When we were pedalling about in glorious and gorgeous Europeans locales, I often commented on the colours we were seeing.
“The green’s just a different green,” I would say, “we don’t have that sort of green at home.” True, I had not seen some of the colours we were seeing there, in our Tasmanian landscape. The green was so bright and so vibrant and as we rode through avenues or forests, the leaves on the trees around us seemed almost iridescent. I have since seen that green at home.
We decided to take a tootle up to Leven Canyon, on four wheels rather than two. I may have been to that area as a little tacker, on our regular family “Sunday drives”, but if I had been there, it was before memories stuck, so it was still going to be all new to me. On the way up, I experienced another, decidedly unwelcome, green. As a kid, I was one of those passengers who would drive any adult to distraction with, “Are weeee theeeere yeeeet? How much fuuurrrthaaaa? I feeeell siiiick.” I was a shocker for car sickness and while I may have grown out of the worst of it and no longer have to stop every five minutes to open the car door, like my younger self did, I am still definitely prone to the queezies when a passenger.
“Is it much further,” I asked Steve, trying to sound curious rather than spewious, “I’m feeling a bit green.”
The road up wasn’t exceptionally winding, but enough corners to hug the car around that my childhood travel pallor began to spread across my face once again. It was only a 50 minute trip and only a short part of that on the corners, so I kept my stomach in check with fresh air, hanging my head out the window, looking like the human version of a travel happy beagle, minus the grin and flapping ears. We soon arrived at our destination, I could be once again on unmoving terrain and all was well.
Before heading off for the walk, I stopped to peruse the information boards. Always one for a story, I like to know the history of a place, or at least its backstory, before exploring. According to the information, we have Mr. George Cruickshank to thank for this reserve, lookout and all round top spot for a walk within the local environment. This area was once part of Mr Cruickshank’s farm and in the 1960’s he donated 28 acres of it, to be turned into this reserve, with walk and lookout that we have today. Although, the area around Leven Canyon, the river and canyon itself have been used as a place for recreation since the 1900’s. For centuries before that, it was a place that provided food and shelter for our First Tasmanians.
OK, time to head off. The path for the walk in was great, perfect for non-regular walkers or families, with an easy gradient on a well marked and tended track.
“It’s French green!” I commented to Steve, because the colours were fabulous. The green mosses in the dappled or half light of the bush were just like those vibrant greens we had seen on the other side of the world.
We walked along the path, with no danger of wrong turns or getting lost like we usually manage to do. We could simply follow the easy trail, enjoy the smells of the bush, look at the varied foliage and just roam easily towards the canyon.
Now, I’d have to say that nothing in Tasmania is particularly big. We have mountains, but I reckon you could just about put our mountains in inverted commas. In the scheme of things, our “mountains” are rather more like large hills with delusions of grandeur. But, approaching the canyon, having never really seen other people’s canyons for a reference point, this one was pretty speccy. At the top was a cantilevered platform that allowed us to look down onto the river below, along the canyon walls and out to the “mountains” beyond. Apparently the canyon is a popular rafting location and I can see why those so inclined would enjoy paddling over the rocks and through the fast flowing water.
We spent some time looking down, out and around and then made room for others to take their pics and enjoy the view too, before making our way back to the path, which was now going to take us further down the canyon. The path down, was now a long set of 694 steps.
“Careful,” I began calling out to Steve, “it’s a bit slipp-…” That’s as far as I got before I saw that my warning had come a tad late and I watched Steve’s water ski sized feet slip out from under him on the narrow steps and his tail about to hit the ground. He grabbed for the rail, untangled his legs from their flailing slide and righted himself before anything crashed to the ground. Good save big fella!
We carefully edged our way down, with some more delightful bush around us to stop and appreciate, before coming to another smaller viewing platform. This one was closer to the canyon floor and we could look back up the sides to the platform we had come from. It was but a speck against the sky and hard to make out amongst the trees, so I was feeling one again, that this deserved the label of something approaching “big”.
The walk back, while on the up, wasn’t hard or particularly puff-worthy and the track remained beautifully obvious and well marked, so no wayward wrong turns.
It was a nice little outing. Nothing difficult, just a gentle stroll through the bush in a very nice part of our little island. We’ll continue to find some more parts of our small patch to explore and continue to find ourselves very grateful for this special little place we live in and remind ourselves to see it through new eyes…eyes that don’t take it so much for granted.
Run, ride or roam our Isle we shall.