The past few years I have reviewed my journals ahead of the winter solstice. I do this because I like to see what went well, what didn’t go well, and what ideas keep popping up throughout the year. This year I’ve noticed that the idea of spending more Sundays exploring – of enjoying weekend adventure in Sydney, even outside of beach season, comes up pretty regularly.
Recently, all my days sort of run together because I’ve been unemployed and then self-employed this past year. So, it’s easy for Thursdays to look like Saturdays and Sundays to look like Wednesdays.
I’ve decided to prioritise getting out on Sundays more often. To hold myself accountable to that – I’ll blog about it. Sundays (Not the) the Beach.
Here, then, is the first one.
A beautiful Sydney Sunday lures me out to the bush
It’s a gorgeous, sunny, blue-sky winter’s day and I’ve decided it’s time for a weekend adventure in Sydney, a bushwalk from Mt Kuring-Gai Station to Berowra Station along the Lyrebird Creek Track through Berowra Valley National Park in Sydney’s northern suburbs.
I don’t get away until nearly noon and arrive at Mt Kuring-Gai Station at 1:30 pm.
My walk begins with a fairly steep descent on a paved fire trail, which then gives way to a well-worn basic bush track and continues downward along Lyrebird Gully before meeting up with Calna Creek.
Other walkers pass me coming up the hill, some pass me going down the hill, and trail runners pass me going up, then coming back down. I move slowly. And with the aid of walking sticks. Twice they save me from falling on my ass, or worse. My knees remind me they have been carrying me along for five decades and lack the spring and agility they once had.
I like the Sunday busyness of the trail. It’s not crowded, by any means, but there are others around, and everyone is friendly and in good spirits.
I am sensitive to my vulnerabilities – being out in the bush by myself, with my aging knees, and traversing slippery rocks and damp ground. I sent a text message to a friend before setting out to let her know where I was going and will message her when I return – so if I do myself some damage, someone will come looking.
But I am happy to be out. Happy to be in the bush. And, as I move further into the gully – away from the sounds of civilisation. These are replaced by soft afternoon bird chatter, the trickle of the creek, and the occasional burst of frog croaking.
I sit on a rock overlooking the creek, eat my lunch, and drink tea from my Thermos.
I am in a place in my life where I am overthinking everything and experiencing more than the usual amount of stress and anxieties. I’ve turned 50. I’m starting my own business. I’m single. The bank balance is just edging off dire. Which is, in part, why I haven’t gotten out on Sundays. I keep thinking I should stay close to home, where I won’t spend money and could maybe get some work done. But I usually end up spending money and not working anyway.
This, being in the bush, on my own, enjoying this weekend adventure in Sydney feels like a circuit breaker. The walking is challenge enough to give the experience a mindfulness. I feel quite present.
When I’ve just about reached Berowra Creek I decide to turn back. It’s after 3 pm and the sun will set at 5 pm. I retrace my steps, arriving back at Mt Kuring-Gai Station just as dusk descends.
A bit about the suburb of Mount Kuring-Gai
My walk took place in the suburb of Mount Kuring-Gai.
Ku-ring-gai is an anglicised version of Guringai. In the local language this means hunting ground of the men. (Wikipedia)
In the 2016 census there were 1,708 people in Mount Kuring-Gai. Thirty-three, or 1.9%, identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (compared to 2.9% of NSW and 2.8% nationally). 73.9% were born in Australia but 31% had both parents born overseas (37% for NSW, 34% nationally). 83% spoke only English at home – with nothing else clearing the 3% mark: Mandarin (2.5%), Cantonese (1.5%), Korean (1.5%), Hindi (1.1%), and French (0.5%). The personal median weekly income was $758 (NSW $664; nationally $662).
In the 2017 Same-sex marriage postal survey, 85% of voters returned their questionnaire with 55% voting Yes and 45% voting No. (Nationally 80% of voters participated with 62% voting Yes and 38% voting No; in NSW 79% participated, 58% voting Yes and 35% voting No).