Three years ago we went on a family walk from Erskine Falls to Lorne, without any idea that soon my father would suffer a heart attack and a journey with cancer that would have us all saying our goodbyes. This disease reduced my strong and fit father to a shell of his former self, weak and breathless. This year he finally will go off the drug trial that got rid of the cancer, and at 74, has made a remarkable recovery - so much so that today he walked 10 kilometres along a very difficult track through the bush, retracing the Easter walk we enjoyed before he got so badly ill.
Dad and Jamie looking at the majesty of the rainforest
A rare picture of me
To be honest, we all forgot how difficult the walk was - all we recalled was that it was beautiful and worth doing before the winter came as it would be far too slippery to even attempt. We have seen many a group of people turn back at the first river crossing because jumping across slippery wet rocks is not for the faint hearted. Kudos to my 72 year old Mum who DID it, despite lacking confidence and having wobbly legs because she was nervous. There was a LOT of Jamie and Dad helping Mum across. There's at least ten crossings to negotiate, let alone moments on the track where we had to climb over rocks and fallen trees. But Mum never says she can't, ever.
Jamie helping Mum over yet another stream
The first 3 kilometres are fairly slow going - believe the board when it tells you it's a 3 hour walk to walk 8 kilometres. If you are at all unsteady on your feet or have no grip on your shoes don't even attempt this walk! All and all, it took us bang on 3 hours, although we had two rest stops to drink water, take photos and eat cashews roast almonds and organic raisins. I reckon the first 3 kilometres took two hours - the rest was easier going and we hit a much faster pace.
We didn't read the sign before we left.
After the worst of it, the track does get easier and it's downhill too. We walked on quite a warm day, but it's cool and shady in the forest with towering eucalyptus and tree ferns. I kept thinking of how amazing it was that both of my parents are still 'yes' people where they'll challenge themselves even though others wouldn't. Mum said you have to both know your limits but also be willing to push pass them as well. Still, I was really feeling for her as she'd been sick with an ear infection and wasn't as fit as she usually is.
I have to say that if someone asked if I'd do the walk next week, I'd probably say no - it was exhausting and we all had very sore legs - nothing a beer wouldn't fix! However, it was pretty special, so if I was pushed, maybe I would go again.
My parents near the end of the walk
Now if you remember me telling you about Dad's cancer at the start of this walk, and his heart attack, you might be amazed to know that he also had a hip replacement. He kept up a great pace but the last two kilometres were a real push and he was much, much slower as his hip was hurting. Whilst it's 8 kms from the official start of the journey to the end, it's a kilometre or two on either side, walking into town at the end (where we'd parked the other car) was 1.5 kilometres from the official end. My Fitbit read 9.8 km by the time we got to the Riverbank Cafe below - a nice and quiet end of town. Whilst Jamie was keen to get a burger, I think my parents were about to cry (not really, but they were exhausted) so we had a coffee and an expensive toasted sandwich. A nice toasted sandwich with good ingredients, but $16 is a big much in our books for a toasted ham and pickled sandwich. That's the coast for you!
Riverbank Cafe, Lorne
I texted Mum when we got back and both had an afternoon sleep on the couch.
'How are you feeling, Mum?'
'Ouch, my legs. Ouch.' came the reply. I hear that, Mum!
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