The great thing about having a campervan is that it’s always ready to go. So instead of driving home last Friday afternoon, I picked up Steph and we drove away on another adventure.
Of course Willow was already in the van tucked up in the blankets wondering why we weren’t on our usual path. Though, when we arrived it was clear to her that we would not be sleeping in a house that night.
Our fridge was stocked from my afternoon grocery trip and the cupboards were full of snacks. While I started on dinner Willow jumped up onto the dashboard and looked out into the forest that would be our home for the next few nights.
We had travelled down the Tasman Peninsula to a State Forest that I knew would be peaceful.
Whether we are in a van or a house Willow seems to take it all in her stride. It’s true that she’s not as adventurous as she used to be – none of us are getting any younger – but there’s something so poignant about the times we spend exploring together.
Though, right then she was busy exploring the blankets at the foot of the bed. It was sleep time and as the air got cooler outside the van and trees swayed with the wind the three of us were wrapped up tight and snug.
In the morning we supervised as Willow explored our little patch. She is always intent on smelling the underside of the van for what wondrous scents it must pick up on our drives.
After she has finished her van inspection she will always settle herself in the sun, the cool spring morning no contender for its warming rays.
We drove along to the lookout high above Pirates Bay. I was shocked to see that the area had recently been taken over by the Parks & Wildlife Service. A new sign had been erected with the clear message that pets were no longer welcome. I respect that, but my heart aches for another treasure we will no longer be able to visit with Willow.
I don’t know the politics of it all but our state owned forestry service which manages 800,000 hectares of production forest once maintained an array of lookouts and picnic areas across the state. In cost cutting measures and downsizing they have now left many of these places to rot or dumped their responsibility on the already strained Parks & Wildlife Service.
What this means is that there has been a huge reduction in pet friendly areas in Tasmania, which is sad for us and even sadder for our best friends.
We drove out of the forest and parked by the beach at Pirates Bay. Willow jumped up onto the table and took a look outside. The bright morning was giving way to rolling clouds coming in from the West and the sun sparkled waves gave their final crashes.
Willow watched the bright blue Superb Fairy-wren from the window as they danced and hopped by the picnic table.
I’m not sure if they want to be your friends, Willow, and I’m not sure you want to be theirs either!
Yes, cats and wildlife do not mix well, so inside Willow shall stay. Before I could get my camera to take a photo of the blue beauties the rain drizzled down and drove them all away.
Though, the rain never bothers us much. Inside the van we were warm and cosy. Willow jumped down from the table as Steph and I made some lunch and watched the waves break on the sand as we ate it.
Willow made herself at home on the dashboard once more.
The sun was coming out again now and the tops of the waves sparkled once more. Willow commenced her afternoon nap as Steph and I grabbed our puffer jackets and walked along the beach by the sandstone cliffs, hoping we would stay dry.
That evening we would drive back up to the forest for one more night amongst the eucalypts before driving back to the cottage and the work week to come.
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Thanks for coming along with us on this weekend adventure. Yes, I’m sad we won’t be able to visit the lookout any more, we had many great times up there. And no, Steph and I didn’t stay dry on our walk! Along the other end of the beach the skies opened up and we had to shelter by a sandstone enclave as the drizzle passed before we made it back to Willow and the van. But, that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?