Sunday, January 11, 2009

We climbed Mt Roland, and survived!

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We've been discussing climbing Mt. Roland for about two years now. Something Jayden posed from the very first time he saw the mountain looming over us at Nana's place. So this year, it was on the agenda. Saturday was the day, and the boys were over the moon excited. Lawrence told us that he and his brother climbed the mountain, round trip, in two hours. We figured probably three of four with children. Only problem was, he wasn't 100% sure of the starting point to go up. After looking it up, I noticed there were two paths, and that most likely he and his brother took a trail labeled dangerous and less friendly. With our own two little ones in tow there was no way I was taking a trail marked dangerous. The catch? The other trail is marked as taking 5-6 hours round trip. I knew there was no way we'd be doing it in less.

We met up with family and started our walk around 10 am. Jayden may have made it 45 minutes before he decided he needed a lift, so we wrapped him up on Lawrence's back for a while. Morgan managed to walk the whole way in on his own. Not without a few tears, and a few, "I want to keep going, but I also want to go back now." comments. It was not a horrible hike, but it wasn't a breeze either. There were some uphill battles that lasted long enough to hear rounds of "This is the trail that never ends..." One very daunting uphill battle, that truly didn't end (okay, didn't end for AGES) nearly did me in. I tripped over more rocks, slipped back down too many times, and took twice as long to climb because of it.

I suppose the lack of eating breakfast didn't help. I know, I know, very stupid. However, I couldn't seem to cram anything down. Which, of course, meant on an uphill battle I was weak, and I had to stop many times in order to refresh my energy. Funny thing is, as long as it seemed going up, it seemed about as long coming down!

The upside of going a bit slower is we spotted a few interesting bits of nature. Not much wildlife, all though a wallaby was reportedly spotted. Bull ants were plentiful, and may I just say when you're last in line they start snapping their pinchers at you! 

We did, however see a helicopter, complete with people, on a flat platue area, just after the ridge between Mt Van Dyke and Mt Roland. Oh yes, see there's another small fact Lawrence didn't mention. Not only were we climbing Mt Roland, but in order to get there we had to climb up Mt Claude, cross over Mt Van Dyke, and then we were on Mt Roland with another 1.5 hours (or more) to get up to the very top of Mt Roland.

After leaving Mt Claude and hitting the spot where you can choose to go up Mt Van Dyke or Mt Roland  is where we spotted the helicopter and enjoyed watching it take off with fancily dressed people inside. Another good distance away we came upon a wedding party, that had apparently been airlifted in, and eventually out. They must have had some amazing scenery for their wedding photos! The area that it took place in found me bursting out with "Climb Every Mountain" every few minutes.

Once we started the final ascent to the top of Mt Roland the four of us lost a lot of steam. In fact, we had ruled out continuing on. Jayden broken down into tears and decided he'd finish on his own. We attempted to convince him he WAS at the top, which in essence he was, but he's too smart to be easily fooled. Morgan was at a breaking point. There was no way we could carry him up, it was too rocky, and we were basically walking in a dried stream bed which was covered with rocks. After a good 10 minute break we started up again.

Morgan was renewed with an abundance of energy when he spotted his cousins up ahead of him, and was determined he would make it that last bit. Once you get to the end of the trail, you can choose to climb the small amount of rock face that is left. Morgan wanted to simply turn around and go back, so while deciding we opted for a photo around the Mt Roland sign. Only problem was, Jayden wouldn't hear of it. He was going up that last bit. 

We did climb the rock face, all though we had Morgan stay about 500 yards or less away from the actual top. He has a horrible fear of heights, and while I didn't doubt his ability to get up, I was concerned that coming down would be another story for him. Jayden was a bit scared coming down, and once we got off the rock face he asked how long it would take to get back to Nana's. Understand that at this point we'd been hiking for just over 4 hours!

When we informed him it would take a little less then coming up, but still a while he was a muddle of emotions. Rightly so considering at the age of 5 he'd hiked 4 hours up a mountain! After a quick snack and a small rest we strapped him on Lawrence's back and took off down the mountain. Jayden was snoozing in no time!

The way back down was far less demanding on the physical aspect, all though my knee was killing me, and is now locked. This happens from time to time and will subside soon enough. It took us an hour less getting down then up, and after Jayden's hour or so nap he woke up and was willing to walk, to which Lawrence's back will be ever grateful! The view was breath taking, at all points of our walk. It may be a while before the kids ask to climb a mountain again, but for now, each time they spot Mt. Roland they can tell everyone they climbed it! (Yes, more pictures to come, but we're currently having technical difficulties in that area..)


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