Climbing an Active Volcano in Bali

Once a year, my two sisters, Mum and I, try and catch up for a girls weekend away.  We try and scratch out the time and money so we can catch up, reconnect, and often have some much needed down time.  Our first trip was to celebrate my Mum’s 50th birthday and we went to Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Over the years, between having kids, moving, living life, we haven’t always managed an exclusive girls trip each year, but we have had memorable trips to the Gold Coast, Palm Cove, Emu Park, and New Zealand.  This year my mum is turning 60 and my little sister turns 30 so we decided it was time for another overseas trip.  Sale fares cropped up for Bali and we spontaneously decided to book the trip well in advance.  This gave me plenty of time to research what trails, hikes, or special attractions that I would like to attempt while staying in Bali.

As you can probably guess if you have been following my blog, I love a good mountain climb, so not surprisingly Mt Batur Sunrise Trek caught my attention.  Trip Advisor had some great reviews of this hike and as it was a 4 hour return trip it wouldn’t take up too much time.  Let’s be honest those wonderful foot massages, cocktails by the pool, not to mention the shopping were all vying for my attention as well!

I managed to convince my little sister to come with me and our trip started with a 2.30am pick up from our Villa just outside of Ubud.  Yes, 2.30 AM pick up, arrrgghh what was I thinking?  It took about 30 minutes driving to arrive at the meeting point in the Kintamani National Park complex where we had a small breakfast of banana crepe and tea or coffee.  We were quickly ushered back into the car for a further 20 minutes before arriving at the base of Mt Batur.  As it was August, it was peak tourism season and the day we hiked there was upwards of 450 people on the mountain.  At just over 1700m above sea level, Mt Batur is not a big mountain so this is a lot of people to have on it at one time.  I have to admit I am really not a fan of hiking with this many people.  There was a lot of waiting before we started and there was a bit of stop and starting during the trek as well.

Before I left Australia, I had been talking to another couple who had just returned from Bali and had completed the Mt Batur trek.  Their advice was to take a head light which left your hands free for the steep part of the track, take a warm jacket for the summit, and they also warned that there were no toilets along the way.  I don’t know about you, but after breakfast, coffee and an early start, my bladder was becoming very demanding.  It was still early in the piece and easy walking, but I was remembering that there were no toilets along the way and we still had 3 more hours of hiking plus waiting time on the top of the mountain.  I figured that I would not be able to enjoy the rest of the trek if I didn’t sneak off for a toilet break under the cover of darkness.  My tips for taking the sneaky, stealth pee: Don’t forget to turn your headlight off;  Try and find a spot that the moonlight won’t reflect off your white backside; And finally, just try to forget that there are 450+ people walking around you and that your face isn’t glowing red in mortification.

For the most part it was quite an easy hike, only the last 45 minutes or so was quite steep.  There are plenty of breaks and due the number of people hiking single file the pace is very steady, therefore achievable for most people with moderate fitness.  It was a lovely clear morning when we started out, it was dark but the stars and moon were bright and there was that lovely morning crispness to the air that I love.  Once we started moving it was a pretty cool sight to see all the twinkling spots of torchlight winding up the mountain.  Now the one thing I had been looking forward to since i woke up at a ridiculous time that morning was a spectacular sunrise.  We reached the top with a little time to spare and sat there shivering in our sweaty shirts, lucky we had a jacket, but I would recommend a dry shirt to change into.  As the sun started to rise, we started to catch glimpses of the view that we had climbed to see, all bathed in a beautiful deep red/orange sky and then tragedy struck in the form of heavy clouds rolling across the mountain……NOOOOOO! Get a load of our eagerly awaited sunrise view……

IMG_2511

Sunrise selfie.  Yep, not too impressed with our sunrise. Haha suckers!!

While the fog was this thick we were seriously doubting whether this trip was worth it.  But then the sun started to rise and the clouds started to clear…..

Looking down at the blackened land, cooled lava from an eruption in 1963 that destroyed a village, was a stark reminder that we had just climbed an active volcano!  In fact it is Bali’s most active volcano with mild eruptions every 10-15 years.  It did make me pause slightly when I did some research prior to the hike that the last eruption was in 2000 and Mt Ruang, in nearby Java, was on the boil.    Our boiled eggs for breakfast had been cooked in the steam from the volcano.  We were standing on a bloody volcano!  C’mon it was a little cool.

It was a pretty great experience and my sister and I were both happy that we did it.  We ended up descending a different path than we climbed.  It was a nice easy walk down, but I would have liked to see the path we had clambered up in the dark.  Oh well, it was not a bad view on the way down regardless.

While this trek is a very commercial enterprise and you could quite easily do it without a guide, I was happy to pay the fee as it creates a lot of employment for locals and I was hopeful that I was paying for their knowledge on the status of this active volcano I was climbing.  The views as we drove back to our accommodation were spectacular and all in all I was really happy with the whole experience and will cross this one off the hitlist!

Our Weekend Among the Valley of the Giants

This is a Throwback Thursday post that I have been meaning to write for ages.  We took this trip a few months after moving to Perth and just before I started my blog.  It was a really fantastic weekend away for my family and deserves a mention and a record on the blog for posterity!

After living the FIFO life for a few months at this point we really wanted to get away for a long weekend, enjoy being together as a family and explore this amazing new state we were living in.  We had been given a tip off that Coalmine Beach was a lovely little tucked away spot that we should go and check out.  After a quick google we booked a spot at Coalmine Beach Holiday Park.  It is a lovely location and the amenities are standard for a good caravan park.  I do have to mention that the managers at the time were not the most welcoming which wasn’t great when we had been driving 5 hours from Perth.   We arrived around 5.30pm and the first thing we were told was to make sure we kept the kids quite after 6pm?  O..K….Then we checked into the cabin we had booked and the top two bunks weren’t made up.  It may just be me but there also seemed to be a lot of ‘shouty’ signs all around the cabin….’CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR MEALS’, ‘PLEASE MOP SHOWER AFTER USE’, ‘DO NOT LEAVE LIGHTS ON’, they just seemed to be everywhere.  I expect to see them on the general information brochure but they were plastered to the walls.  Anyway, it seems I still have some anger issues with the hospitality, but in saying all of that it is a lovely location and one of the cheaper places to stay in this area.

Back to the good stuff, Walpole and surrounds are just beautiful and we had such a great day at the beach just metres from the caravan park.  Check out the photos…

Did I mention that there are Wineries in the area too?  Winning.  We stopped in at West Cape Howe Winery and grabbed a couple of bottles to try, delicious.

winery

 

We could have quite easily spent a lazy weekend just at Coalmine Beach but one of the big drawcards for this region is the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk.  There was an entry fee,  approximately $45.00 for our family of 6, which I thought was reasonable for this experience.  There was a wonderful information centre with interactive displays that the kids loved, there was the Tree Top Walk along the suspended bridge right up amongst the top leaves blowing in the breeze, and then there was also the Ancient Empires Walk at the base of these massive trees to really appreciate their size.  The staff were really friendly and informative and the facilities were fantastic, definitely worth the money.

We made another stop this day to view the Giant Tingle Tree.  This tree is just massive.

tingle trees

The other stop we should have made on this trip but didn’t know about at the time, was The Diamond Tree Lookout which is on route to Perth from the Denmark/Walpole area.  We stopped in at the lookout on the way back from the trip to Albany for the Adventurethon.  To be honest, we had initially skimmed over this as we thought it was just a lookout and the kids are generally not too enthused by lookouts.  How wrong we were…..

Well that turned into quite an epic post.  We really enjoyed exploring this region of Western Australia and it is definitely worth a visit.

Happy Exploring!!

 

Mothers Day Classic 4km Family Fun Run

As I mentioned previously, this event was merely the icing on the cake on our journey to run 4km as a family.  All the work, the pride, the satisfaction came from training together twice a week, sometimes three times a week, in the lead up to the Mothers Day Classic.  By the time the actual day rolled around it was all about celebrating a job well done.  We decided to make a weekend of it and booked a unit in Dampier, near the beach, where we had a relaxing couple of days playing at the beach, park, and enjoying a dinner out.  The other important part of the weekend was raising awareness and funds for Breast Cancer research.  A big thank you to our family and friends who sponsored Team Campbell and all our efforts. I will let the photos tell the story of our day at the Mothers Day Classic 4km Family Fun Run.

It was a great event to participate in, and it may become a Campbell family tradition.  The husband has been a little forgotten in all this, but his story is also pretty impressive.  My husband would be the first to tell you that he is not the most athletic person but he was quite keen to sign up for this family challenge.  Hubby has never run 4km without stopping…..ever.  The first time he did this was at this event, with three of his boys, holding hands as they crossed the finish line.  Mr Exercise Hitlist was a little emotional, quite chuffed, and it is a moment that he will cherish for a long time to come.  Mission accomplished I say.  Another special mention must go to my eldest child, 8 yrs old, who managed to complete the whole course without stopping.  He wasn’t fast but he stuck to his game plan and just kept plugging away.  This is harder than it looks in this type of event, as there are people everywhere so it is hard to keep a steady pace as you try and weave in and around people.  There were also a lot of children in the event, which was fantastic, but most kids would walk a little, and sprint or jog a little, then walk again.  My younger kids found that hard as they wanted to walk when the others were walking even though they had run much further in training!  They all did a fantastic job, but especially the eldest who was probably one of the only kids to run the whole distance!!  I am beyond proud of my little family.

After returning home from our weekend I asked the kids and hubby what they thought about training, running in this event, and whether they would do it again.

B1 (8yr old) – What did you like the best about training?  Icy poles at the end.  Favourite training moment? When you and I ran that whole 3km.  Did you feel like you could run 4km without stopping at the start?  No way! It was really hard at the start.  What did you feel like when you finished the 4km on race day?  I was really proud of myself, it felt good.  I also felt like I was saving lives.  Would you do it again?  Maybe, not for a while.  I would rather train for a bike race.

B2 (7yr old) – What did you like best about training?  Icy poles.  Favourite training moment?  When we did that really good run all the way to the pool and then we got to have a swim.  What did you feel like when you first started running? I didn’t like it.  My legs hurt and it was hard.   Did it get easier? Yes!  Some days it was awesome.  What did you feel like when you finished the race? Awesome.  Would you do it again??  Yes.

I found this drawing B2 had drawn a few days after the race....I think he had fun right?

I found this drawing a few days after the race….I think he had fun right?  B2 is the one right at the top yelling ‘Weeeee….’

B3 (7yr old) –  What did you like best about training?  Icy poles.  Favourite training moment?  The days off.  What about the 3.5km run?  That was good.  When I ran the 3.5km, I felt like I could keep running and running.  What did you feel like when you first started running?  Sore after the run.  What did you feel like when you finished the race?  Good.  When prompted for something other than ‘good’? I liked that we all ran together.  Would you do it again?  Not really.  I want to do a bike race.

B4 (5yr old) – What did you like best about training?  Icy poles.  Favourite training moment?  When I sucked it up and ran all the way to the shed which was the longest run.  (Just over 2km)  What did you feel like when you first started running?  I didn’t feel like I could do it but I could.  What did you feel like when you finished the race?  Good.  It was my first time to do a race.  Would you do it again? Yes.

Hubby – What did you like best about training?  Icy poles.  Loved the occasional cheer squads from the locals.  The guys waiting for the bus to go to work, and the more sane locals who were sitting outside having a beer.  Also loved the ticker shown by B1, and B3 when they did their breakthrough runs.  It was hard work though and some days I really didn’t feel like doing it.  Favourite training moment?  It was a training run with Team Rangas, which started out shocking, but then they kicked into gear and ended up putting me through my paces.  What did you feel like when you first started running?  I doubted whether I could do it, I wondered whether my knees could do it.  I thought surely this is just a phase and Beth will give it up.  I was surprised when it got easier.  What did you feel like when you finished the race?  I was a bit emotional, I was proud of myself.  I was blowing out holding hands with my boys as we crossed the finish line.  I was really proud of the twins for digging deep, as we mixed up where the finish line was.  They thought we were done but then had to find something extra to run the extra 500m to the actual finish line.  I was really impressed that the eldest finished without stopping, thought he would be the first to stop given the attitude at the start of the race.  Would you do it again?  Yeah I would.  I would love to do a team event with the family.

Me – What did I like the most about the training?  I love the excited chatter when we got home from a run, when they would chat about how far they ran before stopping, how awesome so and so was today, what we should try next time.  All while sucking on their icy poles.  I think this is really why everyone loved the icy poles!!  What was my favourite training moment?  It still has to be the D-Man running the 3.5km, it just clicked that night, he ran so comfortably.  He was just buzzing, and I swear he would have run the loop again if I let him.  Proud mumma moment.  In saying that, all my boys had runs that just made me proud!  What did you feel like when we first started running?  I felt like this was going to be the longest 10 weeks of my life and it would be a miracle if I didn’t have a mass mutiny.  There was a lot of ‘Sometimes things are hard, and it hurts, but you just have to find a way to get it done’, ‘Suck it up princess’, and ‘We just have to get the job done tonight boys’.  There were a lot of runs where I was really proud of them because they gave up at some point, felt like it was too hard, but then managed to regroup and finish off strongly.  What did I feel like when I finished the race?  I stayed with my youngest during the race and he didn’t have the greatest run.  He was a crook with a small cough and a little overwhelmed by it all, so during the race I actually felt a little underwhelmed and not sure I had met my expectations of race day.  Looking back at it all, it was all that I needed it to be and a great family bonding experience.  My youngest wore his medallion for all of the next week, to school and everywhere.  He would have worn it to bed if he could.  Would you do it again?  Absolutely!

Stay tuned for our next adventure, looks like they are all on board to try something else!

Fitness Events in Australia – Challenge Yourself

One of the reasons for getting this blog up and running was to inspire people to set some goals and make a start on living a healthier lifestyle.  As I have mentioned before, when I put together a hitlist for myself I try and have a goal that is a bit scary and out of my comfort zone so that I continue to challenge myself.  I thought I would help you out and put together some of the sites that I look at for some inspiration for my big hitlist item.  Stop procrastinating…..lock in an event….and get training!!

Australian Running Calender – I’ll kick off with running events because it requires very little equipment and training can be done absolutely anywhere.  If you are new to running don’t forget to check out My Top Running Tips from an ‘I can’t run’ Mum and Exercise Physiologist.

Park Run Australia –  This is a free weekly event, a timed 5km run held in many parks across the world.  Good place to start if you are nervous about participating in an event.

parkrun2

Eventfinda – Upcoming Sports & Outdoors Events.  This is a calender of many, many, different sports.  You just have to choose one that tickles your fancy.

Eventlist – Australian Triathlon, Running, Obstacle Racing & Multisport Event Calender

Oxfam Trailwalker – Challenge Yourself, Challenge Poverty

This was at the start of my shift, all four members completing the 100km which was quite a feat.  Quite a few teams lost members due to injury or exhaustion.

Stairclimbing Australia – Looking for something different?  Stairclimbing is a thing!  Looks tough but covers some pretty great locations.

Ocean Swims – Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Pacific, and Europe

Adventurethon Australia – Off road multi sport event (Kayak, Mountain Bike, Trail Run).  Different distances for different levels of fitness, also can be done as a team event.  You can read about my first Adventurethon here.

Albany finish

Adventure Race Australia – This race involves a bit of everything.  It is off road so trail running and mountain biking is involved.  For the water component you can often choose whether to kayak, canoe, or swim.  There is also an element of navigation/orienteering involved as well as some alternative challenges (these are optional).  It looks like a lot of fun and encourages family and team participation along with individual racing of course.  There are some great prizes up for grabs too.

Tough Mudder – Mud Run

Basic RGB

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it should give everyone a place to start.  What are you waiting for?

If you know of any other great events that I should check out please get in contact with me and share the fun.

CrossFit – Is it as big, bad, and scary as you think??

CrossFit has been in my cross hairs for a while now which is why it made the hitlist.  My sister is an avid CrossFit junkie and I have come across many people who love it and keep telling me to try it.  It can also get quite a bad rap at times and as an accredited Exercise Physiologist I can see the potential for things to go wrong.  In saying that, I can see that potential for injury across a lot of different sports and I can’t really comment if I haven’t actually tried it.  CrossFit interests me because I love the thought of being coached again, of having a goal for a training session, and digging deep to get the job done.  There is also something to be said for the special kind of camaraderie that comes when you train with people who did the same tough session and who know exactly what pain you went through to get it done!  I did have concerns about whether my 32yr old body that had carried four kids would be up to the task but I wanted to give it a go.  Between Google and Facebook I was able to check out a few CrossFit boxes (look at me go, using the lingo and everything) close to me and decided on Hillside Crossfit.  They were quick to respond to my query and before I knew it I was booked in for a free trial session.

From what I can gather, most boxes kit themselves out in a warehouse/industrial space of some sort so it may not look like much from the outside, but as I walked through the doors I got the feeling that this was a place of work and I’m sure it has seen its fair share of blood, sweat, and tears.  What had I got myself into??

I'm trying to channel my inner Rocky at this point....

I’m trying to channel my inner Rocky at this point….

The instructor was friendly and we had a chat about my exercise history and any health concerns.  Just a word of warning, if you do go to an exercise session, gym, or class and they don’t ask you these questions and/or get you to complete a health questionnaire then I would be looking elsewhere.  Here’s the catch though people, you must actually tell them about any problems so that they can modify the workout as necessary.  Yes ladies, that means having that awkward conversation about any pelvic floor issues.  Modifications can be made, but I have to say that CrossFit won’t be kind on the pelvic floor and core stability can be compromised if you have any weaknesses in this area.

I learnt that each session usually lasts an hour, with a workout of the day (WOD) planned out on the whiteboard.  The session consists of a warm up, a skills/technique session, before moving on to the main event.  I was then kindly informed that I would be trialling one round of the WOD which involved rowing, squats, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups…..eeeek pull ups?? Say whaat?  But don’t stress, turns out they have lots of cool toys that can be used to modify and assist each exercise.  Just quietly, I needed quite a few of the stretchy bands to help me do a pull up!  During the warm up, the instructor gave me direction on technique as we worked our way through each exercise I would be doing.  Crunch time.  Timer went on and I had to complete the required reps as quick as I could. In this trial session I only completed one round, usually you would keep going but I am sure they were just trying to play nice.  If you haven’t done this kind of training before prepare to be sore, very sore.

Hillside CrossFit kindly let me borrow these photos to show the kind of fun they get up to!

Hillside CrossFit kindly let me borrow these photos to show the kind of fun they get up to!

CrossFit can be a little expensive when compared to a gym but I believe it has to be put alongside personal training and coaching fees.  In that respect I believe it is worth your money.  Although it does cop some criticism, I think if the CrossFit instructor is tough on technique, each individual puts in the time to develop a good baseline strength and endurance before gradually increasing resistance, then the risks can be minimised.  At the end of the day, everyone should walk in with their eyes wide open to the fact that it is a high intensity workout, under load, with a competitive edge.  I dig that, cause I am that kind of crazy, but I understand that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  By the way, I totally think I could beat my time……