Koalas in Western Australia's Valley of Giants
January 1, 1970
Valley of giants
It was a Sunday morning when we left to go on a road trip. What I love the most about Australia, is that it’s so big, you never get bored. There aren’t many cities but there is so much to do. Wildlife, deserts, animals, forests, beaches. There is something for every taste!
That day, we would leave from Perth, Western Australia, to go down south to the valley of giants. No.. it’s not a place where giants live happily hidden from humans, I wish… it’s a forest which, indeed, makes you believe in the existence of giants! The trees are just enormous. When I arrived and admired that view for the first time I felt so little. I just love that feeling, the feeling which makes you realize that nothing makes sense anymore, we are just bits compared to everything, compared to Nature, to the world, to the universe. I was flying with my imagination and totally immersed in that moment. I had a feeling that I was probably being surrounded by giants, feeling like a little fairy in a magic forest. Those trees were soooo tall, big.. if I looked up at them, I couldn’t even see where they ended.
Once again, Mother Nature left me speechless.
While we were walking, we found ourselves in front of one of the huge Eucalyptus, it was 53 meters high, but it had something different from the others. It was surrounded by long nails. I have to admit that I was a little bit confused and I didn’t immediately get what those nails were there for… but yeah they were there to help you climb up to the top, and guess what… on the highest point of the tree there was a wooden platform where you could chill after climbing all the way up. How cool was that? I was so amused. My travel mate was driven by excitement and she didn’t think about it twice. She was so excited to climb all the way up! I’m always down for crazy adventures, especially when they give me a sense of adrenaline, but I have to be honest…I was terrified.
I mean.. imagine climbing a 53 meters Eucalyptus, by putting your feet and just holding onto some nails, without any sort of equipment and no one who can assure you that the nails are stable and the top is worth it.
Climbing the Eucalyptus
But… Of course, we did it. I agreed on following my crazy friend, but I thought I would take just a few steps forward and then come down, just to say “Yeah, I tried that”, but step by step we kept on climbing. It became a matter of determination and pride. Once we started we had to reach the top.
We probably had climbed 20 meters when we started freaking out. Our hands were so sweaty, I felt dizzy and pale. I couldn’t look down because I was too afraid (I am not scared of heights but I was actually hanging on a tree so you can imagine) but I had to look down to see where the nail was so my foot could reach it to keep going.
I was just so terrified, I couldn’t keep going. But I had done so much, how could I stop and give up?
I kept going.
I tried to talk to my friend just to keep my mind busy and not thinking about what was happening and where I was, but she couldn’t talk, she was focused. I still talked to her, I had to.
My hands were still sweating and my head was still dizzy. But a step more brought us closer to the final destination.
We were almost at the top when the route started to change. We were probably 50 meters high at that point and we had to climb through the branches, I thought we would probably going to die, but at the same time I was so happy because I could see the end, we were almost there and that was the only thing I was willing to think of.
A few steps more and……
WE REACHED THE TOP.
On the top
We made it.
The adrenaline was so strong, we started crying. I will never forget the hug we gave each other. That hug was full of emotion, fear, reliefs, happiness and pride. What’s amazing about difficult paths, is that they always lead to beautiful destinations. We struggled to reach the top, but the top was breathtaking. We were on top of a tree, not a normal tree.. a 53 meters high eucalyptus, surrounded by billions of other enormous trees.
The view was endless, overwhelming. It was one of the most breathtaking views I’ll ever see in my life, did we ever deserve and earn it!
We took our time to appreciate and live that moment to its fullest. We sat down on that wooden platform and embraced the air, the smell, the wind. We were surrounded by green leaves, by the bittersweet smell of Eucalyptus, by fresh air. Everything was magical, peaceful. Time seemed to have stopped completely and everything seemed endless. Those moments are my favourite. It’s like the calm after the storm, the happiness after the sadness, the healing after the pain. When you finally get over it, everything has a sweeter taste, everything makes sense again. You finally seem to get the answers to all the questions. Those feelings of strength, power and invincibility… those are the feelings I live for. Everyday! They make me feel alive and happy to be. At that moment this is everything I embraced and could think of. It was difficult, it was scary, it was hard. I did not want to do it, but I had to prove something to myself and I knew that if I didn’t try it, I would have regretted it forever. But it’s just only after, when you reach the top, that you fully understand your effort was necessary to see the good. To see what who doesn’t take the risk, can’t see. To see that view, outside and inside yourself. To see how far you can go!
That view was much more than just a stunning view.
After taking the proper time needed to live the moment and appreciate every single detail, we realized something……
WE HAD TO CLIMB ALL THE WAY DOWN! Oh no.
The climb down
Our happiness and pride were so strong, we forgot about this “little” detail. We were mentally stronger this time though, we were aware that, as we made our way up we could make our way down. So step by step, breath by breath… we safely arrived at the ground. Crying out of happiness.
I felt a sense of sadness when my feet touched the ground. I felt good embracing something which is not so common for the human body, pretending to be a koala. And that feeling was already gone. But nothing could take that adrenaline and happiness which was going through my veins.
If you think about climbing a tree, it probably doesn’t seem as cool and meaningful as it actually is. Sometimes we have to look at things from different point of views.
I will always be grateful for this crazy experience, to my wild mate and to Mother Nature. Let’s get a little bit wilder, we can’t even imagine how many things we can learn from simply connecting a little bit more to what surrounds us.