Somnambulant Blues

Well, this has been a while between posts. What’s it been? More or less a year? Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. I guess I should bring you up to date with the past 12 months? You better grab your favourite crack pipe, as this post might be lengthy (is there any other way?).

For starters, I’m the first to admit I’ve had a bit of blog block. For a year. The result of this is evident in the photo above. I’ve spent so long pondering a post, I’ve lost a bit of weight. More on that later.

Rest assured, eventually I’ll reappear and in the end, it’s been a tradition to shut up shop for a while. I must say, I’ve felt a lament for my writing mojo. Then again, at least it’s only a lament for my mojo, rather than Jim Morrison, who had lament for his cock.

Regarding blogging though, the usual things also apply. The main one is what’s the point? How’s this for a thought. I was reading the other day that half the humans who will ever be born have already done so and there’s a possibility of human extinction within 10,000 years. Mm… if that’s the case, what happens to my readership if everyone is dead? I assume my Google Analytics would be affected? I’ve already seen into the future and had the inevitable conversation.

‘Hey Google, why have my page stats dropped off? To nothing?’
‘That’s because humans’ are extinct’.

‘Oh, that explains things a lot. What about you? Are you dead?’
‘Without doubt.’

‘Ah, I see. What about me?’
‘Oh yeah, you’re long dead’.

‘Phew. That’s lucky. I didn’t want to be the last person left alive and being held as the human benchmark for any alien visitors. I guess it also explains why I don’t need as much sleep as I used to’.

Anyway, you may have thought I’d dropped dead already, but alas I’ve been waking up each day and thinking to myself, ‘Huh? Again?’ Believe it or not, but I have dragged myself out of bed and done the odd walk or two. I had grand plans of spending a year walking and then cataloguing all the bizarre experiences into some sort of book. As it is, I’ve put that idea on hold due to a bung knee. It got so bad that I ended up having an MRI. The result was quite disappointing.

‘Complete radial type tear at the junction of the posterior horn with its root attachment with associated extrusion of the body of the medial meniscus into the medial gutter… full thickness chondral loss involving the patella… etc etc’

In fact, I’m pleased to know I have nine different things wrong with the one knee. At least I’ve got an idea why it hurts all the time. Oh, what’s the medical solution? ‘You need a new knee, but not yet. You’re too young. Come back in a few years. In the meantime, lose some weight you fat bastard.’

So there you go. It was all quite depressing, as there’s only so much walking I can do before the knee turns into an inferno. To top it off, my right knee has a misaligned patella. I won’t even mention my left knee. That one is mr-aligned. Anyway, I considered turning to religion for some answers, but the advice I was given…

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…didn’t seem to be of much use.

So I came up with a traditional solution. Indulge in a multitude of pharmaceuticals and lose some beef. How do you think I went? Well, in a year I’ve lost 20 kg. Do you want to know the secret? Don’t eat. It’s amazing how much weight you lose when you give up food. Even stranger, I’m now taking a smaller shoe size, so it appears I’ve lost weight from my feet. I’m not sure how this is possible, but I appear to be shrinking. As an example, check out the photo of me writing this post.

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The past year has been a mixture of walking and being bogged down with events. I mean, how is one supposed to watch all of the Giro, Le Tour, World Cup and other stuff? Not to mention movies. For every 10 I watch, I seem to miss 20. I’m still waiting for the day when they have a year hiatus from making films. Just for me. That way I might be able to catch up.

Amongst all of this, I’ve been attempting to organise multitudes of images filling external hard drives. What’s my system to keep them in order? THERE IS NO SYSTEM. Sure, digital is great, but it’s a logistical nightmare. Believe it or not though, but I’ve become selective when taking pictures. It only took me a decade to get to this stage.

To think, back in the film days, I’d have a roll of 24 images that I’d make last for months. Huh? How was this possible? I’ve no idea, but I’ve been scanning some of those as well. Whilst doing so, I came across a picture that I’d long forgotten about. The following has absolutely nothing to do with walking, so feel free to skip a few paragraphs.

Anyway, check out this photo.

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Okay, as you can see, it appears to be the world’s most boring photo. I’m happy to admit that’s the case, but there is a valid reason I took a picture of a random chair. The image is over 30 years old and it was taken at Port Arthur in Tasmania.

Now, the context is the room is supposedly haunted. Attached to a wall in this room were a number of other photos. Some of those pictures had a glowing light sitting in the chair. I was excited!

‘I’ll take a photo and when I get it developed in a couple of months, I might have an image of a ghost!’

I think you already know the answer to my ghost recording endeavour.

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Yes, I wasted money getting two extremely dull pictures printed. Sans ghost. When I found these photos, it got me wondering. I’m officially over ghost stories. Let me explain.

Over the years, I’ve given them a fair go, but alas, they haven’t been appearing. I even hung around the Beechworth Asylum, hoping for some ghostly action…

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Beechworth Asylum, Beechworth

…but, I got nothing. I did enjoy the Bushwacker sandwich at the Beechworth Bakery though.

Okay, so I was loitering around the asylum during the day. Maybe after dark is ghost preferred? Which comes to my overall dissatisfaction. Why do they have such strict working conditions? Who did their enterprise bargaining? Caspar? He seemed quite good with people skills and now that he’s older, I’m sure he could be a proficient negotiator.

Just take a look at their requirements. Why does it have to be night for them to appear? Why do they only hang out in old, derelict buildings? Does it have to be a cold and stormy evening for optimum performance? I was telling this to someone once and you know what their answer was?

‘The reason why you don’t see them, is you don’t believe. They will appear if you believe in their existence.’

Huh? Are you kidding me? I didn’t realise they were so fussy. Let it be known. There’s nothing more high maintenance than a ghost.

‘You don’t believe in me? Ha! I wouldn’t dare waste my time sheeting up for you Big Greg!’

Recently, I spent some time up in the Jagungal Wilderness and apparently the Grey Mare Hut…

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Grey Mare Hut, Jagungal Wilderness

…is haunted. Well, that’s what one guide book says and guess what? Oh yes, in fitting with ghost working conditions, the hauntings only happen on cold, winter nights. When the weather turns, I’m heading up there and spending a few nights. I’ll certainly be disappointed if I don’t see this bloke…

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‘I can’t be near you/the light just radiates’

…waiting for me when I walk through the door.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how many apparitions keep me awake. I’ve a fair hunch the only phantom to emanate, will be from my socks after a few days of hiking in the same pair. They don’t get called ‘Satan’s Socks’ for no reason. I won’t even mention the ‘Undertaker’s Underpants’.

As this post is going nowhere fast, I guess I should wrap it up. What’s to come? Well, it’s best I finish writing up the Fortress Circuit in the Grampians. If I can remember what happened. Oh, believe it or not, but I never did finish detailing the southern circuit of Wilsons Promontory. Then again, it was 10 years ago, so that one might be tricky to write up. Luckily, I re-did it last year, so I guess I’ll morph the trips together. Give or take a decade or so.

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Sunset, Oberon Bay, Wilsons Promontory

Actually, going back to the book idea earlier in the post. I kept a record of the weird goings-on when I’ve been out walking. Instead of trying to publish something, I might as well detail them in the blog. For free. Don’t say I’m not generous.

Anyway, I thought I was odd, but I’m sane compared to some of the freaks I came across at the Prom last summer. Oh, I’m not complaining, as it provides plenty of material. When the time comes, I’ll tell you all about the bloke who woke me up at Sealers Cove. Whilst he was being a gorilla. Following this, a possum ate his nuts and then finally he came down with gastro. It’s a wild story. Rest assured. If you’re bonkers, I’m taking notes. Oh, the landscape was nice as well.

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Sealers Cove, Wilsons Promontory

Where else have I been? There are the usual walking locations with a few different places here and there. I’ve explored the Lal Lal-Bungal Historic Area over multiple trips and while I’m at it, do you remember the post regarding the Shepherd’s Daughter’s Grave within the same area? Have a look at this ABC article. It sheds more light to the story, although I’d sack the photographer. Actually, I also did a phone interview with the reporter. He didn’t use it though. I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s because I sound like a squirrel on helium when I talk? Who knows?

Overall, the whole locality can be hit and miss. I’ve written about it before, but I still like the blast furnace…

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Interior of Blast Furnace chimney, Lal Lal 

…but I’m not so keen on Mt Rubber.

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Where else? I revisited the Big Walk at Mt Buffalo last spring. Complete with some snow still around.

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Whilst in the area, I gave Mt Pilot a visit as well.

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Sunset, Mt Pilot, Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park

Oh, I mustn’t forget the Great Ocean Walk. Again. I’m not sure how, but I’ve done it five times now. No matter which season, every trip has delivered some amazing sights. Such as sunrise at Johanna Beach…

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Johanna Beach, Great Ocean Walk

…and in winter. A very stormy Station Beach near Cape Otway.

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Winter on Station Beach, Cape Otway 

Don’t forget the wildlife either.

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Swordgrass brown butterfly

Sure, I’ve been down there a million times, but why hasn’t someone told me about this? It’s the first time I’d seen it.

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Anchor near Seal Point, Cape Otway

At ground level, there have been wide open roads…

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…while higher up, I was stalked by an eagle across the top of Langi Ghiran.

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Speaking of feathers. I’m not sure what to make of this. They don’t appear to be natural.

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Lastly, but not least. There was a convoluted trip with Smuffin into the Simpson Desert. Generally, it was a combination of heat, sand and billions of flies. Oh, plus the build-up of a storm, which appeared to be the largest in the history of mankind. Preempted by hours of lightning…

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Lightning in sandstorm, Simpson Desert

…before a biblical wind deposited most of the Simpson Desert into my tent, until I resembled an Egyptian archaeological dig. All for precisely eight drops of rain. Never has a massive storm, being so weak as piss when it actually arrived.

Anyway, amongst all of this, I did spot some potential areas to hike. Sure, it looks kinda crap, but at least you don’t have to worry about climbing any hills.

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Sturt Stony Desert

The Big Red sand dune was conquered…

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Big Red, Simpson Desert

…and although I know nothing about cars, I am aware that a chassis rail shouldn’t look like this.

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This led to being stuck at Innamincka (population 12) for FIVE DAYS. It’s quite a story. Complete with a 1000 km trip in a tow truck with a bloke who was missing half a foot. And some fingers.

Anyway, that’s all to come. When I get around to it. Next up though. The Grampians. In signing off, I must report that priest I saw. He’s got a shocking attitude.

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