The hardest walk of my life took place last month on Queensland’s tallest mountain: Mount Bartle Frere. It was signposted as a 2 day walk but Rani and I thought that if we left early enough, we could get it done in a day. We were wrong…
It was a beautiful day, perfect conditions for a walk of this magnitude and the surroundings were picturesque. We walked through stunning rainforest, over waterfalls and had incredible views the whole time. It was challenging as there were many steep, muddy and rocky parts to the climb, as well as a few vertical climbs up tree roots and branches.
It was about 1pm when we thought we were near the top and we had been walking for 5 hours already. We knew that we had to be walking back by 1.30pm to avoid walking at night but we felt like we were so close to the top that we pushed on.
At 3pm, we still hadn’t reached the top and that’s when we decided to bite the bullet and turn around. The alternative was to risk walking dangerous terrain in the dark and that wasn’t a risk we were willing to take on this day.
We managed to get down all the dangerous parts before nightfall, but we still ended up walking for over 2 hours in the dark with our head-torches. The last 2km were extremely challenging for both of us as our legs turned to jelly and my feet and legs were in a lot of pain.
The last kilometre was agony and Rani helped me through by distracting me from the pain, talking to me and asking random questions. We walked 19.8km over 13 hours and even though we didn’t reach the top, it still felt like a massive accomplishment.
There were many lessons learned on this day, the biggest one: if it says it’s a 2 day hike – give it 2 days!