we encountered in the bush and we were being eaten alive!  We took a couple of snaps, quickly re-applied the spray, had an apple each, drank some water and proceeded to make our way back down the track and into the shade where the mosquitos were not as bad.

The walk and climb back down was just as hard as coming up. 

 

 We kept walking, we took regular breaks and we kept on moving again.  Scott he kept on saying that it was the hardest thing he had ever done in his life and I could agree because I thought that it was definitely the hardest trail walk that I have ever done!

I honestly felt really mean, I took my partner, who had never been to Australia before on a trail walk that was one of the hardest in the area.   It was not the best introduction to Australia for him and at the time he was not impressed, his shins hurt from the downward climb and the irritation from the mosquitos was just too much, I almost broke him. Slowly, slowly, slowly made our way down the trail, onto the road and back to the car and then onto PK’s camping ground with the pool and the bar to stay the night.  To my amusement, when we arrived to our camping pitch and were setting up, we were confronted with the quirky Australian that we met in the car park at the start of the day.  He was camped right in front of us and was super keen to find out all about our little adventure.  Scott was definitely not in the mood and could not believe our luck.
Scott was super proud of himself after reflecting on what he had achieved and so was I.  It was difficult, it was hard and it was painful but we kept on pushing forward and we made it.  The sense achievement we felt in the end was totally rewarding and those couple of beers we drank after had never tasted so good…..

 

 And in all honestly, any other walk I took Scott on in Australia was a breeze!

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