Willow’s Hilarious Face When She Smells A Blue Gum

We’re busy today. Very busy. So if there is anything that you need us to do then I’m afraid it will have to wait. Our calendars are booked out and we have lots of important things to get done, so if you try to call our phones I’m afraid they are switched off!

It’s early Thursday morning and as we leave Hobart city after dropping Steph off at work we venture down to the Huon Valley. We drive past the apple and cherry orchards on our way to our very important appointment. As we turn off Huon Road we see Sleeping Beauty in the distance, the range comprising of Trestle Mountain and Collins Bonnet, named so for its resemblance to a woman lying down.

It is in the foothills of Mount Trestle that we have our important appointment. An appointment with the forest, of course.

At the top of Mountain River Road I park the van by the river and Willow emerges from the blankets. She sits on the table looking out the window at our office for the day, for she knows all too well the importance of our activities for the day.

Here is our schedule. Please pay careful attention as I will not be repeating myself!

8:30am – River and bird watching
9:00am – Snacks
9:15am – Hiking
11:30am – Snacks then nap
12:30pm – Lunch
1:30pm – More river watching
2:30pm – Cup of tea
3:00pm – Snacks

This is Mountain River. It flows from the Northern side of Mount Wellington through dense forest and arrives in the Huon Valley and its orchards before flowing into the Huon River. There hasn’t been a lot of rain lately but the water still rushes past the weathered river stones.

It’s not so noisy that Willow doesn’t want to investigate. She walks down to the bank and looks down stream. She’s still a little unsure and holds her tail low as she composes herself.

We sit on the bank and take in the moment. The air is mild for this deep into winter. The sun hitting the plains below has heated the morning air and it’s risen up the valley.

Behind us there is a serious amount of forest to explore. The old Mountain River fire trail extends deep into Wellington Park. Unfortunately it’s not a place that you can bring pets, though with Willow jumping back into the van and under the blankets I don’t hear any objections.

I lock up the van with Willow safely inside and head up the trail. It’s a steep ascent some 250m elevation over 3km to reach the point where I leave the track and veer into the forest. I’m on the search for Trestle Falls.

There’s no discernible track to the falls, and no signposts or markings. All I have are the GPS coordinates and instinct to guide me half a kilometre through the dense forest down the gully to Trestle Creek. This is regrowth forest, having been logged maybe 80 years ago and grown back thick. It’s much harder to move through than old growth forest.

The forest is luscious but remnants of those logging days are all around us. The scars in the soil of the forest floor run deep from those who toiled it so many years ago. The giant logs that weren’t pulled out of the forest, for whatever reason, prove to be a formidable obstacle on my way to the falls. On many occasion I have to backtrack up the hill to find a better approach as the hill becomes too steep to traverse.

But then, true to the coordinates, there she is. Trestle Falls. I hop down off the rocks that line the creek and clamber up a fallen tree, stepping carefully so not to slip, where I arrive at the base of the falls.

It’s hard to think that places like this are 35 minutes from the hustle and commotion of the city. But here I am, not another soul for kilometres, in my own sanctuary. The water streams over the rock face and above me the birds call out to their lovers.

Since I’ve been working back in Hobart for the last month at the cat shelter days like these seem especially important. When we were living in the van full time these adventures would come by effortlessly as we explored the continent. Now it requires a little more planning and a little bit more motivation. But as I say, it is important.

The city is a place I don’t feel like I always belong. In the forest the pressure to be someone I’m not disappears. This is where I am most me, and as I leap over the logs and negotiate the terrain I cafeel strong.

Go to the place where you feel most you, I think I heard someone say. Maybe that’s a forest, or a coffee shop, or a bowling alley. I don’t know.

When I arrive back at the van, tired and sore after my 2 hours hike, Willow is curled up at the foot of the bed. She meeps at me as I open the door. Now, I should mention. One should not consider going to the forest without suitable supplies. And, one should certainly not find themselves deep in the forest sans pâtisserie, as the French might say.

On the way through Hobart I picked up a treat, an almond croissant and a lemon curd donut. Sorry Willow, the vet says these aren’t for you. Instead Willow gets some of her favourite kitty treats.

After lunch we venture outside again. Willow notices a blue gum sapling and gives it a good sniff. I’m not sure why she does this but when she smells something really interesting she will pull this hilarious face.

You always make me laugh, Willow.

Willow strolls back down to the river to have another look. She looks so full of life when she is exploring. She’s now used to the flow and the sound soothes us both.

At 4pm we will drive back to the city to pick Steph up from work. Then, we will drive to the cottage where the first thing we’ll do is put the electric blankets on!

But until then, we will both stay right here.

* * *

Thanks for joining us on our super important forest appointment! You’ll be glad to know that we were able to check off all our super important forest action items, and we look forward to scheduling another forest meeting with you soon!

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