Sunday, January 27, 2008

I walk among the giants.

Jan 25

Early this morning I stood on a 60-meter girder of swaying aluminum 40 meters above the forest floor. This was the treetop walk in the valley of the giants, and it is home to some of the largest trees in the world – the tingles. They get their name from the light red color of their bark; tingle is the local aboriginal word for red. At eight this morning underneath overcast skies, I am the only biped above the forest floor. The bark is spongy and rough and in many places seared by fire. I see two kookaburras and hear many more. The forest looks ancient, and indeed these trees only inhabit a 6,000 square hectare area of the world here in southwestern Australia. They are leftovers from millions of years of evolution.

On the forest floor I see the insides of the trunk are hollowed out from fire, fungus and whatever else happens in a 400-year-old life-span. Some of them look like quaint little homes; many are tall enough that on the inside my six-foot-five frame fits comfortably. I was glad I stopped. This was worth the extra ten km to get here.

I stopped by the general store by Bow Bridge. Decided to treat myself to breakfast on the lovely patio draped with grape leaves. I had a bacon, beef and cheese meat pie baked in Denmark, my destination that day, which was still 42 km off. Despite its good taste and apparent quality, I could not help but think of "Sweeney Todd" and the meat pies in that movie. I finished it off with a Devonshire tea, two scones, cream and jam. This, combined with the overcast sky, left me feeling pretty English. I washed it all down with a cup of much coveted coffee. The only native animals I saw today were birds. With the exception of the trees, I might have been in Cornwall on a very hot day.

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