Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hiking in Australia's Blue Mountains

Hiking in the Blue Mountains. They are called that because the oil from the eucalyptus trees permeates the air in tiny little droplets, and on really sunny days, when the sun hits it, there is a blue haze. You can definitely smell the eucalyptus and tea tree oil in the air here.

I still have the painful blisters on my feet.  Just going to keep going, it doesn't really matter if it hurts as long as I can still move. But, yup, every step hurts.

We stopped in a couple of towns on the way to the mountains.  First we stopped in Glenbrook, then we stopped in Wentworth Falls briefly.  Then on the way back, we stopped in Katoomba.  I think I only took pictures in Glenbrook.

There were two guys from Austin on the bus to the mountains.  Strange coincidence. There was a woman in my hostel room the other night who had an Austin t-shirt, she told me she had a friend in uni there. I told her my daughter went to uni there too. 

The bus driver/guide, Shane, was very animated, and kept telling us about his mum who would make lunch for us. So we stopped of at his mum's house in the town of Wentworth Falls to pick up the food, and he told us all that mum said hi. I was talking to him later, and he was saying he can't afford a place in Sydney with the inflated prices.  He was saying that a lot of apartments in Sydney were bought by foreign investors who just left them empty to park some money somewhere. I told him that maybe there needed to be massive squats; he said that Australia had recently changed its squatting laws to make it harder to do that. Most working people just can't afford to live in most cities in developed countries any more, and it's a big problem that will probably deflate some day in a catastrophic fashion. 

But I digress. We hiked about a three-hour loop trail, starting with a decent to Empress Falls, and then through the gorgeous valley, with breathtaking views of reddish-orange cliffs, steep and dangerous descents, and misty frequent waterfalls. Then there was a merciless climb up the side of Wentworth Falls to get to the end. 

On the way back,  Shane the bus driver said he always felt he hadn't given people a good time unless everybody was asleep on the way back. I turned around to look, and most people were asleep. So Shane did a good job.

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