October, and we are well into spring. I thought I’d open my few words with a pithy quote about spring, something that might enthuse bushwalkers everywhere. How about Robin Williams’ declaration that “Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s Party”? Let’s get out into the bush and party! But then I discovered Margaret Atwood telling us that “in the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. I suspect little did she think she was addressing a bunch of bushwalkers who, after a good hike probably do smell a wee bit like dirt. So there it is, get out there and party, and whatever you do, come home smelling of the great outdoors.
And talking of the great outdoors, I hear that clubs across NSW are getting out and about more these days. The winter hibernation – a generous interpretation of the Covid lockdowns – has passed. We in NSW have been fortunate to be able to roam more widely and in larger numbers than our bushwalking counterparts in Victoria. Do spare them a thought. And so it is that we are able, in this State, to reexplore our own back yards. Perhaps you might be doing a little of what I have been doing recently, exploring parts of the State I haven’t visited for many years. Before the Queensland border was closed (again!), I decided to take the long route to Canberra from the north coast, avoiding Greater Sydney so that I could get across the border for a bit of grandparent duty without having to declare I’d been in the dreaded hotspot. The result, a fine bit of hiking in the Warrumbungles, and a reminder of what the western districts can offer us. Return trips to the New England Tableland, Mount Kaputar, and the Pilliga are in the offing, and no doubt several other choice destinations will delight. Thank you, by the way, to the bushwalking clubs whose web sites I have perused to help my planning.
But we all have our own backyards. And this year, our backyards are all looking pretty good. Everywhere I have been there is fine spring green growth, the flowers are popping out, and in my own sub-tropical rainforest clad mountains we are getting views! Yes, views! Bushwalking in rainforest is rewarded by glimpses rather than views, and often precious few of these. As the burnt forest recovers, we are rewarded with more expansive views – although hardly expansive in a Snow Mountain sense – and on recent walks we have all been able to understand the lie of the land better.
Talking of flowers, who has had an opportunity to take a walk or two along our wonderful coast recently? The coastal heath is looking good these days, and for the twitchers amongst us, the birds are out. One of the groups I was out with recently was determinedly warned off by a couple of kites guarding their chicks. And if you are lucky, you will still be able to spot a few the whales. They are still migrating south. On the same walk, progress was delayed considerably as a couple of whales put on the most impressive display of tail and fin slapping, rolling and generally having, dare I say it, a whale of a time. And all within easy view from the shore.
So, let’s get out there and party! Happy bushwalking everyone. Bill