Welcome back, friends. Today, We will discuss camping in zero degree weather. The only nice thing about it is that in the middle of the night, when you turn on your light, everything is sparkly. Why is a light necessary in the middle of the night? Well, because getting out of the tent to pee is necessary…and that is not nice. At all.
We arrived in the town of Katoomba in the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains late afternoon on Tuesday and it was already getting cold. Katoomba is the last stop on the train from Sydney and it took a couple hours to get out there. Once We got off the train, We had to walk “through town” and down a massive hill to get to the campground and set up Our home. As We were the only ones camping, We got to choose the site We wanted and get to it. Wait, We were the only ones camping? Yes, there were people in campervans, and people who stayed inside cabins…but no other tents. Wonder why…
I had the hardest time getting to sleep the first night there. It wasn’t the coldest night We had there, but I just.couldn’t.sleep. I was up most of the night thinking about my daughters, my family, my friends. I don’t know what time I finally dozed off, but I do know it wasn’t long before the sun was up and the still-on-school-holiday children were running around using their outside voices. That was Our cue to get ready to go. Some coffee and oatmeal and off We went to walk 12-14km (6-8 mi) starting on the nearly 600 ft high clifftop and then down into the valley and back up via the steepest incline railway in the world. Along the way We viewed the 3 sisters (from eye level and below), Echo Point, Katoomba Falls, Leura Falls, and many other unnamed things that were simply stunning. A few hours walking along the cliff edge and then hundreds of stairs going down into the valley and We went from cold, windy weather and gray surrounding to nearly tropical growth on the valley floor…
The “Scenic Railway” is the steepest cable-driven funicular railway in the world, with an incline of 52 degrees over a distance of 415 metres!! We didn’t get any good photos of/from the ride up because by the time We got there, it was time to go and then it just moved so fast. The ride was short, but pretty awesome, and it definitely felt like the steepest railway.
That night was ridiculously cold. The kind of cold where you would…I don’t know, but you would. We filled Our nalgene water bottles with hot water from the kettle and tucked them away into Our sleeping bags to keep warm. Our bags might be rated for below freezing temperatures, but that doesnt mean they can’t be warmer 🙂 I mentioned sparkles in the first paragraph…I suppose it could also be called ICE. It was sparkly inside the tent because the condensation from Our breath was freezing on the inside of Our tent. We slept in Our hats and gloves and scarves and delayed using the toilet whever possible. Thank the Lord for Our sleeping pads or I fear We may have given up and arranged to sleep indoors somehow. (darn, right?) If you know me at all, you know I abhor being cold, and I was mis.ruh.bull. trying to sleep in that bull shit. Yeah, the hike was pretty, but DAMN. No thanks.
The next day, We spent the day hanging out in a cute cafe, using their wifi and eating deliciousness. The chai I had there was the best I’ve EVER had-and it was made by a kid who learned how to make it on youtube! His parents own the cafe and he works there regularly so he has had some practice. This is also the cafe where I was served this amazingness:
It is French Toast and Bacon. I’m not kidding. I capitalized it because it should be crowned as royalty. This is the thickest bread I’ve ever seen (nearly an inch), the most perfectly cooked slab of bacon, the most magically mouth watering golden syrup…this, my friends, is worth every penny you would spend to fly to Australia and eat it. I might never order french toast again for fear that I will never again be satisfied. This day however, more than satisfied ❤
The time We spent in Katoomba was certainly cold, but one of the most amazing trips Ive been on so far. I might mention that the Blue Mountains are so named because the gum trees that cover the landscape (basically the same thing as a eucalyptus, which means it smelled amazing) emit an oil that gets into the air and when the sun shines through it, it shades everything blue. Thats rad if you ask me.
We left the Blue Mountains to head back to Sydney and then on to Byron Bay on another overnight Greyhound. Further north means warmer weather, right?