Sure I like walking on my holidays, who doesn't. A good early morning walk will wake up anybody. Fresh air, cool breeze, the smell of the damp bush, it's irresistible to a bush walker. Well, I told my partner I was a keen bush walker but between you and me, I hate it. Especially if you happen to have kids with you. Kids are great, don't get me wrong but ever tried to lug a one year old on a bush walk?
"Just follow the signs, you can't get lost," said the kiosk lady. Now this bit about can't get lost must be one of Australia's favourite sayings. I've heard it before, we were supposed to head North according to instructions from another nice old chap. This was to take us to the waterfalls but somehow we ended up at the ocean. Not to mention the very polite and helpful pub owner who told us about this fantastic spot on the coast, just a bit further down the road. This little bit further down the road somehow got us 150 kilometres into the bush passing the sign Lazy Trail Caravan Park 12 kilometres.
So we settled for Lazy Trail and decided to do the famous trail walk the next day. This is how we set off bravely on the walking trail pointed out to us with our kids and some morning tea . "Should only take a couple of hours at the most", the kiosk lady chirped cheerfully as we passed her.
It was a glorious morning, birds were singing and the odd lizard rustled away through the dense shrub. We climbed over logs, went down valleys, up hills and crossed streams. We were to follow the yellow signs. Soon they turned red, not to worry, we would just follow the red signs. After a while they turned blue, that got us a bit worried but we put on a brave face and plodded along following the blue signs to the best of our ability.
Then the signs turned invisible, there were no signs at all. Now, that had us really worried. We walked back to trace our step but nothing seemed familiar. A tree is a tree in my opinion. Every log seems the same and every bush is as prickly as another. It was after some time of searching for the lost trail that my brave partner decided to use the sun as our guide. That was a big mistake. Never go by your partner's bravery, follow your instinct instead.
We walked up a huge hill, maybe it was a small mountain I can't recall. The heat and flies were affecting my common sense, it must have done as I would never have dreamt of climbing such a huge hill with a bunch of whining kids. Dragging the littlest one was a thing of the past as he had taken refuge in my arms, possibly for the rest of our holiday.
Under normal circumstances I might have been able to enjoy the scenery. On top of the hill was the most glorious view. Rolling green fields dotted with cows. Dense bush as far as the eye could see stretched out below the mountain top. No roads, paths or even the tiniest track insight. We couldn't be lost? The lady at the kiosk clearly told us that: "You can't get lost."
No, we weren't lost, maybe just a little off track. The kids grizzled again about rumbling tummies, thirsty mouths and sore legs. My back and arms ached as I put the one year old down in the grass. He soon started crawling towards a huge tadlin-tart, cow poo in other words.
My partner grabbed him but not until the little fellow had planted both his hands and half his chest in the sloppy, still steaming, hot mixture. Take it from me, never put your kid down in a field full of cows, it's asking for trouble!
After scraping poo of the little bloke with sticks, leaves and clumps of grass we decided it best to go straight down the mountain. "If we keep walking in a straight line we must get somewhere", my partner said encouraging. I wasn't encouraged, after all this is Australia, everything is bigger, longer, hotter and smellier.
"Pooh... walk behind me", I said grumpily as my partner dropped back carrying the little, smelly bloke on his shoulders. Going down hill was a little easier but this too lead us on another two hour wild goose chase. Just as we were to sit down for another rest we heard a car. Jubilant we jumped up and raced over the top off the hill to find the road which headed toward our caravan park. After dragging ourselves along the road we came across the sign we had passed the day before, 'Lazy Trail Caravan Park 12k'.
Our hearts sunk as we read the sign. Remembering our cheers from the day before, "Won't be long now kids, 10 minutes and we're there. "Sure in the car! Ever tried to walk 12 kilometres with sore feet and legs, aching arms and backs, hungry, thirsty grumpy kids and in unbearable heat? What kind of holiday was this?
"Thumbs up," my partner shouted as another holiday couple in their car approached. The driver waved politely back and zoomed on. Maybe it was the sight of my husbands hair that made him accelerate as he passed, his hair was sticking up in the air with brown lumpy bits stuck to it.
"Maybe it's thumbs down," I said, trying not to choke with laughter as my partner didn't realize the state of his hair. We tried thumbs down with the next car but this time we didn't even get a wave. "They'll never pick us up," I hysterically laughed. "Would you try to squeeze a family of five in your car if they looked like us?"
My partner shook his head and for two more hours we trudged along in silence, only to be broken by the occasional ouch and grouch. Finally Lazy Trail was in sight. The sunset was beautiful as we collapsed in front of our tent, it seemed to try and give us a last scorching look as it sank behind the trees.
We drank, ate, showered and slept. For the next two days we didn't even know we had kids. They were tuckered out and wouldn't dream of asking to venture out for a walk, not even to the kiosk! What a wonderful holiday we had at Lazy Trail. The kids were no problem for the rest of the time. We had seen every hill, valley, stream, tree and cow in the district, but ask us where on earth Lazy Trail is and I couldn't tell as we got there by mistake in the first place.... back
Copyright © 2002, Ingrid Griggs.