Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Australia, Quickly - Blue Mountains

In this episode, Murphy and I make a quick getaway to Australia for her birthday (in some unspecified year, of course). We only have a few days, and rumor has it that Australia is big, so we keep our expectations realistic. Also, Ethel lived there for a year, so she has no need to go flapping about the entire place in our short time.


Does not disappoint


First light on the cliffs and a wispy waterfall

After landing in SYD, we escape immediately to the Blue Mountains, where we hole up in Katoomba for a couple nights with the express purpose of going on some solid trail runs. We make a pilgrimage to Govetts Leap for sunrise, and since it's cold as balls in the Blue Mountains in winter, it is pretty quiet.


Take me to church


With less color

The big run we go on is an absolute monster...all civilization in the Blue Mountains is on the rim, so the first thing you do is descend a million steep steps to get down to the bottom, which you then of course have to re-ascend a couple hours later when you're totally wrecked. Unfortunately the device on which I took some photos no longer exists, but there are a few photos uploaded to the Strava activity for the day, in case you want to see what the bottom of the Blue Mountains looks like a little bit (including some wildlife).


That same wispy waterfall from the other side

Katoomba is sleepy and cold in the winter, so our short time there consists of little more than the big run, a little run, and all the associated food, sleep, and caffeine that goes along with said runs. Clock ticking away, we bid the Blue Mountains adieu and head back towards Sydney for the rest of our visit.

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

More Glass

One of our neighbors has a telescope with some neat bells and whistles, and it's fancy enough to stick a camera on the back of. Unfortunately, this makes for a different optical path than when you're looking through the telescope's eyepiece, and thus means that field of view options are more limited, but it's still handy enough for inspecting the moon at higher-than-normal magnification.


Still some light in the sky


Such acne

geeks: The first one is a shutter speed of 1/15, which seems insane for these focal lengths, but totally workable with careful attention to technique. The second one is 1/60, and the keeper rate is way higher with a couple more stops of shutter speed on board! Even with our clear and dark skies, atmospheric effects are very noticeable, albeit not nearly as bad as pretty much anywhere else :)

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Diamond Lake

A neat and very accessible hike in the greater Wanaka area is to Diamond Lake (and above). It's short and easy and accessed from a paved road, which means that it can be a fan favorite in winter or on bad weather days or on hangover days when bigger missions might not be such a good idea for the delicate flowers in the group.


The goods from the upper overlook


Ice and green bookend the snags in the lake


Low winter sun


Goopy mushies

It's only about a 10-minute hike to the lake itself, and then another short stint gets you to the lake overlook and then up Rocky Mount where you can see the rest of the observable universe, give or take.


The goods in the other direction

Good fun and a high bang-for-the-buck little tramp, especially on a crisp winter day!

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Rob Roy

I'm just gonna do the thing where I pretend like it hasn't been a year since I posted.

Dear friends Jesse and Lisa visited us sans kiddos earlier this year, and we took half a day of brilliant weather to go to one of our favorite hikes. The overlooks for Rob Roy Glacier out in the Matukituki Valley are somewhere between easy and hard to get to, but the payoff in views is worth every drop of sweat. For context, it's a 14km round trip from the carpark with a few hundred vertical meters of climbing between here and there.


Nature hard at work


Wispy waterfall


Calving glacier

Global warming is super scary and sad, and one way it's manifested 'round here is by bits of the glacier calving off high above. As such, hanging out with a picnic and waiting for an icefall could be considered to be making the most of a dire situation.


Walls and falls


Ethel puts in the hard work...


...while they just look pretty and demand lattes


Dense beech


Big country

We've been out here during most seasons and in lots of different weather, and it's never disappointed. There are certainly more remote and grander landscapes to ponder, but this ticks all the boxes nicely!

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Past Detritus