A Mountain of Emotions
A Mountain of Emotions
I was looking forward to our day exploring the Stirling Mountain Range and the first visual impressions certainly lived up to my hopes. Under a mantle of pure blue and above the red dirt track they rose majestic, dark grey/blue and numerous. But as soon as I started reading the information boards the negativity of the messaging just for a while overwhelmed the beauty of the place.
Phytophthora Dieback is killing a third of the plant life in places, notably alongside the roads and walking tracks. Having made it thus far we are told that it is partly us visitors who are spreading the disease, along with plant to plant contamination and water course dispersal of the silent monster. Well pardon me for saying but the real cause seems to be written on the board. When recently turned soil was used to create the roads with their soil run offs every few metres to carry rainwater into the bush, then the disease was very efficiently spread. Similarly along the walking tracks; but there is no mention of closing the roads or tracks because of that source of contamination. The roads opened up the Ranges to visitors who are now the culprits of the dieback it seems.
Then there is the fact that the drying climate is resulting in old creeks, that not so long ago supported a colourful variety of fauna, are now permanently dry.
I was in need some cheering up.
It came in the form of Mother Nature herself and, surprisingly, through tragedy number three, the recent bush fires.
The ranges were hit by two lightning strikes and the resulting fires ravaged a large area. The dark grey of the mountains was partly due to their being pyramids of fire for days. In some places the road itself created an essential barrier, so on one side the effects can clearly be seen while opposite the untouched bush is still thriving as you can see in the last two photos. Well the appearance of tender young green growth from charred midnight black stems and branches was not only reassuring but also quite comical. I’m no expert but I do know that some of these plants need fire to produce flowers, the seeds of which will germinate; just look at the six blackened stems in pic 912 with their posh new top knots, ‘punk rockers’ of the natural world and the single flowering stem in 902; determined to survive. Similarly seeds that have lain dormant in the ground sometimes for years now have their chance. New eucalyptus foliage was springing out of blackened trunks and branches all over the range. There is hope.
I was feeling better already. Nature was speaking for herself.