From afar, to me, Mount Warning was always a sleeping giant.
His brow the climb, his nose the peak.
Each year a school trip was taken to climb him. I was never much for endurance sports or heights and wasn’t ever thrilled at the prospect.
One year, I was taken by another family as my mother was working.
Adam, his brother and mother and I, drove through Murwillumbah and its sugarcane plantations. During burn-off the plantations would blow black snow and the thick smell of burnt sugar over the valley and into my backyard.
Adam’s main talent was also olfactory. Warm oniony wind from nerves filled the station-wagon. He turned to me, straightened his arm and pulled the skin down from his elbow. His skin from the bone measured 3 inches. He told me this was where excess foreskin grew. He was a lumpy boy who always wore yellow.
Stopping for petrol, his mother, forgetting the handbrake chased the car from rolling back onto the highway whilst we sat in the back.
More nervous wind.
The climb took several hours through rainforest. I was frightened of snakes. When we reached the mount’s nose a chain had been attached to the rock for safety. I wouldn’t go further.
I peeled down my damp socks to find leeches attached to my ankles.
Coming down was much faster.