Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Sunday scribblings "A Walk in the Park"

Oh Wow, how well does this week's prompt fit in with what I wanted to write about.
Ha! Love it! What a walk in the park!
I have been for a walk in the park. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday last I was up in the mountains about 2 hours drive from here doing just that (hence the late response to this prompt). Let me take you with me with my words and pictures.
Kosciusko national park is Australia's biggest alpine area national park. This county's alpine area is pretty small compared to what other countries have and it has Australia's tallest mountain in it Mt Kosciusko. It was named by a bloke who first climbed to the top of it called Strezleki, after some freedom fighter from his country.
The park is magic, wonderful...... oh superlatives flow, what else can I say about how much I loved my short break up there. Summer in the mountains is full of color and life and the alpine meadows are alive with gorgeous wildflowers as is the forest below it. Plants and flowers, many of which grow no where else in the world, including just across the border in Victoria, they are so specialized to withstand their harsh environment. Pure magic for a wildflower freak like me.
OK the first picture above this text is of the Murray river at Tom Groggin camping area on the western side of the mountain between Thredbo and Khancoban. Places of legend in Aussie hearts and literature. the Murray river runs all the way from the snowy mountains across 3 states and drains into the sea in South Australia. Along the way just about all of the inland rivers run into and join it. Rivers right from the centre of Queensland, the Diamondtina, the Lachlan, all the rivers including my own lovely old Murrumbidge river that you may remember me talking about in here before. the Murray river in this pic is young ,cold and clear and fast flowing, as it travels along to the west it gets muddied and cuts through the earth into deep banks, it is the biggest river system in Australia.
These trees are snow gums. the have extraordinary colored bark that is absolutely gorgeous and their branches are short and twisted. This pic was taken on Sunday at Perisher valley in the park. That name, Perisher valley tells you a lot about what the weather up there is like in the winter.
And this! I am so proud! This is the summit marker at the top of Mount Kosciusko, Australia's tallest point at 2228m above sea level. To get up there you have to hop on the chair lift at Thredbo and go up the top. From there it is a 13.5km round walk to the top. It is listed as a moderate bush walk. Pete and I did the walk at our own pace it took us somewhere between 4 and 5 hours. Or rather I should fess up and admit we did the walk at my pace as he is fitter than me and had to keep waiting. Though most of the waiting was because I couldn't resist stopping every few meters along the way to check out the wildflowers and take pictures of them. Hehehe. I did it, I have wanted to do that walk for so long! Woo Hoo!
This pic is of a meadow full of silver snow daisies. Aren't they wonderful. The lady I spoke to at the rangers station said that this season is the best for these particular flowers that they have seen for 10+ years. Zillions of them.
Pete and I at the summit of Mt Kosciusko. We ate our sandwiches here and I listened to Led Zeppelin and Nat King Cole on our ipods. I wondered if it was the first time they had been enjoyed at the top of Australia. the Led Zep songs were strangely appropriate to the scenery.
Looking out west from near the summit.
Giant granite rocks scattered every where up there. Habitat for the rare and endangered Pygmy Possum who lives in amongst these rocks and shelters from the snow, hibernating in burrows inside them. These rocks are also shelter in the summer for the bogong moths which are the possums food source. Aboriginals also traveled to this area in summer to hold ceremonies and feast on the moths which were roasted on coals and eaten, they are very high in fat and are supposed to taste nutty, I think I will take their word for it. I loved the way these were stacked, as if piled haphazard by a giant.
this sign was near the toilets about 2/3rds of the way along the walk to the summit. And..... hehehe, the site of Australia's highest public toilet.
Snuggled amongst the rocks and boggy wet ground was life everywhere. Including this pretty fern.
This is a flower known as Billy Button. each flower head is made up of tiny tiny yellow flowers.
Mountain meadows on the way to the summit, full of flowers of all kinds, hmmm did I tell you that before?
Little rivulets ran everywhere across the landscape. One of these was marked as The head waters to the Snowy River. And yes, there were still a few patches of snow in January up there.
This pretty thing is called a Hoary Sun-ray. It has soft woolly leaves and papery petals and is an everlasting. I was so tempted to pick myself a bunch to keep but it is very illegal in the park to do that, if I was a kid I absolutely couldn't have resisted it.
This is a Candle Heath. It was very common up there, heaps of it.
This is called mountain celery. It was practically wiped out by cattle grazing up there but since the cattle have been banned from the park it has returned.
This is a closer view of the silver snow daisy.
Sign at the top of the chair lift. They even advertise up there. Hmph Toyota. Toyota didn't save my poor old fat legs. About 2/3rds of the way back down I was really feeling the walk in my knees, ouchy.
On Monday after our big walk we were sunburned and wind burned and our legs were not the best so we decided to spend our time exploring the area in the car.We drove from Jindabyne where we were staying and had a look at Perisher Valley then visited a Trout farm. Then we went past the ski village of Thredbo west to the other side of the mountains and down the hills to Khancoban, had an ice cream and turned around and came back to Jindabyne. Oh wow , oh wow again. It is so beautiful up there. The forest and landscape is quite different on the western side and it was warmer and protected compared to Thredbo where we were in the clouds and rain. Yep more superlatives. The road was tarred but narrow and very steep and windy. A fun place to throw your car around if you be so inclined. Would have bneen great fun in a rally car if you knew you were going to not meet another car coming from the other direction. It said in the sign that it was 77km to Khancoban and was a 2 hr drive, so that tells you what sort of road it was. It was great though. No picture could capture the beauty of the tall alpine beech trees that met above the road and enclosed it into a tunnel of big majestic trees. Or of warning signs that told to beware of wild brumbys, of which we saw evidence. Or of the blue and red crimson rosellas that abounded and the rare Gang Gang cockatoos and tiny wrens. Parts of the road were deeply cut into the rocks and I was thinking about the work and planning that went into the building of it.
Anyway, that is a small sample of the flowers that I found at the top of Australia at their summer glory.
Gotta work tomorrow, better get to bed.

Good night.
Love Linda.


jaerose said...

What a place to eat your sandwiches (and have a pee!)..great photo-documentary Linda - you look really happy up there! Hope the rain isn't near you..Jae :)

Anonymous said...

So proud of you both for that effort! And your wilderness pictures & descriptions are wonderful... clever girl! M.S

Winterwood said...

I think there was talk of renaming the place? kosciuszko was a polish bloke... and what a place it looks.. amazing . wild beauty!!! Ive never been there so really enjoyed the ramble with you Linda.

oldegg said...

What a fantastic travelogue Linda. Very well done indeed. I loved the pictures of all the alpine flowers.

Shadow said...

hey, linda! those snow daisies are amazing...

gs batty said...

Enjoyed my weekly tour of Aust. Hope your legs have recouped

Deborah said...

What a glorious place, I thoroughly enjoyed 'going' to it with you, you brought it alive, wonderful!