Heya, unlike the rest of this blog, this page will deal not with books, but with other exciting parts of my life, including my many and varied travel adventures and my many and varied friends!
Anyhow, its Easter holidays, its 2010 and I’m camped in the middle of Kosciuszko National Park near a tiny hamlet town called Kankhoban. It’s a beautiful place: we are camped on the edge of a lake and overlook the ranges; Mount Kosciuszko itself is somewhere off to the east, out of visible range. But I don’t just have to tell you about it. Luckily, I brought along with me my superb German made Leica D-Lux 4; a beautiful piece of equipment, with which I have been able to record my adventures (which, may I tell you dear reader, rival those of Bilbo Baggins himself, and would make him proud!):
Anyhow, I’m here with some family and today was our first full day camping at Kankhoban. On the agenda: a tour of the sparsely populated and highly contoured surrounding countryside, which, naturally, yielded some spectacular views (unfortunately I haven’t yet loaded the camera’s software onto my new computer so the image quality may not be spectacular ):
Above is a view of Mount Townsend, with Kosciuszko out of view. Many of the valleys in Kosciuszko National Park were once host to glaciers, and as a consequence they tend to be populated by sparse tundra, while the high ridges are peppered with gnarly eucalypts adapted to the cold climes. In somewhat macabre fashion, many of these are stripped and bare: ashen, ghost like images that proclaim to saddened visitors the all prevailing impact of fire on the Alpine regions. Not all is lost, however (yes, I’m a little tipsy; I am after all enjoying a nice glass of Dearborn Cabernet Sauvignon; a rich plummy blend possessed of a very satisfying after taste, which, nonetheless I’m sure, cannot compete with the heady breeds wines cultured with care in Dorwinion!) for underneath the phantasmic relics of former life resides the newly born undergrowth: testament to the adaptability and the survivability of life in extreme environments, in this case fire. The mountain terrain itself is pretty steep; if not so acute as some areas in the Victorian Alps. Overall it’s a stunning place to be camping, though: the air is fresh, the skies are broad and open, and the glacial river plains are fertile, often host to sheep or horses. However, this isn’t much of a wine making region; most of the alpine area is of course national park, much of it covered in beautiful old growth eucalypt of wattle forest. And that is something else you notice about the Australian “bush”-it is immensely and unforgivingly thick; unlike the traditional European woodland it exudes shadow and prohibits light, remaining forever a realm of dark and mystery. But it is never a sinister darkness: it is a darkness that holds the promise of fantasy and escape; a dark that the imagination and dark that is best appreciated by a night spent in a warm swag beneath the revealing dome of innumerable stars.