I did everything wrong. I was approaching our destination with only a mud map. I realised I had veered too far left from the lake. The tracks were heading in to the bush - our accommodation was by the beach. I knew I had to turn back. And then I got bogged. In mud. If you know me by now you'd know I love nothing more than a roadtrip in the remote Kimberley. I know my car well, how to change a tyre etc..but this time I panicked. It was 3pm. We had no mobile or radio reception. Thankfully, I did call ahead to let our accommodation host know we had just left the highway and to expect us in an hour.
My friend Angela, who admits to not being car savvy, looked at me and said 'what do we do?' I had the Max Traxs on the roof rack but I wasn't convinced they'd help me out! I said 'simple, I will put the tyres down!'. My tyre gauge broke first try. I could see my front wheels weren't too deep in mud. The back tyres were. I was up to half my calf in mud. After the first 3 attempts we were going nowhere. I turned to her and said tearily 'I'm scared we're in trouble'. I got myself into a right panic thinking the worst. I have been unwell for the most part of the year and not feeling well that day sent me straight into panic mode. The only way out was to calm down, breathe and think of how to get us out of this mud hole.
But of course my 'monkey mind' as I describe it to my students took over:
- Why didn't I pack the EPIRB?
- Why didn't I listen to my gut on the way in and put my tyres down as soon as we hit the sand?
- Why did I drive through the ditch? I should have got out and measured the depth...
- I could have driven over the rocks instead...
- Why didn't I postpone the trip until I was feeling better?
- Angela and I are going to die in the middle of nowhere and be mauled by wild animals...(the wild donkeys wouldn't have eaten us I am sure :))) - even though we had enough food and water for a week!
Drama queen, yep I am owning that title here! This is not the calm Sandra who normally is in control.....it was the loss of control that put me in a total spin...
And then it hit me.... this is the very thing I teach to kids and I felt like an imposter. Here I was in a stressful situation made even more pressured because Angela was with me. And I was having a complete tantrum and freaking Angela out (who had just lost her beautiful Jonas to cancer in February). This is not me. I am used to crises thanks to my Intensive Care training. I am used to life and death situations. I blew this thing all out of perspective and felt like a complete pretzel! This Angel as a call her helped me calm me down. She told me 'you've got this - try again'. After 2 more attempts of letting air out of my tyres, and gently reversing back and forwards I got myself out of the big mud hole. I knew not to spin my wheels or we would be in even bigger trouble. I do not how but we got out of our dilemma safely! By this time it was after 4pm and we were losing light. I drove towards the highway and let Pearl Arrow know we were in trouble. Steve, the owner of Pearl Arrow met me at the lake and guided us in.
I was shaken from that experience. All I could see was bush, the lake was well out of view. When I got to the base, Steve agreed with me, the Max Trax wouldn't have helped. He said, 'you did amazing getting out of that! You would have had to be winched out if you didn't succeed'. He kindly took my car, hosed off the mud and salt water off my brakes and even washed my car! Steve insisted Angela and I check in and relax while he took care of my car. It proves my point that often in a crisis, there will always be a silver lining - KINDNESS shown to you in unexpected ways.
Steve grew up at Pearl Arrow, (an old pearling base). I didn't know Steve before. Steve said, 'Sandra I would have found you! I am glad you called ahead. I was getting worried and was about to come find you..and don't worry you're not the only one who has got into trouble!'
Turns out I did okay! That feeling of loss of control makes you vulnerable and strips you bare of your confidence. It was the start of our adventures as Angela says! Well it certainly was but I am glad to report we didn't get lost or bogged again. It never ceases to amaze me the kindness and compassion people show you when you're in trouble.
What really was cool about this place was I woke up and saw the sunrise - from the ocean. Now that totally threw me. How can I see a sunrise when we are on the west coast? Turns out the Dampier Peninsula is the only place in Australia you can see a sunrise and sunset from the some ocean. Isn't that cool? Another miracle I am thankful for. What are you grateful for today? I am grateful to be feeling better, to be back on the blog, back at the gym, back in Perth and most importantly back doing what I love!
The students from Beagle Bay took me on country to a secret spot not far from Steve's place. The photo above is just to the left of Steve's place. More photos to come on the next blog post about our roadtrip. We all have our 'mud moments' but it's so important to focus on what you can control rather than what you can't. I am still pinching myself through all the crazy mud moments I have had this year, I will be running the project at Guildford Grammar School in Perth from next week. It really is another dream come true for me.