14 August 2006

Take the Road Less Travelled ...

Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" ....

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I first came across this poem when I was around 8 years old, and I've since lived such a life - taking roads less travelled, and loving every moment of it.

And that's exactly the way I approached the last part of my Blue Mountains journey. After lunch in Katoomba, while my legs are sore, there's more to see. And here are photos from the rest of that trip, down in Evans Lookout, Grose Valley Lookout and coming back to Sydney by the Bell Lines of Road.

And as usual, the photos will do that talking, and you can click on the photos to get the actual sized image.

The historic Hydro Majestic Hotel has a famous tea house with famous views of the Megalong Valley.

On the other side of the Blue Mountains, you get the Grose Valley, another series of valleys, triassic sandstone mountains, majestic in every sense, and in some sense, more spectacular than the Katoomba views because the mountains are closer to you, and they frame your view better.

And there's more walking tracks. I wanted to do the Grand Canyon Walking Track, but was advised against it. I was tired from the morning walk, it takes around 3-4 hours again, and it's supposed to be even more challenging, and in exactly 4 hours, the sun would set. So, the Grand Canyon walk will just have to wait for a next go.

This is Govett's Leap, a 600 meters drop of a pretty tame river, actually. The picture is taken from the Govett's Leap lookout, and I actually took the 40 minute track from the lookout to the Waterfall. In case you haven't read the previous post, Leap is the Scottish word for waterfall.

The Grose Valley is carved by a zig zagging river, which is fed off water from Govett's Leap and a few smaller waterfalls. It's amazing how water, over millions of years, could carve out such beautiful works.

Details of some of the sandstone cliffs found near Govett's Leap. Charles Darwin visited this site and recognised that the different layers of rocks exposed in the cliff face correspond to different periods in history when they are being deposited. And much throughout Blue Mountains, the bottom most layer contains coal, which is really compacted carbon and shale, another form of carbon. Blue Mountains was first opened for coal mining.

Having had all the hiking my body can take (my legs were cramping by the end of 6 hours worth of hard trekking), I headed back to Sydney, but I took the alternative route. The normal route to and from Blue Mountains is to use the Great Western Highway. Well, I took a much longer, but more scenic road, the Bell Lines of Road. It routed through some great country, full of farms, horse stables, and most importantly, apple orchards. Bilpin, Granny Smity, Red Lady, Pink Lady ... these are all produced in a town called Bilpin, along the route home.

Spring is still about a month away, but the apple trees are all budding, ready to bloom into life !!! And it gave a pinkish hue to all the apple trees all along the way.

So, what better way to celebrate the coming of spring with a fresh apple from an apple orchard? Here's me having a Pink Lady apple with an apple orchard in the background. It's really crunchy, delicious, and was kinda cheap. I got a bag of 20 apples for 5 dollars. And then a litre of apple juice from $3.50 ... not too bad.

The rest of the way was interesting, passing through the quintessential Aussie country side settings - large farms with horses and cattle, orchards of various sizes and shapes, small towns in the middle of nowhere.

As an outsider, I see more of the Australia the tourism people want me to see - the glamourous Sydney, the expensive places, the neon signs or the magnificent views. But often, the soul of a place, the very heartbeat that made it unique, is not in the touristy places.

I won't be able to describe it over a few posts or blogs. My command of the English language won't sufficiently allow for it. Maybe there isn't a way to describe it.

Australia is absolutely beautiful as a country, with great ocean views, mountains and other natural treasures. However, what defines it as such a great nation is not simply the natural treasures. It's the way the people love the great outdoors and choose to have a lifestyle that promotes and preserves the outdoors and the environment. It's them making a choice to love, preserve and enjoy nature.

10 comments:

Amelia said...

When the time came for me to decide on where I should go for my higher secondary schooling & tertiary education, I also took the road less travelled.. I went to Melbourne. The rest of my family members were either in England or NZ. And that had made a difference in my life. :p

As you said, "Australia is absolutely beautiful as a country.." I totally agree. :)

Thanks for sharing your lovely pixs.

angel said...

*wipes sweat*
Phewwww... no food pics this time :P

Love the waterfall!!!

*steals a bite of the Pink Lady*

moz monster said...

amelia: It's good to be different, isn't it?

angel: *uwaaaaaa!!!* ... why steal a bite of my Pink Ladyliu ??? I had kept a few apples for you lah !!!

*throws violated apple down waterfall*

>-) ... I'm so nasty ...

Che-Cheh said...

You know what Moz ? You change my perspective towards Australia particularly Sydney. Thanks for all the travel posts.

Jemima said...

Just a suggestion for future post, fruits that are in season now.:)
Maybe from the fresh fruit market, i.e., if you don't have time to visit any orchards while you're still there.

Thanks again for all your posts since you've been there.

moz monster said...

che-cheh: You know what che-cheh? I change my own perspective towards Australia. Even after studying here for 2 years, I never saw Australia in the same light as I did in this short period ... that's something, huh?

jemima: Fruits?? Nah ... I'd do flowers and plants instead, coz' that's something I'd be doing anyways when I'm out hiking - photographing the plant and flowers around me ... how about that ???

Jemima said...

Oh Yes! Plants & Flowers would be great. I really miss those Aussie native plants.

Thanks, Moz. Will be waiting for your post. :p

moz monster said...

jemima: Haha ... ok ... that's a blog I'll do soon. I need to do a Top Ten soon ... my hands are really itching ....

Inevitable said...

My colleague just came back from Aust told me that the air/weather is so good there that his sinus stopped. But as soon as he stepped into KLIA, it came back...

moz monster said...

inevitable: While it's no secret that KL air is pretty bad, I think sinus is a problem that can be caused by any more than one causes. Anyways, he should really see an ENT specialist lah ...

But hehehe .... it's true that the air in Sydney is a lot cleaner than KL's ...