You wake up on a Thursday morning, only to realise you finish that day at 12 noon and aren’t scheduled to work again until Saturday morning. What do you choose to do with your day and a half off work?
Me? I stuffed my rucksack full of layers and camping gear, shut down my laptop, jumped in Brian (my van) and headed off into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland for an overnight fast packing adventure.
The main purpose of this article isn’t necessarily to share my route choice (although I will for reference) or anything like that – it was all a very simple little mission. This is mainly a visual reminder that you don’t need days on end for an adventure. Of course, this depends on where you live and I’m lucky to only be an hour or so drive to this trailhead, but – look around you – where can you escape to? You might surprise yourself with what’s on your doorstep, and how little time you need away in a secluded spot, to feel like you’ve had a blissful break from the world at your feet.
I started at Charlie Moreland campsite, happily saying goodbye to the building numbers of school holiday makers; hiked up Mt Allan (4.5kms and a good 480m of vert – perfect warm up!) then ran/hiked single track on the Conondale NP Great Walk to Summer Falls walkers camp. I didn’t see a single person in 2 1/4 hours on the trail – perfect! I’d primarily picked this spot as the QLD Parks site wasn’t showing any other bookings for the campsite. No phone signal. No people. Bingo. I’ve also run through there a couple of times and love the remote feel of Summer Falls, with access in both directions via beautiful single track trails on the Conondale NP Great Walk. I’ve run this 55km loop in one go in the past, plus various sections at different times, so it was super nice to think of having the time to hang out at the falls and not just run past them for a quick water refill.
Over 2 hours of hiking/running/shuffling later, I found myself at camp, in time to set up my tent before sunrise. I boiled a cup of tea; sat beside the waterfall as darkness fell (around 5pm); cooked dinner; crawled into my tent complete with hot water bottle (yeah, essentially glamping); started a book, turned off my headlamp around 830pm and went to sleep.
I woke up at 10pm, not knowing the time and thinking it was nearly time to get up….Realised it could be a long night ahead… did some breath work exercises…fell asleep… woke up in what felt like a million times, dreaming I was falling through the ground (tricky when you’re lying on the ground)… but still warm and comfortable… and eventually crawled out of my tent at 6am to boil another cup of tea and finish my book while rugged up, looking out over the waterfall and the valley again. A little meditation before cooking my porridge… feeling soooo super calm in this tranquil place. It’s these simple things which I just adore. A night under the stars. No technology. Fresh air. Bird song, and goodness knows what sort of birds and animals rustling around my tent all night (…admittedly I could do without these – it’s amazing the creatures your mind can create in the dead of the night rummaging outside your tent!). 24 hours where my only human contact was a brief, friendly conversation with the only other people in the campsite – a couple, who had been walking for three days and I was the first person they’d seen – lucky souls hey!
These simple moments in the outdoors really are my soul food.
I forgot to take any cutlery, not even a spork, for the second camping trip in a row. I learned that you can eat both 2 minute noodles and thick porridge with a wooden knife (which I found in the bottom of my pack). Winning.
Hot water bottles continue to be my favourite cold weather camping luxury item.
You don’t need much time to feel a world away from everything!
From cover to cover – No Mud, No Lotus. Thich What Hanh.
“This is a happy moment.”
Trip Gear list:
Ultimate Direction Fastpack 45L (first time I had used this fully loaded – gear review to follow. Sadly didn’t perform so well for me trying to run with it full), Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 Bikepacking tent, Thermarest Neo Air mat, Big Agnes AXL pillow, an ancient Rab down sleeping bag which I adore (but which is soon to be replaced with a spenny Haglofs lightweight one) Jetboil Mini Mo stove, Black Diamond (alloy) Z walking poles, Ay Ups headlamp, old Finisterre down jacket which I love; Patagucci Synch Snap Pullover Fleece, Steripen, Go Pro Hero Black 5.
Charlie Moreland (via Mt Allan) – Summer Falls – (via Sunday Creek Road) Charlie Moreland