Last week, we had a national holiday, and one of the men in the church organized a tramp for anyone who wanted to come. Everyone who normally attends our little house church, except one man who wasn’t feeling good and another who was out of town, came, plus one other man and two tourists who were visiting one family. We had an incredible day!
I had never been on a tramp that long, so wasn’t sure how I would do. The sign said it would take two hours to reach our destination, the Ballroom Overhang up the Fox River, which is a little way up the coast of the Tasman Sea from Pancake Rocks. I’ve never walked that long at a time, let alone up a river. And with all the little children in our group? I knew it would be interesting!
Our group of 36 started out from the carpark at Fox River all together—and were soon strung out along the trail, as we knew we would be. The leader carried a radio, two others in the middle had radios, and so did the one at the end, all set to the same channel, so that we could keep in touch. At least, that was the theory; it didn’t work very well! (No one got lost, though.) Most of the time, Gayle and I were near the end of the line, and some of our boys were at the beginning. Our three older boys all helped to carry the younger children, and all five of our boys carried our family’s lunch. That left me free to focus on walking and taking photos. There were a lot of younger children who needed carrying! Fourteen in the group were under 10 years old. Besides Miss Joy, the youngest member of the expedition, there was a 1 1/2-year-old, a 2-year-old, and two 3-year-olds, who were all carried nearly all the way. We also had three 5-year-olds, plus a few slightly older ones who also needed carried over the river crossings. The older boys did most of the carrying.
For the first half hour or more, we walked through areas like this. I love walking through these green tunnels of tree ferns and other trees, all dripping with moss in this cool rain forest! It feels almost magical.
Little Miss and one of her friends.
The rock formations were stunning!
A friend took this photo of Gayle and I.
This photo of Mr. Diligence and Mr. Sweetie was taken as we were resting and regrouping after the first river crossing, about 45 minutes into the tramp. We walked about another hour before the next crossing—there were six more after this first one, before we reached our destination! No bridges; we waded through on foot.
This tiny creek was one of several that crossed the track in one area. We had to step carefully over them.
I saw these rocks across the river from the track at one point.
See Mr. Intellectual and his two little sisters in the middle of the photo?
About in the middle of this next photo is a stream of water gushing out of a cave into the river.
I think this is a bush robin. It was very friendly; hopping around only a few feet from me.
This is the Ballroom Overhang, our destination! The photos don’t do it justice at all; it’s enormous. I took the first one looking straight up. We ate our lunch here, and then quickly left to start back to the cars. It had taken us three hours to get there; it took 2 1/2 hours to get back.
Off we go down the river bed!
The last river crossing! If you look closely, you can see several of my boys carrying little people. The one closest to me was Mr. Diligence carrying Miss Joy. I hardly saw her that day! I fed her at this river crossing, going both ways, and at the Ballroom Overhang; otherwise, other people (teenagers) were carrying her.
Almost out to the road again! We left our vehicles at 10:30; it was 4:30 when we returned. We were all rather tired, stiff and sore, but it was a good tired, stiff and sore! That day out in nature was incredible. The scenery—what I got to see in between picking my way over rocks and around mud and through rushing, cold water, barefoot, over slippery stones, was amazing. The company was wonderful, too! To top off the day, we lit a fire on the beach and roasted sausages. It was quite cold by then, but still a great experience. We are blessed!