Acadia, Maine was our first stop on the search for Autumn colours – timing was perfect and coincided with arrival of a cruise ship – also chasing Autumn. This meant Bar Harbor restaurants tables were scarce and the popular viewing points were busy. However, going even a small distance off the beaten track we were alone.
An obvious problem with looking for Autumn colours is that the season is a close relative of Winter which means potential for cold winds and rain. We got them both.
It was wet underfoot on the trails but we happily took the good along with the wet and uncomfortable – just for those colours.
It remained clear enough that we did manage to get in a glider flight to the cloud ceiling and back. Stunning – Acadia Autumn colours from above with just the wind and the pilot for company. No eagles unfortunately.
At night deer wandered the gardens, backstreets and main roads around town – very cute with big ears and easy to miss in the dark.
Returning from a trip to northern Maine searching very successfully for Autumn colours we decided to ignore the online reviews(overpriced, crowded, grumpy parking attendant,….) and stop on our way back to Boston.
There were no crowds or grumpy parking attendant and great visitor centre staff. I doubt we saw more than 50 people around the lake including joggers in the forest, staff and visitors.
I enjoy Henry Thoreau’s writing and here we were at Walden Pond as it is in 2018 at least – I checked where the railway line is now and confirmed it is in exactly the same place as when Henry grumbled about this new technology in the 1840’s.
Another query to the staff was about Henry’s habit of lying on the clear ice in early winter and checking the trails and activities of the critters on the lake bottom.
Has anyone tried it since? ‘Oh regularly, and most of them fall through the ice’. Apparently people forget that modern Americans are much larger and heavier than at Henry’s time.
There is a replica of the cottage, based on his writings, near the visitor’s centre. This is, despite being a best guess, still worth a visit before strolling further.
The site of his actual cottage has been identified – a favourite with Henry’s fans – many mementoes and notes on rocks nearby.
It was a perfect day for a stroll around the pond.
You will find plenty of information on-line about Sanxingdui, unfortunately a lot of it is supposition as there are few known records of this time and place in China’s history. The culture appears to have vanished.
This means that little is actually certain about the culture that existed at Sanxingdui and Jinsha other than the artefacts themselves of which the bronzes and gold masks are the ‘rock stars’.
The photos below do not cover all the bronzes and to be honest I just ran out of time to see everything.
Getting to Sanxingdui, once you are in Chengdu, is a little awkward but manageable. Most common route seems to be to get to the Panda Park, where you can get a very large dose of cute pandas – recommended.
But even if you don’t want to see the pandas locals seem to still go to the panda park first and then catch a bus to Sanxingdui. The bus will pick you up again after few hours and then drop you back in Chengdu.
There are plenty of other spots of interest in Chengdu including the Dufu Poet’s Thatched Cottage which is essentially a nice park in the middle of Chengdu set around the site of the famous poet’s cottage.
Highly recommended but no time to enjoy on this trip.
Near Maydena(west of Hobart) on Christmas Day a tree had literally just fallen across the road – a near miss for us – thought this could hold us up for a while as there were few homes visible nearby and it was Christmas Day after all.
A few minutes later, locals appeared with a ‘ute’, chainsaw and eventually a small tractor.
With trapped drivers assisting we were on our way within 45 minutes. Brilliant – Merry Christmas indeed.
Interesting side note – as you can see the women decided it was important to sweep the leaves and sawdust off the road using the tree branches. No idea why.
Anyway a few days later I mentioned this to some women at Lake Pedder and the reply was ‘they had to do something out of frustration, because the boys controlled the chainsaw and the women couldn’t get there hands on to do any sawing’ – there you go there is an explanation for everything.
Back to the trip – we started in Smithton(in the North West) where great friends very generously let us use their house and car.
Our journey was essentially clockwise Smithton, Devonport, Launceston, Swansea, Hobart, Maydena, Lake Pedder, Bronte Park, Strahan, Cradle Mountain and back to Smithton.
Town with a ‘Woollies’ and the important basics but not big on features that would attract many visitors at this stage.
No bus service from Devonport, Burnie, Strahan etc. You need your own bike/car to get there.
However, a great base for us – See Tarkine drives later.
Then heading East …. and clockwise
Stanley & The Nut
Famous spot & nice little tourist town, very pretty cemetery but very light on restaurants mid week.
The Nut is the hill behind the town – has a cable car that runs when the wind is not too strong – the wind is often strong!
You can walk up in any weather.
Rocky Cape National Park
We drove back and forth to Devonport so many times but actually only turned into this park once on a wild day. Need more time to explore.
The tortured bush below emphasises the tough location.
and then seemingly completely out of context, in the open and exposed to the worst of Bass Strait weather was aboriginal art.
Quite unique – the entrance gate has a large Gorilla perched over the top – looking like King Kong had escaped from a film set, plus an unusual mixture of Lions, a camel(alone in an enclosure with a sheep – ‘mates’ apparently), a concrete stuffed crocodile, a few talkative cockatoos – 1 miaowing(they suspect this Cockatoo spent a lot of time alone in a house with a cat), many Tassie Devils rushing here and there, and a few meerkats (all one sex- cannot remember which) plus a randy wallaby that fell in ‘love’ with a young woman’s leg – ‘ew eeek it won’t let go’ – until it was satisfied of course. Photo coming!
Swansea and Freycinet
To be continued – taking a ‘wee’ break. This means more travels/pictures/website updates/ …..
If unusual architecture and photography appeal then this building likely has it all along with a touch of the macabre.
A concrete oddity with ramps and air bridges(27 bridges apparently – I didn’t count them) and bare concrete everywhere.
Seems to also be a very popular spot for young guys to take pictures of young women who in turn actually seem much more interested in their phones than posing but maybe that is as close to ‘posing’ or any sign of interest you will get these days.
If it all gets a bit much – especially if you think you can hear the ghostly lowing of doomed cattle – then head down stairs to the Starbucks(even here) and maybe check out the DJI store for a new drone.
Impressive rain over the week before this visit – the plants were sprouting, the insects devouring and the snakes presumably busy somewhere in the foliage. A few fish leaping in the water and at least 1 fisherman not greatly bothered by No Fishing signs.
The reservoir beats the Botanical Gardens hands down and does not seem that busy. A little more of a trek by bus but well worth it.