Wednesday, 19 April 2023

The Joy of Walking Beside Water

 18 April, Lone Gaiter Girl walk

Rachel is hiking the Cumbrian Way in the north of England. Mary is packing to fly to NY to celebrate her 70th birthday with her son and Grandchildren and poor Janice had a leaking pool to fix.

I was so glad that I set off early on this local walk to Eagleby Wetlands on this glorious autumn morning.

A tranquil Albert River as the sun rose at 6.15 am.

It is unimaginable to me, that with 2022 being the wettest year in a very long time, [72 inches] there was no water to be seen in the wetlands! Instead, it was choked with weeds and tall grasses. 

Flood level in February last year.

How they looked in 2012 when I first discovered them.

Bird hide, but very few birds.

My favourite gums were looking very stately in the morning light.

Gum leaves, buds and flower, in the morning light. Bottom left is the flower of a weed, but its looking stunning in this light.

19 April and the Hungry Hiker Four!

Margot is making great progress after her hip replacement and comes home today. Jayne is walking the Cumbrian Way with Rachel and Leanne was at the airport waiting for her flight to Spain.

We arrived at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast at 4pm and covered 8 km along the inlet shoreline before the sun set and the arrival of night at 6pm.

After the walk, we relaxed with some nibbles, a glass of bubbles and fish and chips!

There were several curlews wandering through the park. Such an interesting bird to watch.

We are so loving these crisp cool days of autumn, which add to the joy of walking in our great outdoors.

I would love to read your comment. 

Sunday, 16 April 2023

"Our Country'', Experience

 Wednesday 12 April

Last week the Hungry Hikers booked tickets to the hour-long, 360-degree cinematic experience produced by Australian Geographic, "Our Country". This event was held in the Brisbane Convention Centre, just a block away from Southbank and the Brisbane River.

Some interesting facts to read as we entered.

"Produced by Karina Holden, four-time 2022 Emmy Award winner and UNESCO Sydney City of Film: Filmmaker of the Year, the experience is made up of the works of 25 specialist cinematographers, brought to life from over 100,000 hours in the field. It celebrates every ecosystem in Australia and celebrates the grandeur and diversity of Australia’s wild places, with storms, lightning, fire and ice in their elemental forces."

Entry was via a darkened corridor where we were greeted by an owl silently, fluttering down from the high ceiling.

We then entered a circular area of 40 screens, a central cylindrical screen and an assortment of mirrored pillars. There was a scattering of bean bags and bench seats to relax in and soak up the grandeur and diversity of Australia's wild places. The video below may give you some sense of how we experienced this multi-sensory, immersive hour. There was no narration. 

Our journey started in the sandhills of central Australia.

We were soon engrossed in this visual feast of Australia's natural beauty. Laurel and Joc lay in beanbags, Jenny and Leanne rested on the bench seat and I sat on the floor with the bench as my backrest. Our heads were constantly swivelling to catch all the scenes. In hindsight, we were permitted to walk around and perhaps should have done, but then no one else was.
I only took a few photos to share here.

Winter snow has already fallen in the Australian Alps but we haven't been lucky enough to dash down for the real thing!

All our fingers are crossed that at least one of us will win one of these holidays.

A short walk along the river had us needing a coffee. Here we are sending Margot our best wishes for a fast recovery from her hip operation that morning. [The good news is that today she has moved to rehab.]
We were also wishing Leanne [L] and her friend Carol, all the very best as they set off this week to walk the Spanish Camino of 800 km.

I would love to read your comment.

Sunday, 9 April 2023

Turning Ten

Today is the 10th Anniversary of "Walking With Friends Down Under" and my 532nd post!

My first post was short and sunfilled.


 November 10, 2009, saw me unexpectedly travelling to Banff, Canada with Jenny Davies, whom I had briefly come to know, as she was a teller at my bank. I visited the bank in late September, after declining a flight, organised by my husband, to visit my son in Banff. Stuart had been away 3 years, but my husband and I were both seeing him in May 2010 and the flights were complicated. I really didn't need to go at that point.

Well long story short, this morning, Jenny said in conversation that her son was in Banff too. She wanted to visit him but her husband didn't want to go. I hesitated, took a deep breath, explained the flight and suggested we could fly together. My gut feeling had been correct. We travelled, had the most wonderful two weeks in Banff with our sons and have been very close friends since.

I got busy googling where to hike in Banff and stumbled on the blog of Leslie Gerin, "Banff Trail Trash".[No longer a working blog]

This was my introduction to the world of blogging. Very little hiking was done on our visit, because snow magically fell the night of our arrival, creating conditions unfamiliar for these tropical, Aussie girls. 

I was, however, able to return time and time again virtually. The names of other bloggers became familiar in the 'comments' on Leslie's blog. From time to time I would click on the blogs of these people. Some I began to follow regularly and consequently found new bloggers to follow through their 'comments' section. It has been amazing to travel to England, Finland, Sweden, France, Slovenia, the United States, Canada and other parts of Australia, almost daily.

I began to read "Making Waves".  Andra lives in Calgary and like Leslie, had me captivated by her enthusiasm and love of the outdoors, along with her writing and photography skills. It wasn't until Mar 20 2012 that I actually left a comment.

About a year later, Alexandra, suggested I should share my hiking adventures in a blog. 

Alexandra kept encouraging me.

A very big thank you to Alexandra as I say Happy Birthday to "Walking Down Under With Friends." Not only has blogging allowed me to visit faraway places virtually, but it has enabled the growth of some very special friendships across the waves. It has been wonderful to actually meet four of these lovely people in person. 

In 2011, Leslie Gerin came to visit me here in Australia. I can't believe that I can't find the photo of the event.

"Got to meet Helen, my blogging buddy and her family!  Yaaaay!"

In 2016 my husband and I visited Stuart and Kim who were still living in Banff at that time. Alexandra invited me to join her on two hikes with her friends. 

The first was the Larch Trail from Moraine Lake.

My comment on Andra's blog soon after.

Helen May 29,2016 at 10:41 AM
Andra, it is absolutely wonderful to sit here and read your blog this morning, no longer imagining what it would be like to hike with you, but knowing that I had been right there with you, enjoying this sensational, magical day! Your photos are brilliant!

Ptarmigan Lake trail

Andra's comment

While I wanted the stars to align today for each of us, I truly wanted it for my blog friend Helen visiting from Australia. Our day turned out to be more than I could ever have expected on this day in very early June. As I look at all my photos, I still wonder was all that for real! Thank you for sharing in making this day what it was, for each of your adventurous spirits and playful personalities. Memories from today will forever warm my heart!

Helen June 5, 2016 at 10"26AM
The climb was gradual, the scenery constantly exploding with beauty, the bears stayed away and the games we played were awesome. Hiking with the 'Making Waves' Gang couldn't have been better. 
T H A N K S !

I was not only fixated on reading Aleaxandra's blog but through her, discovered "Linda's Lens". Linda lives in Portland, Oregon, and like Alexandra, loves to hike and explore her beautiful state. In planning the holiday to Banff, I insisted that we had to return to Australia via Portland and the incredibly beautiful Columbia Gorge. Hearing of this, Linda took a flexi day off work and drove me the nearly 2 hours to the magnificent, Mt St Helens National Park. We hiked the Johnson/Harry's Ridge trail of 14 km, in quite hot sunny conditions. Thankfully it wasn't the 38C temperature of the day before and I was so grateful that the wildflower explosion I got to witness, hadn't wilted from that heat. 

Just as in hiking with Alexandra, I was soon transported to magical vistas making amazing memories, on trails I never imagined I would be capable of hiking. Thank you. Thank you both!

For many years I had followed the blog 'Farm-ily'. [no longer active sadly] Lynda lives in the Riverina district of New South Wales and posted a daily photo of farm life and the beauty of nature where she lives. In May 2020, Lynda asked her readers to comment on where they lived. This resulted in my excitedly beginning to follow Marie of 'Island Musings' who lives on Prince Edward Island. Such a wonderful connection to the beautiful island where my son and family live.

Sadly it would take until May 2022 before we could again visit our family. A couple of weeks later we were able to meet Marie and her husband. Marie then organised another two wonderful outings, sharing her favourite beauty spots on the island. 

French River - You may recognize Marie's, 'Island Musings' header photo.

It was so difficult to start this blog, but here we are ten years later. I am so very grateful for Alexandra's encouragement. I love that I can share the beauty of the Australian bush and that I can journey daily, to friends around the world. Alexandra and Linda have followed me from the beginning but I would also like to mention Bill, 'Out of his Minds Eye' blog. We haven't met, but he has been a constant follower. He thinks I'm nutz, but I can cope with that!

Another ten years? Who knows. That could be a lot of hiking with the zimmer frame!

I would love to read your comment.