Royal National Park // N.S.W, Australia

It was a cool, rainy day while we travelled out to the national park. It was an adventure that Raph had planned for us to do for the past week or so. Through the deep, darkening forest roads, the scene immersed us. We couldn't find the walking track we planned on taking, so we stopped where the forest met the ocean, rolling beneath the cliff face.

The walk began with a view of the sea; and a thick cloud of rain moving quickly toward us. Suddenly from rich Australian bush, a lush rainforest surrounded us as we neared the beach at the base of the cliff. We made our way through hillsides of wild raspberries, listening to the calls of eastern whipbirds.

It took almost an hour to reach the beach we were destined for. We arrived at the rocky shore and I felt like I was in a whole other country. Hills of bright shades of green painted the walls of the cove, like soft blankets wrapping the sea. Our first sight was an echidna nibbling on some of the biggest ants I'd seen. It was the first echidna Raph had ever seen in the wild. An old man combed the waters edge and offered to show us a nest of pythons that he'd spotted. It saddened me that my immediate thought was that the man might have had entirely different intentions and wanted to lead us to a trap. He obviously didn't, and he was just a friendly old man. It's so upsetting that the world has enforced such distrust within me. 

On our way back, it began to rain lightly, cooling our warm skin from climbing the hills back to the top. As the terrain became wetter, it invited a few unwanted friends to our trek; leeches. It was my first encounter with these little suckers, and to say the least, it wasn't something I enjoyed. I spotted one crawling into my boot and I didn't remain overly calm about the situation. Ripping my boot off I discovered that one had already been in my boot drinking away on my foot. As Raph waited for my minor melt down to conclude, a few of them started attaching themselves to his legs. That was it. As soon as I got my boot back on, knowing I had leeches in my shoes and knowing they were emerging from EVERYWHERE, I sprinted the whole way back. Raph was happy to sprint too. I didn't blame him. 

Aside from the extra guests joining our adventure, it was a stunning sight to see and as always, being out amongst the trees and the crisp air, it was a much needed change from the busy city.