Stepping out of the office on a Friday afternoon can sometimes release that long lost ‘Schools out for Summer’ hormone and with it the promise of unadulterated adventure and mischief (albeit with later nights and fewer knee scrapes).
But, the question I have to ask is why should we wait for the weekend?
On an average school night, we have from 5 pm – 9 am up our shirtsleeves, which by my calculations leaves 16 hours to play with! This is, therefore, a neglected time of adventurous opportunity. So we went on a mid-week microadventure.
We gathered our flange of adventure baboons at Central Station. Platform 19. The small hand had clicked through 5 and the big hand hovered on 50. It was a Wednesday night in November, and the 7 of us were headed south to Sydney’s nearest area of unspoilt wilderness, the Royal National Park.
45 minutes later we were plodding down a secluded fire trail with a glass of goon in our hands, with the setting sun warming our backs as we nattered our way deeper into Australia’s oldest national park.
As far removed from civilisation as we felt, it’s hard to believe that only 1 hour before we had been sat at desks, watching others plod their own way onto commuter vehicles to enjoy evenings of TV dinners in front of another painful episode of Australian Idol.
As the footpath suddenly bent round a corner and became a much-deserved downhill, we caught sight of Sydney’s futurama skyline illuminating the distant horizon through a break in the gum trees.
Darkness had fallen by now, and as Sydney tower stood proudly above it’s lesser skyscrapers, we too felt a sense of pride (and slight rebellion) at our mid-week madness. I thought only hopeless American teenagers taking their lady friends to the hills around Hollywood were privy to views like this?! Our wondering thoughts and silent satisfaction were broken only by the sound of Elle having a wee in a neighbouring bush.
Hammocks were erected in complete darkness of Uloola Falls. Lewis stole the show however with a $4.50 tent purchase from Vinnies earlier that day (always fond of crap kit and good deals, Lewis had actually haggled the shop owner down for $7 and hadn’t even realised the tent came with free reflectors).
We munched through a spread of pre-dinner nibbles that would have most Parisians impressed, thank you Elle and I hope you washed your hands! Then came an actual mountain of pre-cooked chilli con carne. I’m still bloated.
What felt like seconds after climbing into the mook, I was awoken suddenly in the dark to be told it was time to get back out of the mook – we had to catch the train in time for work.That moment was, without
That moment was, without doubt, the hardest part of the trip, although a heavenly diversion came in the form of a rock pool swim on the walk back – it was literally like bathing in the tears of angels. Imagine if every morning greeted us like this? We’d have permanent grins across our faces, and I’d put money on it. It really was that revitalising, despite the slippery eel spotted in the water.
Tiredness crept in as we strode determinedly back to Waterfall station. We made our train with a few minutes spare, enough time for our phones to return to life and let the evening’s emails pour in.
The swarms of commuters joined our carriage as we entered all the stations en route back to Central, most of them dusty eyed from heavy sleeps in duck down duvets and Egyptian cotton.
As the carriage filled, I took a moment to appreciate the smell lingering around our group. On the one hand, the pong was really quite repulsive; an ungoldly mix of sweat, red-wine goon and mild halitosis. But the stale campfire smell pierced this sharply, and with it the aromas of a wild mid-week adventure in the hills with friends. Bring on the next one!