Sunday, April 5, 2009

Yarra Ranges Hike

Two weekends ago, we headed up to the Yarra Ranges area just outside the national park for a little day hike. We drove to Starling Gap, in the middle of the forest, via some mostly fine dirt roads.

The highlight of my day came on the drive in, on the dirt roads, when FINALLY, after six months of seeing roadkill, I finally saw live kangaroos. The first one was fairly good size, and bounded across the road and up the hill when it heard the car. It looked almost black, which was mostly unexpected. The second was much smaller, and grey, and stood watching us approach for quite a while before bounding off into the ferns. No pictures, naturally, because they are fast, but it was great to finally see some living, exotic wildlife. Naturally, it wouldn't be the last.

The hike was through a forest that is a mix of mountain ash (a member of the eucalyptus family) and huge ferns. It turns out this area is somewhat rain forest.

We didn't have exactly enough information about where we were going, so we just walked out a few hours, then walked back the same way. While out, we heard and saw some great birds, most of which we can't identify, naturally.

Our other big wildlife encounter was when we stopped for lunch. We were bombarded with leaches, which is something I've never encountered before. I found them on my legs, and we found them dropping off leaves to come after us and our stuff. I presume they can source heat like a mosquito. I did a little reading when we got home, and was pretty surprised how interesting they are. I was also glad to see that they will fall off after they get full, in about 30 minutes. But an anesceptic on their skin so the prey doesn't feel them and an anticoagulant so they get full faster? Brillaiant.

Once back to the car, we went down the road to the Ada Tree, named after some pioneer back in the day. The forest was subject to heavy logging back in the day, and this tree was spared because they thought it was diseased. Now it stands about 75 meters tall, and pretty darn wide. It's not giant sequoia, but it's pretty good. The hike in and out to it was pretty, also.

On the drive out, we saw that the lumberjacks working the area were creative.

And on the drive home, we saw the local butcher. We aren't exactly sure what it means, but it certainly appealed to our immature sensabilities.

1 comment:

Brain, Giant said...

Is my perspective off? I can't tell if that's an elf or a sprite under the little fern in photo #3.