Giants, elephants and a lonely seal

By now most of you have read my first blog entry and are probably wondering if I am still suffering from jet lag. As I had written about Hardey Park and the great discovery of birds and waterfowl without providing photos. Let me take you back to the night I posted the blog under the cover of darkness.  It has proven difficult to find cafes in the small towns of Australia that offer  internet access let own free access. Even the library makes you pay at a cost of $3.00 for a half. It so happened while grocery shopping with the family in the Mount Barker IGA Steve was on a re-con mission for internet. He discovered that he could access the internet coming from the municipal offices from the public parking area.Yes he was walking around with his laptop aiming it in different directions till he could lock on. Now picture me two nights later after a day of hiking sitting in the car with everyone, both Steve and my laptop glowing in the dark trying to post my blog and up load pictures. Convinced that at any moment a cop was going to come by with us trying very hard to explain to him that we were not Canadian spies trying to access secret town documents. Wanting to post things fast I missed uploading the park photos (they are now in the beginning of the slide show). If you ever read about two Canadians suspected of spying in Mount Baker you now know why.

The day we picked up Derek the sun was shining brightly not a cloud in the sky. This did not help Steve any as he was about to embark on the city roads driving on the other side with Katrina as navigator. A couple of times we almost rode the curbs, windshield wipers were running when signaling (remember everything is opposite)  and all the while dad and I were silently  steering the car with Steve.  We did get to Derek in one piece. We decide to do coffee at the King Park cafe to give Steve a chance to calm his nerves along with everyone else’s. Plus we had a 4-5 hour drive ahead of to Kendenup, Western Australia.

We arrived at our digs for the next 7 days Big Bird and Wolf Chalets at around 8:00 pm. As it is winter here we arrived in the pitch dark very tired and stiff legged as we had little room left in the car to even move our legs from all our bags etc. As with car rentals what they show you on the website and what you get can be two different things. The owner of the Chalet was kind of to await our somewhat late arrival. When we walked into our Chalet called Eagle’s Nest we did so with a smile. In the case what we saw on their website is exactly what we got. A wonderful clean and charming unit with a nice sized living room, huge well supplied kitchen, two large bedrooms and a shower that had plenty of hot water. The best part was the view Katrina and I woke up to bright early the next morning.  With our hot drinks in hand we watched the sunrise over Stirling Range it’s highest peak being 1,073 m high. After watching the wonderful sunrise we  enjoyed a morning breakfast of farm fresh eggs and bacon provided by the owners of the Chalet. One good thing about arriving here during the winter months is that we don’t have to worry about snakes. I am quite happy to worry about keeping warm.

Kendenup is definitely the land of sheep farming, wether  driving or walking in all directions you nothing but fields filled with sheep. This might a explain the lack of kangaroos as the farmers are not to keen to have them around as they destroy their fences when moving from one area to another making it possible for their livestock to escape. Sadly I have seen more road kill than live kangaroo.

Over the next few days we did day trips to Albany, Pemberton (Warren National Park) and Denmark/Walpole (Nornalup National Park. The whale migration season is in full steam here on the western side of Australia. The whales leave the cooler waters of the southern ocean and swim north for the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean. Thus one our trips was to the coastal waters of Albany in hopes of spotting one of these wonderful beast. Alas none were to be seen that day however a lovely scenic coastal walk along Marine Dr. where I  spotted a bit of wildlife. One being the bandicoot a small omnivorous marsupial and a tiny bird known as the New Holland Honey Eater. We also visited the war memorial on Mount Clarence here I learned that from the ports of Albany is where the Australian troops embarked to go to battle in World War I.

Our walk along Warren River in Warren National Park gave us a small clue to the magnificence of the Tingle Tree which we would experience the very next day at Nornalup National Park Tingle Forest. There we did the tree top walk among the valley of the giants and after a picnic lunch did the Ancient Empire walk. The valley of the giants are the Tingle trees which grow up to 75 meters and the measurement around can be as much as 20 meter. The most notable point about the Tingle tree is the hollow that develops through fire, fungal disease and insects. The hollow can be large enough for a person to walk through. What is unbelievable about this is that the tree remains alive and well for hundreds of years. This we discovered during our Ancient Empire walk there was one tree there known as Grandma Tingle. It is said she is over a 400 hundred years old and that she keeps a watchful eye on all who enter the forest.

After spending most of day in the Tingle forest we drove out to the coast once again in Denmark to see the Elephant Rocks. These huge boulders have the appearance of a herd  elephants gazing out to the Southern Ocean. I was mesmerized by the powers of the waves crashing against the rocks then later enjoying the sunset and being checked out by a seal.

Two days left in this lovely place and we still have a mountain to climb.Seems fitting that I end here with the coastal sunset.

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