November 2019. I’m tired! I ache like I’m finally feeling my age. My back is sore, my arms hurt, my feet make me wince with pain, my left knee is grumbling and my will to walk hard has left me. I know it will pass so I’ve decided to rest a little and go on many smaller adventures instead! This month, I surveyed a site with a park ranger, went geocaching many times with my son and enjoyed bird spotting at Crosslands.
During the school holidays I had the privilege of joining a NSW National Park Ranger on a visit to a waterhole that I found a couple of months ago. I had reported some graffiti on a rock wall There was some graffiti on a rock wall and the rangers said they would like to come down and check it out as it looked like a good gathering place and they did not have any record of aboriginal artefacts in the area. I showed Nell, the ranger, what I thought could be grinding grooves. They were submerged due to the recent rain so were not very convincing but she took photos and logged the spot and I sent her my previous photo which showed the grooves more clearly. She would get the experts to take a look at it. (Update: it was a natural feature). I showed her the graffiti on the rock wall and she took a closer look to see if there was any faint aboriginal markings that could be damaged when removing the graffiti. I’m hoping that the graffiti can be removed without damaging the rock wall or affecting the water quality in the waterhole. (Update: Nell says it just needs a good scrub with a wire brush so I’ll head down and do a test scrub then see about pulling in some help). It was a fun hour and I really enjoyed my chat. The climb out left me sweating way too much!
A few times in the holidays I had some time to spend with my son whilst the girls were off on other activities. Fortunately my son started asking to go geocaching and I was more than happy to oblige! He loves the hunt and he loves finding a well filled cache. Interestingly if we find an empty one he always leaves something extra for other kids to find, which I think is awesome.
We first tried to find a bush cache near our home. We followed the app but left the trail a little too early. We followed what looked to be a track but soon found ourselves bushbashing. We ended up on a cliff with the cache five meters ahead… The sun was starting to set so we decided to try another day.
Which we did! This time we found a better route through and got to within 2m of the cache. We couldn’t find it though and convinced ourselves it was a little higher up. So we climbed and bushbashed (he loves that!) and circled around only to find ourselves at a cliff again. This time we climbed down the cliff and immediately found the cache! It was stocked to the brim so my son picked something for himself and something for his sister and left a few ooshies in exchange. We then walked two meters and found ourselves at the exact spot we had decided was wrong not half an hour before!
Then, on a wet morning, we went on an another awesome adventure. A cache that we had visited a while ago based on Macbeth had been moved so we got to find it all over again! This time we followed an old fire control line but were stopped by a fairly deep creek. We tried to figure out how to cross as simply jumping over wouldn’t work given the lack of space on the other side. We used a stick to pull some vegetation towards us and then leapt over , using the vegetation to stabilise us on the other side! It was awesome and lots of high fives were given.
Then we found a rope dangling over a rock so we figured we had to climb up. My son was mighty pleased with himself for scaling the boulder!
He soon found the geocache and took an up-cycled bracelet made of bottle tops and wore it all day.
The best was yet to come as we found a quicker way home but decided to head in the other direction and found a home built bike track with lots of jumps. We spent the next ten minutes running around it pretending to be motorbikes! That was a fun morning.
A couple of days later my daughter joined us on a geo hunt. We visited Alston lookout and found a huge barrel hidden in a rock that I have walked past many times not suspecting. The view from the lookout was amazing as always. I had a lot of fun geocaching with the kids- I should really do this more often!
Aussie Bird Count
Last Sunday we joined a group called “Friends of Berowra Valley” on a bird count. This was a national citizen science project and my kids could also use the activity towards a badge at girl guides or scouts. We met early with an instantly likeable group of people. There were other kids along so mine were pleased at that and had a good play. We did two twenty minute counts. I realised just how little I knew about birds. I could recognise the common ones but the group were identifying many I’d never heard of before by their calls alone! There were two awesome finds: A Tawny Frogmouth and a Nankeen Night Heron. The latter was hard to identify and we all spent a good few minutes going through our apps and books to try to figure it out. I’m pleased to say I helped identify that one! Thanks google!
The others had some amazing photos and have now convinced me to get a real camera with a zoom and not just rely on the iPhone! I heard a little about the groups activities and decided to join up. I might even get involved. There really hasn’t been many solo outings for this solo hiker this year! Maybe I like people!
I have had quite a lovely time with all these little trips and of course spending time with my kids. I do find I have missed going on big overnight or multinight walks this year though. I really have to lock something in next year.