Two perfect winter days.

Time and Space.

Space and Time.

It’s all I need really….time to heal, to reflect and recharge. Space to feel, to breathe, and to explore. To recalibrate and grow new ideas. Or simply, the opportunity to spend some quality time immersed in the pristine, calming world of Mother Nature.

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I hate to overuse the work “perfect” – but that’s what it was. Last week, I spent two nights at Wilson’s Promontory for the first time in about 20 years…when I was last there you could still buy a big bag of bird seed from the general store to feed the birds. Holidays as a kid were chaos in tents, icy cold swims and (equally) icy cold showers. Changeable weather, adventures up the creeks and across squeaky sand.

As a kid this was an endless wonderland.
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This trip it felt like I was transported to a different era – where the measure of time was not a watch but the waves carving into granite cliffs. Or the tidal river engulfing moss-covered boulders and trespassing into the wetlands. The sun peeking up over the mountains, fanning out to light the sky and sparkle on the seas. Where your eyes cast out across the ocean…to nothingness – so close to the edge of the universe.

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If you haven’t been there yourself, do. Put it one your list to visit and soon – winter is kind to this part of the world (if you bring your woolies and hiking boots!!).

The days seemed to start brighter and crisper than what I am used to.

The sun rises gently but firmly, changing the landscape and bringing the world to life.

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It really was just me and the birds on the beach that morning.

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Squeaky beach wasn’t as squeaky as I remembered, but I had it all to myself.

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, or stop thinking just how lucky I am to live in this part of the world.

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If you’re blessed as we were, the weather will be kind. The days will feel long and glorious. The views will not disappoint.

We chose an ambitious 17km day walk, and didn’t regret a minute of it.

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There were chats and laughter (mostly on the downhill parts). Jokes and some serious debate.

A lunch picnic in the sun.

Wildlife spotting – poor little thing, didn’t like being the centre of attention really!

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Many beach strolls – the water blue and the sky bluer. The clouds all pretty and wispy.

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Obstacles to negotiate, icy waters to test.

Photos to take, and [more] food to eat.

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And sunsets to melt your heart and give strength to weary legs.

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Time and space – two days in paradise really is proof that the simple things in life give such pleasure.

How blessed I truly am.

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REVISITED: Walking Yosemite (part 2)

If you misssed Part 1 of my adventures to Yosemite in 2011, catch up here.

It figures once you have explored the valley floor over, then the only angle left to explore is the views from above.

View from Glacier Point, across the valley floor to Yosemite Falls

And so we did – although not by any dare-devil means like rock climbing, abseiling or jumping off anything, even though that seemed pretty much what everyone else has come to do (I decided I really wanted to do the rest of my trip and arrive home in one piece, not a body bag!!).

Somebody did die rock-climbing the week before we visited. And someone else had to be rescued by a helicopter….

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climbing up along Sentinal Dome: view out over Half Dome.

But back to walking to the top of the park….the breath-taking views I saw really can’t be compared to anything else I have seen in my life – you’re up higher than anywhere in Australia, looking down over something that has taken millions of years to form and is thankfully protected again human destruction (mostly).

You can (if brave and foolish enough) walk from the valley floor all the way up to the top. That’s nearly 5 miles up, and right on 1000m elevation gain. My maths skills put to the test, that’s a pretty steep gradient. Thankfully there’s another, easier option – to drive!

In the car on the way up, the landscape swiftly changes from lush and evergreen conifers to sparse and windswept. The engine worked hard, we wound on past boulders, wildflowers, and picnic spots.

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a little windswept…

The actual walk up from the road to the top of Sentinel Dome (8122ft high) is really short comparatively….a steep rock-hopping puddle jumping affair. But with the elevation came two things: wind chill and views. Standing at the top – as I said, higher than Australia – the colours are different. The contrast a little sharper, yet distances deceptive.

From here, after another rock scramble down without any mishaps we landed at the edge. Quite literally.

Glacier Point is iconic, and you won’t be disappointed – if you’re short on time while visiting at any stage, don’t cross this peak off! You might even spot a wedding party (as I did!) amongst all the day trippers…

REVISITED: Three days spent in a paradise, Yosemite NP (Part 1)

It has been nearly two years since my trip to the States, and I still have so many unfinished posts sitting here as drafts. Bit by bit, I’m planning on whittling them down and actually releasing my stories and pictures into the web universe. Here is post number one…..

Before leaving Australia for my trip to the States, I thought I had a good idea what I was in for. I’d read the guide books, seen other people’s photos and heard their wondrous tales – even searched travel sights to absorb all the tips everyone had left; “see this” and “do that” – even read those tales of disaster that we are all grateful others had (not us!); you know, “don’t stay here unless you like bed bugs” and the like.
I was fairly sure that Yosemite was going to make the trip highlights, given that anyone who had visited still raved about their adventures. But still, nothing could prepare me for visiting Yosemite NP – almost five hours from the bustle of San Francisco………