Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cape Otway

It's Thursday and this is the update from last weekend. So what?

The forecast looked like crap, so naturally, we broke out the camping gear. But, we did it a bit differently this time. Instead of backpacking all weekend, we took the truck and did a bit of touring through the Otway National Forest and headed down to Blanket Bay in the Cape Otway National Park to meet up with our friends Bronwyn and Bryan and camped Saturday night. The rain was mostly minimal, until we went to bed, when the heavens opened.

But we camped at a cool spot, Blanket Bay.

Sunday morning we went on a little 8 km return walk to the next bay. We saw this little wallaby and his buddy, and had some good coastal views.

I thought the drive out was the highlight of the trip though, since we finally got to see koalas in the wild. There were actually quite a lot of them.

A bit further down the road, we were stopped for a bit by loose cattle.

Other than that, it was an uneventful trip home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blow - But not like Boonen

I don't know how I forgot to mention... On the way to the Grampians, I had my first mandatory Australian breathalyzer!

Who knew how much air you had to pump into that little box... The officer asked me if I wanted my lungs back when I was done.

I'm ok with mandatory breath testing though.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trip Report: Grampians National Park - Backpacking

We opted to skip out on the 4th of July party at the Local Taphouse, where kegs of sweet sweet Rogue Ales (of Oregon) were on offer to go backpacking in the Grampians National Park. The weather was supposed to be clear but cold, so we felt it would be a good weekend to get out.

At least we still had fun.

It seems that like clockwork when we pull out the backpacking gear, the rain comes. I think it's time for me to pull a Stephen Colbert and officially declare this drought over. There. Done. I've never gotten more use from my Seattle Sombrero than I have in Australia. Odd.

Friday night we set up at Troopers Camp in a light rain. We awoke to wallabies.

A quick look up the ridge indicated that at best we would be walking into low clouds and fog. Being the bright people that we are, we went anyway. It was a good call in the end. After a fairly short but steep uphill, we traversed the lower portion of a ridge line, scrambling over boulders the size of living rooms.

We did occasionally have periods of sunshine and/or fewer clouds, and when we did, there were great views into the valley.

Once reaching the pass near the top of Mt. Difficult (right?) it was really windy and starting to rain again, so we headed into the valley on the other side, which rolled for a few KM before climbing to another ridge top. We did actually get some more normal looking trail at this point.

We rolled along for few KM before descending into a valley where we set up camp near Briggs Bluff. This was the view from our campsite.

We awoke to clearing skies, which was a bit of a relief.

The day called for a brief climb to a rocky ridge, to be traversed back to Mt. Difficult's saddle.

We decided that from there, we would summit before heading back down to the carpark. Upon arrival, we did what anyone else would do at 11am - cocktails!

The views at the top were pretty wonderful though.

Also, there was a "triangulation station" bolted to the top of the peak, placed by the Victorian government. It's a cool idea, if there are a number of them out there, but we couldn't spot any others anywhere, and one is useless.

Since it wasn't raining on the way down, we really got to stop and have a look at the rock formations. They were quite wonderful, having been shaped by the years of wind and rain.

On the way back down we went a lot slower to really take in the boulders that we were climbing over and between. Back at the bottom, we had a chuckle over the signage.

Back at the carpark, we were met by six more wallabies, including a black one. We have seen wallabies bounding into the woods from the car and mentioned how they looked very dark. This pretty much shows that we have been right.

On the drive home we stopped at MacKenzie Falls and The Balconies. The falls were ok, but the view off the Balconies was pretty impressive.

All in all, the Grampians is probably the best national park that I've seen yet in Australia. We will be going back, for sure.


If you're going to try to make some big statement about establishment, or "the man" or whatever you're whining about, make sure to run spell check on your rear quarter panel.

Monday, July 6, 2009


The power of math is hilarious.

Thanks XKCD.