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Mount Warning

In driving to and from Lennox Head, Kingscliffe and Brisbane, I went past the turn off to Mount Warning a few times. I wasn’t sure which one it was in the jumble of peaks you can see from the highway but I assumed it was the tallest of the group It is the first to get the sun in the morning. I initially had planned to get to the top for sunrise and be one of the first to see the sun that day but that requires getting up at some obscene hour and making the drive out there and the hike up in the dark. It seemed like a great plan at first until it came to actually doing it.IMG_2482I made it out there around 12 and thankfully it wasn’t smoking hot. The few days before had been quite warm and I was not looking forward doing the steep ascent in the heat. It begins with more stairs than I can count and then turns into steep switchbanks peppered with rocks and more stairs. I made a point of going as fast as I could on the way up to see how hard it would be. It turned out to be just regular, pretty hike up a big hill until you get to the rocks near the top.IMG_2495About 300 metres from the top the trail goes from dirt to rock and seems to go straight up into the bush. They’ve kindly installed a chain railing the rest of the way up to help anyone silly enough to do the rest of the climb. ┬áBeing impatient about getting to the top, I hopped onto the rock on all fours and motored past everyone. I paid for that little show of faux athleticism though, and spent a couple minutes buckled over at the top catching my breath.Once my breathing returned to a healthy rate I could enjoy the incredible 360 degree view from the top of the mountain. There are 4 viewing platforms at the top so you do have to circle around to get the full view but it was definitely worth the battle to get up the hill. Out one side you can see off into the rest of the mountains in the area and a valley or 2 and then the other side looks out towards the ocean and Byron Bay on the coast.IMG_2507A quick lunch at the top and I was ready to begin my final assault on the trail. I did find the trail beautiful and the people fun to talk to on the way up but there’s always something nagging at me to go as fast as I can, just to see. The climb up the trail is tough but it’s different muscles than the way down. I find there is different thinking involved on the way down. All that’s involved in climbing the trail is keep going, keep going, keep going. On the other hand, heading down is much more fast-paced and exciting. One slip and you’re bones become well aquainted with rock, one trip and you’re heading over the cliff into the brush. It took just under and hour to get up to the top, and coming down less than 40 minutes.I smiled at the many comments on the way down that masked the “WTF!” expressions on the other hikers. Near the end is always a battle to continue the pace. Every muscle is tired and just placing your feet requires intense concentration. The rapid fire stairs didn’t help either. They were an awkward distance apart and either were too close or to far to allow comfortable running.Sweating bullets and grinning like a fool, I emerged from the trail to the carpark and stopped to catch my breath and cool down. One more hike completed and one more summit to add to the Summit List.[gmap]