We’re feeling on top of the world!
…although we certainly didn’t start off the day feeling that way and we’ll admit that when the alarm shrieked at 3am we might’ve had a quick discussion about whether to get up OR perhaps go back to bed! Fast forward a few hours though and we were totally glad we decided to drag ourselves out of bed.
Located within Cape Le Grand National Park in Western Australia it’s a Class 5 hike to reach the summit of Frenchman Peak. There is a cave at the top which cuts through from one side to the other and our plan was to make the climb and watch the sunrise from there.
After we’d wiped the sleep from our eyes and made as stealth an exit from the campground as you can when you have a V8 ha ha we made the short drive to Frenchman Peak. Arriving at the carpark in the dark we weren’t too surprised to be the only vehicle there. Ignoring that most people were still enjoying their warm cosy beds we laced on our sneakers, threw on a backpack and with the camera primed we set off with our torches.
The first section was an easy, gentle path along the base of the mountain including a short bridge and wooden boardwalks. Some of the foliage was a little close and for a moment the rest of us behind Ally thought she was doing some type of bizarre light painting with the torch beam darting in every direction but it was simply a ninja spider dance to fight off a spiderweb. A downside of being the first along the track for the day we guess lol.
Not much further along and it was a sign instead that was illuminated by our torch beams; a very angled sign directing us to start the ascent.
This marked the beginning of the most difficult section of the climb. Perhaps it was fortunate that in the dark we couldn’t see the steepness ahead, so it was with eagerness that we began our ascent following the series of trail markers bolted into the granite. The kids clambered off like a couple of mountain goats and we did our best to match their pace and endless energy!
Motivated by wanting to reach the top in time for sunrise, we reached the cave within about half an hour. And if we weren’t already breathless from the climb, the views from inside natures window were enough to take our breath away. We sat inside drinking from our water bottles and taking in the peacefulness and pure delight of having this amazing place all to ourselves as the sun edged its way over the horizon. Even the kids seemed a little quieter in this magic place (or perhaps they were just exhausted from the climb to get to the top!)
We probably spent about an hour in the cave, looking out over the landscape below and watching the sun rise over the horizon. After that, two other hikers arrived, the kids were chattering and full of energy again and as the new day was upon us, the spell was somewhat broken.
From the cave it was only a short ascent to the very top. For this last bit of effort you’ll be rewarded with a superb 360 degree view over Cape Le Grand National Park. You’re literally on the peak of a mountain here and there were some strict rules for the kids in terms of where they could roam purely for safety reasons but oh what an adventure!
Eventually we made the call to head back down and that in itself was also a little tricky given the steepness. The strain on the thighs and legs transferred to the knees and careful footing was needed. After our descent we stopped to review the park information that we’d bypassed earlier in our race to catch the sunrise.
Then it was back to camp for some well earned bacon and eggs!