To make up for being such a coward, on day 3 of my camping retreat, I drove from the Casuarina campsite to Brown's Beach, parked the car and walked the 6km hiking trail from Brown's Beach to Gym Beach. After exploring every inch of it, I walked the 6km back again, on full snake alert.
The tracks, campsites, shoreline and terrain around Gym Beach are now familiar territory.
It is destined to become my secret hideout for future getaways.
The beach itself is an intimate little bay with crystal clear water that actually looks safe for swimming, no massive waves or dangerous rips that I can see. A plateau of fairly flat rocks provide a sweet walk out over the water, a lovely place to sit, feel like Jesus and contemplate the madness of city life, the beauty of wild places, the ocean, the ever receding horizon.
There are four campsites at Gym Beach, each one quite secluded from the others, and some awesome rocky cave formations that children would love to explore in the sand dunes just beyond the beach.
Oh, and a drop toilet too - almost civilized.
Who knows what made me suddenly turn around on Friday morning and drive back to the past-the-use-by-date Casauarina campsite again...the spot I've been coming to nearly every month since Mark died. Sadly the campsite has been 'upgraded' since my last visit - the parks and wildlife department (in their bureaucratic wisdom) have delineated the seven campsites with ugly fenceposts and wiring, perhaps to keep campers away from areas of revegetation, a very generous assumption on my part.
The campsites look more like prison cells now.
Such change is inevitable, just another reason for moving on...
Here are some images I took on the walking trail linking Brown's Beach to Gym Beach...
The weather was hot, the tent was hot.
I brought along my lettuce plant to feed me and keep me company and feasted on a diet of fresh fruit and Greek Salad for 3 days.
I fell in love with Madame Flavour's sultry chai (my daughter bought this for me, I'd never been a chai drinker) - I swear I could smell the spicy peppery aroma as I was hiking through the scrub to Gym Beach.
I walked along the beach at Pondilowie Bay and talked to the locals about the weather and what fish-of-the-day was on the menu (the four local pelicans, that is).
I sat still and watched the mess inside my head for many hours on end (some call this meditation), while outside my tent the breezes sang mystical songs as they danced with the Casuarina trees and the rolling waves growled on the other side of the sand dunes.
I read two books: 'The Wheel of Life: A memoir of living and dying' by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and
'Stop F*cking Around: 30 principles for a better life' by Craig Harper (more on that later, probably another post).
I even did a yoga practice in my tent - at one stage lifting legs up from Prasaritta Padottanasana A into a 3 point Headstand (then I got just a bit excited and tried to get from Bakasana into a 3 point Headstand without success...it shall come again one day)
Really, I just hung out, and did my favourite things, in my tent, on my own.
Solo hermit and recluse, me, myself and I...