Post 7: One Tree Hill

I’m writing this quickly before I get stiff.  Today we climbed the 1000 Steps again, and it was even harder than the first time.  I counted all the slabs AND steps and got to 906… or 912… Oh, 900 and something – I was just so pleased to see the top of the climb that I forgot to remember.

Up at the top; random tourist starting down

We added a bit of interest to the initial 800 m climb from the gate to the steps by going off on the Nature Ramble, which sounded so innocuous.   It started off quite well by going down.  Uh, oh, what goes down will have to go up when it comes to the 1000 Steps.  And eventually there was just a bit too much nature:

Path with added interest.

We were glad to have been there after the tree fell.  And we were also glad to rejoin the normal path soon after that.

As before (duh!), the steps and balustrades went up endlessly, but beautifully.

Up, up, up

But, as I said, we were eventually once again at the top, with no intention whatsoever of doing the climb again today, despite earlier enthusiasm.  However we had to extend ourselves a little more than last time, so we decided to go to the previously scorned One Tree Hill.  And this is where I learned a well-kept secret:

Yes, a road

This is a road about 100 m from the top of the 1000 Steps.   No one told me!  Having done the climb, though, I have to say that it gave me more satisfaction than driving to the top and looking down.  Or so I have to say now.

On to One Tree Hill, which was a mere half km trudge from where we were.  Not much of a Hill (though it looks out over Ringwood/Mooroolbark, so I guess they think it’s a hill from down there.)  Come to think of it, ‘One Tree’ is also a misnomer.  Was it this tree?

Kel holding up One of the Trees (and wearing a not-getting-lost-at-sea shirt)

Or was it this tree, or this one?   Oh, take your pick.

Can't see the Tree for the wood

Lovely quiet picnic area though, with the usual Australian cleanliness

The picnic spot fairy had just been, perhaps

Picnic spots require picnic food.  We were lucky, we had our sarmies and water.

"Ordinary food in an extraordinary setting"

Come to think of it, they weren’t ordinary sandwiches either – cheese, lettuce and home- grown tomatoes on chia-seed bread.   Even more delicious for the eating having been delayed till 3.10 pm.

The next photo is for Jean …..

Only for literate hikers

…. we left the park early enough not to be locked inside.  I suspect that a dressing-down from an Australia park ranger would probably be much more intense than the one we had from the Paarl Nature Reserve men last year.  The memory of being at the top of one of the Paarl Rocks at sunset was well worth the embarrassment of being caught by the Park Rangers after dark, but I bet that no memory would overshadow an Australian talking-to (remember that while some early Australians were Convicts, others were Prison Wardens).

[ for non-Bolanders, and ahem, the view behind the climber on top of his Paarl Rock where he got via a vertical climb with rope and crampons (it IS crampons, hey, not tam…. no crampons) is of the little Paarl Rock we walked up, assisted in the step parts by chains.  No big deal, but much more strenuous than getting from the 1000 Steps to One Tree Hill.]

Finally, and completely off the point – a  cheer today for the Zambian Chipolopolos, the underdogs, who have just lifted the African Cup of Nations soccer trophy.  I don’t follow soccer, but I remember a Zambian friend writing to me 19 years ago to say that the entire soccer team had perished in a aeroplane crash in Gabon and that the nation was in shock and mourning.

It seems so fitting that the Zambians played and won just a few kms from the spot where their compatriots died, and that they felt inspired to amazing victory by their memory.  It reminded me so much of Andrew Kelehe winning the Comrades Marathon in 2001 in memory of his baby daughter who had died on Valentine’s Day.                                    

How uncanny – tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  May you all have good loving memories and a wonderful day.


About jaqinoz

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