I had found a hike that was easily accessible by public transport and stretched about 11km from Mt Ku-Ring Gai station to Berowra station, so naturally this was an ideal choice. I managed to haul my lazy butt out of bed and leave the house at 6.30 (armed with a backpack borrowed from Jess) to commence the epic trek to St Leonard's station. Just to clarify, it's not that epic, but it is up a very steep hill, and having done barely any exercise (bar a few hikes here and there) for the past 6 weeks I am not on top form right now. Suffice to say I was a sweaty mess by the time I collapsed in a seat at the station.
Waited for a train for about 20 minutes as it's a bit of a random place to get to, and not many trains actually go there. Also, in the process of waiting managed to get my white t shirt covered in dirt somehow. Great start. The only solace is that the t shirt is actually more of an off-white colour now due to the red dust of Karijini and the cheapness of the rucksack that D lent me! Anyway... Train journey took about an hour and then I was on my way.
The hike started off with a steep climb down, and me panicking that I was going to be ambushed by funnel web spiders, which are apparently rife on the east coast (something I didn't have to worry about it WA). So keeping myself as small as possible and right in the middle of my path I meandered my way down, catching glimpses of the stunning scenery through the thicket, similiar to that of the Blue Mountains (from what I can remember). The further down I went the more I could see, and I finally had my first sight of the Hawkesbury River which was absolutely stunning. The noise from the insects was absolutely deafening at some points, I had to stop and stuff my fingers in my ears!
Finally reaching the bottom I spotted a few boats along the river, and gazed upon the large expanse of water laid out in front of me, surrounded by greenery in every shape, size and shade. I stood for a moment and relished in the tranquility of it; a far cry from Sydney city centre! Off I went along the path, being halted by some absolutely enormous water monitors, until I reached Apple Tree Bay, a sort of miniature marina full of ridiculous looking yachts that looked pretty out of place against nature's backdrop. I wandered around the car park for about half an hour trying to pick up the path again before realising I must have missed something back the way I had come.
So feeling a bit sheepish I wound my way back and found the correct path. I continued the hike along the river (or creek as some refer to it as), past more monitors, past the group of people I had already past before taking the wrong turning, past some more spectacular scenery, and just loving being back in the wild on my own. I saw some jet skis zooming around which had disappeared in about 3 seconds, and a dilapidated and rusted frame which I found out from the website is 'all that's left of a romantic holiday paradise'. Well OK then. From there it was a long, steep climb to the top which really tested my stamina.
Thankfully I made it to the top where a comment from Pa echoed in my head 'Grandma says there are not enough pictures of you'. So feeling pretty stupid I managed to balance my camera in between two branches, set the timer and run to pose before the shutter went off. It was almost a fruitless attempt, what with the camera actually shooting more of the branch it was propped up in than me, but hey, it's the thought that counts. You'll have to wait Grandma! A short walk from the scene of my photoshoot to the station, and I was back on the train.
Deciding I was well deserved of a mango smoothie I aimed to get off the train at Chatswood station, but my brain was so preoccupied with the day's events I missed the stop. Off the train, back on again and finally off at Chatswood, I wandered around trying to find the shopping centre. Phone having died and rain starting to fall I almost gave up when I spotted a map. I miraculously managed to establish where I needed to go from my current location, and sauntered back to the station, smoothie in hand.
Off the train at St Leonard's and it was now hammering down so feeling like I hadn't quite done enough exercise for the day I legged it back to the Morton's in about 5 minutes. There were a few positive things I took from that frenzied journey back from the station: I did not get out of breath (albeit most of the run was downhill) BUT THAT DOES NOT TAKE AWAY THE FACT I WAS NOT OUT OF BREATH, I did not throw up the pint of smoothie I had just consumed and I found out that my hiking boots are waterproof. However, the rest of me was utterly drenched. Managed to dry off without soaking the entire hallway, watched a bit of TV with Ken and had some dinner.
Conclusion of the day: kudos to NSW to having hiking tracks as epic as WA!