Strength, perseverance and determination. All qualities that drive us to reach our goals and conquer our fears. In celebration of International Women’s Day, Kris from the adventure family blog Gadsventure has shared her inspiring experience on pushing herself to climb the ever daunting Bicentennial Tree in Pemberton, Western Australia to show her family and children that mum is one strong woman and if mum can do it so can they!
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Happy New Year guys!! I hope 2018 was an awesome year and here's to an even better 2019! Live life with passion and I hope you can smash your goals this year. From the Gadsby's 😍😍😍 . . #happynewyear2019 #gadsventure #familyof6 #familyadventures #kidadventures #familyonpurpose #celebrate #australian #campingwithkids #freecamp #partywithfriends #thriftshopparty #newyearseve
Kris Gadsby writes at Gadsventure: We are an Australian family of 6 from North Queensland who decided to sell all of our belongings, throw caution to the wind and take our family travelling worldwide for the next couple of years. You can follow us on our blog, Instagram and Facebook.
We spent a year travelling around Australia, at the time we had a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 3-month-old baby so it is fairly safe to say our hands and our hearts were very full!
Following the coast around Australia we circumnavigated the country clockwise after leaving Queensland in the spring. By late summer this route took us close to Pemberton in Western Australia, and I had heard that this was the site of the famous Bicentennial Tree so we took the detour to have a closer look.
77 years ago, before such things as spotter planes, drones or satellites, firefighters around Pemberton used towering trees to look for smoke alerting them of forest fires. There were 8 of these giant Karri trees in all which were made easier to climb so firefighters could quickly scale them and monitor fires. At 75 meters in height, the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree is the tallest fire viewing tree in the world, and is one of only 3 remaining in the district. The metal rungs were added in 1988, to commemorate Australia’s bicentennial.
I wasn’t fully intending on climbing the tree as we parked in the adjacent car park and organised the kids for the short stroll to the base of the tree. We sat and watched with some hilarity as a group of students from Korea each climbed onto about the third rung before squealing and leaping off. I still didn’t think I could do it. The tree stands completely straight while the canopy disappears high into the clouds high above. Flimsy looking metal rungs stick out from the tree’s trunk in a spiral as far as the eye can see and THERE IS NO SAFETY NET!
My husband drew on all his strength and made it up as far as about the 10th rung before gravity took its toll on him and he sheepishly returned to earth. “No Way!” he stated.
So, I decided I would have to give it a go. As I bravely stepped up to the tree I felt very small indeed, but was buoyed by the enthusiasm and cheers of the watching students. The first fifty or so rungs were pretty easy. There was a tiny platform where I met another lady who was descending so I had to allow her to pass. This pause was almost enough for me to lose my nerve, but this lady told me she hadn’t made it all the way, and that I should definitely go for it. I waved to my children, husband and all my new friends – the Korean students, and steeled myself for a proper scary ascent. No going back now!
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Believe you can and you are halfway there! Mindset is huge in achieving your goals and the other half is all determination, dedication and hard work! With that we have reached 5k followers this week! Thank you so much to all our supporters and followers, commenters, and shoutouts! @vibeslifeus thanks for believing in us! Go follow their page it’s 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻 It can be really hard when you are doing something crazy like this to keep motivated and have strength in your convictions in the face of so many nay-sayers. But we believe in creating a better life for us and our kids away from all of this daily struggle to be ‘normal’! And all of the kind words we receive from you guys help us to keep faith! #gratitude Imagine reducing your outgoings down enough so that you don’t have to go to work! Imagine being able to show your kids amazing places and new cultures for their daily education instead of them sitting in a classroom. We are going to show you exactly how we are leaving this daily grind behind, but it’s all about mindset. You have to believe that it is possible first!!!!!! Thanks for coming with us on this journey. It’s just getting started….. stay tuned 😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘 #familytravel #worldschooling #travelwithkids #familytravelblog #travelfolk #peopleoftheworld #nomadlife #takethekidseverywhere #mackaypride #makeithappen #blissful #wandertheworld #travelwithfamily #travelingfamily #instalike #seetheworld #kids #travel #wander #family #myunicornlife #instagood #seeksimplicity #lessworkmorelife #choosejoy #joyintheordinary #thatauthenticfeeling #gadsventure #youmemotherhood
Rung over rung, hand over hand, step by step, I spiralled around and around the Bicentennial Tree. There are 165 spikes in all and I held on tightly to every single one of them. Looking down was terrifying as I got further and further up and my audience turned into little specks far below before the canopy of the surrounding forest swallowed them up altogether.
My hands began to cramp and I got a little dizzy from concentrating so hard so I paused at a small platform and grabbed a couple of photos and thought about what I was doing! The top still seemed so far away and I literally stopped and took stock. I had incredible clarity of thought as I couldn’t help thinking about my family down below on earth, and how I had to conquer this tree for them especially. I wanted my kids to know that Mum is awesome, Mum can do anything. And if I can, so can they! Though they were definitely too young to attempt the Bicentennial Tree on this trip, I hope we can return in the future and they will have the sense of courage and desire to conquer the Bicentennial Tree as well.
The Final Onslaught
The final ascent, as the top of the tree rose out of the surrounding forest made me feel very vulnerable but the majestic view of the world around me was enough to make me feel safe at the same time. The rungs became a ladder, then a metal platform formed around me, then another ladder and another platform and suddenly I was at the very top of the Bicentennial Tree! 75 meters is a heck of a long way straight up in the air and I was the tallest thing I could see for miles around. I yelled and whooped as loud as I could in the hope that my fans below would be able to hear and know that I had achieved what had seemed impossible. I climbed more than a tree that day, I think I also went up a level in they eyes of my family too. I had a short rest, a stretch and took some big deep heavenly breaths of the cool calm air as I gazed at the 360º panorama before me. There was no smoke to report this day, so I decided I had better head back down to earth.
The way down was actually much harder with my arms and legs a little weak and shaky and the need to aim my gaze down at my feet. I think it actually took longer going down as I was not buoyed by same enthusiasm. This was more like a grim determination of what goes up, must come down!
My kids and husband gave me the biggest hugs and sloppiest kisses when I finally alighted on the ground. They were so proud of me. It turned out that the kids had watched the tree non-stop when I disappeared from view. They didn’t look away until I came back into sight on the way down. Perhaps it was this spiritual support that had carried me up the tree that day.
I Want to do it Again!
I can’t wait to go back to Pemberton, WA and climb the Bicentennial Tree again one day, this time I hope my kids will join me on the crazy spiralling rungs.
If you ever find yourself near Pemberton, I definitely encourage you to conquer your fears and climb this tree too. The feeling you get when you reach the top will stay with you forever.
Check out the YouTube Video of Kris’s climb!
International Women’s Day celebrates women, their accomplishments, strengths, inspiration and brightness we bring into the world. This story is a shining example of just how powerful and determined women can be!
How about it, would you climb the Pemberton Tree? Share your comments below!
Road tripping in Western Australia? Check out this post on travelling from Broome to Perth.