There comes a point in every born-again hiker’s life where the white knuckle adrenaline rush of bumbling your way along the Kalamunda section of the Bibbulmun track just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Naturally, you must evolve into your final form and break free from all the other basic casuals who are reinventing themselves after one too many Sunday mornings spent suckling on the blue Powerade teat of hydration.
It’s time to turn your half-arsed hobby into a half-arsed metaphor and climb a “mountain”. Of course, climbing a real mountain would be an obscene level of commitment and judging by your inability to keep a simple succulent alive, perhaps commitment isn’t your strong suit.
Luckily for you, your salvation awaits you 100km north of Albany. Bluff Knoll is the half-arsed mountain metaphor that you’ve been looking for. You cannot get higher in the South West unless you spent an afternoon in a dodgy Commodore rolling around Spencer Park.
Before scaling Bluff Knoll it appears to be mandatory practice to go and max out your credit card at Kathmandu. Sure, oldies & children can get to the peak with no real issues but you just can’t resist buying a hiking pole to fulfil your Sir Edmund Hillary fantasy. You unforgivable poser.
If you’re coming from Perth, you will find the hardest part of your journey will be having to spend at least a night in Albany. Some people have been known to die of excitement in this genetically undiverse retirement village but it’s a challenge you must face to get that summit selfie aka the holy grail.
You’ll know your moment is getting close when you roll into the Stirling Ranges and join all the other adventurers in the car park. You may be surprised to see that not everyone is dressed like they are ascending to basecamp.
Take this opportunity to scoff at the unprepared tourists who have arrived in jeans and without a brand-spankin’ pair of hiking boots. Let them bask in your glory. Let them gaze upon a true mountaineer whose new boots are currently ripping their feet apart.
Now all you have to do is walk up a fairly steep incline for about 2 hours. This may resemble exercise quite a bit. In fact, if the bulk of your training has just been plonking slowly around flat treks then you may even break a sweat on this mighty slope.
Nevertheless, the juice is worth the squeeze. Just keep telling yourself, “summit selfie” and if you’ve timed your holiday well you may be lucky enough to make every other West Aussie jealous by enjoying the purest ice the state has to offer – the 2 inches of snow that fall on the Bluff each year. How whimsical.
After your summit photoshoot, you’ll probably be pretty high on life. An undeniable achievement. So why not seal the deal with a selection of basic poses – the tiddy flash the Toyota jump and dangling your feet over the edge are absolute staples of the game. Very unique stuff.
You are living the metaphor but it’s not over yet. Getting down Bluff Knoll isn’t much easier than getting up it. Also, the chances of eating shit are a lot higher so you’ll have to be vigilant.
After getting back to your car you now have a fun waiting game for the lactic acid to build up and give your legs the structural integrity of cooked spaghetti. Of course, if you spent more time training and less time shopping at Kathmandu, the deep burn may be mitigated but ya didn’t.
If you are particularly unfit you will probably have a pretty sore drive back to Perth the next day. You may even find it hard to lift yourself off the toilet. Not to fear though, you’ve inspired a nation by doing the same moderate climb as half the state has and you’re not shy to post about it.
Documenting the Human Zoo is thirsty work, so if you enjoyed what you read how about buying Belle a beer, ay?