Frosted Swans


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Published: June 25th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

National Library CanberraNational Library CanberraNational Library Canberra

An early morning reveals a bit of hot air over the library
I have had this little voice in my head very recently “Have you written a blog yet?” Actually I realised it was not a voice in my head, it was Andy!

Ok, so I have been a little slack in a long while, but it seems that I don’t have too much of an excuse at the moment as I find myself with some spare time on my hands. I took the momentous decision to give up my job, it came to a point that the work life balance was no longer in existence, the balance was too heavy on the work side and it was affecting my health. A brave move but it was the best thing and the right thing to do.

So, I have been spending my new found time catching up on things that I have been wanting to do for a while, and one of those is to spend time getting fit and seeing some more sights of Canberra at the same time.

There is no doubt about it but Canberra is beautiful in the winter, albeit the cold weather is not my thing, the freezing temperatures, cloudless nights and the rising sun
Lake Burley GriffinLake Burley GriffinLake Burley Griffin

A little bit of frost on the board walk, very slippery!
makes for some stunning scenery. I have not been out with my camera, which is a pity but I aim to do that in the coming weeks, I have been concentrating on doing some walking to get healthy and have taken some pictures on my phone so the quality may not be the best, but I hope that you can appreciate what I am seeing.

While I was still working, I had taken to having an early morning walk up Mount Ainslie. Reliant on Andy being so spritely in the mornings, he has been my alarm call, as always with a cup of tea resting on my bedside table for me.

By 6.30 I am sitting at the bottom of Mount Ainslie waiting for my friend Anna to arrive and as soon as she does, wrapped up warm we hit the trail and head to the top, the first part is the hardest, I don’t think it matters how fit you are (or aren’t) it is a tough and invigorating start before it plateau’s slightly with a final big effort up a number of steps and you hit the summit.

Being so early and of course being
CormorantCormorantCormorant

Enjoying the early morning sunshine
one of Canberra’s many nature parks you often see kangaroo’s hopping around and will often hop in front of you along the formed path.

The best part of the walk, let me tell you the effort of every step is worth it for the stunning scenery that welcomes you at some intervals and then finally at the top of the Mount. Especially beautiful when the low cloud sits in the basins in and around Canberra below, the small mountain ranges poking through the top and the sunshine has this amazing effect as it lights everything else up around the clouds. It is no wonder that morning flights at the airport are usually delayed at this time of year, the runway is shrouded.

Using the big outdoors is a popular past time in Canberra, there are plenty of gyms here, but who can blame people for using them when the early morning temperatures are at -5. You feel it less once you have been on the go for a short while, once I was tempted to take my ear warmers off, but the wind was so cold at the top of Mount Ainslie, it soon went on again!
Frosted SwansFrosted SwansFrosted Swans

At minus 5 even the swans feathers have frost on them!

I nearly forgot to mention, that as we take a nice steady walking pace, there are several people that jog right on past! That would be just a little bit too crazy for me, but each to their own!

Ok, if Mount Ainslie is too strenuous then there is always Lake Burley Griffin, another popular exercise area, very often you see individuals with their personal trainers doing “boot camp” on the edge of the lake. This one I tend to do slightly later, I am dropping Andy off at the office and then I drive down to the Lake and park, there are normally quite a few people around at 7.30am, joggers, walkers, cyclist’s etc. but one way or another we are all out braving the cold weather and getting some exercise, it is a great way to start the day.

One particular morning, when I started out it was -5 and the sun was shining, by the time I had finished a huge black cloud had cloaked Canberra and it felt so cold that I could not feel my face, but it was still worth it, the frost was thick on the ground and even the Black
Mount AinslieMount AinslieMount Ainslie

A view from the summit.
Swans had frost on their feathers, that is something that I have never seen before!

They call it bridge to bridge, a circular walk that is roughly 5 kilometres and takes in both the Commonwealth Avenue and the Kings Avenue Bridges. On a good day it takes me roughly 51 minutes to do the 5k, give or take a few seconds either way. Trouble is that on a good day, I also keep stopping to take pictures on my phone.

While I am not working, and I am not planning on doing that for a while, I need to keep up my motivation, so getting up early and doing some exercise is the best way to do it. I have a growing list of things to do stuck on the fridge, I hope to gradually tick them all off.

On another note, we had a long weekend recently, hmmm, a public holiday to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, so we made sure we had a great weekend and as we were having a Sunday lie in Andy promised a good fry up for breakfast (he promised me the night before), neither of us could be bothered to move,
Frost MorningFrost MorningFrost Morning

Lake Burley Griffin
so 10 minutes later he said “stuff that, let’s go out for breakfast!” Well, who am I to argue with that? If there was one thing to make me get out of bed then that was it.

A short while later washed, dressed and out of the door, we were heading out of Canberra and up to Gunning, which is about an hour’s drive from Canberra, and sits just a couple of minutes off the Hume Highway that runs between Melbourne and Sydney. A nice little place called The Old Hume Café which is a very popular café and would also seem to be a popular haunt for motorcyclists out for a Sunday ride.

Andy and I have been here a few times before and the very first time was just over 3 years ago when we first met Robert and Helen. Andy and Robert had driven some rams up to Gunning to meet up with some sheep they had on agistment. They started out very early and Helen and I drove up later to meet them for lunch. It was in fact “Black Saturday” a day we shall never forget.

Our drive up to Gunning had taken in a lovely picturesque drive up through Sutton and Gundaroo, it was a beautiful day, just a little bit cold, but as long as you were sheltered in the sunshine it was lovely and warm. By the time we arrived, breakfast had really turned into brunch, but hey, I am not complaining, I was quite hungry by then and looking forward to a plateful of tucker.

After brunch we hit the road again and headed out toward Collector, this time hitting a dirt track, whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery I told Andy to ease off the accelerator as I could see from the passenger side (chief navigator and co driver’s seat, that is), a mob of 40 or so Kangaroo’s speedily traversing across the bush and the way they were heading was going to intersect with the track we were on, Andy eased off and came to a stop, sure enough suddenly all of these Kangaroo’s sprang onto the track in front of us, it was all pretty quick and thus I did not get a good enough photograph, but the sight was spectacular.

We started the truck and slowly continued on our way, the Kangaroo’s by now had dispersed in all directions, some on the track, some on the bushland both sides and one poor little roo seemed to be on its own trying to find its way through the fence.

Crossing the Federal Highway and on to Tarago, a tiny, tiny little village just to the North East of Lake George, if you blink you will miss it, but we have been here before, we came on the train nearly 2 years ago for Christmas in July (that was a cold night!!).

Lake George was empty when we first arrived in Canberra and I had not realised it was actually meant to be a lake, I was told a while ago that the main highway was regularly shut when the lake flooded it. That of course changed with so many years of drought and the highway was also raised.

Since we arrived in Canberra, the drought has broken and the Lake is slowly looking like a lake again, still a way to go but it is quite impressive. There is a wind farm that sits on the Eastern side of the lake and the giant turbines still manage to pale into insignificance
Autumn LeavesAutumn LeavesAutumn Leaves

This picture does not really do justice to how these trees look as the season changes, in just a couple of weeks since taking this photo, the trees are bare.
in this vast landscape (I know some will not agree with that comment). I took several photos and have stitched them together but after much shrinkage, still cannot get the right size to upload to the blog, but I will keep trying.

We arrived home late afternoon, in time to have cup of tea and put our feet up to enjoy the remaining light of the day.

We have done a bit of 4 wheel driving, Andy had a telephone call from a friend of ours in Sydney to say that he was heading out for the weekend with some friends and they wanted to spend a day in the Brindabella’s and head down to McIntyres Hut.

So one gloomy Saturday morning and a quick swing by Macca’s for breakfast we headed out to the Brindabella’s and the pre-arranged meeting place at the top of the Gentle Annie Track (far from gentle).

The weather did not look as if it was going to be kind to us, we also had a couple of close calls with the wildlife, truly amazed at how we missed the kangaroo’s and would be certain that we clipped a tail as we narrowly missed one hopping straight across in front of us.

Our friend Greig arrived with his two friends, we discussed track conditions, tyre pressures and ensured that we were both on the same UHF channel then headed down the track.

Sometimes Gentle Annie reminds me of Piccadilly Circus, for a place that is far out in the sticks it gets very busy! Every now and then we get a call on the UHF to warn us of oncoming traffic, we pull over to ensure that the oncoming has right of way coming up the track.

A brief break down at Flea Creek day area and we are soon back on the trail and heading up Webbs Ridge, as we advance the weather starts to come in and some rain drops are now appearing on the screen, discussion over UHF reveals that perhaps McIntyres may not be a good option if it gets too slippery. We are not too concerned about bodywork damage but Greig has a lot more bodywork on his vehicle to worry about and equally we don’t want to put either of us in a situation that we don’t have to get into.

At the top of the waterfall trail, we pull over to make our final decision and have some lunch, the rain is not heavy but very fine and it is starting to make things quite muddy, so we decided not to take the risk with McIntyres, instead I picked a route to get us out of the Brindabella’s and back towards Canberra.

We drove out via Two Sticks, being very aware of the now slippery conditions I kept regular contact with Greig in behind so that he was fully prepared for the conditions, stopping at every junction so that we could be sure that Greig was behind us and on the right track.

Eventually we hit the bitumen, by now it was pouring with rain, I held the umbrella whilst Andy reinflated the tyres, we said our goodbyes to Grieg and his friends and we hit the road toward home.

That will do for now, but there are a couple of exciting trips coming up, next month I am heading out to Fiji for a short break(no boys allowed) and following that a few weeks later we are heading to the UK for a short while to catch up with family and friends.

Until next time.

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25th June 2012

Bout time! ;-)
hi Caroline & Andy, Was just thinking the other day (when you guys were mentioned in the forums) that we hadn't heard from you in a while, and wondered what you'd been up to. Sounds like a good decision you made Caroline, and a great attitude to making the most of the extra time. Cold Canberra actually looks quite pretty - well done :-)
From Blog: Frosted Swans
25th June 2012

Making the most of it!
Hi Jo, thanks very much for your very speedy comment. It was sadly a decision that had to be made, I have been working on the toughest contract in my whole career and at the pace that I was working, I could not really sustain it for much longer, it was pretty full on for 2years. I am off to Fiji next month and we have 5 weeks planned for UK and Singapore, we do have some longer term plans but I am certainly not thinking about work until at least October. I haven't had the time to read any forums, so perhaps I should have a catch up! Take Care Caroline
From Blog: Frosted Swans
27th June 2012

Stunning photos
Love the blog and photos. Wish we were there with you, but soooooooooo looking forward to your visit home. See you soon, can hardly wait. xx
From Blog: Frosted Swans

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