• Bushwalkers. Eric Sanman/Pexels
    Bushwalkers. Eric Sanman/Pexels

Ellen Cahill has more than mountains to conquer as she hikes in Grampians NP with her father.

"I've always loved the Grampians National Park. There's a certain aura to the beautiful place that makes you feel like you're being healed, like everything in life is suddenly wonderful. So when I got the chance to go on a weekend trip with my dad last November, I couldn't be more excited.

We loved what we called our “legends” road trips, and after a three and a half hour drive we arrived at the happy wanderer campground, which funnily enough is just next door to the holiday house we use to own in Wartook.

We quickly set up the tent, indulged in some chocolate and spent the night playing Yahtzee before crawling into our warm snugly sleeping bags. The first day we had decided to climb Mount Stapylton, a walk that I had attempted as a child but never completed.
Everything was going well; the weather was perfect and sunny and we were both in high spirits.

At the first chocolate stop, however, something happened that I didn't expect. The anxiety kicked in. I've had anxiety for the last 16 years so it wasn't unexpected, just bothersome. After much talk, I decided to push through and continue on the walk.

As we continued our scramble up beautiful red stained rock faces, my mood began to lift, and I felt the magic of the Grampians cleansing my soul. Once we reached the top, I felt hugely exhilarated. I had made it. After another handful of chocolate and time to soak on the view, we scrambled down to the car, and headed back to the campsite.

After a hearty dinner of dad's famous pasta carbonara, more Yahtzee and a good nights sleep, the next day we decided to climb hollow mountain. This walk is a family favourite, as my dad grew up in Horsham and climbed it many times; he reckons over 100!

This day was again perfect and sunny, and with my anxiety now lessened, I was able to enjoy the views and soak up the atmosphere. This walk is very scrambly and I was glad I had my sturdy hiking boots on that day.

Once we had made it up to what I thought was the top, my dad informed me that we weren't done – it was time to go caving. As we crawled through small cracks and crevices, I was for once in my life glad to be only five foot tall. Once at the top, I let this feeling of peace wash over me. I had done it, I had conquered my anxiety! To anyone who hasn't been to the heritage listed Grampians National Park I would highly recommend it. You'll feel all the better for it."

This story appeared in Great Walks a while back but we reckon it's as relevant as ever.

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