28. The Hard Path

Today I set out with a good friend to tackle a hiking trail that promised to get the blood pumping and provide some tough challenges. What we didn’t count on was our decision making that would inevitably make the task even harder.

I’ll recount the events of the morning the best I can and hopefully deliver something deep and insightful in the process, wish me luck.

Our somewhat ambitious adventure began in the early hours of the morning when we arrived at the Moggill Conservation Park. Hitting the trail from the carpark entrance, we were quickly confronted by the first challenge, a taster of what was to come. At this point I was already trying my best to not imitate a steam engine as we made the first climb.

We switched trails on to the Ugly Gully Track, passed a couple of other hikers who provided an ominous warning that it doesn’t get any better… oh joy!

After a welcomed decent and passing of more hikers (and one doggo), we made our way along what would be one of the easiest sections and were soon faced with our first foolish decision.

To go right onto the Powerline Break track or straight on and around to the Tower Break track?

We chose the Tower Break and were quickly rueing that choice.

The climb up Tower Break was long, steep and tough. If I was struggling a bit before, this completely blew me out of the water. It took several rest stops on the way up this climb that seemed to go on forever. Alas, the climb did end and as we crested the top, we made the call to head on to the lookout loop. Which, as we found out a short time later isn’t a loop, but instead, is a dead end.

A view from the top looking west

We took the opportunity to take a bit of a break, get some pictures, try to find a geocache (which we gave up on pretty quickly as the risk a snake bite seemed all too real) and were then back on our way with the plan to head for Devils Break track.

For a while it was more of the same, some ups and downs, noisy psychotic birds and rocky trails.

But the further we went along the Devils Break the worse it got, with the endless climbs draining the remaining energy out of my legs. We stopped at a ridge section and managed to find a geocache (hooray!) before beginning the rollercoaster effect for the next section of track.

This had me thinking, “is the drop at the end of the track just a cliff?”. A short time later that question was answered. The answer, yeah pretty much! The decent looked incredibly steep and was littered with rocks and undulations.

So, the choice here, go the hard way to the bottom or seek an easier route?

Faced with the acute possibility of sliding all the way to the bottom on our arses, we decided to seek an easier, but longer route.

This led us to improvising a route which resulted in going off the trails and popping out onto a road that would add several kilometres to the journey and take an unknown amount of time to navigate the rural streets. So, we turned back to explore another trail we had passed just a short time before.

This trail would lead us back to Hawksbury Road and would provide an easy walk along a couple of quiet roads back to the carpark. If only that were true!

The track turned out to be just as steep and demanding as the one we were trying so hard to avoid. After clambering up and down the hills for a bit we reached the road and could finally enjoy some easy walking, albeit on a significantly longer route.

This cool down walk gave us time reflect on our choices.

In trying to avoid what was a hard path, we inadvertently made the task much more difficult for ourselves. We’d tried to seek the easy path as the hard path seemed too difficult, but there was no easy path.

So, from all that, here’s the philosophical part.

Sure, there will always be hard tasks that will result from one’s choices (the choice to go on the Tower Break comes achingly to mind), these are nonnegotiable and sometimes you must grin and bear it.

However, when we choose to avoid something that is hard simply because we think we can’t do it or it might lead to discomfort (such as having to scrub gravel out a cut with a brush, hey Grant), we often find that the seemingly easier route isn’t that easy after all.

Sometimes the alternative is much harder than the original option. Generally, we never realise this until it is too late, and we are stuck with whatever outcome befalls us.

At the end of the day we all choose how we react to hard things; we can avoid it or go about the task another way or face it head on and deal with the hardship that results.

Had we chosen the harder path, we would have reduced our journey by several kilometres and would not have had to turn around and seek another, equally difficult, path. Sure, the harder path could have bitten us on the arse (quite literally), but conversely, it may not have.

We limit our options when we avoid something hard, no matter if that’s a choice or task or action.

The avoidance of hardship does not always make things easier.

Sometimes the only option is to take the hard path.

‘til next time….. Cheers!

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