"My husband recently went away to New York without me (it's ok - we discussed it first) leaving me home alone. The weather had been pretty beautiful so I wanted to try something new in the great outdoors, however finding a willing companion on short notice was proving hard!
Being a bit scared to venture out too far on my own, I was looking to join a group for added fun and safety - not that I was looking for anything particularly dangerous but I am very uncoordinated and a bit of a wuss.
After a little bit of Googling I came across Emu Trekkers, a not for profit organisation who organise guided hikes in various areas across NSW. I signed up for a 4 hour hike through the Blue Mountains which I looked forward to all week while also feeling pretty great that my money was going towards a good cause, supporting Indigenous literacy.
Yes, thats right - all proceeds go to a 100% not-for-profit charity run by volunteer guides - I felt good about myself and I hadn't even done anything yet!
While I chose not to take this option, the guides (and fellow hikers) all meet at Central Station and ride on the train together, so you don't have any worries about missing your stop or anything like that. Alternatively if you wish to make your own way, they can meet you at Wentworth Falls. Upon all parties assembling at Wentworth Falls station, we got a bit of background about the organisation and the area and then we were off!
My cohort was a mix of different ages and backgrounds, some uni students, some office workers like me as well as some international visitors. Being in a group and meeting some new people was fun, although I have to say there were many periods were we were all walking in a happy silence. So a real balance - don't worry introverts, you can zone out and enjoy the scenery, promise!
Along the way the guides (Chris and Manon) gave us fun and interesting narration about different areas as we passed by. We also found a Bowerbirds nest which I thought was pretty cool.
What to say about the scenery. Amazing, incredible, beautiful, majestic. The views are just drop dead gorgeous and because its so beautiful you kind of don't notice the time passing - when we stopped for lunch about 2 hours in I felt like no time had passed at all!
As I am often stuck in an office, it was just so refreshing being out in the mountain air and forgetting about the hustle and bustle of the city. Back in Victorian times the fresh air of Blue Mountains was seen as a miracle cure for any number of ailments, which made it a popular destination for what we would today probably call 'medical tourism'. Maybe they were on to something because something about all the open space and the crisp clean air that does make you feel pretty amazing.
For the last hour I was pretty knackered but having the rest of the group there and the supportive guides keeping it fun was just the encouragement I needed. I felt a massive sense of accomplishment when I reached the top and felt like I was walking on air the whole way to the train station!
Please be assured you don't need any fancy hiking clothes if you're just starting out - I wore normal pants and sneakers. Just remember to bring something waterproof just in case. Also if you can't be bothered packing your lunch you can grab something from the numerous cafes around Wentworth Falls. Apart from that you don't really need to worry about much, just bring yourself!
In conclusion, just go for it. You dont have to go alone, your can bring a friend or partner, however if you are flying solo for the day also good. Just get out there and enjoy!"
These stories are proudly written by the volunteers and friends of Emu Trekkers.