Foster: 2 November 2014

Mount Foster GPS route

Mount Foster GPS route

fall, I took a fall, I took it easy…

on the surface, I was perfect;

but down, way down below,

I started believing,

I deserved it, was I worthless?

(Taken by the Sea – Darren Hayes)

 

So I’ve had these lyrics running through my head for a little bit now, which is always reason to think a bit more about them, and work out what they might say about life at the moment. I’d certainly be the first to admit I wasn’t perfect (don’t think any of us are, except in our imperfections), but I think the general gist about appearing fine and in control on the outside, and being far from it on the inside is kind of clear. And I think everyone can relate to this at various points in time.

Leunig's Herbal Remedy for Lifeache

Leunig’s Herbal Remedy for Lifeache.. like this one 🙂

So why? What is it that has us taking that fall, taking it easily, until we doubt even our worth? Nothing does it like rejection or the break down or betrayal of a relationship. But why should that affect us more than anything, given that nothing about us and who we are as individuals, in essence, has actually changed? Why should what one person thinks, says and behaves like matter to us more than anyone else, to the extent it makes us deaf to or unbelieving of all the other important people in our lives? Fascinating, really…

Out of the snow.. and blue sky and a hint of rainbow awaits.. these sheep managed to avoid snowy white blankets, not so their neighbours!

Out of the snow.. and blue sky and a hint of rainbow awaits.. these sheep managed to avoid snowy white blankets, not so their neighbours!

So I set out, yet again, in the hope that maybe nature would have an answer for me… or rather, as with Leunig’s Herbal Remedy for Lifeache, a personalised remedy for managing the symptoms of ‘lifeache’ and building a little bit of self worth, the kind I could actually believe in. Because this was clearly something I needed to figure out myself, not something anyone else could fix.

Starting to head up, a little bit of height gain and I'm already checking out the view! Ben Lomond..

Starting to head up, a little bit of height gain and I’m already checking out the view! Ben Lomond..

I was somewhat sceptical, and the weekend had already been turned on its head. A scheduled club walk (well really paddle-walk-paddle) was first relocated from the windy and wet southwest to the north, the number of participants dropped by more than half, and then late Saturday night it was called off. My back wasn’t going to complain, and probably it was a wise call.

The 'road'.. which I discovered was actually a Forward Boundary! Nice and easy walking anyway..

The ‘road’.. which I discovered was actually a Forward Boundary! Nice and easy walking anyway..

I was a little disappointed I’d not gone somewhere on the Saturday afternoon, even if it had only been to a beach on the east coast, but I wasn’t going to miss the chance to spend some time in the bush on Sunday, even if the options were significantly restricted by the weather. So I figured it was time to pay Foster a visit, and then, if my mood dictated it, I’d go on a (likely wet) walk to Cathcart Bluff. I didn’t want to be pushing too hard, I had bigger plans for the Monday (like like lunch with a Hippo, but that’s another story).

Foster.. not looking particularly mountainous.. but at least I can see it!

Foster.. not looking particularly mountainous.. but at least I can see it!

So I set out nice and early, driving through the rain, having blind faith that where I was headed was going to be better than where I was. But it got worse first.. some unintentional practice water skiing in a circle in my car at a mere 35-40km an hour had me drive slower than I ever have, at first out of caution, then because the snow was kind of nice to enjoy (yep, it was snowing on the midlands, right down to the road.. I called Cathcart off immediately). I laughed when I drove past sheep wearing, through no choice of their own, blankets of snow. But it was even nicer to pop out the other side, and see pale blue light on the horizon, even if the clouds and mountains were still dark and moody.

A happy flower.. does he make you smile too?

A happy flower.. does he make you smile too?

Through Campbell Town, right onto the road towards Fingal, then shortly past Avoca I had to choose. Which way to go? Probably the better way is through Ormley, but as the sign there asks (quite understandably) for visitors to respect the farm biosecurity and either call (no number given) or visit the house first I figured I probably shouldn’t go that way. It was 7.30 on a Sunday morning and I didn’t think that was really fair..

The Caladenias were out in force

The Caladenias were out in force

So I drove to road no. 2, one I’d mapped a long long time ago, which according to the roads on my gps mapping software, would get you very close to the summit if it was in good condition, but would be useless if not, as it was a rather convoluted route that took you away from the mountain before you headed towards it. But I arrived at a gate, and didn’t even bother to see if there was a lock on it, as there were just two dirt tyre tracks in the grass on the other side, which I didn’t trust as a ‘road’.

"Slay me with whispers"...

“Slay me with whispers”… (also from Taken By the Sea)

So I doubled back again, as there appeared to be another road on my GPS in between these two, which I could follow a decent way up, then head off track. Last resort was to just drive as close as the main road got (a bit over 4km as the crow flies) and bee line, which I was a bit uncomfy with, as it would mean going through someone’s property without permission. So I was keen to check out this other road before it got to that.

On the not so impressive summit of Foster.. highest rock on the bottom right..

On the not so impressive summit of Foster.. highest rock on the bottom right..

I drove straight past the start. I turned around. And drove straight past again.. Either I was blind or there was no road. Bugger. There was a boundary though, and the going looked ok, so I thought I’d give it a crack, and hope to pick up an old bit of road higher up. Worst case, if I wasted enough time I could go and have a chat to the Ormley house.

Someone's attempt at a cairn (bottom right)? Definitely not a high point though..

Someone’s attempt at a cairn (bottom right)? Definitely not a high point though..

So I pulled over, back complaining as I put on boots, then headed off.. I jumped the fence as conspicuously as I could (not a big fan of doing that if I can help it, but the property was up for sale and I hoped no one was around) and headed up hill. I did discover the road, though it took me a while to realise that it wasn’t a road and my GPS suggested, but rather a forward boundary! Oh well, it was nice and open to walk along, and would get me close enough to where I wanted to go, so I followed it.

Checking out the view on the way back down.

Checking out the view on the way back down.

It was cold and cloudy, rain threatening but not eventuating. A few drops of hail at two separate times was all I got, and eventually grey gave way to blue with white fluff. I wandered along, in no particularly hurry, enjoying the spring flowers, orchids, birds and wildlife. I spotted more than a dozen caladenia, mostly singles, one or two doubles, and one with a whole heap of flowers. The flame robins were everywhere too, or maybe they were just the most curious? The kangaroos and wombats, on the other hand, were rather edgy and raced off before I even got close.

Cracked..

Cracked..

When the road ran out of use, I headed up, expecting the terrain to be scrubby and rocky, but was pleasantly surprised to find it quite easy to move through. I got to the top of the climb, with just 800 or so metres to travel across the top to the high point, which I’d figured would be the easiest part of everything. Not so. The scrub I’d not had to deal with on the way up was hiding over the lip, and, although not overly thick or difficult, was just annoying and prickly (those little prickles, that detach as you walk past, and get stuck in everything – skin, clothing, gaiters and socks).

Imagine sitting around a fire this big and chatting away :)!

Imagine sitting around a fire this big and chatting away :)!

I decided I was not going back the same way when I finally got to the top, I’d drop off first, then contour down and around! But first I had to get there. Plenty more scratching and prickling, and I found myself on a rather diminutive summit. I walked over to the highest rock, protruding slightly from the sea of prickles. Then I wandered over to the nearby spot that I had GPS coordinates for, and found a makeshift ‘cairn’ (pile of rocks more like it), though it clearly wasn’t a high point.

Check out that breast! So many of these hyper little guys were out and about :).

Check out that breast! So many of these hyper little guys were out and about :).

It wasn’t exactly a place that inspired me to want to stop for lunch, so I headed straight back down. The going was much much easier having dropped straight off, then making a diagonal line down and across the face of the mountain. I was walking through dappled sunshine now, and lunch seemed like a good idea, so I munched and walked, in no hurry at all.

I stopped to enjoy the bird life even more on the way down (and as if on cue, as I write this a green rosella is foraging in the grass outside my window), but seemed to get back to the car in no time. The weather looked much more encouraging, and I was open to the possibility of still trying for Cathcart, if the Great Western Tier seemed to be free of rain when I hit the highway. It wasn’t, so I turned left and headed for home. Cathcart would wait.

Not sure I came up with anything close to a remedy on the walk, but the birds and flowers made me smile. When I got home though, reading one of the blogs I follow, a seed was planted.. it would start to sprout the following day, on a 12hr, 30km, solo day walk in snow to the Hippo…

All up: 14.4km, 4.46 hrs, 863m ascent.

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