Saturday, November 3, 2007

wow it's been a long time

This post is looking back a ways: we will probably never have much access to cheap internet, let alone internet. So, every once in a while I'm going to sit down at a computer and type out some of the things I've written in my travel journal in the past week...or month....or, in this case, 2 months...

Starting with:

The West Coast Trail

Amazing. Spectacular. Beautiful. Gigantorific.

Highly Recommended. The pictures say it all.


8 September - Day 126
Sir Sanford Fleming stole a day of my life!

9 September - Day 128
Up early today for work - helping some guy ("Mick") renovate his house. Spent the day cleaning bricks, cleaning gutters, etc. For $18/hr, not too shabby. We might end up staying in Sydney if Caroline gets a job at a restaurant or something.

Things Learned
- there are 4 or 5 different types of spiders in a typical backyard that can, and will, kill you. gloves are important.
- proper shovelling technique. yes, there is one.

10 Sep - Day 129
Work again, this time for the plumber who was doing a job at Micks house. Spent the day digging.

Things Learned (australians...)
- have trees that shed their bark annually
- are just as confused as us about which units of measure to use
- call two-by-four's four-by-two's

12 Sep - Day 131
Still digging, but this time only for the morning. We've found work in Mildura for both of us along with a hostel to stay in long-term Travelling there tomorrow.

Downtown Sydney is really nice. Lots of open air markets, and stores that don't even have a front. Weird, but nice.

Mildura Work

13 Sep - Day 132

Longest train / bus ride ever. And the Aussies are really anal about their bus rules - seatbelts required, no food, no movies, no anything allowed. It's even a finable offence to put your feet on the seat. Crazy.

Finally got here and got picked up by Vicky....not the greatest first impression.
- the "hostel" is a shithole
- the double room she said she would put us in doesn't exist
- the job I was promised doesn't exist
- Caroline has to be up tomorrow to work at 5:30 (we got here at 1am)

One of those nights you can't really fall asleep....of course, that could be the 4 or 5 springs that are poking through the "mattress" into me no matter how I shift.

15 Sep - Day 134
Things are looking up - we both got half a days work at some farm weeding. Boring, but the drive out was wicked - we're actually in the outback here, and are driving by kangaroos, parrots, and very outback-ish terrain. I like it a lot. We also discovered that there is a food store and bank machine within walking distance of our hostel. So this could work. If I get work.

17 Sep - Day 136

I'm so bored I could cry.
Today I:
- went to the bank, and discovered I am not authorized to use our account
- called Sydney hostel for mail, and got disconnected. twice.
- called Tax Office for TFN, they won't give it to me for 28 days
- found a bird book, but didn't buy it
- misread a bus schedule, and missed the bus
- went to Target and an outdoors store, and they were both closed
- did laundry

18 Sep - Day 137

FINALLY have work. This is very good. Spent the day stretching two ropes between survey markers, so we could mark out a grid for vine posts with plastic knives. All those days of treeplanting have finally found an application....
The car also broke down on the way home. Home by 8pm. Up tomorrow at 445am.

[pic - vineyard]

20 Sep - Day 139

Still pegging out. It's a long and dusty job, but not so bad. Lots of time to think, anyways. Working with Pierre, and probably will be for the next while. There's also 2 germans, 2 english guys, and 1 scot on my crew.

Sightings so far:
- galahs
- brown snake / sidewinder snake / strange snake
- scorpion
- hawks

27 Sep - Day 146
Short day today due to the wind - so windy the string wouldn't lie straight, and too dusty to see it anyways.

9 October - Day 158
Van broke down on the way to work again today. It makes for a nice rest, but we don't get paid, so I don't know whether or not I like it. There were probably 20 twisters in the field today, some of them strong enough to carry big debris like cardboard boxes or hats 100 metres up. wicked.
Then the van broke down again on the way home. I love this job.

Things I Love / Hate about Australia:
- Kangaroos / Sandflies
- The Outback / Sandflies
- Wall plugs / the phone system

11 Oct - Day 160
Got promoted today - I've got a sweet new ride. This job's looking up...


19 Oct - Day 168
New wildlife:
- Goanna (like a komodo dragon)
- Crazy huge death spider
- Stub-tailed skink

20 Oct - Day 169

It is unelievably hot. You know how hot your car gets if you leave it in the sun for hours in the middle of summer? So hot you feel like you have to let it air out before getting in or you might die? It's hotter. It feels like I'm breathing out of a dryer vent. The sun on my skin feels like I got too close to a campfire and then someone threw some cardboard on. I'm actually amazed that my arm hair isn't being singed off right now.

And it's only "spring". I'm heading to the mountains.

[pic - never ever mildura again]

Snowy Mountains

What a trip. We arrived in Thredbo in the pouring rain, and discovered there was no place to buy maps in the town. We had to wait till the next day to get one, at which point we realized that North American compasses don't work in the Southern hemisphere. So we waited a bit longer. Finally made it to our campsite late on day 2.
Thredbo - S36d30'54.2" E148d17'51.8"
Dead Horse Gap Camp - S 36d31'27.3" E148d15'44.4" ALT: 1595m (5233ft)

[pic - camp]

Day 3 - Exploring Pilot Wilderness, Brumbie Hunting - rain kept us in camp till about 10am, then we headed south into the Pilot wilderness region. We decided to hike "brindle bull hill". There are almost no trails in the area, so it's all bushwalking, but the land is very open so it's easy. We finally made it to the peak, had lunch, then took out the GPS. After a few minutes of "No, the GPS has to be wrong", we realized that we were actually a few kilometres away from brindle bull hill, and I had been accidentally doubling the effect of the magnetic declination. lucky it's open land.
Brindle Bull Hill (ish) - S36d32'17.7" E148d17'49.0" ALT: 1791m (5874ft)

Day 4 - Hiked Mout Kosciuszko, Australia's peak of the Seven Summits. Wicked walk, even though it was foggy and raining. Ended up being 20 km, 2100 vertical feet, in 6.5 hours. We ended up staying in Thredbo again due to the never-ending rain, our exhaustion, and stove trouble.
Mount Kosciuszko - S36d27'20.9" E148d15'48.6" ALT: 2238m (7341ft)
Highest Bathroom in Australia - S36d27'23.1" E148d16'03.7" ALT: 2134m (7001ft)

[pic - summit]

Day 5 - Breakfast in Thredbo, then back to camp. After lunch we headed back south again, but in a different direction. Lots of brumbie tracks, even following our route. Sadly, no brumbies.
Cascade Trail - S36d33'32.1" E148d15'53.8" ALT: 1774m (5822ft)

[pic - brumbie evidence]

Day 6 - Back to Thredbo, got in an hour before the bus to Canberra was scheduled. So we went into a cafe, ordered some meat pies, and then were told that Australia has a daylight savings... and it was the night before. So we're actually 5 minutes late for the bus. We caught it. Just. Perfect ending to the trip.