Emma Noack | September 21, 2015
On the 27th of April 2014 my friend Irit and I went for a hike in Mt Dandenong. On that day Mountain Monday was born, even though it was a Sunday. Monday was my only day off from school and work and I didn’t want to fall into the trap of doing all my boring housework and shopping on that day; I wanted to make Monday count and be a rewarding and special day. It’s so important to me now that the thought of working or not being in nature on a Monday is absolutely wrong and revolting.
At this time I was buying a lot of things in maroon: a scarf, t-shirt, knit, backpack and a pair of socks. If you are the kind of person who is into Chakras (I am) you would know that the Earth Star Chakra is related to the colour maroon. For me, this meant connecting to my spiritual home (or as I joke – my spirit animal): Mt Dandenong. I was immediately absorbed and in the wonderment of being surrounded by luscious ferns, long slender trees and all the moss; it felt like home.
Irit and I call it “hike therapy”. Irit is an Emmett Therapist (http://www.iritrozenfeld.com.au/) and I am studying to be an Art Therapist. On our hikes we have been through many journey’s, become the closest of friends, gotten to be super-fit babes and understood so much of what is going on in our lives by talking and being grounded by the beautiful back-drop of Mt Dandenong. Let me tell you – nothing bonds two people, or shows what your relationship is made of than hiking uphill for three hours after following a rather misleading sign! Especially when Google Maps isn’t working, the names of the tracks you keep seeing aren’t on the Parks Victoria official map and it starts raining. During that fateful Monday we didn’t resort to anger, blame or crying. We kept going, laughed, and ate the kiwi fruit and two squares of delicious Pana chocolate we had. The track was a series of uphill climbs that would wind and turn corners to reveal another seemingly endless uphill climb. We called it the accidental fat-burner workout. I’ll never forget the sight of the bus stop when we finally reached civilization! Oh My God! Biggest smiles and sense of accomplishment EVER! We got this.
Along the way we have seen kangaroos, wallaby’s, echidnas, lyrebirds, deer, rosellas, kookaburras (who will steal food from your hands), lizards, yabbies, wombats, willy wagtails and cockatoos to name the ones I can name. I’ve become entirely obsessed with photographing many mushrooms in the wild (they are quite cute, mysterious, and magical). Every hike begins with a ritual sandwich making, eating and a look at our map to decide where we will walk for the day. I will write more in another post about specific hikes, recipes and more, but for now if you are keen to get started on a Monday, or any other day you are free, I recommend Olinda Falls, Sherbrooke Forest and The Living Nature Bushwalk as beautiful beginners hikes. These are all accessible by public transport, aren’t too hilly and there will usually be other people around so you aren’t totally lost in the wilderness (and could do these solo and be safe). Join us by tagging your Instagram posts #mountainmondays
(links for hikes)
[ Credits: Words by Emma Noack, Illustration by me. ]