“I should probably explain!”

These aren’t common words for me to utter on a day-hike, but on this occasion, I was sporting pig-tails and a school-dress.

(In case you haven’t read my earlier post about this, I decided to go hiking in a school dress as part of One Girl’s Do It In A Dress campaign. Do It In A Dress raises money to send girls in Sierra Leone to school. In a country where a girl is more likely to be raped than she is to get an education, a small amount of money can make a big difference. Check out their website for more information.)

On my previous visits to Cathedral Range State Park there had only ever been a handful of cars in each of the car parks. On this occasion, the place was positively bustling. When I saw this, I realised that I was going to be explaining myself a lot.

 

Beginning the fun part of the climb to Sugarloaf Peak - Cathedral Range State Park - Buxton - Victoria
Beginning the fun part of the climb to Sugarloaf Peak.

 

Brian didn't appear to be too happy about the climb to Sugarloaf Peak - Cathedral Range State Park - Buxton - Victoria
Brian didn’t appear to be too happy about the climb to Sugarloaf Peak.

 

Neil & Brian at Sugarloaf Peak - Cathedral Range State Park - Buxton - Victoria
Neil & Brian at Sugarloaf Peak.

 

Not long after leaving the car, I also became aware that the length of my chosen school dress was somewhat less than I had initially thought. On the upside, this freed up my legs for the tricky almost-rock-climb up to Sugarloaf Peak. Less positive was the fact that many of my fellow hikers got to see far more of me than they had hoped, especially since the day was so windy (Marilyn Monroe eat your heart out). This was most unfortunate for Brian, the only one of my mates who ended up joining me at Cathedral Range. Since I took the lead for most of the day, he made the mistake of looking up and copping an eyeful on more than one occasion (sorry Brian!).

I had been expecting to hear an eruption of laughter at any moment as we made our way towards Sugarloaf Peak, but it wasn’t until we got to the summit that I came across my first puzzled expression from a fellow-hiker. Amused and nervous, the aforementioned sentence was the first thing that came to mind.

When I explained the story behind my strange choice of hiking attire, he was very interested and congratulated me on my efforts. My nervous embarrassment started to subside and I was soon prepared to spend the rest of the day promoting the cause. It was certainly a nice change from the usual weather-related conversation on the trail.

 

Taking in the beautiful Razorback Ridge - Cathedral Range State Park - Buxton - Victoria
Taking in the beautiful Razorback Ridge.

 

As we traversed Razorback Ridge, we came across many more groups of hikers. It was hilarious to see how differently people reacted. A couple of the groups we passed made absolutely no mention of my attire, which I found quite odd. Had the roles been reversed, I definitely would have felt the need to know what on earth was going on. The majority wanted to know all about the campaign. Some were already well aware. Some even took photos.

So aside from being an incredibly fun day out on one of my favourite hikes in Victoria, my fundraising has also been quite successful. As of today, I’ve raised $730. This is more than enough to send three girls in Sierra Leone to school for a year. It may be a small difference, but it’s something. The whole Do It In A Dress experience has been incredibly fun and I’m proud to have been a part of it.

 

The wildflowers were incredible on Cathedral Range's eastern slopes - Sugarloaf Peak - Cathedral Range State Park - Buxton - Victoria
The wildflowers were incredible on Cathedral Range’s eastern slopes.

 

Flashing some leg at South Jawbone Peak - Cathedral Range State Park - Buxton - Victoria
Flashing some leg at South Jawbone Peak.

 


A BIG THANKS goes to all the people who have donated to the cause!

Donations are still open, so if you’ve got a few bucks you can throw our way, please head over to my fundraising page (no longer active). You can donate via credit card or Paypal. There is no minimum donation amount.

 

As I mentioned in my previous post about this, I joined Do It In A Dress as part of team Hikers Without Pants. We asked other hiking bloggers from all over the world to join the team but unfortunately the majority were too busy to take part. The two other bloggers who did take part are Justin from Skinny Escape, and John from Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog. Head over and check out their Do It In A Dress posts too…

 

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