Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Difference a Week or Day Makes.

Thursday 19 October.

My brother was visiting the Sunshine Coast from far north Queensland, as his wife Michelle, had a conference to attend. Jim thought it a great opportunity for us to get in some hiking time together. 
Thankfully, but unfortunately, the weather Gods chose to break the drought, so little hiking was done, but it was wonderful to see the countryside turn from brown to lush green, from the heavy falls.

Two weeks previously, the Great Noosa Walk was cancelled because of the extreme dry, heat and wind. My friends and I still visited because our accommodation was separate to the walk and was non-refundable. We were heartbroken for the local farmers when we saw how brown everything was. On my second day with Jim, we returned to the area, to hike Mt Cooroora and a sea of green greeted us.

The sea of brown.

Mt Cooroora   -  The circle indicates where we had stayed  2 weeks previously.

The magic of rain transformed the view from the top of Mt Cooroora, across to where we had stayed.

It had rained just about every day for a week. This is the scene that greeted me on arrival on the 'Sunshine Coast'! We spent the day driving slowly to visit the old haunts of our youth.

Our flooded swimming hole at Diamond Valley.

Soggy Glasshouse Mountains from Mary Cairncross Park, Maleny.

I almost thought we had been transported to the UK, with this lush green farmland.

The roaring Gardners Falls, Maleny.

A damp view of the Obi Obi Valley from the Mapleton Falls.

Nature washed fresh.

24 hours later, the blue skies had returned, well at least for one day.

I was enjoying a beach walk by 6am. These mothers had obviously had to start earlier, to have their young children down on the beach for surf life-saving training. The children looked to be 10 to 12 year olds.

The colours on the beach in this early morning light were magical.

I will write another post about our hike on this day, but for now, move on to Saturday's events'.

The day dawned dull, but we were hopeful that it would remain dry. We decided to find Lake MacDonald, the starting point of the Great Noosa Walk and cover as many K's as possible. 

I discovered that Lake MacDonald, wasn't a lake but a dam, with water cascading over its spillway.

A white crane surveyed the scene.

The starting point of the trail was easily found.

Looking back to the spillway.

The rain became far too heavy, so we about turned and returned home.  Later in the afternoon, I made the slow, wet journey back to Brisbane.

I hope you too have enjoyed this green transformation. Another storm has just rolled through with spectacular sheet lightning keeping us entertained. Just wonderful.

I would love to read your comment.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

A Loveliness of Ladybirds

Thursday 26 October.

Somerset Trail, Mt Mee.

A group of ladybirds is called a "loveliness of ladybirds". Gardeners enjoy seeing a loveliness of ladybirds in their gardens, because one ladybird can eat up to 5,000 aphids, common garden pests, in a year"

The Somerset Trail at Mt Mee is one of my favourite hikes. I selected it for The Gaitor Girls or Thursday hikers, this week. It was wonderful seeing this group of friends enjoying its everchanging scenery as much as I do.

The previous day I had been given a very special gift of tiny ladybirds, from a very thoughtful friend, who had just returned from Switzerland. Knowing of my love for this tiny creature, she couldn't resist a small bag of tiny, stick on ladybirds for me. Thank you, Gail. Of course, they had to come hiking with us.

Some other special moments.

This seed eventually opens in half, as in the photo below.

A beautiful fern in the base of a burnt out tree trunk.

Halfway through the walk distant mountain ranges were revealed.

Soaring gums and blue skies.

Old and young, giants.

We named these two trees the Twin Towers, with barely a metre between them, they soared almost into invisibility.

I lay on the ground to try and capture their towering height.

We discovered this 'artwork' on the wheelchair friendly, final stage of our hike. A palm tree had been cut down at ground level. Simply stunning in the middle of the forest.

Driving back down the DiAgular range to hit the busy M1 to return home, we had this wonderful vista of our Glasshouse Mountains, volcanic plugs of our ancient land.

Below is the link to my September 2015 post, of hiking here.

Hiking down under, even on a steamy hot day, always brings delight, a sense of wonder and a peacefulness within. Today was no exception.

I would love to read your comment.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Dolomites, Italy - Day 6

Friday 16 June

Dobbiaco and Lake 

An hour's journey, on a midmorning bus, took us back through Lago de Landro to Dobbiaco, one of the main gateways to the Dolomites and just south of the Austrian border. Situated in the open, lush green valley of the Alta Val Pusteria, the views were less towering and dramatic than what we had been experiencing, but still made music for my soul.

As mentioned in my previous post, this area of Italy has had quite a tumultuous existence in the early 1900's. Although now belonging to Italy, German was the language of Dobbiaco.

"For more than three years, hundreds of thousands of Italians and Austrians clung to the rocky peaks of the Dolomites and attempted to blow each other off the mountains in a bid to gain territory. The most that either side moved was a few kilometres backwards or forwards; the cost was 689,000 lives on the Italian side alone.

Both armies hauled huge pieces of artillery equipment up the mountains and built barracks on the summits to house the troops – many of whom died of hypothermia or avalanches before the snipers could get them."

Alas, this period wasn't the only time that armies argued over who would rule.

Our bus pulled into the railway station and we assumed that this was where we had to alight. We discovered that the main town was a couple of kilometres further, on stretching along a main thoroughfare. The above views greeted us so we weren't unduly upset. In fact, it was to our advantage. Not long after the bus departed the railway station stop, Frank realised he had left his red cap on the bus seat. This cap has a travel history and he was most upset with his carelessness. 

Walking along the main street to the town centre, we not only spotted our bus driving towards us, but Frank's red cap was sitting against the windscreen in front of the driver. We waved. The driver stopped and the red cap continues to make travel history! Thank you bus driver!

Frank seen holding on tightly to his adventuress cap.

After a relaxed stroll through Dobbiaco, we retraced our steps back to the railway station and then continued on a path through fields to the pretty, emerald green, alpine lake of Toblacher See or Lake Dobbicao.

I found this farmhouse we passed, quite impressive.

The tranquillity of the mountain reflections, wildflowers and birdlife was quite perfect, as we strolled  the path circumnavigating the lake.

Day 7 - Cortina to Milan.

Sadly our amazing holiday was drawing to a close. Saturday 8am, saw us climbing aboard the Cortina express coach down to Venice.

View as we climbed aboard at the bus station.

Views from the bus on the journey. 

Our Venice to Milan train had us in Milan's 32 C heat by 3pm. Thankfully Frank had found accommodation for us, just across the square from the station. Later in the afternoon, we took the metro to Duomo Square. The crowds were huge and the queue for tickets to the cathedral looked hopeless. Someone rated us as 'seniors' and unknown to us until later, we were given priority ticket access.  The ticket vendor was quite adamant that we use the lift to the Cathedral rooftop and not climb the 247 steps. It was soon after, that the penny dropped as to what had occurred. 
Yes, we are seniors and yes, we did climb the 247 steps and yes, we were stunned by the architecture, sculptures and views that greeted us.

From the Duomo Square, we took the via dei Merchant towards Milan Castle, Castello Sforzesco.
Access was free to the complex and gardens, but its 7 specialised museums were, of course, closed at the time we arrived.

"Originally a Visconti fortress, this iconic red-brick castle was later home to the mighty Sforza dynasty, who ruled Renaissance Milan."

How wonderful is this age of digital photography? Our incredible holiday had come to an end, but the memories can be on our computer or TV screen, as often as we want.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading this blog, as much as I have in writing it. It was a truly sensational holiday, with wonderful weather. When researching and planning an itinerary, one constantly thinks, "Wow, I hope I see 'it' looking like that!", but fully realise the chances of it being so, are not great. How fortunate were we, that on this trip, just about every day was an amazing 'wow day'!

I would love to read your comment.