Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Long Day of Exploring Part II

After a few hours hiking in Palm Beach, I wanted to jump in the water, but decided to wait until Part II of my excursion so I wouldn’t be sandy and saltwatery on the bus. (Sweaty was ok for some reason.) So when I got to Avalon, which is about 5 or 6 km from Palm Beach, it was time for a dip. I swam a few laps in the rock pool to cool off before my next hike.

A 10-15 minute walk from the beach is the Angophora Reserve, named for angophora trees, which are related to eucalyptus. The reserve comprises about 45 acres of vegetation and walking trails. Actually, I learned about it after looking at the city bus map and wondering what that section of green was. After some googling, I found out Avalon is one of the only suburbs in Sydney where koalas are still found naturally so I knew I had to go. Unfortunately I saw more signs warning of koalas than actual critters, but I figured it’d be a long shot I’d actually see one in the wild.

Even without koalas, the walk was incredible. It felt like a rainforest — dark and humid with palms and fern growing below trees filled with cackling kookaburra and squalling cockatoo.

But when I set out on the trail in the late afternoon, I forgot to make any efforts to find out where the hike would go and how long I’d be on it. I ended up in a residential area and decided to take to the streets instead of wandering the isolated nature path. It was about the time the thunder started to roll that I admitted I didn’t know where I was or where I was going. When the drizzle began, I realized I was on the opposite side of the valley I needed to be.

I kept walking, declining a ride offer from two guys in a truck and finding a stray dog who followed me to the convenience store I eventually found to confirm my way back to the bus stop. It turned into a 35-minute walk in light rain, but I made it. And hey, the whole premise of this blog was for me to get a little lost, so the day was a success. (I then came home, passed out by 9ish and slept for 12 hours.)

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