100 waterfalls challenge: 2/100
Well, the Easter bunny sure appreciates a vegan family, delivering two recycled jars filled with dark chocolate vegan blueberries, strawberries, vegan Easter eggs, and dried apricots. We were up before the sun, typical of most days, yet instead of taking off on my morning run I hit the yoga mat first thing then went about my rituals of juicing and preparing the kids a healthy vegan breakkie.
We had no plans for Easter except for being outdoors, and with the beaches typically crowded over this holiday break we decided to go off on an inland adventure, about 3hours-ish south and into the bush in search of waterfalls we were yet to discover.
Ryder was complaining of a stomach ache the first two hours of the drive, resulting in me pulling over every 15 minutes so he could try to vomit. I think a few too many dark choc eggs were consumed first thing, a good lesson for my little guy about having rich foods in moderation.
We reached a dirt road and continued into deep rainforest for around 15 minutes before finding where we thought would be the start of the walking track. These falls are not sign posted - the best kind - but being Easter, there were a few cars parked on the side of the road suddenly so we knew we had hit the entrance.
We loaded up on water, a homemade vegan picnic lunch of fresh wraps, fruit and veggies, and set off on foot into the rainforest. This area is quite rocky and the kids loved crawling over rocks and fallen trees as we traversed the dusty, narrow track. It reminded us (on a much easier scale!) of our recent adventures in the Tayrona National Park in Colombia, where we spent two days exploring some epic terrain on foot in the park.
We reached the lower falls and spent a good hour playing in the frigid waters; I had suspected the water would be murky after all the recent rain but we scored crystal clear water and full pools. The sun was out and the rocks warm for some sun bathing between plays.
We left some of our belongings on the rocks and decided to go exploring a little deeper into the rainforest; our experiences exploring waterfalls in Colombia had taught us that the further you go, the more you can find. Such is life. The path was sketchy, slippery, and barely a trail but we made our way over boulders and scaled a small cave and after about 30 minutes we found what we were after: majestic falls without the crowds.
I could swim right up under the falls and felt the pounding water massage my skull while the boys played in the shallows. The water was so much colder than expected and I think we will be back in winter to use these pools as training grounds for the Wim Hof Method.
As we played in the pools I took a moment to look back over the past 8 years of motherhood, from living through raging domestic violence to being a lost, emotional single mother, to falling in love again only to find myself back again as a single mother but this time around a whole new woman and, in my heart, a whole new mother.
I realized that I had been living with some kind of contempt from being made a mother so young, in my eyes missing out on all the solo travels I had expected myself to undertake in my 20s. In many ways since my divorce I have been trying to recreate those 'lost years', and whilst I've had some wild adventures on film shoots and travel writing trips, there has always been a piece of me that has not been able to completely feel free since becoming a mum.
Day by day, this feeling has been transforming, and whilst I'm not going to sugar-coat single motherhood, I have realized that my blueprint for happiness has needed shifting. Instead of focusing on what I missed out on in my 20s, I've moved my attention to the epic adventures I can have as a mother of two rad ninja boys as a fit, healthy vegan woman in my 30s. Today was testament to this mindset shift and the three of us had a truly amazing day out in the bush exploring.
As if reading my mind, at the conclusion of the day the boys decided to kick off the 100 waterfall challenge for 2017. So whilst today's falls are so worthy of a return, it looks like our next waterfall adventure will be to new terrain. And we explored both the lower and upper falls of our secret location today, so that's 2/100 for the year (the five falls I visited on my solo drive from Adelaide to Lennox last week don't count apparently; the challenge is the three of us have to adventure as a family to new falls each time).
If there are any single mums out there struggling with the challenges of the day to day of motherhood, I encourage you to get out and explore your local area. Today's mission was a six-hour round trip in the car (less than $10 in petrol in our Toyota Hybrid Prius), with the kids sleeping the entire way home while I listened to Tony Robbins podcasts. Put the laundry aside, whip together a picnic lunch, throw in towels, hats and water, and don't overthink what you need to get out into nature and explore with your kids.