Wednesday, September 28, 2011


This past weekend Deb and I shot away to the Otway Ranges west of Melbourne.

I am still mad keen on waterfalls and the Otways are both high and wet.

On Saturday we arrived fairly late after a leisurely start and a three hour drive. Our first destination was a section of rainforest near a village with the name of “Beech Forest”.

From where we left the car we followed this trail into the forest.I paused to snap this little fellow, s/he is a species I don’t know and I haven’t taken the time to look him/her up.Half a mile into the forest you round a corner and see this.The remains of a steam engine. And nearby tramway trucks for carrying timber to the sawmill that once stood here.You wouldn’t think it but all this forest is regrowth; a hundred years ago the whole area was clear felled.

It will be hundreds of years before it is a mature forest, but nature has an amazing power to come back if it is left be.

A bit further down we came to this stream feeding into a narrow channel and around the corner the reason we had come.

The Triplet FallsThe stream divides into three channels which tumble as a triple fall.

The star for me is the right hand fall which is…Well the piccies say it all.

Now one last thing.

I am heading off for the next five days to my Mum’s place so it is more than likely I won’t post until next week.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A sampler. And a strange coincidence

Deb and I were away for the weekend. We have returned home to find our internet service reconnected. Phew!

In my last serious post I asked which you would prefer I posted about:

A: More waterfalls
B: Some majestic trees
C: Sunlight through clouds?

Most of you replied D: all of the above.

I suppose I deserve everything I got.
Well I guess I am going to make you wait for more (at least until later in this post).

On Friday, I had an odd moment with my WIP.
As regulars know I work on my writing on the train during my commute.

I realized that the section I was redrafting was set exactly 70 years in the past!

It might not seem so odd to you, but my character (a young Russian woman) was facing a life and death situation in September 1941 as I wrote about her in September 2011.

It was the strangest feeling. I drafted this section well over a year ago and quite by chance I worked on a redraft 70 years after the event.

Has anything odd like that happened in your writing?

Now to my little poll. Because I am very nice I am going to give you a bit of ‘all off the above’.
Photo A: is of the Erskine Falls in the Otway ranges.

Here is a second from the base of the fallsPhoto B.
The stairs back up from the fallsAnd taken yesterday, a tree somewhere else in the Otway ranges (I might say more about that in another post)

Photo C: Port Phillip Bay just before sunset last weekendAnd a second from a different viewpoint about five minutes later.Where do I go next?

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Conspiracy.

It feels like a conspiracy to keep me off the web. Last weekend it was the power going out.

This week it is our phone/internet. Our landline phone was out for close to 48 hours. It wasn't just us, but the whole suburb, shops, medical centres. The works.

The phone has come back on this afternoon, but strangely our ADSL service has not. Talking to their reporting line they say 'There has been a major system failure in your area. We hope to have service back to normal over the next few working days."

So I don't disappear with out word I have again resorted to using my mobile phone as a modem to post this.

So to paraphrase a line from our Telco: normal service here at Publish or Perish will resume as technical issues are resolved.

Hopefully it is sooner rather than later.

As a token two random piccies from my "previously posted" archive.

Monday, September 19, 2011

“If you don’t like it” or Melbourne Weather

They say about Melbourne weather: “If you don’t like it, just wait it will change” or “Melbourne the city where you have five seasons in a day.”

Well Melbourne is living up to its reputation just lately.

This city is located on the south coast of Australia’s mainland and two major factors drive our weather here. The Southern Ocean and Australia’s hot dry inland.

Winds here tend to come roughly from the west. If they come from the South-West they come off the Southern Ocean so things are cool to cold. If the wind veers to come from the North-West the wind comes off the desert centre of Oz then things get warm to oven- like.

Just over a week ago, to be absolutely precise 10 September (we do the dates the right way around down here) I took these photos. That is right folks that is snow taken at the Upper Yarra Valley a week ago Saturday.

Spring And that road was closed because of snowfalls further up.

When I took those photos it was 12:00 in the day and the temperature was hovering around 0° C (30°F).

But yesterday we went back to the mountains these next few piccies were taken high up across the valley from my snow shots. No snow this week!

This weekend just past we had glorious spring weather, with the temperature climbing to a pleasantly warm 29°C (84°F). I say pleasantly warm because that is how I see it, basically almost warm enough to head to the beach. Remember summer temperatures here are often between 35°C (95°F) and 45°C (113°F) so 29 is “warm”

This cute little waterfall is called the La La Falls.As you can see it was just too bright to take really nice waterfall shots.

Bright enough to capture shadows of a certain Aussie, call this one a “self portrait”.

Just finally,
I had to share this boulder in the stream and this absolutely cute bridge in the trail on the climb up to the falls. The clever national parks rangers have built this little beauty out of dry-stone. There isn’t so much as a drop of mortar in this construction.

A quick poll. For my next post would you prefer:

A: More waterfalls
B: Some majestic trees
C: Sunlight through clouds?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Not a Proper post

I had high hopes of posting about the waterfalls I captured last week.

However we have arrived home to find the whole area suffering from a power blackout.

I have posted this from my netbook using my mobile phone to connect to the internet.

That means no photos that I haven't already uploaded. Also it is surprisingly hard to type in the dark.

So In consolotion I offer a couple of piccies I have posted over the past few months.

The first is part of the Taggerty Cascades.

and the second the Toorongo Falls.

So on that note goodnight!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two Missed Milestones

My last post was my 300th post.

I can’t believe it 300 posts and I missed my tri-centenary!

Of course that has made me think about my blog and realize I missed my blogs second birthday back in July. On 8 July my blog was two years old!

At least it wasn’t a wedding anniversary I missed!

That is almost it for tonight, I got home really late because a train broke down on my line. It took me three hours to get home not the usual 90 minutes!

On the weekend I went on another waterfall hunting trip.
On the way there I paused to capture these shots of wild Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita).These beautiful parrots are one of most common birds over large chunks of Oz.I have to say they are one of my favorite birds.I think they are simply beautiful.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Following Yellow Arrows Further

I finished my last post on the verge of climbing up through a stone slot on my way up Hollow Mountain. Anyway, with a squeeze and a lot of scrabbling I made it up through the slot

At the top of the slot I climbed around the base of a tree and out onto a wide sloping shelf of rock; a bit more climbing (easy compared to further down) and I reached the base of this beautiful formation. You can see one of our little yellow arrows in this piccie.

This piccie shows where this formation is in relation to the whole mountain, I have circled it on the original piccie from last post.

The dark shadow at the bottom of the vertical face is a cave which is part of the reason this is called Hollow Mountain.

I sat inside to give you a view from inside.Inside the cave if you turn around you discover that it goes right through the mountain.A detail shot of the stone at the cave mouth, I am absolutely enamored with the colours in this landscape

Leaving the cave a short walk takes you around the back of the massive block of stone the cave sits in. You can squeeze through a chasm and catch a glimpse of the sheer cliffs at the back of the mountain.By now I was fairly tired and to my frustration I had finished all the water I had brought with me (a litre) so I was pretty thirsty. But I hadn’t quite reached the top.

So reversing my way back along the chasm I followed the rock shelf around as it climbed toward the rear of the mountain. I paused to take a shot of the country I had climbed up from. Another low cave extends deep into the mountain here.

Finally I reached the top and looked down into the country behind the Hollow Mountain.

This magnificent formation is called the Taipan WallAll I can say is it was amazing in the late afternoon light and made the climb well worth the effort.You can see my shadow in both these piccies, just in front was a sheer cliff maybe 500 feet straight down. I wasn’t going any closer to that edge!

My climb finished I turned to make my way back down.

As I got back to the top of the front rock face I ran into the two young men I had met at the bottom. They had just finished climbing up “the hard way”.

We had a brief chat and they began to make their way down this time taking the easy route.

I took a shot of them climbing into the top of the slot I had climbed on the way up (and had to follow them down). As you can see it was a squeeze for this fat, unfit, middle aged Aussie boy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In Which Al Follows Little Yellow Arrows

I am going back to our trip to the Grampians for this post.

On the afternoon of the second day we strolled back to the car from the Aboriginal rock shelter. Deb parked herself in the shade and I limbered up for what I thought was another walk.

The walk we had just done was rated by the park service as “easy” grade.

Not far away in terms of distance was a spot called Hollow Mountain and parks rated the walk as “medium” grade.

Deb thought better of it and stayed with her knitting.

So I set off on my own.

The park guide said to follow the arrows to the top. I paused about quarter of the way up to take a shot looking up at Hollow Mountain"Hmmm" I thought "I wonder where the path goes?"

At the same place I took a shot of the next mountain across.And the first of these yellow arrows.
As you can see it has already turned from a “path” to a clamber up solid rock slopes.

But I thought “they said medium and this doesn’t look too bad. And the peak doesn’t look too high".

Although when I zoomed in it looked a little more daunting.
Up the next section I followed two young men who slipped past me while I took photos (and caught my breath).

As I got closer to the mountain I wondered more and more about where the “path” went.

My next stop was at the base of the cliffs in the first picture.
I took another breather and had a chat to the two young men who were now preparing to climb directly up the cliff. Now with humans in the frame you really get a feel for the scale of the place.

From talking to the guys my destination lay well above the top of the climb they were about to make.

They told me the trail zigzagged around to the left of this cliff.

For the first time I felt a little daunted. Heights are most definitely not my thing.

But I said to myself, “one stage at a time and at any point you feel unsure you just turn back”

I am well and truly old enough to not have to prove anything to anyone!

Climbing the next stage I had to pause to get this shot of this gorgeous cliff face against the deep blue sky (ok and catch my breath again)

Spinning 180 degrees from there I found my next arrow.

There it is pointing up this rock face
To the base of that little tree is about four times my height.

The pale line zigzagging up the middle is worn by boots. You can see someone has cut some notches in the rock to assist as foot holds.

The light on the right is the cliff the young guys were climbing.

Did I say I don’t like heights?

Next stop at the base of the tree. I paused to enjoy the amazing view
The rocky mountain in the distance is where the Gulgurn Manja rock shelter sits.
Hang on where does that arrow point?
Oh that is the one marking the way back down.

I turn back to the rock face.
This slot is where the climb continues. Again if I am continuing I have to climb several times my height . It looks a bit of a squeeze but it isn’t as scary because here I have solid rock on both sides (more about that next post)