Mt. Misery – so happy to be back…

It’s been twelve months since I was last on Mt. Misery.

Just to explain – Mt. Misery is an aptly named mountain that rises sharply at the back of Mudgee, which is where I live. From my door it’s 4kms to the base of Mt. Misery – then it’s 4kms to the summit. So round trip, it’s 16kms.

The elevation from door to summit is about 650ms. And there are some sections which are damn steep. So it’s a great training hike for the Camino.

Last year, in preparation for the Camino Frances, in the 6 wks prior to departure I did Mt. Misery about 3 times a week. It stood me in good stead when I had to climb the Pyrenees.

Today was my first day back there since those training days twelve months ago. It was good to be back. And a lot has changed in those twelve months.

Firstly, I’m now wearing a complicated and very impressive looking knee brace, because I shot my knee to pieces on the Camino last year. The orthopaedic surgeon, after looking at my MRI, said it was a “miracle” I walked the Camino on that knee.

I’m also now using walking poles.

Last year I resolutely refused to use walking poles, until my knee gave out – and then I finally succumbed. I had to. I wouldn’t have finished my Camino if I hadn’t used those poles.

Today I climbed Mt. Misery and it seemed so much easier than last year. Because of the poles? Yes, I think they certainly helped.

But twelve months on, I’m a different person. I’m not necessarily fitter than I was a year ago. But my head is different. I think differently.

Last year I felt I had to push myself up that mountain, I had to do it fast and I had to keep my heart rate in it’s 75%-80% zone, to get my aerobic fitness up.

This year I don’t give a damn.

I now see walking as fun, not a goal which needs to be achieved.

I walked with my wife, Jennifer this morning.

That’s a first.

Jen walking Mt. Misery

Usually we don’t train together. She heads off in one direction, I head off in the other. She likes to go a different way every day – I like to go the same way every day, so that I can judge how I’m feeling by certain milestones.

And I like that I don’t have to think about where I’m going. I just walk on automatic pilot, so that my mind can wander into other more interesting areas –

But it was fun walking with Jennifer this morning. And when we came to the really step sections. I surged on ahead and she went up them at her own pace.

What training up Mt. Misery gives you is confidence. It’s a gnarly climb, there’s no doubt, but it gives you confidence during the Camino. You know you can handle whatever The Way throws at you.

Last year I found Mt. Misery miserable. This year, I’m finding it a joy.

That’s what’s changed in twelve months…

Bill Mt. Misery

26 thoughts on “Mt. Misery – so happy to be back…

  1. How do you decide what hat to wear for what is always going to be a photo opportunity………..


    • Laurie, I operate under very simple guidelines – when it’s cricket season I wear the Australian Cricket team cap, and when it’s Aussie Rules season I wear my Sydney Swans cap. And today is a big day for the Aus cricket team – third test against Sth Africa. Hence the choice of cap!


      • Bill, so pleased the AFL season will have started when you are in Portugal. The Swannies cap is the one we have come to know and love.
        Mt Misery is now known as Mt JoyfuI I guess. Enjoy the walks.


        • Anne – haha – yes, will soon be switching the cap over to the Swannies. I figure the NAB Challenge doesn’t count – and anyway, Australia still have to get through this South Africa series!! I will have to go into the Lands Dept to see if I can get the mountain’s name changed!!


  2. Nothing like Australian bush Bill. Your photos remind me of sections of the Bibbulmun Track in SW West Oz where I have often walked. Beautiful country. And you’re training is obviously going brilliantly.

    I understand walking the same route. I tend to do that and I find it becomes rather like a meditation.

    You must tell me … Is Jennifer wearing PJs? If she is …. GO GIRL! My most favourite clothes in the world.



    • Hi Debbie – yeah, Jen’s wearing a form of PJs. She is so anti hiking gear. Drives me nuts. I try and tell her that hiking gear is built for really practical reasons – but she wears this blowsy nightwear kind of stuff. Huh…


  3. Jen sure has a pretty smile. Love your pics! The gang is going to have a terrific time. As Jenny would say – Hoolie Doolie!! Did a short training walk today.Will be on the Portuguese trip in spirit and hopefully in person on the next adventure!!


  4. Bill,
    Well look at you two! Bravo!!!!!
    I take steep climbs at a steady pace, I try not to forge ahead as that takes way too much of my energy. And as you know, proper breathing before the incline helps bring oxygen to your muscles and makes the climb easier.
    I only climbed a 1,025 foot incline today 😦
    Can you tell me why, I am unable to see your workout on Garminconnect? I get a message “Bill Bennett only shares some information publicly”.


    • Hi Arlene – I’ll have to go onto Garmin Connect and check my privacy settings. Mind you, for some reason the GPS stops working half way up Mt. Misery. It might be the big telecommunications towers up top, I don’t know – but I noticed the same thing last year. Very strange. As for 1,000 ft incline – that sounds pretty impressive to me!! And yes, I found I was breathing fairly hard on some of those climbs today. I noticed my heart rate went up to 146bpm. That’s getting up there for me!


    • Hey Lib – thank you!! (lovely seeing you and Wayne the other night by the way!) Yes, today was a bit chilly – but I wore that jacket mainly because it was raining fairly consistently, and it’s my best rain jacket. The rain though has greened up the land around here, which is great for the farmers, and probably the vintners too.


  5. Welcome back Bill! What’s with the heavy jacket? Is it that cool in Mudgee already??


  6. Great post and pics Bill ! Having PGS back is like a warm cosy ‘Camino’ blanket sent to us ! Just wonderful !
    Cheers everyone ! Jenny xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey jenny – thank you! I’m going to see if I can come to the Camino dinner on Wednesday – although I’m not sure. I’ll be in Syd tomorrow and Monday. Would love to see you and Britta and Janet though!


      • Hi again, Bill. Am going to have to skip the Camino dinner. Am off to the wilds of Terrey Hills to a lecture on volcanoes by Fred Watson and some of his volcanologist friends and colleagues. His ‘Fred Watson Presents’ are always interesting and also they provide nibblies and good wine before and after – how could you not go?!


      • Hi Britta – that’s a shame we won’t meet. But there’ll be other times soo, I’m sure. Your lecture on volcanoes tho sounds fascinating!


  7. Well, seeing and reading of the kind of training I guess you have to do to get fit for your (I include you here, Arlene) Portuguese Camino, I’m sort of happy after all that I can’t go!! Instead of mounts of misery, I went for a walk (one end to the other and back; about 40 minutes) on Manly Beach. Slight drizzly rain, so apart from the surfers I pretty much had it to myself. It was low tide so lots of hard sand to walk on; my calves just loved it!! So for now, I’ll follow you hardy perigrinos through this blog and instead of being envious I’ll enjoy being fit My Way! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha – britta, there’s nothing more beautiful and relaxing than walking along a beach in a soft misty drizzle. I think you’ve got the better deal of it!!


  8. I love the pure radiance of joy on Jennifer’s face.

    PS: Jim got a new job and starts Monday, so we boondoggled it to Florida these past two weeks. Walked between 20,000 and 30,000 steps a day. Disney isn’t quite the pilgrimage that the Camino is, but it gave us time to escape the brutality that is this winter here in Michigan and clear our minds for all of the changes ahead. The youngest is moving out today, so my “nest” will truly be empty. It is time. My Camino is still ahead of me, but as I have said in the past, I believe it has already begun.

    Love you guys! Glad you are “back!”


    • Hey Julie – Jen is like that all,the time. She’s just a bundle of joyous energy. Except when I interfere with her cooking! We had a great time yesterday.

      Great news about your husbands job! I’m sure you’re both much relieved!


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