Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 4. Moleside to Battersbys, Great South West Walk, Victoria. Winter 2012


glenelg river
Glenelg River

Hey, do you remember this stroll? Undeniably it's part of the longest attempt to write about a walk in the history of mankind. Seeing how this hike was completed in winter, I was pretty confident it'll all be written up by Christmas. Well, I've got some news for you. It won't be, but don't worry as this post is a quickie with not a great deal to report of the 20 km walk from Moleside camp to Battersbys along the Glenelg River.

Oh yeah, the walking was pretty straightforward, but there was some major trauma during the evening I spent at Battersbys camp. Did you see what I just did then? I've just done one of the oldest writers tricks in the world, by intriguing you enough to keep reading in order to find out what happens at the end. Well, either that or you could skip the padding which I'm about to use to stretch out the post, go right to the finish and find out what the trauma was? By all means you can do that, but in the process you'll miss a tortured tree and an eternal wallaby. Decisions...

Now, it was only three days before I reached the coastal town of Nelson, which is the half-way point of the hike. I was looking forward to that, as all of the days previously were over familiar territory, having walked them only a week before on my failed first tilt at the GSWW. This of course is one reason why I'm finding it hard to write this up! I need some new sights!

I left Moleside camp and began the stroll which generally follows close to the Glenelg River. Actually, this is quite a nice leg of the walk, as the path rises and falls with views of the river during the day. The only trouble was I couldn't really find much to photograph, that I hadn't already done so a week earlier. This of course is unacceptable in the blog world, so I was pretty excited to have some pareidolia action suddenly appear. Up ahead a fallen branch caught my eye...


face like tree branch


What an unhappy looking branch! The first thing I thought of when I got closer was of its similarity to a 'face' in the mamelon of Hanging Rock. Okay, let's have a look. The branch...


face like branch


...and the rock. Check it out, they're dead ringers!


face like rock at hanging rock


I remember this rock making a few appearances in the movie, 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' which helped add to the sinister tone of the film. You don't believe me? Well, here's a screen shot from the movie...


screenshot of rock from movie picnic at hanging rock


See? Don't forget, you'll never be led astray in fiasco land. Well, you might have to put up with some crap, but at least I won't lead you astray. As I continued on I remember feeling quite happy about that sighting, as I knew I'd be able to pad out this post with it. Actually, do bloggers also think of posts when they're walking? I tend to spend most of the day contemplating something to do with the blog, which may mean I should seek psychiatric help.

Where was I? Oh yeah, one thing about the forest sections of the GSWW is that they're a fungi lovers paradise and on this particular leg I remember sighting the most impressive example tucked up under a tree, which I made sure to keep my eye out for again. I bet you're really excited by this news, but you're probably wondering what they looked like? I'd included the following picture in a previous post, but as I don't want you to leave this entry I'll save you the trouble by showing the photo again. Here's what I'm talking about from a week earlier...


large group of fungi at base of tree


Mm... Looking at it now, I may have talked it up a little too much, but in person it was fantastic, mainly due to the size. They are enormous, which may not be apparent right away, but don't forget the photo above was taken whilst looking out of a plane window at 30,000 feet.

I remember wondering how they'd progressed over a week since I'd last seen them and I knew exactly which tree they'd be hiding behind. Spotting the appropriate tree, I raced up to it, but felt a little disappointed to see that my 'super fungi' had deteriorated a little. There's a Latin phrase, 'mortuus est in asinus affectu' which is the official medical terminology for what I felt upon sighting the fungi on this day. What does that phrase mean in English? Well, I can't do everything for you, so if you're really keen you can head off to Google Translate and run the phrase through there. Now, do you want to see it...?


remains of fungi under a tree


I kid you not. That's what can happen to fungi in a week. Well, to say the least that was a bit of a bummer, so I continued on, passing a few more that were a little bit nicer.


groups of yellow fungi


I was making good time and at one point left the river to walk through a heavily forested area. As I was doing so, I spotted something familiar up ahead. Now, be prepared for a number of photos that are essentially the same, plus being a wild man I'm also posting pictures that aren't in focus due to the slow shutter speed I had to use because of lack of light.

Here we go. I hadn't spotted much wildlife this day, but suddenly a wallaby appeared up ahead on the track. He was keeping a close eye on me as I approached.


wallaby on walking track


He looked at me for a few seconds and then took off ahead out of sight. I thought he'd headed off into the bush, but as I continued on and rounded a bend in the track he was there again...


wallaby standing upright on walking track


...standing upright, keeping an eye on me. As I strolled on, he again bounded off ahead and I thought he'd gone bush on this occasion. Guess what? Nope, I rounded another corner to be met with a familiar sight. By employing the use of camouflage, he was being a little sneaky this time, but I was onto him as his ears were giving the game away.


wallaby hidden behind ferns


Once again, off he went and this was rapidly turning into 'rinse and repeat', as I rounded the next corner.


wallaby standing upright on walking track


Now, do you know how long this 'bound, stop, look, bound' went on for? Just on 2 km! At first I thought I was scaring him, but in the end I suspect he was taking the piss out of me. I just knew what he was thinking, "Hey, do you think you can catch me with your non-bouncing feet? Dream on big boy!!"

That's four photos now and although I seem to have another twenty whilst this action was taking place, even I gave up in the end. He'd continue to go out of sight, but just when I was fully expecting him to be sitting there as I rounded the next bend there was noise through the bush off to the side, as he'd finally headed off-track. I actually got a lot of entertainment out of that and now I was well and truly getting near the end of the days walk.

As the track continues on, it finally begins a descent to Battersbys camp, which is another lovely spot. A large grassy area with cooking shelter and landing to walk out onto in order to take photos of the traditionally glassy water of the Glenelg River. I dumped the pack and put my feet up for a while, before late in the afternoon I took some insanely reflective photos of the water. What do I mean? Well, in the next photo it could be said that the picture is upside down and it's actually a shot of the sky, but it's not. That's how flat the water was!


reflections of trees in glenelg river


Now, remember way back to the start of this post I mentioned a traumatic end? What could possibly go wrong considering this blissful camp? Well, from Moleside camp to Battersbys I hadn't seen a person at all. It was winter, it was cold and with the sun setting early I fully expected a solitary evening. Guess what? Wrong!!

Battersbys camp is accessible to vehicles and although the hikers campsite is for walkers only, there's a large area for car campers right next door. So, there I was mellowing out on my own, having eaten, tent up and with light rapidly fading when I heard the sound of a car drive into the car camp. Mm... Maybe some last minute sightseers? No, I couldn't be so lucky, as they stopped and appeared to be staying the night.

I strolled over using trees for camouflage to see who my neighbours were to be for the night and was quite surprised to see two middle aged blokes hard at work emptying their 4WD of what appeared to be their house. These blokes had what looked like a ton of stuff. There was an enormous tent going up, barbecue with multiple gas bottles, chairs and so it went on. Then out came the axes. Mm...

With shiny axes at the ready I watched the two blokes stroll around looking for wood, whilst noting that they were rather 'interesting' looking. They both had a hint that at some time in their lives they'd been smashed around the head with large rubber mallets until their faces were suitably gruesome looking and their heads had adopted a classic 'potato shape'. They then began chopping up any wood lying around for a fire.

Anyway, I left my foxhole and returned to the hiking shelter to recoup my Zen  I was just hooking up my inner Buddhist when the chopping stopped and suddenly the two blokes appeared nearby carrying beers, heading to the landing which that reflection shot I took earlier was taken. Seeing how they were only ten metres away and in order to stay on their side, I yelled out in my most manly voice, a hearty "G'day".  Do you know what happened? They both looked at me whilst sipping their beers, didn't even acknowledge my comment and walked off back to the wood chopping site.

My reaction to this snub was the obvious thought, "You rude pricks!!". I guess though, there was a couple of scenarios to this. Maybe they looked at me and thought, "Woah! There's one of those hiking funny boys!!" or "Woah! How can we have a rough and tumble roll together whilst naked with one of those hiking funny boys here??!!"

Oh well, I gave it my best shot, but as it was now dark I contemplated hitting the tent for the night. On cue the axe chopping started again, as it appeared that they needed more timber (for a fire?) than beavers on steroids. Then something truly evil happened. Yes, my neighbours put on a stereo. Mind you, not just any old stereo. It was so loud, it sounded like it was getting piped through the speakers from Woodstock. Okay, now they were being pricks². If it's at all possible, do you know what was worse? They weren't just playing music, but it was the radio and it was one of those horrific 'hits and memories' stations!

So, there I was having every dirge-like '70's and '80's power-pop/crapola, complete with radio advertisements wash over me. I was feeling queasy, until I suddenly heard my most hated song that with one morsel hitting my ears, immediately bent me over involuntarily in pain. Yes, it was Billy Joel's, 'Uptown Girl'. There's no song I've ever heard that makes me want to retch violently and here I was defenceless against it.

I only had one antidote, as I sprinted to the tent and fumbled through my pack for my iPod. I desperately needed the dulcet tones of the Sex Pistols to clear my head. It was a close call, but I made it and held my stomach as it churned. I lay there thinking, "Why am I so small? Why can't I be King Kong for just a day?" If that was the case, everything would be peaceful again with a traditional combination of the 'munch and stomp'.


screenshot from 1933 king kong of eating man
"You play Billy Joel?? Loud?? AT A CAMPSITE???"

screenshot from 1933 king kong stomping on man into ground
"Hits and memories radio?? Loud at a campsite???!! Into the ground you go!!!"

So, there you go. I lay back in the tent whilst my lumberjack friends continued chopping and blasting the surrounding area into submission with crap radio. For all I know they were now naked and covered in baby oil whilst chopping their wood, but I was saved by the iPod. I remember wedging the headphones in with the sleeping bag, so they couldn't accidently fall out during the night.

In finishing off after all of that trauma, how about another peaceful reflection shot of the Glenelg River...


reflection of sky in glenelg river



14 comments:

  1. I always need a fresh coffee when I'm about to read your latest post Greg. In fact, I often spy your latest post is out and put off reading it until I'm comfy with coffee in hand. You didn't disappoint with this post.

    I got to the end of the post and had the old Holden ad going through my head. You'd remember the one about football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars. Check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGW-WX77zjY

    Well instead, my head was ringing with the same tune but the lyrics were along the line of "wallabies, Uptown Girl, baby oil and smashed up potatoe headed nude axemen". Okay, the words don't rhyme but you left me with a powerful vision anyway.

    Oh, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to Tweet the post as well.

    Excellent post Greg!

    Regards

    Allan McDonald
    @ EQUIpNTRIP

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    1. Hi Allan, thanks for that! Glad I'm giving you some drinking coffee material!

      Oh yeah, I well and truly remember that advert and I think it even made me cringe when it came out? Let alone now. It's brutal! That's quite a vision you thought up. I hope you could sleep at night and not suffer too many nightmares?!

      Thanks for the tweet as well. Always appreciated!

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  2. What masterful understatement: 'deteriorated a little'!! And you're not alone in the 'thinking-about-blog-post-while-engaged-in-activity-to-be-written-about' thing either - but I'm not sure if our similarity on that point should fill you with relief, or horror!! But strangely, it's the photo NOT taken that has stuck with me ... unless, that is, you really DO have a photo of nude bogan axemen working their 'axes' to 'Uptown Girl' while covered in baby oil and you just decided not to share it out of decency. Or meanness.

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    1. Hi Red, yes, it was a toss up between the word 'deteriorated' or 'obliterated'!

      Coming up with new blog ideas can be mentally draining! I've got a couple of 'unusual' ones in my head, but I need equally 'unusual' photos before they get written. That was on my mind today!

      Sorry Red, but this is a 'G' rated blog. Even if I had photos of baby oil covered axemen I wouldn't be able to publish them!

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  3. PS Enter my giveaway and you COULD become the proud owner of an exclusive 'Amazing Aussie Loos with Awesome Scenic Views' calendar. Just sayin' ...

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    1. You're the well organised blogger. Giveaways?! I'll slip over and have a look!

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  4. You encountered some of the ever growing group known as "campers from hell". Nothing spoils the serenity and isolation faster than others sharing their music with everyone near and far.

    Thankfully the bogans did at least stay fully dressed (much to Red Nomad's disappointment), so that is the up side of these campers!

    Annie

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    1. Hi Annie, thanks for dropping by. Yeah, I've never been able to work out how some people interact with the outdoors. It's as if they're intimidated by the quiet and peacefulness? What gets me is that they cranked up the music only when they realised I was there! Maybe it was only used to cover up the sound of them rolling around in the tent together?!

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  5. Another great post, thanks Greg. At least they didnt pull out a chainsaw!

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    1. Hi Pini. Thanks! Yeah, I guess I can count myself lucky, although the 'Battersbys Axe Massacre' doesn't really sound that more appealing?!

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  6. I would have to say I concur wholeheartedly with your disdain for Mr Joel's pop masterpiece, Greg. But although (to these ears) Joel from any era & in any setting would have me quietly exiting for more salubrious surrounds, it could have been worse. MUCH worse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M-_FFNYeR4

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    1. Hey Goat, Billy Joel doesn't seem like a bad bloke, but there's something about his music that makes me feel rather queasy! Without a doubt 'Uptown Girls' is my most vomit inducing song I've ever heard. Why is that? I don't know, but it's all subjective isn't it?

      Mind you, I don't think I'll ever be the same after watching that link you provided. That really is scarily crap! Is it some sort of death metal, or if not that extreme, maybe 'critically injured metal' for the '60's? Thanks for scaring me!

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  7. Ha! The irony of drowning out noise to the Sex Pistols!
    Love it......another good read.

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    1. Hi Darren, well I liken it to this bloke I know who has to have a Coke with his fish & chips. The reason being is that he calls it his 'degreaser' that cleans his system from the grease! Now, the Sex Pistols are similar if one has just being bombarded with pap for music. A blast of 'Anarchy in the UK' will successfully clean the brain of that crap music you've absorbed :) It's all pretty cathartic!

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