Monday, December 14, 2009

Exercise-bad for your health?

When my father got lost while driving the family car, my mother would often hum quietly 'we will get there, heaven knows how but we'll get there.' I could have done that too, if I wasn't so out of breath and needing every bit of energy to haul myself up a hill the size of Kosciusko!
For two years my new bike has languished in the shed, collecting cobwebs and mysteriously shedding mud guards. Spring: five kilos heavier and another year past fifty, I really couldn't keep making excuses. For the past couple of weeks I have been sedately riding (on the footpath) to have coffee, building up my stamina for a bigger challenge.
Today's ride had been a few weeks in the planning. Collecting a few friends together on the same day is always a bit of a challenge but four of us set off together with another following for a forty minute ride to the local dam, where we would be met by my man and a friend who would make us breakfast and provide lifts home for bikes and bodies too tired to make the return trip.
We are all of a similar age so no one was going to be racing off ahead. Except me, that is. I soon realised that wearing my driving glasses was a bad mistake. I could see fine into the distance but distinguishing holes in the gravel track in the light/dark strobe of sun flickering through the trees was impossible. I was becoming a hazard to everyone so I sped on ahead.
I waited at the next turning a while but the others didn't catch up. The sign into the water catchment pointed down a steep hill to a water crossing. The river was black and there was no way I could gauge how deep it was as again, the glasses weren't up to it. The only visible sign was red and warned 'danger crossing' in large letters even I could read. The sensible thing to do was push the bike back up the hill and waited for the others to catch up. I waited a while and then a while more, no one came. I figured that they had ridden past while I was looking at the water so took off up the track where I met our straggler, riding in the opposite direction, also not having seen any sign of the others.
We went back to the turn off to the ford together and in good bush tradition, placed a few large branches in an arrow to show the track we had taken. We found a shallow but muddy way across the stream and headed up. And up and up and up. We lost track of time and distance, the only signs we came across told someone 'do not burn' and we hoped that applied to us too. We trusted that as the day was becoming hotter by the minute, no one would attempt burning anything anywhere near where we were.
Nearing the top of the hill we got a signal on the mobile and rang the others, who had been waiting, worried but relieved to hear we were together. We told them we had no idea where we were but would find our way back. It was another two hours before we reached again the muddy stream bed. We had ridden and walked in a gigantic circle. There was again no phone signal until we regained the ford when we called and asked someone to come down and show us the rest of the way. We parked the bikes and lay flat on our backs in the stream (all two inches of it) and groaned in ecstasy.
Five minutes later we had juice, water, a cup of tea and a bench to sit on with very relieved friends.Some good lessons were learnt. We were okay because we had water, food, sunscreen and repellant, hats and helmets and a mobile phone. A small kit with arnica, rescue remedy, Green Magic, bandaids, antihistamines and Panadol would have seen us through most minor incidents. Being girls, we also carried Wet Ones and toilet paper too.
Our biggest mistake was not waiting for the others and not carrying a map. A lot of the signage had become vandalised or overgrown and wasn't to be relied upon. Although I felt rather stupid, I was pleased at the way we figured out our way back without tears, tantrums or mishaps.
The taste of the cool sweet rockmelon that we shared at the top of the mountain will stay with me as a memory of one of the best things I have ever eaten. Please, if you are heading out into the wild, even close to home,look after your selves and be prepared. And take all your glasses with you!


1 comment:

  1. Trees and trees only I like it a lot. All scenes are really very attracting to me and very eager to see more snaps of your outings... Thanks for the post.

    cartucho r4i


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