Grand Canyon, Blackheath

Sydney’s Very Own Grand Canyon

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The trail of a lifetime.

Deep in the heart of the Blue Mountains lays a hidden gem with its own beaten track: The Grand Canyon. Mind you, it’s a lot greener than the one in the US.

Starting at the top near Evans Lookout, you walk down a copious amount of stairs to the valley floor. Each step brings a depleting temperature, matching the dense and moisturous surroundings.

There’s something powerful about walking down this way, watching fellow trekkers push on back to the top. You can feel their hearts pumping as they attempt to catch all the oxygen around them. You might even need to give them encouragement; “only 10 minutes to go!”

As you go deeper, immersing yourself in shadows of the rising cliffs on either side, you witness a new sense of calm. The sounds of running water and nothing else permeates the air. A new wonder begins to emerge. Turn around and glimpse the rising stairs that you have just descended, the sun shining in the distance.

Reaching the valley floor is just the first step in a long journey. You learn to find yourself amongst the sprouting bushes and trickles of creek.

Weave through the cooler temperatures, across small bridges and over stepping stones. Soon you’ll arch your head to see the canopy above, as well as where the cliff edge starts. You’re not lost, you are just on a journey. But you can’t be here forever. Eventually you will need to bring yourself back up again.

The halfway point is not properly marked, but you know it when you see it. Mostly because of the rising steps into the sharp afternoon sunlight. It’s like taking your first step in anything scary. It’s a short rise, but it builds the heart rate. It tells you that the finish line is a long way off, but you need this energetic kick.

You rise just above the valley floor, still hearing the sounds of trickling water while marvelling at the fallen trees and branches. You take in the sun, somewhat wishing it would hide away. But it’s okay, it’s keeping you warm.

“Just keep on,” you tell yourself. “It’s nearly over.” But in order to reach nirvana, you’ve got to push yourself up the steps. Attaining happiness is never easy.

You start rising, closer and closer to the beating sun. At first you feel good, but then the pain hits. Your heart rate pounds against your chest as you collect all that oxygen. It just keeps rising and you wonder how much further. You mutter a few “oh gods” between those heavy breaths.

Where is the end to all this hell? How much further? All these questions come and with each one you reply with “I just gotta do it!

Another turn, more steps. Another turn, and yet more steps. Your legs ache, screaming for relief. So does your mind. But you can’t give up. Gotta keep going!

And then you see it. The glossy shimmer of a car. It’s hope. Another turn and you reach the end. You did it.

The Grand Canyon is located in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. Be sure to pack a bottle of water and food.

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