Well, we got our lower body workout in! We woke up yesterday not knowing what the day had in store. Anne did some online research and found a national park just outside of town -- its called Barron Gorge National Park and its comprised of several steep mountains, which we got to know really well! The trails we were hiking on were first used in 1876 by the native inhabitants of the area -- they used them to reach seasonal food and trading partners. But enough with the history lesson...lets get to the good stuff!
Of course, once we made the decision to go for a hike, I found the trail with the highest difficulty rating and chose that one! We packed one of our day packs and were there within 20 minutes! The trail head was very hard to find. Anne ended up asking a guy who lived near the trail if he knew where the trail was. No big deal, except the guy was living out of his van! And even more ironically - it was next to a river! I told Anne that typically, I don't have a problem asking for directions but I wasn't about to approach this one!
Once we found the trail, we realized that Australians have yet to discover switchbacks. This trail went straight up the side of the mountain -- at a 40 degree pitch! Yes, that is an unofficial estimate but it was really steep! These first three kilometers were the most difficult, but also the most rewarding. When we finally got to the top, I was super tired and ready to head back down. Anne had a hunch that the trail would be mostly downhill if we decided to do the whole loop. I reminded her that the remainder of the loop was over three times as far as we had just come, we only had four hours of daylight left, and really had no idea what kind of terrain we were going to be getting into! Her superb sales skills overcame any logic that I was clinging to and we pushed on!
We were in 5th gear for much of the remainder of the hike. Anne was going to do everything in her power to refuse me an "I told you so" moment! The trail was easier going forward -- we basically dominated it and sent it home crying to its mama! By the end of the hike, we had hiked a little over 7 miles in five hours. We got some great pictures which Anne is going to be posting soon.
Since we decided to leave our trail mix in the car, we were super hungry when we got back to civilization. We ended up going to a pizza place and each ordering our own 12" pizza and a loaf of garlic bread! We are still working on finishing those pizzas...and stretching our legs. All in all, it was an awesome experience that we'll always remember...and maybe next time we'll get an earlier start.