“There's a race of men that don't fit in, A race that can't sit still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will. They range the field and rove the flood, And they climb the mountain's crest; Their's is the curse of the gypsy blood, And they don't know how to rest.”
- Robert Service

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Karri in a Hurry!

We've been on a delightful road trip with Michael's Uncle Keith and Aunt Sue this week. It seems they know everybody around these parts, and have been able to stay with other extended family members or friends as we've traveled south from Perth to Margaret River and to our current "home" in Denmark. We made plenty of detours along the way, including to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the South-Westiest point of Australia. I feel like I've seen lots of lighthouses in the last 12 months....(but it really doesn't get old!)

But while we've been driving, I've spent plenty of time gazing out the car window curious about all of the new and interesting flora and fauna. So many new things! Especially so are the trees. These Australian trees really are quite special, though I mostly notice only two types: the Karri Trees, and the Xanthorrhoea (commonly known as "Blackboys." But a politically correct person in public might rather use its scientific name...).

The Karris are straight tall giants - gum trees that shed their bark and look smooth and blonde. They're so tall, that they were used as fire lookout posts. One of those posts remains accessible to the public, and courageous travelers can try their luck at ascending the seemingly impossible re-bar ladder. It's called the Gloucester Tree. The refurbished lookout at the treetop is about 72 metres from the ground.Wikipedia says that only 20% of people who start up actually continue to the top, and for good reason. That ladder is fucking scary! There's absolutely no way an attraction like this would exist in North America without a required signed waiver and safety ropes.

But we did it! And I didn't fall!

Sorry, mom. Better to beg forgiveness though, right?
I've just started up the ladder. They'res a wire cage to the outside of the latter to keep people from sliding off to the side, but you're on your own if you fall straight down....
 Now, the Blackboy trees are really interesting, at least from my vantage point. These guys grow impossibly slow, which is the reason for their blackened trunks; forest fires are a regular occurance in Western Australia (WA), and they've all been charred. But they survived!

Just how long do they survive? Well, check out the photo below, with Michael for reference.

The human is 1778 mm tall. The Blackboy is taller than this.
 These "trees" grow at a staggering rate of only a few milimetres per year. Based on math, where we'll guess this baby grows 5mm in a year (1778mm/5mm), a Michael sized tree is 355 years old. But this one is taller! I reckon this one is at least a half century, at the least! Rad.

But here are some other cool things:

The smallest busker in ever. His dad watched on from another park bench. He rocked some sweet lulabys.
Darn tootin, I put some shrimp on the barby!
I've seen my share of 'Roos, but these two were large Western Grey Kangaroos! REAL LIVE KANGAROOS!

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