Sunday, June 1, 2008

Perrys Lookdown.

Rosalie and David with Troopie before the decent.
One of the most memorable and beautiful places, for me, is Blue Gum Forest. Situated in the Grose Valley, it is a place of tall blue gums, tree ferns and rivers. It was the place of my first over night bush walk, It was the place of stories and history. It has been compared to the red wood forests of the USA.

In the 1800's, the Grose Valley was to be utilized for the main rail link from Sydney to Bathurst. Several attempts were made to build, but each time floods washed the works away. If you walk from Blue Gum forest down the Grose River you might just see some of the works. It was also considered to be dammed as a water supply for the Sydney region.

The view into the valley.
By the 1870's Sydney walking clubs had discovered its beauty and were doing their best to save this magical place. By the 20th century two men, Perry and Hungerford, had leased the area They drove cattle into the valley and had plans to cut all the timber down. In 1931 the bush walkers club offered 130 pounds for the lease. Hungerford agreed. The Valley was saved. ( please note- this is the abridged version- more accurate history can be found on-line). Some of Australia's earliest art works and photography can be found with this area as its subject. It's simply that beautiful and significant.

David equipped with camel back on a steep decent.

In the 1970's cattle still roamed- keeping the forest free from weeds and growth. Back then you could light a fire for your meal. Not so today. Fuel stoves are a requirement and the undergrowth is thicker, and laced with weeds. However, its still beautiful. I have fond memories of a enamel cup of hot billy tea down at Acacia Flats as well as telling stories by the fire.

I chose today because the weather forecast was not good- fog and rain and cold. So I had no chance to mow lawns and do chores. It was not long before my eldest daughter and youngest son asked if they could come.

David approaching "Big Ben"
When we arrived I was relieved and excited. Bush fires two years ago had devastated the area. There was still plenty of evidence with some big trees destroyed. Big Ben was still there and bigger than life. Looking more like a tree that should be in a Tolkien novel!

After half an hour we decided to return. The climb out is constant. David, (who always takes the lead), suddenly asked us to be still and quiet. To the left of the track was a Lyre bird mound and the Lyrebird himself was doing a full display, utterly oblivious to our intrusion. It's a moment of chance that I will never forget.

Some of the views

The climb out reveled Tree creepers, Whip birds and Bell minors. It was extraordinary. Within the hour and a half we had made it back to the top.
Nearby is a monument to some children who died in the 1950's. Fire rushed through and they tried to beat it back to the top. Bush Fires RACE uphill but move very slowly downhill. It was utterly tragic. They were only 14 years old.

The Memorial

Returning to the troopie was a relief. Heavier fog had set in and we were comforted by the troppies capacity to get us home safely.

I would like to say this- I want to thank my eldest daughter Rosalie for being so positive, even though some parts of the walk were quite difficult. I would also like to thank David, who even at just 10, is a born leader. FULL of encouraging words and observations about the bush around him. He is a delight to walk with , and when the going gets tough his focus and determination is extraordinary.

The BBQ has headlights!!
On returning home a nice BBQ Tuna steak, and a James Squire Ale, finished off a magical day.


  1. and today? I cannot feel my legs! ahahahahha

  2. WOW! Thanks for the memories! The Blue Gums look just as massive as ever and I recognise Big Ben :) Hmmmmm a tin cup full of hot tea boiled on a fire - yes please :))

    Great photos, I hope your legs recover in less than three days ;)

  3. :o) you are welcome Anon...I think my legs will be worse tomorrow.
    It's clear to me that bike riding does not develop the muscles that are used for the constant braking needed for the decent.

    I felt all "funny" when I saw the tree! (Now thats weird). But I was relieved to think it was saved from the fires... :o)

  4. I noticed how your BBQ has headlights!! Heehee :) Is that a customised addition?

  5. no not quite! it came with it! Amazing! in fact i bbqed whilst raining! :o)

  6. sweet pics. makes me wish i lived somewhere pretty.

    ryn: i await your unspectacularness with baited breath!!! :-o

  7. og yes SL- I will get to it asap!

  8. What a great post mate, wonderful that you can share the experience with those runcible kids of yours!
    I think David will go far in the biological subjects.

  9. Looks like those sweet kids of yours are going to teach you a thing or two about hiking (wonder if their legs were sore?). *smile*
    I notice a difference in attitude regarding the "after the hike" behavior: Austrians would eat whatever's in their rucksack, a piece of hard bread with a shriveled country sausage, some mountain cheese.
    I hope your legs are not cross anymore (what with you giving them the full BBQ treatment after the hike, quite an imposition, I would strike too, after such exertion!).

  10. What a beautiful place. Glad your cold is better now.
    Your children are stars!

  11. i STILL cannot feel my legs.... true! beavers paw :o(

  12. Would you like me to feel your legs my bonny man?

  13. I am saving all the dead creatures I find and am sending them all to that brute Maalie for his supper!

    All except baby crow. If I find one of those I will send it to you. Unrefrigerated! By surface mail!

    Martin says that baby crow and onions go very well together.

  14. Oh no! Hope your lega have repaired for this long weekend! Although it might rain all weekend .... in that case keep resting them ;)

  15. David is a wonderful name for a born leader, and I have a son of that name too, though he is quite shy. what a lot of fun you give your kids, they will have such wonderful childhood memories to treasure.

    I love reading your adventures Simon. I can't imagine a dull trek with you and Maalie.

  16. Viking Warrior- um not unless you're female ahahahahahah

    Lorenzo- I would LOVE a pet Raven!

    Aony- I am doing an auction in headland rd Curl curl and I am writing this from my laptop in the car! its sunny here and the troopie is supposed to be going to Coolah tops this afternoon! I hope the rain is not too heavy

    Ellee- David is a good name! he is a great guy for real!

    Maalie and I are going to Tasmania in december! lookout!!