Saturday, June 29, 2013

1000 Steps

I joined a hiking club! Can you believe that? First softball, now hiking. You'd almost get the impression that I like being active.

I joined my first hike on Monday. It was in the Dandenongs, a little mountain range on the outer edges of the greater Melbourne area. (I think. Don't quote me on that information.) I caught a commuter train to the start of the hike and met up with the rest of the group. We were climbing a track called The 1000 Steps, though the others informed me that it's really only about 750 steps.

I quite like hiking, compared to jogging or running, which I passionately despise. But I'm out of shape, and it wasn't long before the rest of the group had disappeared and left me huffing and puffing at a snail's pace up those 750 steps. Meanwhile, lithe young ladies in exercise gear jogged past me.

When we reached the top, there was an option to hike back down and go home, or continue on a longer track for the next several hours. I was the only one to choose home. It's important to know one's limits! And it did afford me a nice walk through peaceful woods.

Well, somewhat peaceful. Now and again, a branch would creak threateningly. A few weeks ago, when we were in Adelaide, I had dinner with my friend and her new man. Her man carried a pager, a satellite phone, and a iPhone which all kept bleeping at him. It seems he is a weekend volunteer for tree-clearing services, and there were some felled branches that needed attention. I commented that I found that odd, given the weather. It had rained very heavily the previous day, but there hadn't been any wind to speak of. Was the rain causing branches to fall? They explained to me that gum trees drop their branches willy-nilly, whenever they want. Tree-clearing services operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So yeah, good information to know as you walk through a forest of eucalyptus trees...

A little bit of research tells me that these trees are giant mountain ash trees, or eucalyptus regnans. The tallest living tree of this species is the third tallest (living) tree in the world, but historical records indicate that there used to be an even taller one, giving the species the potential to be the tallest in the world. Hard to say for sure, but it certainly competes with the redwoods and other western U.S. giants.

1 comment:

  1. Cool! Have fun hiking. Hubby and I might go on a San Juan hike this weekend.