Mama Mayhem

My boots were meant for walking, but not my children

By Ivy Jensen

I WOULD walk 500 miles.

And I would walk 500 more.

Just to be the woman who walks a thousand miles, while her children complain of sore feet.

I took the girls on a bushwalking holiday recently, for a bit of R&R and exercise after a long seven months without a break.

Yes, our two-day trip a long time coming.

And nothing – not even COVID-19 - was getting in my way.

The stupid virus had already ruined my long-awaited and very belated 40th birthday weekend in Queensland in March.

So once restrictions started easing last month, I figured the girls and I needed some much-needed time away (far from the coronavirus hotspots).

And what better place to do that than the great outdoors - getting back to nature and loads of walking.

Now I might not be the fittest person in the world – just the thought of running or burpees which my personal trainer demands I do whenever I collapse mid-exercise fills me with dread – but put me in a forest and I’ll walk forever.

Our destination was the scenic Marysville, which is surrounded by countless walking tracks and waterfalls.

The first question Ayla asked me was ‘do we have to go up a mountain?’

I thought it best not to tell her Marysville is literally in the Yarra Ranges.

You see, the Jensens are predisposed to the all-too common winding roads sickness and Ayla is yet another victim.

Zig-zagging, snaking, curving, twisting and turning our way up the hill turns her stomach upside down and topsy-turvy until there is no way for her insides to go but out.

While I cope quite well with the condition, that doesn’t mean I get off scot-free.

When I was younger, we were taking a family trip through the mountains in South Australia following a tasty Thai-inspired lunch.

Yet after about the 10th turn, no sooner had I informed my sister she had a noodle hanging out of her mouth that I had her entire lunch on my lap.

From that day on, I cannot look at, smell or listen to vomiting without needing to do the same.

I wasn’t expecting this to be the case in Marysville, but I packed some trusty spew bags just in case.

Thankfully, we didn’t need them because by the time Ayla’s tummy started churning, we had arrived.

And what a picturesque spot it was.

The crystal-clear river cascading through our charming caravan park made up for the tiny, dated and dank cabin we were staying in.

With the heater continually breaking down and no hot water the next morning, we had no option but to ‘get up and at ‘em’ as soon as possible just to keep ourselves warm.

And that we did while trudging up to Steavenson Falls which, at 122m, is one of the tallest waterfalls in Victoria.

I’m good on flat surfaces, not so much steep foothills but after some blood (Maya pricked her finger), sweat and tears, we made it.

Nowhere near as tough-going as the Grand Canyon (which was a leisurely two hours downhill but a gruelling four-hour battle back to the top), but still a nice walk to get our hearts pumping.

The girls thought this was the first and last trek. They were mistaken.

A couple more hikes and a few scratches, wet socks and blisters later and we arrived back at our cabin ready for a hot shower – which was conveniently working by then.

We were leaving the next day, but not before one final walk.

“But we just want to go home,” my cherubs complained.

“My feet hurt,” Ayla whined. “I have a stitch,” Maya protested.

My compromise was we would only do a short walk.

I found a 5km circuit track through the rainforest, which sounded perfect.

So, we set off, battling through thick mud and water and climbing over fallen trees and overhanging branches to eventually come out the other side – nowhere near where we left the car.

Which meant we had to go back the way we came.

And so, rather than enjoying the beautiful sounds of nature, I got to listen to 45 minutes of ‘But Mum, you promised!’, ‘Are we lost?’, ‘My feet are numb’, and ‘Are we there yet?’.

Ahh the serenity.

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