When we were away on holidays at my Nan’s place in Laurieton – 5 hours north of Sydney, my father had his sights set on trekking down North Brother Mountain (image inset). He’d planned it for what seemed weeks.
‘It’s gonna be a real adventure.’
‘When did we last have one of those?’
‘Kids, huh what do you say?’
His unbridled enthusiasm matched that of Clark Griswald. He may has well have heralded ‘Wally world, here we come!’
So we set out on our ‘family of four’ adventure and tore and pushed our way through the recalcitrant rain forest scrub on our way down the steep, uneven terrain. For sixty clenched minutes we were pushing through what seemed a living wall of flies, gullies, undergrowth and ferns which kept smacking us in the chops. Fine scratches covered the back of our hands. Then came the rustling and tickling feel of bloodsucking leeches. Our tolerance of these critters wasn’t exactly high so we tried to find the road on the hill which coiled tightly down through the forest. I heard Dad COOEE off to his right. It was an unsettling sound. Oh and I’m sparing you the incessant arguing and bickering which doesn’t need revisiting.
“This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun… We’re all gonna have so much f***ing fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles!” – Vacation (1983)
Only by good fortune the bush spat us out onto the road. We flagged down a passing motorist and high-tailed it back to the comforts of civilization.