Acropolis 12-13 January, 2013.
“We’re going up the Acropolis this weekend.”
Our plan was to camp up high on the shelf below the cliffs to get great sunset and sunrise photos. Even as we sat impatiently on the ferry listening to the driver and tour guide who said: “There are rainforest trees out there; don’t know their names” to the lucky tourists, the clouds were rolling in. The driver knew I was in a hurry to get started with all we had to do after the boat trip, -now running about 45 minutes late – and was enjoying dragging the journey out as much as possible to thwart me. He looked on bushwalkers with scorn. Adding to the delay, he stopped the motor in case anyone wished to photograph the featureless (in this light) blanket of green out there beyond the water.
Pine Valley – en route
Finally released from our boat prison, we raced up the track to Pine Valley, and at last embarked on the final stint through the glorious forest to the top. It was a shame to rush through such scenery, but the ferry driver had created our haste by squandering our time in approach. As we gained the shelf, we could hear the wind roar and we became encinctured in mist. The Acropolis was just a hint in the gloom of grey vapour. There would be no sunset tonight. There was no view tonight. It was raining as we pitched tent and cooked our meal. We began to regret the lack of spare gloves and normal bags. I wore almost every item of clothing in my bag to bed, with a spare pair of socks for a pillow. We lay in our cosy tent listening to the thunder of the wind outside and the light patter of rain. Hopefully the morning would bring a pleasant surprise. I love lying in the shelter of a tent and listening to the wild elements raging outside. We slept well.
Morning did not bring a pleasant surprise. Oh well. We didn’t need to get up early to catch the glorious first rays of sun on the surrounding mountains, or gain the summit while the peaks were still silhouettes in the early light. We didn’t bother getting up until nearly 7. Up we went through the mist.
My husband doesn’t have reliable use of his hands, so regrettably, when we were only maybe ten minutes from the top, where there was a climb up the slippery rocks that was too challenging for a person with no fine motor control, he chose to stay perched on his ledge while I continued to the top. I called to him from the summit to let him know I was there, but he was too far away to hear that – and perhaps the thick mist swallowed my voice.
Coming down I was quite apprehensive, as the thick mist obscured all visibility, and I was mildly concerned about not finding the correct chimney that would lead me down. I realised that, as B could not get up to save me even if he did hear me yell, if I fell on the slippery rocks and broke something, I would be lying there in the rain for a very long time before anyone could help me. I was very cautious in my footing. THANK GOD (or, more correctly, thank you people, whoever you are, who put cairns out there!!!!) for the cairns that appeared now and then in the otherwise featureless environment, and a special thanks for the one with a stick on it. I had paid special attention to it on the way up, and was not going to attempt to go down until I sighted it again. There were two tricky sections on the slippery rock below the summit area on the way up, but fortunately they were fine on the way down. I would be interested to see someone with a beer belly doing one of the tight rock-hugging sections that had a drop below that could severely damage anyone who fell. I am pretty skinny and wanted every centimetre of the room my slender frame provided.
Back down at Pine Valley
So, we didn’t get sunrise or sunset or a swim (unless you count wading through water on the track), but we did have a fun adventure, and we loved the shining green of the forest, and the atmospheric mantel of mist that, despite obscuring all hint of a view, lent the rocks a special magic.