Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

22 09 2012

A crisp winter’s morning was the perfect time to climb Bluff Knoll; the steep, 3606ft craggy peak in south west of Australia.  It was a challenge to keep going but was well worth it.  After twenty minutes alone at the summit, we tackled the descent.  It was a peaceful, surreal experience.  Two tiny people witnessing nature’s grandeur.  True beauty and a precious solitary moment.

Descent – Bluff Knoll – Western Australia.

Find out more about the Weekly Photo Challenge HERE.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Today

2 06 2012

Today!! Is this week’s WordPress theme.  The challenge is to take a photo today!

These flowers are from the two grevillea bushes which are in flower right now at the front of our house. It has been a beautiful autumn day with a soft breeze and gentle sunshine. It is a lovely transition into autumn and the grevilleas bring nectar feeding birds to the garden.  Large parrots and small honey-eaters take turns to gather and feed on the sweet flowers and shoots.
The grevillea is native to Australia (and New Guinea, New Caledonia and Sulawesi) and is a common species of the Protaceae family.

These two plants are large shrubs, about 3metres or 10feet high. The yellowy flowered bush (I think this is called Moonlight) starts branching out very low down on the trunk and as such, it provides a great ‘wine glass’ shape and a cluster platform where birds build their nests. I daren’t get too close at the moment as there is a lot of activity going on.

They seem to come back year after year and I love to leave out bits of cotton or soft wadding for them to collect and weave into their houses. One year, we clipped our dog and left some of her soft, woolly fur outside. Sometime later I found that it had been used to line a little nest!!! Fantastic.

See my previous entries for the Weekly Photo Challenges HERE

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

22 04 2012

Quinns Beach, Western Australia

This week’s theme is SUN and we have plenty of it in Western Australia. I tell my Northern Hemisphere friends that our sun really IS a big ball of fire in the sky. It is bright, glary, harsh and biting at times. Here are a couple of shots I found that weren’t thrown away!!

Sunset over Perth, Western Australia.

You can also join in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – follow the link!!


Autumn Solstice 2012

27 03 2012

I stood on the front verandah a few nights ago and captured the last of the summer sun. As we view the Perth city skyline from our verandah, the buildings in the centre of the shot act as our own personal sundial and calendar. On March 20-22 each year, the sun sets directly behind the city as it makes its way from left to right, across the horizon, changing seasons and reminding us we’re on a planet that is always moving in time, even though we are standing still.

Autumn Solstice - Perth, Western Australia (c)thesacredcave

We face due West (South to the left, North to the right) so the sun has been marching its way from the South (left) towards the city in the centre. When we moved here seven years ago, we were amazed to see just how much the sun moves across the horizon. We’d never been consciously aware of it before. We’ve watched it over the years and in our own minds, we know that once the sun sinks behind the city, the weather will start to cool and the sun will slink over to the very right of this shot where it will remain at a lower angle through winter, before skipping back to announce the start of spring.

Nature and its rhythms are so amazingly reliable. They don’t care about the stock market, petrol prices or the Kardashians. Events like the wonder of the Solstice make me want for a simpler life. My lifestyle is full of electricity, gadgets, plastic and computers yet I feel a deep desire to be more connected. I need to be more in tune with (and responsive to) the natural cycles and seasons of the earth. I’m sure that must be a good thing.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

10 03 2012

Contrast:  Humans vs Nature

The agricultural landscape of south west Australia is a patchwork of yellow and green crops awaiting harvest. Canola and wheat fields stretch as far as the eye can see yet come to an abrupt halt at the boundary of the Stirling Range National Park. Here flora and fauna have been preserved, a sanctuary for rare orchids, mountain bells and wallabies. Farming techniques race forward with science to find better fertilisation, genetics, irrigation and disease control. Yet the boundary contrasts the wonder of nature, a place of peace, a place to wind back and a refuge away from machines.

National Park Boundary: from the summit of Bluff Knoll, Western Australia

Bluff Knoll is the highest peak (1096m) in the Stirling Range National Park. We took a day to hike and climb the Knoll on a crisp spring day in 2008. This was the view from the summit, looking North. I have never felt such peace and serenity. Truly beautiful.

From Bluff Knoll Summit: carpark 1096m below.

Bluff Knoll: an awesome hike

A hike through the hills

28 02 2012

The Bibbulmum Track is one of the world’s great long distance walk trails, stretching nearly 1000kms from the Perth Hills to Albany on the south coast, through the heart of the scenic South West forest and coast of Australia.

For my 40th birthday a couple of years ago a friend gave me a present which was to “walk a section of the Bibbulmun Track” together as a day walk. What a great gift. The Northern Terminus is in our suburb in the hills and we see it every time we go to the local village.

Setting off with Marcia - Kalamunda Northern Terminus.

We decided on doing the ‘first leg’ which runs from Kalamunda to Mundaring Weir, a cross country trip of 18kms including a descent of 300m down to Piesse Brook, then a climb of the same up the other side.

Across the ridge - looking towards Red Hill

The walking was wonderful. We chatted some of the time then spent long hours quietly crunching along the gravel, finding our own meditative rhythm through the changing scenery. We passed through woodlands, jarrah forest, valleys, a camel farm, a national park, an old abandoned golf course, a thirsty weir and across the top of the ridge.

A lunch stop - a gourmet sandwich and fresh cup of tea!!

I was always a keen bushwalker which came from my days of Army Cadets and being a Youth group and Scout Leader. Some day I’d love to walk the length – people come from all over the world to do the “End to End” trip. It just so happens that it starts near my home and ends in one of my favourite places in the world – Albany on the south coast. It is a marathon adventure though and generally takes folks around seven weeks to walk it if they cover 20-30kms per day.
We got lost a couple of times and retraced our steps back to the marker only to find it had slipped and was pointing in another direction. A quick snap of a twig made a makeshift rivet to hold the sign in place for those behind us.

Directions - The Waugul symboli s part of the spirit and culture of the Aboriginal people

The walk we did came two months after I’d recovered from the Swine Flu – yes, the real one. It nearly killed me and has left a post viral storm that became the catalyst for activating Rheumatoid Arthritis in my system. Since then I haven’t been physically able to walk very far due to pain and swollen joints. I’ve been working on it though. It’s been two years since my diagnosis and I’m just beginning to walk daily, establishing a routine that will see me reclaim some health and fitness. I’m aiming to venture out into nature once again, far enough away from the sound of traffic would be a bonus.

Mundaring Weir - five hours after setting off we crossed the weir at the end of the first leg.

I might not ever make it End to End in one go, but I will aim to complete another section sometime this year. Maybe I’ll take it bit by bit. Stay tuned.

For more info about the Bibbulmum Track visit the Foundation here

014 Leafy streets

14 01 2012

Leaf - a miniature map (Photo copyright and courtesy of Akrotiri)

Travelling north west,
take a right turn off the freeway and
head towards the jagged coast.
Main roads cross into streets and
feed into culdesacs where neighbours
compete for the greenest lawn.

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