Hanging Rock and South Lawson Falls

Currently reading: Patrícia Melo – The Lost World | Peter Matthiessen – The Snow Leopard | David Foster Wallace – Infinite Jest (getting a run on with this one now…) | William Faulkner – Collected Stories (after skyping with my friend Nadine last night – who lives in beautiful Heidelberg – we have resumed our quest of reading through the entire catalogue of Faulkner’s shorter works for discussion. This week’s tale is ‘Elly’ from the subsection: ‘Village’ – I have it marked as read but have no margin notes so it will be interesting to see how familiar it is upon re-reading.)

I had grand plans to hike Rodriguez Pass with Jay this week, from Evans Lookout down to Junction Rock and back up to the top of the ridge via Govetts Leap, but we had a week of such intense rain that I thought the already challenging terrain might prove impassable (as apparently the creeks can flood). There are quite a few tricky crossings, even in dry weather and given my recent track record with creeks, the prospect of another injury was causing me some loss of sleep. So we walked out to Hanging Rock instead. It was a great day for it, with storm clouds gathering, but still some patches of blue on arrival at Baltzer lookout.

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Baltzer Lookout this view never gets old

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Panorama of the Grose Valley from Baltzer Lookout

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Hanging Rock from above

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Hanging Rock is the rock face in the left of this shot

Jay was fearless and did the jump out to the rock itself with hardly a second thought. I haven’t climbed out there since 09, and though I was tempted, I stood at the precipice for too long (you can seriously over think these things) as I did not want to risk an injury that might prove more serious than a broken wrist or toe. When did I become such a neurotic hiker?!! I guess I’m still rebuilding my confidence after my recent spate of injuries (in the 6 years since commencing my PhD I’ve managed to break 5 bones) but I have not lost my love of the trail, and I’m gaining strength with every hike, so I know that courage will return with time.

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Jay taking in the view

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Crazy brave we picnicked with views back towards the rock, only to be caught in the storm as we traversed the ridge on return

We were accompanied by thunder and lightning for about a third of the walk back to the car. It was a pretty intense storm, one which elicited a small scream from me at some point, but it was more of an involuntary yelp than a guttural bellow or anguished wail, so I must have only been halfheartedly afraid for our safety and general well-being. I can generally ride out a storm in relative calm (as I discovered whilst tenting in a blizzard under the tall trees of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain in 2002, with lightning crashing all around me in the act of trying to outrun nature’s fury, you are as likely to walk further into danger than away from it sometimes you just have to accept that if it’s your time, it’s your time) … But as the tenth lightning strike lit the sky (or thereabouts I wasn’t actually counting it was more a case of being cumulatively frazzled) within one planck time unit of its accompanying thunderbolt (ok I exaggerate let’s call it a zeptosecond or a nanosecond), I was momentarily overcome by the jitters.

The storm had cleared completely by the time we reached the car, so we stopped by my place for some dry clothes and to switch out raincoats, then headed to South Lawson Falls which were yielding unprecedented flow. Unfortunately these pics really don’t do the falls justice, but they do give a sense of the amount of water barrelling through.

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Adelina Falls

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Junction Falls

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Base of Junction Falls

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Compare with this trickle from last September after that incredibly dry winter…

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Federal Falls

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Base of Federal Falls

The sun had already set by the time we made it to Cataract Falls, so my pics of both drops are barely discernible and not worth including here. I was tempted to wait for the glow worms to emerge, but it was getting pretty chilly and I was conscious of the fact that Jay was still in the same shirt that had weathered the earlier storm. As it was, we were walking out of there in the half light. The trail was a watery, sometimes sandy but mostly muddy mess – I am definitely due for some new hiking boots. Jay’s vegan leather docs held up remarkably well … Despite being in my bag, my phone sustained so much water damage during the earlier storm that it ultimately ceased to function and I had to buy a replacement yesterday. I was probably about due for a new phone anyway …

No books completed this week. Lots of articles on Solastalgia and Apex Guilt though, and some great discussion about Ted Kaczynski and some of the general tenets of eco-criticism. In amongst all the other talk of books and film and life and the universe and everything, Bukowski’s ‘Roll the Dice’ rated a mention. It’s a beautiful poem and worth including here in full:

Roll the Dice – Charles Bukowski

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
otherwise, don’t even start.
if you’re going to try, go all the way.

this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind.
go all the way.

it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
mockery,
isolation.
isolation is the gift,
all others are a test of your endurance,
of how much you really want to do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.
if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like that.
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with fire.

do it, do it, do it.
do it.
all the way.
all the way.
you will ride life straight to perfect laughter,
it’s the only good fight there is.

Words to live by…

Booknboot xo

 

 

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