Outing #25 – Catchup

(Thursday 26-March-2015)

The rainforest - as always - is just add it is.

The rainforest – as always – is just add it is.

Right, so where are we.

Well, in the literal sense, I’m at the creek refilling my water bottles, but that’s not what I’m meaning. The question is; how do I condense the last month-and-a-half of missed journals into a single catch-up post?

I don’t of course, because I’m an inherently lazy person and rather than strain my brain picking through the boring leftovers of the recently deceased past, I will summarize where we’re at for each of the major topics I’ve written about over the past few months.

Outing something-or-other. We’ll make it 25; since I’ve got an entry here for 21, and can count at least three outings in the past few weeks where I just haven’t bothered writing anything. Might even be up to 26 but who’s counting right?

Thus far I’ve missed journal entries for about three full outings, and the cause of this sloppiness is Alice; I’d get down here and receive texts from her – waiting in town – asking me to come up early. I’d get phone calls from her telling me that the other guests were plotting against her, that people were bugging our conversations and texts, she even told me one of the other women there was a witch who was using her ‘powers’ to make Alice feel “uncomfortable” and of course, the frequent enquiries that this be “the last outing, Jas?”

What this all amounted to was that I was both incapable of thinking with my head, or of enjoying a single fucking moment of the last few outings. All I wanted to do was pack-up, go back to town and make her feel better.

Of course, if I had’ve done that I’d just be another fool being led around by their dick – god forbid – and she would lose respect pretty quickly anyway, so I didn’t run up to town but instead chose to sit it out.

Time dragged on out here though: every day felt like a week and each time the outing ended I’d stomp back up and finally get to have a few days of civilized, intimate time with this strange woman. A private universe of one-on-one dinners, conversation and walks awaited me at the top of the mountain and because of this, outings were nothing but an obstacle; A huge lump of time standing between me and her.

Anyway, more on that later; just giving a bit of background on the past few weeks and what distracted me so heavily over the course of them.

THE LAST OUTING

Last time, having spent the final few days of the outing low on coffee, food and – well – everything really, the last day finally arrives so I pack-up my shit all ready to leave, strap my pack on then begin climbing the mountain. Half way up Federal Pass I come across the huge Turpentine tree that had fallen over the week before and decide that adding a large slab of heartwood – the size of two house-bricks – would be heavy, but worth the extra weight.

Two hours later, I’ve been walking uphill almost constantly and as usual I’m drenched with sweat to the point my shirt is so soaked it’s shiny-wet and dripping from its bottom hem when I’m just around the corner from the final leg of the walk back to town: The Giant Staircase.

Naturally I’m relieved. I haven’t quite reached the bar of the staircase yet but decide that since I’m just around the corner now, I may as well have one of the last two smokes I’ve rolled before leaving camp. There’s a large tree root about as thick as my arm that snakes out in a kind of arch, right at the highest point of Dardanelles Pass just fifty or so meters from the “Y” intersection connecting it back to Federal on the western side. Anyway I sat down on my chunk of root that overlooks Mount Solitary, and had my smoke.

Even though the ~900-step staircase is a bitch to climb every week and I dislike the task, it’s also become a part of the ritual: Once I’ve put this last bit behind me I can have everything; food, a shower, clean clothes, electricity and of course, bitches.

“Almost there”, I say out loud to nobody.

I get up, strap my pack back on and walk the last few hundred meters to the base of the stairs. Finally across the little metal bridge I get to the sitting area and see this…

National Parks & Wildlife Service: Quick to put signs around the place, slow to do anything useful.

National Parks & Wildlife Service: Quick to put signs around the place, slow to do anything useful.

“Nooooo. FUCK!”

Needless to say I was less than impressed and far from happy about this latest ..bullshit. I toss my pack on one of the seats, calmly place the slab of heartwood down next to it and pull my hands down over my face.

COCKSUCKERS!

I rest my hands on my hips and listen,.. listen carefully for this maintenance work that ought to be going on, since the signs say they closed it days ago.

All I hear up there are birds tweeting.

Fuck you National Parks & Wildlife Service. Cocksuckers.

A few minutes pass when some old Australian father-son-looking pair walk in from the same direction I had just come.

“G’day”, they say as they look at the sign.

“Yeah, you believe this shit? The staircase’s had orange tape for safety rails for a year and these dickheads suddenly decide to do something about it now??”

They both chuckle awkwardly.

“…bet it was that stupid fucker who fell off the trail the other day: Wasn’t even the staircase they fell off, but I understaaaand: we wouldn’t want the Oh-so-precious tourists to be confronted by ugly orange tape! Good the National Parks got their priorities right. Fuckin..

I’ve never even bothered to go up Furbers Steps, eleven months now and this staircase has always been the last bit of the climb up to town.

What’s the easiest way back up from here now these dickheads have ruined my morning?”

They inform me the fastest way to get back up top from the middle here is indeed Furbers Steps, and we all do the whole ‘Seeya, have a good one’ thing before they continue on towards Leura Forest as I open my pack and shove the slab of wood inside to save me carrying it.

Fast forward a few more hours, and I’ve walked around the other side of the horseshoe-shaped cliff-face and am nearing the base of Furbers.

Approaching Furbers Steps

Approaching Furbers Steps

DSCN1991

It’s here – at the bottom of the steps – I should’ve just chosen to carry on up them, but, seeing the signs pointing me towards the Scenic Railway and having already wasted over five hours of my day walking, cussing at NPWS the entire way, well, I guess laziness got the better of me because I decided right then and there I would rather pay the $15 for the railway to the top, than walk any further.

Big mistake, and one I won’t be repeating anytime soon. Took me forty-five minutes of waiting around amidst a crowd of pudgy, rich lazy tourists to finally get on-board the tackiest ride on earth.

Pft

Pft

A typical herd of braindead tourists: paying way too much for cheap gimmicks because they're too fat or old or lazy to do anything more meaningful with their time.

A typical herd of braindead tourists: paying way too much for cheap gimmicks because they’re too fat or old or lazy to do anything more meaningful with their time.

The vehicles vertical doors lower and clank shut, then Indiana Jones music starts playing and all I can do is sit there and scowl. Scowl at the people next to me, scowl at the god-awful music and scowl at the twenty-odd Asian schoolgirls who started squealing like pigs as soon as the train started moving.

Barely fifteen seconds later we reach the top with the train coming to a halt and – stepping out of the car and walking up through to the turnstile I am confronted with an EFTPOS machine; so I can pay my $15 for the whopping 200 meters of action-packed fun I’d just endured. Beyond the turnstile is a gift shop where you are at once confronted by an ocean of fluffy Koalas stacked into huge pyramids, and a litany of little Australian flags randomly jutting out of things all around.

Ugh.

Now, even on a good day I’ve never had the slightest desire to partake in any tacky tourist shit like this; just the number of times I’ve heard Asian tourists stepping on the local bus and asking, “You go Scenic-world?”, had been enough to put a bad taste in my mouth anytime the name is mentioned, but having spent the past eight days straight in the Middle of the valley living like an Abo, Smelling bad, tired, hungry and in a hurry to get organized to leave for Sydney the very next morning just amplified the blugh factor exponentially.

As soon as I step outside into the midday sun of course, the first thing I did was complain about the entire experience, and rightly fucking so; this railway was built by convicts and slaves over 200 years ago to freight ore and supplies up and down the cliff-face. Countless people would’ve died building it and now? Not only is there no mention at all of the origins of the railway, it’s nothing more than a tacky, tasteless Disney ride.

Worst thing I’ve done since I’ve been in the Blue Mountains; that ridiculous fucking joke of a railway.

The dickhead tourists deserve it.

SYDNEY

Looks great in the photos, but I just don't much care at all anymore for the concrete, steel, noise and filth of such a ludicrously over-populated city.

Looks great in the photos, but I just don’t much care at all anymore for the concrete, steel, noise and filth of such a ludicrously over-populated city.

Outing #25 – Catchup
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Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.