Eighteen months have passed since I have had the pleasure of Rogaining with my adventure partner Sonja. Over this time, I have honed my skills from being that partner that only tags along purely to entertain, to now being able to hold the map up the right way and tell the difference between a knoll and stobie (telegraph) pole.
To join forces again, I was beyond excitement, six short hours of outdoor adventures!
The lead up to the event, we were in conversation about how we would use this event as a general catch up and a casual bushwalk. Friends who know us, snickered when we informed them of our plans.
Race day arrived.
Sonja arrived, five minutes before the start, yes, in a wetsuit, snorkel, and a bright orange buoyancy device firmly under her arm. Event coordinators had been informing us that the location was like a water soaked sponge and we would get wet – how wet we were still to find out.
Jokes aside, we meandered off 30 minutes after the event started. Normally this would have given us both an anxiety attack. Reminding ourselves, we were only going out to see the sights and catch up on what our families have been up-to, we continued to remind each other, how funny this was and that we weren’t going to be competitive.
Check point one. The Dam. 30 points. Control punched. A dozen selfies taken. One map glimpsed. Strolling continued in the very moist and beautiful Kuitpo Forest. Check point two. Punched. Photos taken. Both maps were being held and directions were taken a little faster this time. Check point three. Punched. One on-the-run selfie snapped. Strolling had turned to brisk hiking. This is where our strategy of a casual Rogaine started to unravel.
Fast forward several hours, we went from a casual day out, to a frenzy of hoovering up Rogaine checkpoints like Pac-man! We were now playing for sheep stations. We just couldn’t get enough. Two friends in their competitive element had re-emerged. As if we were on a movie set. We ice skated across trails covered with freezing water. Had our shoes swallowed up by creek monsters. Precariously dangled off large tree trunks as we crossed raging rivers. Hoisted our tired limbs over barbed wire fences as if we were escaping a pack of grizzly bears. Chased our dreams across swamp filled paddocks after fighting our way through head high marauding thorns.
Returning to the finish wet and covered in mud, our souls were full of laughter and energised because we are true outsiders.