Budawang National Park
I may have only squeezed one camping trip in 2014, but it was a memorable one. The terror of finding the first leech latched on the back of my leg, the panic of almost stepping on a yellow-backed Python, and the taste of my first freeze-dried meal are memories that won't be forgotten (although I might rather forget a few of those). Thank goodness I was with Cameron, who knew exactly how to pull off a leech, came running no matter how many snakes I screamed over, and at the end of a day's hike still liked me enough to hang in the hammock and share a dehydrated meal.
This (below) was our campsite for the first night in Budawang National Park. It didn't take us long to realise we shared the site with leeches. Swaying safely above them in the hammock was the most activity we had this day, and we were ok with that.
Day two began as all fabulous days do, with bacon and eggs. Then we packed up our gear, left the leeches behind, and headed up to a spot named The Castle. A few hours into the hike and we were rewarded with views of treetops for as far as the eye could see.
A waterfall, several rope climbs and a few tight squeezes later we arrived at our destination. The Castle offered uninterrupted views of rock and greenery in all directions.
There were also pools of water at the top - filled with tadpoles!
We made our way down from the Castle and decided to pitch the tent, hang the hammock and find a water source.
Pictured below is the waterfall we found "near" camp. It took Cam's climbing rope and a lot of encouraging words to get me there, but we made it to the water source. It also acted as our shower for the next few days.
Day three had an exciting start. Sleepy-eyed I headed to the toilet and spotted the creature I was hoping to avoid the entire trip. The snake was a few steps in front of me so I turned around and sprinted back to camp, all while screaming in terror. Cameron snapped a few photos before it slithered off the trail.
After I mentally recovered from my close encounter we headed out for a day hike to the Shrouded Gods. The hike was beautiful and lush - and completely overgrown.
Even between the compass, map, bushwalking book and trail markers (tiny pieces of orange tape here and there) we lost the trail. Frustrated, we decided to head back to camp and feast on freeze-dried meals, marshmallows and whiskey.
This view from our camp isn't too bad either :) At the end of the day, there isn't anything to complain about when you have food, water, a view and good company.
Waking up the fourth day was much more peaceful than the previous. I slept in, enjoyed sipping coffee from inside the tent and watched the sun peek through the trees. We took our time heading back to the car, I cheerfully sang Taylor Swift lyrics out loud and silently pictured the burger I was going to order when we got on the road.
Some people say experiences are better shared. I have been travelling solo a lot this year and loving it, but I will admit that the long weekend trip was made a lot more special with somebody to walk beside (or behind... so that they catch all the cobwebs). Thank you Cameron!
Keywords: Budawang, adventure, australia, backpacking, camping, explore, hiking, national park, outside, travel, trekking
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