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Following on from my previous post, as we stood on Pulpit’s Rock we saw the sky change as heavy storm clouds rolled up the valley. We remembered the forecast for hail and realised that we needed to seek shelter.
Our son wanted to look in a little cave near the lookout so we went in there and watched in surprise as a wall of white quickly blew up the valley. I remarked that we could see individual rain drops and aren’t they large and don’t they get blown around a lot by the wind. Then the front reached us and we realised the rain drops were actually hail stones.
Our children were delighted and spent the time running around catching hail stones and eating them. I took the chance to enjoy my lunch while my husband and I watched nature’s awesome show unveil itself. It was an incredible experience to have a bird’s eye view of the storm while safely ensconced in a dry cave.
As we walked back along the same track towards Govett’s Creek we remarked on all of the hail stones strewn by the side of the track. We were delighted to see a rainbow that ended at the cave that we had just left. We walked faster than our children would preferred because I had become nervous about having 3 hours of walking ahead of us, a wet track and it was already after 2pm.
We passed a young British hiker who had been caught on a very exposed ridge during the hail storm and had to shelter his head with his backpack. That made us feel even more fortunate!
The young British hiker had told us that the walk back through Pope’s Glen was wet but again we figured that it couldn’t be much wetter than what we had already encountered. It turned out that we were very wrong and we should heed such comments! The walk back through Pope’s Glen was a long, wet and cold slog. Our daughter was shaking with cold as her feet and calves were soaked with very cold water and the sun had already set. The path itself forms a drainage path for water and the run-off from the storm filled the track above our ankles with cold water and hail stones floated on top. Our son had a great time as he leapt over the narrow sections and I carried him as I leapt over the wider sections.
When we reached Black Heath we decided to take a short cut and cross the flooding river rather than walk another 1.5km to the end of the trail. We couldn’t see the bottom of the river and we carried one child each as we took the chance to step onto a submerged stepping stone. It was with great relief that we leapt onto the far shore and realised that only our feet were wet. As we walked back towards the cabin we watched a boy sliding on his body board over the hail stones and we enjoyed looking on the white surroundings that had been green that morning.
Back at the cabin we warmed our children with hot showers, dry clothes and warm dinner. Our son who is only 6 years old rather incredibly thanked us profusely for taking him on the walk! We responded with, no thank you for making us able to do the walk!