2020 Aus The World Around us
The World around Us
It was only from the very top that we could see how many mountains make up the Stirling Range, more anciently and evocatively named by the Noongar people ‘Koi kyennu ruff’ meaning ‘mist moving around the mountains’. The first European to see them was our old friend Captain Matthew Flinders on one of his circuits of Aussie in 1802.
Thirty three years later Governor James Stirling was travelling close by between Albany and Perth so his travelling companion John Septimus Roe decided to name them after James. The runoff from the south east end forms the Kalgan River along whose pretty shores we walked not so long ago when we were living on Zoonie.
Unlike Mt Hudson on Great Barrier Island off NZ where we perched a little precariously after our ascent on a small wooden platform here the peak stretched out nicely and we could have hopped and skipped in celebration of our success. There were a few others, the rest of our struggling young lad’s party, two other couples and one or two individuals. Mother Nature here has been very kind and provided numerous flat and level rock seats, with backs, so we sat down next to a young couple and looked westwards, into the gentle sunshine and across the flat plains of agricultural land. An atmosphere of peace and harmony reigned, people stared outwards like us and spoke on soft tones.
The young man next to us was from Falkirk and had lived for a number of years a few miles from where I used to live on the Isle of Wight. He had climbed the face of Bluff Knoll more than once in his role as an outward bound instructor. His wife was from Sydney and both had chosen to settle in Denmark five years ago and never regretted the decision. She said with pride that they now had their own home. What a lovely place to settle down I thought, as must have many of the first settlers.
We spent half an hour or so enjoying their company and relaxing. The mist was circling around the mountain and evaporating between us and the sun so our view was unimpeded. With no more than about two hours of daylight left we decided to make a start back down the track and our first joy was seeing a Wedge-Tailed Eagle soaring on the thermals seeking out its next meal. But there was only one, not a pair and that was worrying, unless the mate was on a nest.
One thing I love about retracing steps is that the views, or rather many of the directions we look toward, are different from the outward experience.
Our young struggling friend appeared ahead, within a few minutes of the top and looking good after his drink. We congratulated him and told him he was close now and his friends were awaiting him.
The young couple we had been talking to started back just before us but stood to one side for a rest and drink so we passed them and came across a small group making their way up. If they were going to the top, as some do to see the sunset and spend the night up there, then they would be coming down again in the dark, so we felt a little concerned for them. Did they realise the inevitable sequence of events that were just ahead of them with the sunset and twilight and then darkness. The moon, as you can see, was up and just three days after being full, so there would be some light and maybe they carried torches in their back packs. I worried a little less.
“So you got up there on gin and tonic!?” A man asked noticing our drop of water left in the tonic water bottle I was carrying. “Yep, and the first one didn’t touch the sides!” I replied. “Really?” He said; did he believe me I wondered.
The car park was in sight for most of the way, drawing us on towards a soft seat and picnic which we ate while parked overlooking the plains towards the sea. Three cyclists rode triumphantly into the car park and I asked of one who swung around next to the car, “Are you off up to the top now then?”
“Twenty years ago I did just that with a 15kg pack on my back, now I carry the pack on my front,” he said patting his tummy. He turned out to be Dave and he farmed at the bottom of the hill just outside the Park. Every Friday he and his mates completed the cycle ride with a beer at the Bluff Café we had been to for our coffee. He knew of Christine and Malcolm’s daughter Kylie and her husband Chris and Chris’s parents through farming circles and listed the areas in which they have farmed over the years, which we had heard our friends mention. Small world isn't it; six degrees of separation.
Rob drove carefully home because it was the time of the evening when kangaroos are moving around grazing and we really didn’t want to hit one. After the last easing of CV restrictions which came just before a bank holiday weekend there was some mad driving in this state, with numerous serious accidents. Four female kangaroos, all carrying joeys, were killed both sides of one small town and the rescue lady, in response gave out advice on the radio which hopefully will save future joeys’ lives. The joeys can be safely removed and taken to the nearest vet or rescue centre and if they were attached to a teat then the teat should be cut off rather than taken out of the joey’s mouth. So I was ready to act if necessary.
We were coming back from Albany yesterday evening in the dark along the fast highway when a ‘roo jumped out from the right and bounced across in front of a lorry ahead of us. He immediately dipped his lights because if the ‘roo had looked into a full beam it might well have stopped. As it was it reached the other side of the road safely, thank goodness.