We hope you all had A Merry Christmas, Wonderful Holidays, and a Happy New Years!
This time of year is certainly a beautiful time to spend with the friends and family who you love and enjoy. The holiday season has always been an important time for both Carlton and I to spend with family. However knowing that I would not be home for Christmas this year (for the first time) left me with a bit of a pit in my stomach. Not only would we be missing our families for Christmas, but having been in Australia for only a short time there was a slight twinge of nervousness as I thought ahead to what Christmas might look like on our own. This nervousness, however, was quickly laid to rest when we got our invitation to spend Christmas and New Years with our friends down on the Gold Coast (from here on out to be refered to as our “Aussie Family”).
Christmas was very similar to what you might think of for a traditional North American Christmas, with the gathering of family, exchange of presents, and eating way too much food. However, the old familiar sound of crunching ice and snow was replaced by the squeaky sound of hot sand on the beach. The intimate feeling of hot drinks by the crackling fire was replaced by the cool refreshing drinks around the BBQ. And the familiar lyrics singing about a “One horse open sleigh” were appropriately replaced by those of a “Rusty Holden Ute”. So as we felt the loss of missing the traditions and time with our families and friends back home, we were overjoyed and honored to be able to experience the Australian Christmas with our Aussie Family and friends. Also… just to clear up any potential confusion, no we did not throw any “shrimp on the barbie”, however there was no shortage of prawn!
One Goal Carlton and I have had since coming to Australia is attempting to conquer challenging hikes and rough terrain. After hearing about a specific mountain in the area called Mt. Warning, we have both set our sights on completing this hike. Relying heavily on our ignorance for how challenging it will actually be, while allowing our friends to do the majority of the work, we should be able to accomplish our goal! However, before we attempt the Mt. Warning hike, through the wisdom of our newly declared trail guide, Leo, we decided to try a few smaller trails first with our new team.
Our shout out of the week this week goes to Paula, Leo and Josh pictured above for being a part of our fearless and ignorantly optimistic hiking crew. And honorable mention goes to Carlton’s new Go Pro and Selfie stick which is now a valued member of our team!
Having become very familiar with navigating steep grades and stairs, along with having completed several hikes on well groomed trails, we drove to the training hike with confidence. However we soon found that our expertise was no match for the impressively steep terrain with the addition of loose rocks and gravel. The plan to pull and roll the wheelchair up the mountain quickly gave way to the realization that we would be carrying both Carlton and the wheelchair up the majority of the hike. Along with being physically challenging for those of us carrying Carlton, this was also no smooth ride for him. Our less than graceful carrying skills left him just as sore and battered as the rest of us. Our conclusion from this training hike was that we need to recruit a few more people for our team and establish a plan for hoisting Carlton up and over some aggressive boulder sections of the trail. Our tentative plan is to attempt to summit Mt. Warning on Jan 21st, which will be the day after Carlton’s 30th birthday here in Australia, but will be the actual day of his birthday back in North America. We are still assembling our team, but we look forward to having you all cheering us on!
We have some exciting plans for the next few weeks and are looking forward to sharing those with you soon. We are also starting to plan our month long road trip from Melbourne back up to Brisbane which we will be beginning at the end of January! We love being able to share this journey with you all, and appreciate each of you who are joining us for this adventure.