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Moonlight on the ocean, Bondi Beach

Full moon framed by trees, Bondi Beach, Sydney

Posted as part of January Squares, the theme for which is words ending in light.

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A parched walk in the Blue Mountains

Blue sky! That’s not cloud on the horizon, however — it’s bushfire smoke.

In October, I walked a portion of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk from Echo Point to a track junction that leads to Merriwa St in Katoomba. Then, the rain was unceasing and the temperature was about 10deg C (50deg F) (see “A soggy walk in the Blue Mountains“). Since then, bushfires have raged in the Blue Mountains and the entire national park (some 2,690 sq km / 1,040 sq miles) was closed due to fire danger. On 31 December, when I walked again, only one track was open — the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. So I followed it in the reverse direction this time, and from Gordon Falls Lookout in Leura to Echo Point in Katoomba. (Map source)

This easily accessed walk was the only open trail.

I was very lucky with the smoke — the morning was clear, the first blue sky for quite a while, I was told. Not so lucky with the temperature, though: it was 30deg C (85deg F) when I began walking, and 35deg C (95deg F) when I stopped. That’s really not ideal for the ups and downs and sometimes rough terrain of such a walk!

A potion of the trail, very dry.

Even this trail, skirting the towns of Katoomba and Leura, is not safe from fire. Some, inexplicably, are deliberately lit by arsonists.

Recently burned area beside the trail.

Recently burned area beside the trail.

Recently burned area beside the trail.

In this view from a lookout, the burnt areas are clear. Again, that’s smoke on the horizon.

View from Olympian Rock lookout — the orange patches are burnt forest.

Finally, I got to Echo Point. This walk is only about 7km but I deliberately went slowly and rested often. The heat did not make for pleasant walking, and I hadn’t taken enough water so I was feeling about as parched as the forest! The blue sky of my start had, 2.5 hours later, mostly given way to murky, opaque smoke.

Contrast the photo below of visitors at Echo Point with one from October of the same spot.

Admiring the view, Echo Point.

The views from Echo Point are extensive. Sadly, this time the views include spot fires and smoke.

Spot fires visible from Echo Point.

Spot fires visible from Echo Point.

No ice cream or cake at the end of this walk, something more substantial was called for. 😉

An icy cold glass of Tooheys Old beer.

Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walk.

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Refracted sunlight

“White light entering a prism is bent, or refracted. This separates the light into its constituent wavelengths. Each wavelength of light has a different color based on the angle at which it bends. The colors of white light always emerge through a prism in the same order —- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.” (source) That’s such a dry explanation for what happens when sunlight passes through my faceted glass sphere and splashes onto a wall.

Let there be light! Becky’s back with a new month of squares, and the theme is light.

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A soggy walk in the Blue Mountains

A splash of red in a foggy monotone, Echo Point.

In October, I went to the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney) for the weekend. My plan was to see the various gardens in the Leura Garden Festival on the Sunday, and get in a walk on the Saturday. I’ve been to this region a number of times, but always in summer, so this exposure to spring was quite an eye-opener. The temperature struggled to get over 10deg C (50deg F) and for most of Saturday it rained. But I had my waterproof boots, a showerproof jacket and an umbrella, so was determined to have my walk. I decided on the section of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk from Echo Point to where the path brushes against Merriwa Street in Katoomba, at which point I would walk back to my hotel. In all, about 4km. After laughing at the people admiring the view of the fog, I headed off.

This first path section is wheelchair and stroller accessible, and is usually teeming with visitors.

Here’s the real path. Jump the puddles, or go around?

This way to Lady Carrington lookout.

The view from Lady Carrington lookout.

No, the skies did not miraculously clear! I just wanted to show you the view from Lady Carrington lookout in good weather.

Looking back to the lookout through the fog.

Raindrops keep falling on my head — and on everything else!

There were many more photo opportunities of rain and mist and fog and puddles, and some quite impressively gushing waterfalls, but keeping the camera dry and shooting one handed (holding the umbrella with the other) was just too difficult. On the entire walk, I encountered only two other people, a couple, and they looked bedraggled and unhappy. By the time I reached Katoomba town centre, I was cold and wet, and well deserved the trio of hot chocolate.

Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walks.


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Tree Line

A view from Grindelwald, near Interlaken, Switzerland.

The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing. It is found at high elevations and high latitudes. Beyond the tree line, trees cannot tolerate the environmental conditions (usually cold temperatures or associated lack of available moisture). (source) This particular tree line is in the Swiss Alps.

Posted as part of October Squares Lines&Squares

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Hook, Line and Sinker

Line and Sinker are visible, but I’m afraid the Hook is in the fish’s mouth.

South Padre Island, part of Texas, is situated in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a popular surf fishing destination. If you think these sinkers look enormous, well, they have to contend with some pretty heavy surf and strong currents.

Lines, Hooks, Sinkers! Plus rods and reels. (And Kevin, a family friend)

Here are my parents, proudly holding dinner.

Another hidden hook.

Posted as part of October Squares Lines&Squares