Sure Beats the Stairmaster
Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
85Trip End Nov 31, 2005
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"Yeah, there's a way up, right?"
"Yes, it's possible," she muttered.
We clambered onto the strange little train, which was more like an old wooden rollercoaster covered with a sheet of chain-link fence to keep people from popping out the top. It started with a groan, and they weren't really lying about the incline; it was about eighty degrees down, and shot through a tunnel and out onto the valley floor in about twenty seconds
At the bottom I set off alone (Kate was willing to pay to ride up) towards the closest staircase, the Furber Steps, but ended up walking past them when I was distracted by the luscious scenery in the valley. After about thirty minutes I came to the bottom of the famed Giant's Stairway, which leads up the back of one of the Three Sisters. A sign at the bottom said, "There are 900 steps in the Giant Stairway. Do not attempt if you are not physically fit and prepared for strenuous climbing. 45 minutes to the top."
Oh, I was prepared!
Except for the part where I was wearing hot, heavy pants and not carrying any water, because I hadn't intended to go for a hike. But at this point it was the only way up, other than walking back to the tourist rail.
At every turn of the nine hundred steps I stopped, panting, to admire the view and allow a stream of people (smart people!) to go down. Just as I began to wonder if I was near the top, I came around a corner to a wooden sign that said, in cheerful lettering, "HALFWAY." I wondered how many people had taken that opportunity to leap from the jutting viewpoint that the sign hung on.
But I laboured onwards, and eventually came around a corner to see a crowd of people milling about; we were standing on the first of the Three Sisters, the perfect spot for a photo op, and as far as most (sane) people bother to go down on the Giant Stairway. I panted my way up to the information centre on Echo Point, where I did end up shelling out for my trip up in the form of a two-dollar bottle of water. So my strenuous effort saved me a measly five dollars, although it did give me the pleasure of knowing that I'd done their 45-minute trek in less than 20.