A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

W is for Walks

Canberra is basically just one big national park. For walkers, Canberra is truly the “Bush Capital”. In just minutes you can leave the city behind and feel like you’re a million miles away. Bush trails, alluring hills and mountains frame the picture for Canberra’s many many walks.

The choice for wanderers, is HUGE, but never fear, you will find what you’re after in at least one of these 10 tantalising trails.

MT AINSLIE SUMMIT TRAIL (KOKODA TRACK)

A rosy-cheek-producing walk (4.5 kilometres return), that rises up directly behind the Australian War Memorial. There are very steep paths that wind up through shrubby woodland. You can enjoy birdsong as you walk to the summit. At the top, you can enjoy a 270-degree view over the Parliamentary Triangle.

Don’t forget to stop and look around on the way for candid views, plaques commemorating the Kokoda Track and the memorial to Aboriginal soldiers.

ONE TREE HILL

One Tree Hill Lookout is a 90 minute return walk presenting the walker with Brindabella mountain range vistas. It’s remoteness on the Northside is reminiscent of what Canberra’s earliest inhabitants would have experienced, however, the Southside provides a developer’s view with newer suburbs Moncrieff and Taylor creeping closer up the hill. The incline is mostly gentle on the way up, with a steep section toward the end.

JERRABOMBERRA WETLANDS

The wetlands is a secluded slice of nature only 10 minutes’ drive from the city. Five timber bird hideouts help you get intimate with Kellys Swamp’s 200-plus bird species. Wander along the boardwalk, with popping frogs as your soundtrack, on the look-out for eastern long-necked tortoises, while Black Angus cows graze incongruently nearby.

NAMADGI NATIONAL PARK

The 106,000-hectare Namadgi National Park, borders Kosciuszko National Park and is a trekker’s dream daytrip. Taking up almost half the ACT’s land area, it offers a selection of short and long hikes (up to seven-hour treks) through alpine meadows and snow gum forest.

My favourite trails are:

  • Booroomba Rocks (four kilometres return, and STEEP), which provide stunning panoramas of the ACT
  • Yankee Hat Rock Shelter (six kilometres return, two-and-a-half hours) which explores an indigenous rock art site that was the first-ever identified in the ACT. It is protected by the Ngunnawal people – refer to my post “N is for Ngunnawal”)
  • Gibraltar Peak (four hour, moderate to hard trek) where you can expect to see glades interrupted by spiky grass trees, barely babbling creeks, plus impressively expansive views, once you reach the (somewhat phallic) boulders at the summit.
  • Square Rock (8.5 kilometres, 4 hours) where you can explore huge granite boulders, Alpine Ash forests and Snow Gum woodlands. The Square Rock Lookout is around 1400 metres above sea level with stunning views of the Australian bush.

BRIDGE TO BRIDGE

A stroll around the glistening Lake Burley Griffin is always a glorious. This walk takes you 5km around from the Commonwealth Bridge to the Kings Avenue Bridge. Take in the lake views whilst walking by Canberra’s iconic attractions including the National Carillon, National Library, Captain Cook Fountain and more. There are even coffee trucks along the way. It hardly feels like exercise!

MURRUMBIDGEE DISCOVERY TRACK

Taking you around Canberra’s south, this 27km walk takes you via Point Hut Crossing, past Pine Island and Kambah Pool, and finishes at the peaceful Casuarina Sands. Whether you choose to walk a section or walk the entire length, the walk won’t be short of natural riverine, rare plant species, unique rock formations and cascading waters.

HIMALAYAN CEDAR TRAIL

The gorgeous National Arboretum is home to widespread trees, forests and unique plant species. This 2.2km trail starts near Pod Playground, and winds through five forests, past the Wide Brown Land sculpture and onto the majestic Himalayan Cedar Forest. Reward yourself with a picnic at the end with free barbeque facilities. You may like to return the same way or continue onto the Cork Oak Trail.

Walking in Canberra

As with any bushwalk or hike, check weather conditions before you go and let someone know your plans before you leave. There isn’t always mobile reception in the bush, so make sure you’re prepared before setting out.

My husband and I love, and highly recommend, the book “Walking Canberra – 101 Ways To See The Nation’s Capital On Foot.” We are currently working our way through the list to appreciate all the beauty of our nation’s capital.

A – Z Challenge – W

Stories by Sarah

Drug Of Choice

As I trudge the well-worn route, there is a dearth of light as we briefly pass under the bulk of a huge granite boulder. It has been a challenging hike so far; the constant incline gradually wearing me down.

I focus on regulating my breathing and carefully place my feet on the footholds of the individual rocks. With a shock, I realise we have reached the summit.

I jump up onto the 360o viewing platform and let the stress melt away. There is no noise except for the eerie sound of the wind sliding between granite and trees, and the occasional raven cawing. I close my eyes and breathe. My senses are teeming with the bracing mountain air and smell of the bush. I love it up here. I’m on ‘top of the world’.

As the vast expanse of the Australian Alps stretch out before me, I realise I cannot keep up the pretense with my husband anymore. I turn to him; smile and say, “It is entirely possible, that bushwalking has become my drug too.”

By Sarah ©2017



Author’s note: The Horn, at Mount Buffalo, has sweeping 360 degree views of the Australian Alps and plateaus. It is an exhilarating sensation to swivel and view the magnificent Mount Buffalo National Park spread out before you.

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt – Constant; and also; The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 321. Words: route, dearth, light, possible, bulk, individual, pretense, drug, jump, challenge, shock, teeming

Daily Post Weekly Challenge, Photos by Sarah

Scale

There is nothing quite like the feeling that you are standing on top of the world. 

Atop The Horn, at Mount Buffalo, with its sweeping 360 degree views of the Australian Alps and plateaus, the vastness and space make you feel small and insignificant. It is an exhilarating sensation to swivel and view the magnificent scale of the Mount Buffalo National Park spread out before you.

At 1,723 metres elevation, The Horn is the highest point in the Mount Buffalo National Park, on the western side of the Victorian Alps. 


Image credits By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: Daily Post, Daily Prompt, degree, and Weekly Photo Challenge – Scale

Stories by Sarah

Close To The Sun


Image credit By Sarah ©;   Sunset at Mt McKay

Some of the best views of the high country, are near Falls Creek, Victoria.

I was currently trudging up Mt McKay and racing the clock to see a sunset. At 1,849 metres above the sea level, it is the highest spot in Australia accessible by road; and I was feeling every one of those metres as I huffed and puffed my way up. The gravel of the path crunched under my hiking boots as I walked along. That, combined with the bird song and wind gently rustling the leaves, provided a soundtrack; a rhythm; that kept me moving. I had to hurry, if I wanted to see it; time was running out.

I rounded the final corner, and saw I was just in time. The sight of the bluish-tinged, bush covered mountains of the Australian Alpine National Park greeted me. It was a 360o panorama of absolute wilderness that made my skin tingle. The cerise rays of the setting sun dipped lower and lower in the sky before slipping away completely. I was all alone, witnessing nature’s spectacular show. It was magical.

I pulled open my back pack, had a drink of water and crunched on an apple. I popped in my earbuds and turned my iPod onto random. I smiled to myself, appreciating the serendipitous moment, as the first few notes of David Usher’s Too Close To The Sun, began to play…

By Sarah ©2017


Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Writing Prompt #217 – Stories By 5
The five
: Topic – A walk in the forest, Name – Usher, Fruit – apple, Colour – cerise, Sensation – tingle

Stories by Sarah

Shafted

After the accident, unease grew like a mold in the corners of his mind.
Or perhaps it was more like moss – the spongy type that covered the sides of the shaft where he lay. He was an idiot.

The number one bushie’s* rule when heading out for a bush walk: let someone know where you are going. And he hadn’t done it! He was an experienced bushwalker and knew better. Damn, he’d hiked some of the toughest treks in Australia on his own – the Stirling Ranges Ridge Walk, Tasmanian Overland Trail, Mt Bogong; just to name a few. Even though he preferred solitary hikes, he was always prepared, always cautious and always checked in with someone once he’d arrived. Except this time. He pictured his pack sitting at the top of the hole, and cursed.

He’d thought today’s hike would be easy and had been looking forward to the chance to explore the old gold mining area. The Lake Sambell-Lake Kerferd Walking Trail followed a path from Lake Sambell, Beechworth to Lake Kerferd (the town’s water supply). He had walked along Spring and Hurdle Creeks, and had been having fun looking into the many disused mine shafts along the trail.

The mine shafts had been covered with wire mesh, and he had been unable to see much into them, past one or two metres. Just as he was longing for more, he’d seen the sign “Uncovered mine shafts – stay on the designated path” and like a fool, he’d been captivated by the thrill of perhaps, getting into one. He hadn’t had to walk too far off the trail either before he discovered a beauty. The mouth of the shaft was wide and rocky and he was positive he would be able to climb down; especially if he secured himself with some rope. Taking off his pack, he had no sooner unzipped the bag to pull out the length he had with him, when the sides of the shaft gave way and he had bounced and tumbled, all the way to the bottom.

He wriggled, trying to make himself comfortable and whimpered as his left leg screamed with pain. He was sure it was broken, especially with the unnatural angle at which it stretched out before him. He looked up, trying to work out how far down he’d fallen. It was far enough that the broad daylight above, seemed no more than a torch beam.

He was lucky to be alive really. Or was he? he thought, bleakly. No one knew he was here. No one would have expected him to disobey the signs and wander off. He knew from the history of the area that there were thousands of disused mines. Even if they did know he’d been walking this trail, they may never find him.

His unease, gave way to panic. With his leg useless, he couldn’t even try and climb out. He had no food, no water, no phone. All that – lay above him; in his pack. If by some chance, other hikers saw his bag, they may not be so foolhardy as to leave the trail and investigate further. They would pass him by.

How long can I survive down here? he wondered, as a wave of hopelessness washed over him.

He screamed desperately for help, but his cries were muted by the earth and damp surrounding him. He may as well have been screaming in a vacuum. His hands clenched at the gritty soil beneath them and he threw a clump at the wall in frustration. As the eerie silence of the shaft, closed in around him, the gravity of his predicament settled upon him. He squeezed his eyes shut, lay back and waited.

Waited for rescue and waited for death.

Whichever came first.

By Sarah ©2017

* bushie – Australian slang. someone who lives in the bush; person who lives in rural Australia;




Image credits By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, First Line Friday – August 18th 2017; Daily Post Daily Prompt – exploreprefer,  solitary disobey