Category Archives: trees

Tahune airwalk

Seven years ago, we went to the Tahune airwalk, which is in southern Tasmania, just out of Geeveston. It’s part of a site known as Tahune Aventures and I wrote a post about the 2015 trip here.

Tahune Airwalk, January 2015

Sadly, the area was badly affected by the Riveaux Road bushfires in January 2019 and the site was shut for a number of months for reconstruction. It’s now back open so we decided to visit on Sunday.

I didn’t know what to expect, having last seen it as a very lush and green forest area. There was so much fire damage to the area from the 2019 fire, it looked totally different from when we went there in 2015.

As well as the regular signs that describe the landscape and the species of vegetation that you can see, the site has signs scattered round that outline the damage that the fires did and what’s happened since then. One sign points out the extent of the flames, which reached a height of 55 metres, as seen by the charring on one of the trees.

Tahune Airwalk, April 2021

The fire was started by dry lightning in January 2019 and the site was evacuated on 21 January. It affected almost 64,000 hectares of land in the area and, while firefighters saved the visitor centre, the fires destroyed the entrance and exit of the airwalk. The airwalk itself survived but experienced significant damage from the heat.

One of the signs explains that the path to the airwalk has been completely rebuilt in a new location. About 4.5 km of walking track had to rebuilt in the area, which took over a year, and over 8000 plants were planted during that time to supplement the regrowth. Small trees have started to regrow and the ferns and eucalyptus are resprouting. A lot of the trees didn’t make it though, and there are plenty of tree corpses lying around, fallen giants in a devastated landscape.

Repairing the airwalk took a specialist crew of 28 workers, who needed to replace over 9000 bolts, replace 992 metres of guywires and repaint the entire structure. This sounds like it must have been a tricky operation, with a special scaffold needed so that the painters could access the towers, the sides and underneath the airwalk. Not a job I would be keen on signing up for.

Nah, I’m not scared

The airwalk is (to fully quote the website) an elevated 619-metre long walkway 30 metres above the forest floor, with the final cantilever section sitting at a height of 50 metres above the Huon River, with spectacular views to the confluence of the Huon and Picton and beyond to the peaks of the World Heritage Area.

Cantilever, looking out to the Huon & Picton River confluence
Other side of the cantilever

That hasn’t changed. It’s absolutely amazing to be walking through the tree tops and to be able to see these views, even if the occasional wobbling of the platform did make me a little shaky. Heights aren’t my friend, even when it’s perfectly safe. (This is one reason I didn’t sign up to repaint the airwalk. The other reason is, well, I’m not a painter.)

Kramstable braving the cantilever

It’s also encouraging to see how the area is starting to regenerate.

The amount of work that has gone into restoring the area is phenomenal, both by the people and by Nature itself.

Here are some of my photos from the day.

20 for 2020: week 17

Week 17: week of 20 April

My 20 for 2020 list.

This was another slow week for my 20 for 2020 list. There are some things I won’t be able to do while we are in death virus lockdown, such as getting my sewing machine fixed (thing 2) and going to a fermenting class (thing 19). The Bored and Brilliant challenge (thing 12) really needs me to be home alone so that’s going to have to wait too.

I reviewed the wellbeing classes (thing 3) I want to complete from 2019 on Sunday and started to work on some of the journalling exercises. I’ve also been maintaining my nightly reading habit (thing 14).

20200426 How to love Brutalism

This week’s reading

My uni course (thing 8) starts again on Monday, so that’s going to get resurrected very soon. I have no real excuse for not doing the work on Indistractable (thing 13) other than I just haven’t made time for it in my schedule. I’ve been working on editing some photos for another project now that I’ve completed my first project (thing 1) and that’s been taking up a lot of my time outside of work. Time I probably won’t have when uni starts up again, so I’ve been making the most of it.

This week was my first full week working outside of the office and I have to say I’m really getting used to this. I used to think that it was my job that was making me miserable and stressed but working in this different way has made me question whether it’s actually the job. I realised that when I go to work, my whole day revolves around work: either getting ready for work, getting to work, being at work, getting home from work or unwinding from work. With all of that in play, it wasn’t uncommon for work-related activities to take up 11 or 12 hours of my day. Add in seven hours for sleeping and a couple of hours for house and family stuff, there wasn’t a lot of time left over, and I never really felt like doing much in the afternoon/evening even if I did have some time because I was worn out after a day at work.

20200420 Abandoned Wrest Point 11

Wrest Point from a bus stop after a late appointment on Monday night

Fast forward to now where the amount of time I need to prepare for and recover from work has reduced. I get ready for work more quickly, I don’t need to travel to work and I finish work at either 2.30 or 3.30 because, not needing to travel, I can start at 8.00. Whereas in the old world, I’d not be home before 4.00 and sometimes closer to 6.00, and the last thing I’d feel like doing is going for a walk, now I finish work and I head out for a walk in the afternoon light to clear my head and close the door on work for the day. It really re-energises me and I actually feel like working on my own projects for a few hours when I get back.

20200424 Tree in Jenkins St 2

Beautiful afternoon light

Not only did my whole day revolve around work, the environment was not good for me. I was always uncomfortable and anxious in an open plan office designed for maximum occupancy than maximum productivity. Maybe some people like it; maybe some people do the sort of work that is suited to that kinds of environment. I don’t and my work isn’t. Away from that space, I feel calmer and more relaxed, even though the work has ramped up quite a lot because of the death virus.

The combination of not being in that environment and having more time away from work has meant that I am feeling more comfortable than I can ever remember feeling. I haven’t been getting headaches or a sore neck, even though I haven’t been doing my physio exercises (sorry, Tom), I’m sleeping better and I haven’t been running out of rooms in tears because I can’t take it any more. I delete the emails I get that tell me that I’m probably experiencing something between mild anxiety and full-blown panic right now. No, that’s how I felt before this happened. While I would never say I love my work, it seems clear that wasn’t the actual job that was making me unhappy; it was how I had to do it.

20200423 Tree at Taroona Beach 2

More beautiful afternoon light

Of course, as I said last week, I am so very lucky to be in a position where I still have a job and can do it at home, when so many don’t and can’t. Many people are on that spectrum between mild anxiety and full-blown panic. Unlike others, I don’t have to put myself in situations where I might be exposed to the death virus and nobody I know has contracted it. The circumstances that have made this way of working possible are not something I would ever wish to happen. I also recognise that things could change for me in a heartbeat, any day. But this is the situation that we’re in, and I can’t change it. I can only make the best of it and I’m grateful that I’m able to do that right now, in this moment.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 8 (1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (3, 14)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 6 (7, 8, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 6  (2, 9, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 7
  • Days I read a book: 7

20 for 2020: week 9

My 20 for 2020 list.

Week of 24 February 

For my uni course (thing 8), I have five weeks to undertake a project to apply some of the things I’ve learned in the unit to my workplace. There was lots to think about from last week’s workshop and I’ve come up with an idea I want to try out but now I have to go and do the readings and figure out how they are relevant to what I’m going to trying do at work. My lecturer pointed me to some relevant theories that we’d considered and every time I read something that’s even remotely related to my workplace plan I’m jotting down copious notes to include in the assignment. I’m sure this is backwards and I should have put the theories together and come up with a project based on that, but I’ve had this idea germinating for a while and if I can identify some theoretical basis for doing it, then I’ll be happy.

I got my mark for my first assignment back, which was pretty reasonable, and I got some very supportive comments from the lecturer in response. I am also happy that I got away with not only referencing my instagram profile in a uni assignment, but also a not so subtle reference to “this one time . . .”. (You know what I’m talking about.)

20200224 Updating my tablet. edit

I didn’t actually use the tablet (thing 17) but I updated the software and firmware

I printed the rest of my 2019 photojournal collages (thing 4) and I stuck some more into the journal. I am on the home stretch with this one now! I just have to trim them and stick them in. There’s about 12 weeks to go now. I’m far less behind with 2019’s journal than I was with 2018’s journal this time last year, which has a lot to do with smart collections in Lightroom and making sure I’ve sorted the previous week’s photos by Wednesday evening so I can edit them in my 15-minute creativity slot on Thursday morning.

I also worked on my photo project (thing 1) in my 15 minutes of creative work in the morning on some days. Just enough to keep it moving along.

20200229 Flowering gum at Taroona High 2-Edit

Saturday morning walk

I’m calling the creative abundance class (thing 6) done. I’ve got the morning routine in place (sort of—there are a few bits that need tweaking), I am working on my project, even if I’m not actually scheduling time blocks to do it. I have another project lined up for when this one is finished. I know what I have to do to eliminate more distractions; I just have to do it. And the last thing for this work it to set up an accountability mechanism, which is going to be me recording how many days I did my “just 15 minutes” in the morning in these blog posts.

I started turning my wall into a vision board (thing 15). I pulled down some things I don’t want on there any more. Then I realised that I already had a pinboard that was already sort of a vision board and thought why didn’t I move it to the “vision wall”, where I’d actually look at it, and give it a bit of a refresh. I pulled off all the stuff that, well doesn’t so much not inspire me, but doesn’t inspire me in the way I want to be inspired right now. And I added in some new pieces—though I’m not sure that John Brack’s Collins St, 5pm is something I actually aspire to . . . more like the future I want to avoid! I left lots of space to add things I find over the coming weeks.

Nothing like procrastinating on uni work, but thing 15 is done.

I can’t read on the bus (thing 14) when I ride to work (thing 10) but I can do it the other days and it’s becoming more of a habit now. I need to track the habit though.

20200301 Sunrise Taroona Beach 06-Edit

Sunday morning walk

Sunday was the closest Sunday to the last day of the month, so that’s when I’ve committed to doing my monthly review of the Unravel Your Year workbook (thing 22). I went to my local coffee shop and settled for an hour. That was good, apart from the kid on the table next to me who found the noisy toy that played “Funkytown” over and over and over. And over. Just what you need when you’re sitting down to think!

I decided to write my March goals on my whiteboard (which is part of my vision wall now), as well as a few things I meant to do after last month’s review and then forgot about because I never looked at the review page again. Note to self: if you ever decide on an action item from something, make a note of it somewhere you will actually see it so it’s not stuck in a book and you forget about it until next time you look at the book.

Now what I need to do is clear and right where I can see it. Time to make progress.

Habit tracking

  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit this week: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun (sort of. It took half an hour for Photoshop to open one photo on Sunday and I got the shits with it and went to do something else. I came back to do the work a bit later on.)
  • Days I scheduled (and did) 50 or 25 minute blocks of time to work on my projects: None. I had two or three times when I sat down and worked on my photo project but I didn’t actually schedule the time.
  • Days I read on the bus on the way to work: I forgot to track this. It’s a new thing.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 2 (6, 15)
  • Things completed to date: 5 (6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (1, 4, 8, 14, 22)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 4 (3, 7, 11, 13)
  • Things not started: 8 (2, 5, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 21)

19 for 2019: week 5 update

19 for 19 update: week of 28 January 2019

This week’s baby step in taking better care of me (thing 6) so that I can do the things I want to do this year is to focus on breathing. I have learned that diaphragmatic breathing helps to activate your parasympathetic nervous system to bring you back into a state of calm, rest and repair after a stressful situation has occurred. I am seeking out times when I can spend a couple of minutes focusing on my breathing to try and make this breath something I do more naturally, especially when something happens that I would normally react to in the moment. Using the principle of habit stacking, which James Clear explains in Atomic Habits, I’m finding existing habits that I can stick the new habit of deep breathing onto.

One of these is drinking water, which was last week’s baby step. I’ve stuck the word “breathe” onto my water bottle so that every time I pick it up I will be reminded to sit down for a moment and take a couple of deep breaths. I wished I’d had a nice fancy sticker with the word breathe but I also realised if I waited until I’d found the perfect sticker I’d never do it, so I used what I had. It doesn’t look good but it does the job. And done is better than perfect.

20190202 Water bottle edit

Remember to breathe

I was on holidays this week so I was pretty relaxed. I watched five of the photo course videos and took some photos of my chickens in lieu of “wildlife”, which was the actual assignment for one of them (thing 1). I edited some of them in Lightroom (thing 19) and as a bonus, started learning about the healing and cloning tools in Photoshop. I did another assignment after that, so I’m now up to day 16.

I finished two books this week (thing 5).

La Belle Sauvage had been on my to-read pile since last year and once I got into it I found it very hard to put down. I finished reading Let me tell you about a man I knew in a day. I don’t remember the last time I read an entire book in a day!

I made three photocollages for my 2018 photojournal (thing 11) and I set up my 33 Bottles of Beer spreadsheet in Google Sheets (thing 12),

Kramstable and I had some adventures together. On Wednesday, after the fun (not) task of buying his new high school uniform (yes high school!) we visited the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, which is a great place to visit. It’s always interesting to see what grabs his interest each time we go there. This week it was the museum cart, which is an ever-changing display of objects in clear perspex boxes, the history of the gay rights movement in Tasmania, the thylacines and his old favourite, the ice in the Antarctic section. I was quite taken with this chair, which is called Splash, by John Smith (2011), and the display of Tasmanian geology.

20190130 TMAG 3 edit

Splash chair

20190130 TMAG 3

Tasmanian Geology

20190130 TMAG stairs 3 edit

The always wonderful Bond Store staircase

 

20190130 TMAG 1 edit

Butterflies

I was also intrigued by the different pelvis shapes of the thylacine skeletons and asked TMAG on instagram if this was an actual difference between male and female thylacines or if the bones had been set at different angles. They said that the skeletons were put together in 1922 by a man named T.F. Moore, a Melbourne taxidermist and skeleton articulator, and that they didn’t know the reason for the different angles. They suggest that the wires may have loosened over time due to movement between museums or age, but the female (front) is more accurate. So there you go.

20190130 TMAG 2 edit

The mystery of the thylacine pelvises

TMAG isn’t on my list but it was still a fun day.

We went to kunanyi on Friday. This counts as thing 15 because I didn’t say I had to do it by myself! It takes a bit of planning to get there because we needed to catch a bus to town and then another bus to Fern Tree and those buses only go once an hour. We headed in a bit earlier than we might have needed to because we weren’t sure the later bus from home would quite get us to town before the Fern Tree bus was due to leave. That gave us enough time to go to the coffee shop before heading off on our adventure.

I wanted to do the Fern Glade circuit, which would take in Silver Falls and get us back to Fern Tree in time to have lunch at the Fern Tree Tavern. That was the plan. I got a bit confused because I’d seen two descriptions of the circuit and they were both different so I said to Kramstable that we’d just start walking and see where we ended up without worrying too much about whether we got to where I wanted to go. I figured, and he agreed, that we were there to have a nice walk on a mountain track and that just being there was the point, without any real expectation of getting to a destination.

20190201 Walk on kunanyi 04

Nice walk

As it turned out, we ended up doubling back on ourselves but we eventually found the right way to the falls, which were lovely.

20190201 Walk on kunanyi 12 edit

Silver Falls

20190201 Walk on kunanyi 19 edit

Near Silver Falls

From there it was easy to find our way back down to the park, the pub and lunch. I’m glad we did do the double back because we would have been too early for lunch if we’d gone the right way in the first place!

20190201 Lunch at the Fern Tree pub 2

Relaxing at the Fern Tree Tavern

We had a nice lunch and had 50 minutes before the bus was due so we relaxed on the very cool chairs for a bit, walked a short way along the Pipeline track, and then caught the bus back to town.

20190201 Walk on kunanyi 20

The Pipeline

Fortunately for us, we made it back just in time to catch our bus home. We saw it pull up at the stop as the bus we were on was pulling in to its stop on the other side of the road. A frantic dash to wait for the lights, cross the road and run (yes, run) to the bus, which was just late enough and had a lot of people getting on. A most satisfying end to what had been a lovely day out.

Status for week 5:

  • Things completed: 3 (1 this week)
  • Things I progressed: 7
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 2
  • Things not started: 7

Things completed

  • Thing 9 (9 January)
  • Thing 8 (21 January)
  • Thing 15 (1 February)

Point to Pinnacle: Mount Nelson

My training for the Point to Pinnacle has basically been non-existent for the last three weeks. I have really struggled to get out of bed in the mornings and I’ve been lucky if I’ve managed more than one walk a week.

This is Not Good when the event is on IN TWO WEEKS!

I can blame going on holidays and not being able to get back into the habit of walking, but I walked every day of the holidays. I don’t know what has caused my reluctance to walk, because I usually have no problem at all, but whatever it is, it’s my responsibility to fix it. If I don’t make it to the top of the mountain because I didn’t train enough it’s entirely my fault.

Anyway, what’s done is done and I can’t get those three weeks back, so I have to make the most of the two weeks I have left and strike a balance between getting some km in and not overdoing it so I’m not exhausted on event day.

If you’ve been following the story so far, you’ll know that I walked to the Mount Nelson Signal Station on the Truganini Track way back in August. Today I decided to go there again but this time to take the road. After all, I’ll be walking up a road in the Point to Pinnacle so it made sense to walk up a smaller mountain in similar conditions. Okay, at 352 metres, it’s nowhere near as high as the 1270 metres I’ll be walking up IN TWO WEEKS. But it’s better than no hill.

To get to Mount Nelson, you need to find Nelson Road, which turns off Sandy Bay Road and dog legs across Churchill Avenue. I decided to take it easy, so I took my camera with me and walked the scenic route along Churchill Avenue. It took me about an hour and a half, with a few photo stops, to walk the almost 8 km to the Nelson Road turn off.IMG_7801

Nelson Road is known for its bends, and I had no idea how far it was to the top or how long it would take. When you get to Bend 3, there’s access to a footpath that shortcuts up to Bend 7. While that would have been a whole lot quicker, and most likely safer too, since there was very little in the way of footpath on the road, the point was to have as long a walk as possible, so that would have been cheating, I think.IMG_7802

The road it was. It was a nice walk with lots of lovely houses to look at, though most of them were hidden behind trees. I was overtaken by a couple of cyclists also on the way up, some dog walkers on the way down and mercifully few cars. This was a lot more civilised than the 70km/h road to Fern Tree.

I wasn’t sure how many bends there were. I thought it was eight, and the distance between them seemed to increase between each bend. At Bend 7 is the Bend 7 Reservoir, which is fenced off and accessible to “Authorised personnel only”.  IMG_7805

That’s not me, so I kept going. I’m not sure if there is a Bend 8, but eventually, I made it to the top of Nelson Road, where it joins Olinda Grove. That was almost four km from the Churchill Avenue turn off and it took me a bit under 50 minutes. After that, I wasn’t sure how to get to the Signal Station. There was one sign pointing me in the direction that Nelson Road continued, so on I went.

The further I went, the more it started to feel like I was in the middle of the country. I had no idea where I was going or if I’d missed a turn to the Signal Station. I felt like I’d been walking forever. I could have checked a map but figured I wasn’t exactly going to get lost, and that the road would have to end-somewhere-eventually. And it did, a bit more than two km along the road.

It felt longer.

Total distance: 14.29km, time: two hours 47 minutes (with several pauses).IMG_7820_2According to Discover Tasmania

The signal station was built in 1811 and was the first of a chain of signal stations that once linked Hobart Town with Port Arthur. A short message from Hobart to Port Arthur and return reply could be completed in approximately fifteen minutes – under clear conditions.

The closure of the station on Mount Nelson came with the arrival of the telegraph in 1880.

There are great panoramic views of Hobart and the Derwent from here and one thing I really noticed was how much the Grand Chancellor stands out in the city. I had some fun taking photos of the Signal Station and eventually decided I could go no longer without coffee. Fortunately, there’s a coffee shop.IMG_7828_2There’s a track leading down from one of the lookout points that takes you to Sandy Bay, so I thought it would be fun to see where that went. It leads through Bicentennial Park, which is described as

A downhill walk, the first half of which is through open forest with views of the city, whilst the second half is amongst wetter forest.

From the historic Mt Nelson Signal Station the track descends gently downhill as it winds pleasantly through open forest. This section of track receives good sun making it an ideal choice for a winter walk. Dogs on lead are permitted as far as the Enterprise Road junction.

The track grade then becomes steeper and the forest increasingly shady and damp. After crossing Lambert Rivulet the creek is followed downstream to Lambert Avenue.

It was an interesting walk because, although I knew I wasn’t very far from civilisation, it felt very deserted. Especially when I got to the point where the track forked into two and the signpost had been knocked over and there was only an arrow pointing in one direction.

I could see Mt Wellington on my left and kept freaking out that I was going to be walking up there IN TWO WEEKS. Whilever the track was still formed, I felt relatively secure that I was still going the right way, even though there were times I felt like I should be dropping breadcrumbs. There were lots of stony steps but absolutely no indication of where I was. The backs of houses came into view, which left me none the wiser.IMG_4131

Eventually, I got to a sign that mentioned the contribution of Dr DJ Walters in the development of Lambert Park and, not much further on, I emerged at Churchill Avenue, just a short distance from the Nelson Road turnoff I’d taken earlier in the morning. I didn’t track that section of the walk so I have no idea how long it took or how far it was but based on the metadata on my photos, I reckon it took me about an hour.

So, that was a great Sunday morning adventure and probably the last big walk I’ll do before the Point to Pinnacle, which is IN TWO WEEKS. I know I have let myself down over the last three weeks and I’m not happy about that, but I also know I’m not going to get super-fit within the next two weeks. I’m going to stay as active as I can and give it my very best shot.

Southwest Tasmania day 2 (part 1)

This morning’s plan was to wake up early—well, as early as I’d need to when the sun rises close to 8 am—and take some sunrise photos over the lake. This plan was somewhat thwarted by the fact that everywhere was enveloped in fog and the sun was nowhere to be seen.

20180712-011 Silhouettes in the fog at the lookout

At the Lake Pedder Lookout

Never mind, I’d heard that fog was good for photos so I was excited for what the morning might present.

Our plan was to go to Gordon Dam, which is at the end of Gordon River Road, about 12 km from Strathgordon.

A little bit of context. Lake Pedder was once a natural lake but has been in its current form since 1972 when the Gordon, Serpentine and Huon rivers were dammed as part of Tasmania’s hydro electric development. The power scheme includes the Gordon Dam on the Upper Gordon River and the three dams that form Lake Pedder (aka the Huon-Serpentine impoundment): the Serpentine Dam, the Scotts Peak Dam, which dams the Huon River, and the Edgar Dam. It’s 242 square km and 2960 million cubic metres in capacity. It’s 16 metres deep over the original Lake Pedder and 26 metres deep at its deepest part, just behind the Serpentine Dam.

The water from Lake Pedder flows into Lake Gordon through the McPartlan Pass Canal, a 2745-metre long canal between the two lakes, and is used in the Gordon Power Station, which is built 183 metres underground.

The original Lake Pedder had been a National Park but the Tasmanian Government revoked that status in 1967 to enable the Hydro development to proceed. There was considerable opposition to this development from the conservation movement both in Australia and internationally and it saw the birth of the first Green political party in the world. Then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam also opposed the dam and offered compensation to Tasmania to preserve the area. Since then there have been calls to drain the artificial lake and restore it to its original state.

We left the lodge in the fog and continued along the Gordon River Road. Our first stop was the Lake Pedder lookout, about two km up the road. It had one of those cool directional signs that tells you what mountains you’re looking at. All very well when you can actually see the mountains but not when everything is immersed in fog.

Nevertheless, there were some cool fog photo opportunities.

20180712-003 Silhouettes in the fog at the lookout

Sunlight and fog

Continuing along Gordon River Road for another seven km, you reach the turnoff to the Serpentine Dam. From there, it’s a short drive to the boat ramp. By now, the fog was starting to lift, so it was amazing to make photos half in fog and half in clear blue sky.

20180712-035 Serpentine Dam

Serpentine Dam from near the boat ramp

There was no wind and only a slight ripple on the water so the reflections were amazing. Parts of it reminded me of the reflections in the River Derwent along Boyer Road.

20180712-028 Serpentine Dam the other side

Serpentine Dam

This dam was constructed in 1971. It’s a concrete-faced rockfill dam, which is basically a compacted rock wall that is made waterproof by a thin layer of concrete on the upstream face (the left side in this picture). The wall is 41.5 metres high at its highest point and 134 metres long. It contains 114 000 cubic metres of rockfill.

20180712-043 Serpentine Dam wall

Serpentine Dam Wall

Our destination was literally at the end of the road, the Gordon Dam, a further three km from the turn off. Completed in 1974, it’s 140 metres high and is the highest arch dam and the largest storage dam in Australia. It’s curved both horizontally and vertically, which apparently allowed them to use less concrete to construct it, reducing the overall cost. The horizontal arch is apparent from the photos, the vertical one not so much, but the dual arch explains why it doesn’t look straight.

Lake Gordon, created by the dam, was still shrouded in fog so it was impossible to see how big it was, but we could see the dam wall itself, which is pretty impressive.

20180712-060 Lake Gordon

Lake Gordon

Apparently, people abseil off it.

I thought that sounded cool.

When I was at home in my lounge room.

When I got there and looked at it I was grateful I hadn’t decided to book in to do this. I was petrified just walking down the steps to get to the top of the wall where you’re allowed to walk.

20180712-100 Looking down on the Gordon Dam wall

Don’t look down! They are people down there . . . yes, you are going down there

I was glad when I got to the bottom of the steps. Walking on the wall wasn’t anywhere near as scary as walking down to the wall. It’s an amazing structure.

20180712-092 Looking down on the Gordon Dam wall

Gordon Dam wall

The climb back up is a lot less terrifying than the climb down and there’s a nice lookout at the top that you’d probably get great views from on a clear day. This was not a clear day. Still, it was a good experience and we were glad we’d made it.

There are more photos of the Serpentine Dam and the Gordon Dam on my photoblog.

 

Catching up

So this blog-as-accountability-partner thing isn’t working out as well as I’d hoped and I’ve missed several weeks. The several weeks don’t have much going for them. All those 6/7 and 7/7 weeks seem like a lifetime away, and most of the healthy habits I’ve been trying so hard to put in place are back at 0/7 or 1/7 (on a good week).

There are a few reasons for this, and the thing is that now’s been the time I really should have been looking after myself, going to bed on time, drinking more water and less beer and pausing to breathe. But I can’t change any of that. What’s done is done, and it’s time to move forward again.

Something I’ve been neglecting for a long time has been making stuff. Arty stuff, journally stuff, scrapbooky stuff, writey stuff – just giving myself time to muck around in my room and make something.

A few weeks ago I signed up for a mini class called Creative Sandbox 101, which is a 7-day kickstarter to get people creating. I thought I’d whip through it in seven days. Turns out I was wrong and here I am six weeks later still on Day 4. The story of my life. Sign up for something, begin with enthusiasm, don’t make time for it, don’t finish, feel guilty forever about it. Yep. I can’t even finish a course that is seven days of 15-minute exercises.

This morning I felt better than I have for a long time, physically and mentally. I decided I was going to go for a walk (for the first time in at least three weeks), watch the sunrise and spend the time I would have otherwise spent moping in bed making something.

I did, and it was beautiful. I had breakfast with the boy and then it was time to make something.

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After clearing off my desk, it was time to make something.

After dusting up some cobwebs, it was time to make something.

I had a painting stuck to my craft mat. It had been stuck to the mat for months waiting for me to finish it and, at the same time, being an excuse for me not making anything else. It was time to call it done and go make something new. I didn’t want to waste another moment of the day shuffling stuff around my desk and not actually making anything. Action creates more action. Or something like that.

20171008 Taking the picture off the mat

Once I’d removed the picture, it was time to make something. After I’d removed the adhesive residue from the masking tape that had been on the mat, of course.

Ahem. Action creates action.

I started (yes, you read that right, I started) by making a really crappy painting based on an exercise from Flora Bowley’s lovely book Bold Intuitive Painting, which you can find on my Instagram feed if you really want to see it.

Then I went over to the Creative Sandbox 101 website and read up on Day 4’s activity. The activity I chose to do was to make photos of one person (or object) for 15 minutes. To capture different moods and angles. I decided I’d go out and photograph a tree for 15 minutes. I probably could have found one in my backyard, but I decided to make it a bit more challenging and go to the park where there would be people. I feel very uncomfortable

I feel very uncomfortable making photos when there are people around and it’s something I want to get more comfortable doing. I know most people don’t give a toss whether someone is photographing stuff around them (unless they’re photographing the person in question, I guess), and even if they do, what other people think of me is none of my business – but it still feels awkward. So today’s exercise was a two-part challenge. Excellent value for money.

I was sure I’d be safe anyway because the weather was crappy and no one would be at the park, right?

Nice try.

I tried talking myself out of doing it. I couldn’t find a tree I liked. The one I did like was too difficult to access. Wouldn’t people get worried about someone standing round a tree in a park for 15 minutes snapping pictures on their phone? Wouldn’t I be that weird woman who makes photos of trees? (I’m not sure why this bothers me. I’m probably already that weird woman who obsessively photographs 10 Murray Street, so over-photographing a tree is no big deal, right?)

No, no, no, no. You are not getting out of this.

I eventually found one away from the people, though they would have seen me if they’d looked, set the timer and started snapping.

It was an interesting exercise. The tree had lots of cool features and I was interested to see how the bark changed several times moving up the tree. There were little critters in there, things stuck between the bark and the trunk, spider webs, blackberry vines, new growth, lots of bark, some black bits, some interesting shapes. I saw faces! The 15 minutes went quickly and I only made 55 photos in that time. I was expecting more. I don’t know if any of them are any good. I wasn’t thinking much about composition and it was that glary middle-of-the-day light, so probably not. That wasn’t the point of the exercise. The point was to do something and to notice how I felt when I was doing it.

And I felt mixed things. Part of me wanted the timer to go off so I could stop. Part of me wondered if anyone could see me. Part of me enjoyed finding different parts of the tree to photograph, and wondered how old it was and if anyone had ever looked at it closely before. Part of me made me lie down on a log and look at it from that angle. That was actually one of the coolest angles. 15 minutes isn’t a long time, and I didn’t get bored. I enjoyed doing it. I’d do it again.

Maybe next time I will do this exercise with a person. Though getting up close and personal with a person might be somewhat more challenging than with a tree! (Any volunteers?)

 

 

Looking

I have walked past this tree hundreds of times on  my way to and from work, and I’ve never looked at it.

20170331 Tree in St David's Park 2 IG

Today I was in a go-slow mode and it caught my eye.

I noticed how it wraps around itself, whereas the surrounding trees are straight up and down. I had no idea that trees can be structured so differently. I always thought a tree was a tree was a tree.

It made me wonder how many other things I walk past without ever noticing them or looking at them.

I want to notice things. I want to pay more attention.

While I was walking with Kramstable to school this morning, some workers were in the process of cutting down a very large tree on a street corner. By the time we walked past that corner this afternoon, all evidence of the tree’s existence had gone, apart from the wood chipper and the roadworks signs. Looking across the road, it looked empty, and not quite right, but I couldn’t tell you what sort of tree it was, how big it was or anything about it, or even that there had actually been a tree there. Just that something was missing.

If we hadn’t walked that way this morning and I hadn’t seen the tree being removed, I wonder if I would have even noticed it had gone the next time I went past.

That scares me.

I want to notice things. I want to pay more attention.

Week in Review: 19-25 January 2014

Monday was the last day of our holiday. We took a short walk through the forest at the back of the hotel before we left.

Rainforest walk near the hotel

Rainforest walk near the hotel

Rainforest walk near the hotel

Rainforest walk near the hotel

The rest of the day we spent driving home and feeling a bit frustrated that we were stuck in the car on the day with the best weather of the whole trip!

Not to worry, we’d had a great time, and we got views like this on the way to Mole Creek, where we stopped for coffee.

View on the way home

View on the way home

I had a lovely day with Juniordwarf on Tuesday. Did I mention he’s now into the movie Coraline, and he likes to act it out? I was Coraline and he was Mother. I don’t know any of the lines, so it went like this:

He (or a teddy) says a line.

He says: ‘you say [whatever the line is]’

I say [whatever the line is].

He tells me what action to do.

Repeat for the entire movie.

I went back to work on Wednesday for a break.

I also found a strawberry in my strawberry patch. (‘Patch’ might be an exaggeration.) I got to it before the birds did. One strawberry. I’m an amazing gardener.

Gardening success!

Gardening success!

On Friday we went to Two Metre Tall Farm Bar for dinner. It was fun – there was a big group of fruit pickers there, and we were entertained by some French musicians from the group Chalouche. Somehow Juniordwarf ended up in the middle of the people who were dancing. He had a fantastic time.

Farm Bar

Farm Bar

My daily step goal (in preparation for the Care Walk in her Shoes challenge) is 13,000 on the way to 20,000. I achieved this on only 3 days this week, but my total step count over the week was 96,731. That means on average, I did about 13,800 steps each day, so over the week I met the goal.

I didn’t do less than 10,000 on any day, which I’ve decided will be my absolute minimum for any one day. So I think I can call this week a success.

I put a pedometer on Juniordwarf one day to see how much activity he actually does. He bounces around a lot, so I imagined that even if he doesn’t do any actual exercise, he would still be getting in a lot of movement.

I was right.

By the time he’d gone to bed, he’d done 10,814 steps just by being himself. At the same time I’d done 11,458 steps, which included an hour walk in the morning.

Pedometer experiment

Pedometer experiment

This says to me that I probably need to increase my activity level during the day. Something to think about.

Trip Day 3 (Part 1): Cradle Mountain

This morning the weather looked better, but that was just an illusion, and by the time we’d had breakfast, it was looking pretty ordinary.

Juniordwarf was thrilled with the all-you-can-eat buffet style breakfast. He said to Slabs, ‘you didn’t tell me about this!’ and Slabs had replied that he’d wanted to surprise him (when he’d actually forgotten and hadn’t thought too much of it – just goes to show how things that we don’t think are a big deal are huge and exciting to little people, who have much less life experience. It was great to see how excited he was over breakfast).

It was bitterly windy, and the rain came and went (mostly went, which was a relief, unlike yesterday), and we weren’t sure whether to attempt a big walk first or some of the smaller ones. We decided to do the smaller walks first and hope the weather improved after lunch.

Our first stop was the Interpretation Centre again, where we did the Enchanted Walk, which is listed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

The walk is described as ‘[taking] you through buttongrass moorland before entering cool temperate rainforest along the edges of Pencil Pine Creek.

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

‘Along the track are three interpretive tunnels that kids and kids at heart will find fun to crawl through!’ (Juniordwarf did. We found it a bit difficult.) There were wombat burrows on the walk, but I hadn’t read that bit of the description and didn’t look out for them, and it was too late in the morning for the wombats to be about anyway.

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

At the end of this walk, we saw a sign pointing to the King Billy Circuit, so we decided to do that walk as well. This was another short walk through some forests that included old specimens of King Billy Pine.

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

Coming out of the King Billy Circuit

Coming out of the King Billy Circuit

The King Billy pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides) is thought to derive its common name from the Tasmanian Aborigine William Lanney, who was referred to as ‘King Billy’. The tree reaches a height of 40 metres and may reach ages in excess of 1200 years. It’s only found in highland rainforest regions above 600 m.

After that we went back to the Visitor Centre and decided it was time to ditch the car and take the shuttle bus further into the park. We picked up some sandwiches from the café and hopped onto the bus. We got off at the third stop, Ronny Creek, so we could do the Weindorfers Forest Walk. To get there, we had to get to Waldheim Chalet, which meant we started off on the Overland Track before turning right and heading up the hill to find the chalet.

Start of the Overland Track

Start of the Overland Track

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The view from the top of the hill

 

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The view from the top of the hill

The original chalet was built in 1912 by Gustav and Kate Weindorfer. Gustav was one of the people responsible for having the Cradle Mountain area protected as a reserve and sanctuary (now National Park). The chalet has been rebuilt and it now tells the story of Kate and Gustav and their work in the area.

Waldheim Chalet

Waldheim Chalet

The forest walk runs just behind the chalet and took about 20 minutes. We saw lots more King Billy Pines, and some fagus.

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Then it was decision time. Juniordwarf didn’t want to do a 2 hour walk around Dove Lake. We did.

We debated it while we were having lunch in the day hut, and convinced Juniordwarf that we didn’t come all this way to sit around in the hotel, and that the whole point of coming here was to go walking. We were only staying in the hotel, we said in true parent style, because we couldn’t drive to Cradle Mountain, do all the walks we wanted to and drive home the same day. An incidental benefit, if you like. He couldn’t argue with that. (Parents: 1, Child: 0.)

The Day Hut near Waldheim Chalet

The Day Hut near Waldheim Chalet

Bird hanging around in vain for some lunch.

Bird hanging around in vain for some lunch.

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Beautiful view of the whole valley

Beautiful view of the whole valley

We made our way back down the road to the bus stop, and watched a group of walkers getting last minute instructions before setting off on the Overland Track. I’m not sure that I’d ever be able to do that walk, but I think it would be a pretty amazing walk to do.

We caught the next bus through to Dove Lake (they run every 10 minutes or so) and began the 6 km circuit of the lake.