A wise man once said, "There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the world." Isn't that the truth.
My American housemate and I went caving this weekend. Our adventure started bright and early Saturday morning. With backpacks full of Nutella sandwiches and Cadbury cream eggs, we were up at sunrise to catch the 7:34am train to Penrith.
My parents read this, so I'll be vague about how we got from Penrith to the Jenolan caves*. When we arrived, the sun was shining and the air had that crisp, cool feeling you get out in the country in autumn. It was a lovely day to spend poking around in the bowels of the earth.
We dressed in smurfsuits (“sorry,” the guide said to me, “it’s either this or a kids’ size”) and abseiled down a hole to the cave entrance. My housemate is rather less experienced than I am in the art of hanging off walls while attached to a rope, and was concerned that her doom might be waiting at the bottom of the hole.
It was not. But a cave troll was.
“When you lock yourself out of the house, what do you do?” This is what our guide asked us. The unanimous response was, “crawl in through the laundry window.” Funny, I thought, because that’s what Pamela and I used to do until my mom found out and replaced the window with solid glass blocks. Which meant you had to sit on the doorstep in the cold whenever you forgot your key and wait for mom to come home and tell you off. Either that or go to your friend’s house and sit in the warm kitchen eating cookies until mom came home, panicked because you weren’t there and called up your friend to see if you’d been kidnapped and tell you off.
That’s me in the picture crawling through the ‘laundry window’. From there we wormed our way down a cascade of boulders (“whatever you do, don’t touch that one – it’s holding up the whole pile”), admired a couple 19th century signatures and slid around on our bums in the dirt.
We agreed that our sunrise departure the next morning was one of the highlights of the whole trip. For reasons I cannot extrapolate on (see * above), my attention was directed elsewhere, but I did catch the odd glimpse of sunlight piercing through low-lying layers of fog and lighting up the mountainside with a golden glow. A couple kangaroos watched us from the side of the road.
If I end every post by saying I Love Australia, is that excessive?