CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 25 July 2000 - This week found Mike around
Park on Saturday. He went with Steve and Stacey on a hike of
Square Rock. It had
snowed around 3 inches the night before which made for some great scenery. The only
problem with the snow was the fact that the trail was difficult to see at times but
thankfully a group had navigated it already; Steve, Stacey, and Mike only walked into
deadends a couple of times. The weather started out cool but once they got moving the
layers came flying off. The trail took them through some rocky terrain then through
an opening with grass trees (short stumps of grass). After about an hour of walking,
they came to the Orroral Lookout. From there, they could see out over the Orroral Valley
that is surrounded by mountains. Once they'd taken in some of the view, they had a bit
of lunch. They continued to Square Rock going down and up some rather steep grades.
Just before they reached the rock, there was a sign that read "Caution: Cliffs ahead".
After working their way over some small rocks, they climbed a ladder to actually get
to the edge cliff. The view from here was even more spectacular than the one from Orroral
lookout. There was a deep valley than wound its way through some impressive mountains.
Opposite from Square Rock, you could see clouds just above the mountain tops as well as
snow between the trees. After climbing around on the rocks for a while and enjoying the
view, they headed back to the car. On the way back, they saw holes that
burrowed out and presumably lived in. Just before they reached the car, they saw some
kangaroos hiding in the bushes; they had been scared by a couple of dogs that were
running around the meadow.
After started back home, Stacey proposed to make a quick run to
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
The Reserve has lots of kangaroos and emu but its know for its large walk-through
enclosures. They drove in slowly watching as huge groups of 30-50 kangaroos grazed
on the hillside. Once they reached the koala enclosure, Mike and Stacey went in
while Steve stayed in the car and read a book. The enclosure is pretty neat because
the rangers mark where the koalas were last seen and this directed Mike and Stacey
right to the first one which was sleeping on its back in a tree. The next one was
hard to find so they continued on to the next one. After looking in the trees for
about five minutes, Stacey spotted one high in the trees amongst the relatively
thin branches. They tried to get closer by going around a wombat hole but it
was a ways off the trail so they headed back to look for the other koala. They
scanned the trees for the koala but didn't have any luck in the area marked on
the map. Just as they were ready to give up, another group had located it; it was
further down the path. They could see his little hand grab the branch towards his
mouth and his mouth chomp away on the leaves. It was pretty neat. After seeing this,
they headed back to the car and on to the visitor center where they saw some interesting
exhibits on various Australian wildlife. From there, they headed home exhausted from
the day's hike.
Here ends Mike's twelfth week in Australia.