On our second day, we went abseiling and climbing near and around Boar's Head, with the Blue Mountain Adventure Company. This was a very cold and windy day, close to 5⁰C / 40⁰F, because of the elevation (around 900 m / 3000 ft). Despite wearing 7 layers, Lauren was still shivering with cold. We abseiled in the morning:
|The rock in the middle that supposedly looks like a boar's head (well, I do not see the resemblance) is where we were climbing around.|
We stopped mid-day at the bottom of a cliff for lunch and hot tea, prepared by our guide who had a camping stove. We continued the day with climbing. Since it was just the 2 of us plus our guide, for safety he would climb first with both of us belaying him (he trusted us, wow!), then he would anchor himself and had us on belay as we climbed. We followed this procedure in 2 stages, stopping halfway on a ledge on the cliff. As Lauren and I were waiting on the verry narrow ledge, our guide took a few steps to the side to take pictures of us:
|Orange specks on a sheer rock face.|
|Three Sisters in the background.|
|At the bottom of the first "Sister".|
But in our case, 2 days gave no time to learn from trial and error, so our course was very straightforward. There is so much I would like to write, but I will have to keep it short.
We learned how to make cordage from leaves. We learned how to build a basic type of shelter, a debris hut. We learned how to make a fire using nothing but a knife and wood. We learned how to prepare a fail-safe and inexpensive tinder: vaseline cotton balls, which work very well with magnesium rods. We learned how to build traps to catch small animals. We learned how to maximize our chances of being found in a search and rescue operation. We learned how to escape bush fires. We learned how to make primitive water filters from coal, sand, and leaves, etc. Seriously I could write 5 to 10 thousand words about everything we learned.
Aside from the learning, we explored local caves. Some passages were so tiny we had to crawl on our stomachs. The entrance of one of the caves was full of thousands of tiny flies so we closed our mouths and moved through quickly, ugh!
The area was full of aboriginal hand prints, but we were not quite sure whether they were authentic or not. Our instructor seemed to think they were fake, which is apparently not so uncommon.
We slept outdoors, on a mat, slightly under the overhang of a cliff.
On the second day, we began a canyon walk through a wet canyon. It was quite challenging, with flat rock surfaces with moss or algae extremely slippery.
All in all, I very highly recommend this survival course. If you are a MacGyver type of person, you will love it.
|Beginning of our survival course. There were 7 of us total (1 instructors, 2 junior instructors, and 4 students).|
|Believe it or not, but there is space for 1 person to lay down under this debris hut.|
|Preparing kindling for the fire.|
|Carving a little plank to make fire (sorry for the bad picture quality —I scratched my GoPro case while climbing a few days earlier).|
|Where we slept. Lauren was paranoid about bugs crawling on her face, but luckily it was an uneventful night.|
|One of the most difficult passages while canyoning. I was trying to not get wet here. But eventually we all had to walk in knee-deep water.|
|Canyoning was our last activity in this survival course. We were very happy to go back to the hotel and take a hot shower.|
Finally, on our last day in the Blue Mountains, we visited the Wentworth Falls, which were very beautiful. A pathway was carved on the side of the mountain, where a handrail is the only thing that prevents you from falling 100 m / 330 ft into the valley.
|The falls from afar.|
|Top of the falls.|
Next up, trip up the coast to Brisbane!