Bruny weekend 2022 May

I had had a glorious day on Bruny, shooting coastal scenes and fungi hunting on Mt Mangana, and now made my way towards my accommodation. My hopes were high. When you pay $650 for one person for two nights, you expect to be really treating yourself. Well; I do. My companions agreed. I am not usually so extravagant, and regard this as a large amount of money to splash out on myself just for two nights, but decided to do it anyway. I have stayed at several places – even on Bruny – that were more in the $230/night zone, and have had very comfortable and quasi luxurious stays. I was expecting something pretty wonderful for this amount of money.

Neck Beach Bruny. My first morning. Holiday off to a great start.

Google implied it was at the end of the Cloudy Bay road, so I drove along, waiting for a sign. I found none, and arrived at the breach. Luckily some locals were there, and they told me to backtrack and I would find, tucked away, a somewhat obscured driveway. With the extra advice, I found it. Not for the first time, I was VERY glad I was not arriving after dark!

Lycoperdon perfotum Puff Ball – such an interesting texture

I found the lock marked for my accommodation, and applied the code. The thing fell apart as it collapsed onto the sand. I grabbed my key, but didn’t dare put it back into the broken lock box. There were many padlocks on this gate, none marked. I needed to try every single padlock before the key fitted something. Good old Murphy.

Lepista fuliginosa Mt Mangana

The old gate was heavy, and its own weight pulled it back to the centre the whole time. I was faced with the problem of keeping it open while I drove through. I searched around for a rock or a stick to aid me, again happy that I was arriving in the light, which I don’t always do, being a photographer who shoots the sunset and then goes to her accommodation. I found neither rock nor stick. My best aid was a fern frond. These are not very strong, so I was nervous, but made it.

Bakers Beach Bruny

On I drove on the sandy, windy road. B had said ten minutes, but I was sure I would be slower than he was, but as twenty minutes approached with still no sight of my cabin, I realised that my rendez-vous with my friends in the pub for dinner was going to be impossible. I could not do this in the dark. Besides, there were endless turnoffs and choices to be made. Maybe later, but on my first night I needed to get a bit used to this place and its driveway. That was a good decision. In the morning I got lost trying to get out, and landed up under someone else’s bedroom – a someone else who had rented a beautiful cabin made of glass, so I and my car would have been very visible as I approached their bed at 8 a.m.. We were possibly both as shocked as each other.

My view

Anyway, at last my cabin materialised. Marvelling that anyone with a mere two-wheel drive car could make that journey, I headed to look through “my” windows at the grand place I had hired. Oh. The curtains were aged and drab. The mock wood of the kitchen cupboards had been tossed out of most places in the 1960s. It looked tired as well as old.
I approached the next coded lock to get in. Hm. It, too, fell apart in my hands, and I couldn’t put it together either. Oh well; problem for later. I’d keep the house key in my pocket. In I went. The place smelled old to match its look. I examined the books near the couch: I often like to browse at such things. 2006 National Geographic. Oh; thanks. I went to examine the coffee making facilities. None. There was ONE sachet of instant coffee and a Bushels teabag in an old saucer on the bench. WHO drinks instant coffee? I haven’t done that in decades.

Sunset over Cloudy Bay

Oh well. At least the location was good. I didn’t want to waste beautiful daylight hours mourning that I had just tossed a lot of money away on not very much. I quickly grabbed my camera and set off to go to East Cloudy Head, to see what could be seen there. It was, unfortunately, 4 p.m. by this stage, but I have confidence in my speed, so packed nothing other than my photographic gear and house key. I luckily did have my phone so I could send a view pic to friends and relatives.

Bruny forest

The view from up high was wonderful; the sunset, pink and pretty. The track was sandy, so the fact that it was sunset and I was up high with a walk back did not deter me in the slightest. The white sand would reflect any ambient light – although I did know the moon would not be rising to aid my cause. No problems. Down I went easily, and along the beach, stopping to chat to some fishermen who plied me with many questions, thus delaying me so it was now totally dark with absolutely no ambient light. Along the shore I went.

Fisherman Cloudy Bay

Oh oh. Um … where was my shack? How would I find it in the dark? I had left no lights on, and the shack itself would, in the dark, no doubt be totally obscured by the dunes and shrubbery. Whoops. I wandered along for what seemed a very long time (time goes slowly when you’re not having fun – but actually; I was. This was an adventure, so long as it turned out well. If it didn’t go so well, this was a huge amount of money to spend sleeping on the sand in almost mid-winter).
To and fro. To and fro. How can you be so stupid Louise? I thought of my photographer friend Marley, trapped out once overnight. Hm. Keep trying. Then I got a bright idea: I used google maps on my phone to locate the shack, and my own position in space. Ah ha. I had not gone quite far enough. When the device said I was parallel to the hut, I searched for a gap in the bushes and found my way home. A good adventure livens life up. I phoned my friends to say dinner was impossible. I looked at the emergency provisions I’d packed. Soup for dinner. Fine. I like soup.

Sunset over Cloudy Bay

But, meanwhile, I was freezing. I had already worked out that I didn’t know how to open the fridge, which lacked a metal casing, so perhaps it didn’t work at all. Nothing was going to go off in a place this cold anyway. I really needed to light the gas fire. I tried everything and failed. In the end I phoned the number I had been given. I was coached over the phone, but that failed too. Eventually someone came to help me. The heater was broken, but he fixed it. While I had been waiting (an hour, wrapped in blankets), I tried to recharge my camera battery using the plug that had been put in especially for me, but it didn’t work. Maybe the person who was coming could fix that too. (He did). Had he not fixed it, I would have been really stuck, as I need to recharge my battery every day.
I had also tried to get hot water and failed, and, as so many things were broken or not working, I decided the gas failure had meant no hot water either. However, there was hot water, but by the time that was ascertained, I and the house were so cold that the idea of stripping off to shower was intolerable. The bathroom would have kept the beer cold, but not Louise warm. Gradually, as the heater did its work, I warmed up enough to go to bed, but without using the bathroom. I was too cold to try the astro photography that I was actually there for.

Cortinarius tasmocamphoratus Bruny

Normally for breakfast, I have porridge, followed by espresso coffee and a bun or pastry heated in the oven. The porridge bit was fine, although there were only four bowls in a place that says it sleeps eight. The nicest bowl, shape-wise, was made of plastic, so I chose a cheap, thick, crockery one. Then came the problem of second course. I had brought my own espresso coffee, so boiled water on the stove (there being no electric kettle; fine). I poured hot water on the grains and waited for the grinds to sink. Not exactly the luxury I had been anticipating. The oven didn’t work. I pointed the fire gun at every single hole available, but nothing happened. I had old cold bun with my coffee. I thought a place charging that amount might have bought a modern stove that self-ignited, but I was wrong.

Below Mavista Falls

Ah well. Off I set for more fun and adventure, today selecting Mavista Falls on the east of the island for my fungi hunt, returning shortly after lunch to then go exploring above the house again in the afternoon. I left the house at 2.30. Why would you pack a torch at 2.30?
I climbed the headland again, chatting to nice people I met along the way, photographing a few fungi and the scenery. I had made excellent time, so decided to go offtrack and explore the enticing cliffs that I had eyed up the day before. Perhaps there were some dramatic shots to be had. (There were.) It was glorious and I was afloat, unaware of almost everything in a world of beauty. The sunset was red but brief, not really worth photographing, as the bank up of clouds obscured the horizon … and made it get dark much more quickly.
I was off track, and could see no hint of a path that would take me from where I was back to the main track. It was safer to follow the treacherous cliff line than bushbash and get stuck, so backwards I went. Fine; I am bush-capable, and found the pad that led to the track and followed it in the dark, which was now proper dark and not just a hint of darkness. But I am confident in the bush. On I pressed and got to the beach without incident.

Mavista Falls Bruny

I followed the shoreline along. I heard the sound of splosh, splosh. Oh. I was in water. Hm. It must be very dark. I went up higher, onto the rocks, treading carefully now. Could I find the tell-tale sign I had left for myself, just in case it was dark again? Of course not. Anyway, I did find my shack. I didn’t have time to get changed, so went to the hotel to meet my friends in my walking gear, with boots and gaiters.
It was a fun meal. Everyone had had a great day exploring, and all had tales to tell; snaps to show. “We” on this occasion were my camera club, NTCC, and although all of us shoot with proper cameras and tripods, most of us also take phone shots for messaging family and friends, for dinner show and tells etc. But meanwhile, we are also all looking forward to seeing what everyone else managed to capture later, when we post on the club site.

Bruny Forest

As if I hadn’t had enough of an adventure by this stage, I felt what seemed to be a tick on my head during dinner. A big one! Friends doused me and Mr Tick in pure alcohol. He was reported missing, but nobody knew where. I envisaged him just changing spots in my hair, but anyway, life went on. I was so very grateful to have discovered his presence during dinner when I could get help and not later, when alone and inaccessible. I am also, of course, grateful to the army of alcohol dousers and searchers who got rid of my intruder.
As the night was cloudy and the forecast bad, the Astro shoot at the lighthouse was cancelled. Home we all went.
Now my little cabin was very warm and cosy, as the helper-guy had said not to turn the heater off. Not wanting to burden him with a two-hour journey again, I had obeyed. I read a bit and, because I was now operating from a warm base, I decided to take a night shot of the cabin in the dark. Maybe I’d get in a few stars. It didn’t seem to be as cloudy as it had been earlier.

Aurora Cloudy Bay

I went out and shot, looking east. But then I looked south. It was clear, and I could detect, not quite subliminally, beams. I almost yelled. I actually ran down to the beach through the bushes in the dark along the sand track with camera and tripod (yes, again neglecting anything else helpful, such was my sense of urgency) and shot south. BINGO. An aurora. A BEAUTIFUL aurora. Oh; I can’t tell you how happy I was. I messaged two friends from the club to alert them, and then spent until 11 pm shooting. I just couldn’t stop. Auroras do that to you.
Meanwhile, I have forgotten to mention the drive to and from the Hotel. Maybe driving along a sand track with more paddymelons on it than blowflies at a midsummer barbecue is not your idea of fun. It certainly meant I didn’t dare go more than 15 kph, but I absolutely loved it. These cute chubby bottoms hopping away and towards, across left and right while I tried to inch forward … I loved them all (especially as they are not eating my garden). I said “Goodnight” to them as I finally went to bed, leaving them nibbling the grass in front of my lodgings.

Mavista Falls Bruny

Next morning I awoke at 5.30 a.m. and looked out my bedroom window. The sun wouldn’t even think about rising for another hour and a half; it was still pitch back. The stars twinkled in the window, just like they used to at home before the gottverdammt Health and Safety maniacs who pollute the planet ruined my view by lighting up the place next door, just in case an octogenarian felt like a 3 a.m trot around her place and tripped in the dark.
But meanwhile, I realised as I gazed at the stars that I was warming to this little shack, now that it had warmed up enough to allow such a change in attitude. However, I did think the owner was greedy charging so much, but spending so little. How much would new curtains or blinds, some slightly nice crockery, a modern stove that self-ignited, and a heater that worked really cost?

Bye bye, Cloudy Bay

Such criticisms aside, I was sad as I drove that sandy track for the last time. I went to Cloudy Bay Beach to bid it farewell from that side, and drove to meet my club friend for another fungi and waterfall shoot. I had had a great holiday. Life needs adventures.

Selina Mt, Arnold Peak

What is it that is so very alluring about having to kayak to the base of a mountain? I guess it makes the mountain that bit more inaccessible, more mysterious. There is more of a challenge, and therefore more enjoyment, as we have put more effort into the excursion. I am told that a veiled woman is more desirable than one who is stark naked, displaying all there is in a single hit. In that sense, a mountain that hides a part of itself behind a body of water adds to its own mystique and desirability.

Kayaking on Lake Plimsoll

Our brains do actually enjoy a little exercise (filling in the dots, as it were). Perhaps someone could tell that to the authorities who constantly try to dumb down our beautiful “wilderness”.  Sure, tourists need some sacrificial pawns, but please, please leave the rest of us a little actual wilderness to explore and experience wildness and freedom.

Selina forest – rich and mossy

I had received an invitation to kayak to the base of Mt Selina, on Tassie’s west coast, somewhat near Tullah. For me, that is a long drive, and necessitated putting my dog in a kennel, so I decided to turn the snack into a feast, and stay two nights in Tullah surrounding the expedition. I was hoping to luck in on an aurora, photograph the Milky Way, capture a couple of beautiful sunrises and climb a few extra peaks. I might even see some nice fungi.

Entoloma sp, possibly panniculus, but this is a much nicer blue than normally sported by that species. (I did NOT pick this specimen. Someone with big boots trod on it. I capitalised on the decapitation.)
Cortinarius metallicus en masse
Cortinarius metallicus. I could have stayed here all day photographing this crowd of beautiful specimens.

Full of anticipation, I arrived in location somewhat after 4pm, and sussed out my eventual sleeping spot before I did anything else. There was still an hour before legitimate dinner time, so I did a quick trip up Mt Farrell to catch a good view, but, alas, the sunset was a fizzer. There were too many clouds. The same fate awaited my astro aspirations later in the evening.

Lake Plimsoll, scene of our adventure, taken just before the others turned up.

Next morning I had much more luck, to the extent that I nearly ran late for our meeting time … but the others were running even later, so that is not a bad thing. Eventually we met, got the kayaks ready, and were out on the water, the sun still low enough in the sky to provide beautiful lighting for our short paddle. The sight of colourful boats traversing early-morning waters is such a wonderful thing, comprising a fabulous combination of beauty and adventure. I had fun photographing the group as it made its way to our designated landing beach.

Mt Farrell on Lake Mackintosh, sunrise next day

The distance to be covered to the first of the Mt Selinas was less than a kilometre, but it was very steep, and there were patches of Bauera, Cutting grass and other obstacles to hold us up. We were not in a hurry. As with the previous evening, I was disappointed in the sparsity of fungi (= none). This was to be more than atoned for in the gully between Selinas 1 and 2.

Astro to cap off a good day. I got in two shots or so before the clouds rolled in.

In case you are wondering about all these Mt Selinas, there are several knobs which have legitimate claim to be “the real one”.  One of them is Mt Selina on the 1:25,000 map, while a different one is that which is named on the 1:100,000 version. A third knob needs visiting just in case it is higher. Listmaps is rather funny, as the position of the name “Mt Selina” changes as you zoom in and out, matching the discrepancy named above.

Mt Farrell Lake Mackintosh – predawn glow day 2

Anyway, it was a gorgeous place to be, so who cares if we had to stay in the area longer, climbing this and that, skirting around this and that sheer cliff, admiring this and that King Billy pine, a humungous old myrtle, or giant rocks clothed in a thick cloak of moss. We invented excuses to linger – morning tea 1, 2 and 3; lunch 1 and 2. And then … and THEN came the fungi!!!!!!!! Based on the lack thereof on Mt Farrell, I didn’t bother to include the macro lens that was in the car, so any images you see have been taken with my wide-angle 27mm lens. Given what it is actually designed for, I think it did a pretty sterling job. I didn’t even have a tripod. I thought I was just mountain climbing in the middle of a too-sunny day. Ha.

Arnold Peak to Mt Victoria, next day

Three Mt Selinas climbed, five thousand fungi photographed and we were on our way back down, having run out of excuses to linger. One gps says we took 8 hours to cover less than five kilometres. That will make an interesting entry in my training diary.

Arnold Peak view to Lake Plimsoll, and Mt Selina (inter alia).

Next morning, there was a pleasant if undramatic sunrise, but fun to shoot anyway, and especially enjoyable as I found myself camped next to two other keen photographers (Jamie and Camilla), so we had fun chatting while we shot.

Arnold Peak view to Lake Plimsoll, Walford Peak and the Tyndalls

In order to have some exercise  before I drove home, I climbed Arnold Peak (760 ms in height) after breakfast. I had been told it would be 30 minutes in each direction, so that would give me my desired hour’s exercise for the day. Unfortunately, it only took 13 up, 17 to photograph and about the same to get down, so I went under-exercised yesterday. Worse things can happen. It was a gorgeous little peak, and that will certainly not be the only time I climb it!

Reflections on Lake Rosebery for “dessert” before the long drive home. I floated on beauty the whole way and barely noticed the distance.

Wellington / kunanyi falls and fungi 2021 June

It was a perfect day for fungi hunting – albeit a little cold – and, as I had been waterfall bagging cum bushbashing the day before, I decided to have a lovely relaxing day searching for treasures on the slopes of kunanyi / Mt Wellington. I also wanted to get my first ever photo of Myrtle Gully Falls with a decent flow, so headed in that direction.

Amillaria novae-zelandiae Myrtle Gully Falls

Silly me. I only brought my landscape lens. No matter. It meant I could return later with my macro one. I hate changing lenses in the forest anyway.

Crepidotus variabilis

Having set out early so as to ensure a parking spot, I had the entire forest to myself on the way out.

Mycena austrororida Myrtle Gully Falls

At the time, and having finished shooting landscape shots, I was cross at not having brought my macro, but once I’d resolved to return, I could just relax and select the specimens I wanted to photograph later.

Mycena epipterygia

One patch of fungi that intrigued me was a total gang of Hygrocybe firma in a kind of open mossy area. I resolved to also bring little Abby there later so she could play fairies. There must have been at least 50 specimens – all tiny – in a slightly scattered cluster.

Mycena sp – about 3mm across

On the second trip, I met heaps of people: some in family groups, lots walking their dogs (all on leads), some fungi hunting, like me. We all smiled as we passed each other in a general feeling of good will. Several commented on how lucky we are to have this mountain at the city’s doorstep, and they were not wrong. It made me really happy to see so many people out enjoying its beauty.

Anthrocophyllum archeri Myrtle Gully Falls

My joy, however, was quickly dispelled when I returned to the area of all the Hygrocybe firma. There I saw four females in their early twenties (probably) ducking down and gathering things from the ground. There were NO Hygrocybe firmas left! I was really cross. I asked them what they were doing, and they said with a kind of chuckle: “Oh, we’re just doing a little foraging.” Their hands were absolutely full of fungi! Fungi that belong to ALL the people of Hobart, and not just them. I was so cross I followed them back to the car, and took a photo of their number plate. They were in a car from NSW. Tourists, stealing our fungi. As if it isn’t bad enough that our government wants to rape and pillage everything called “National Park” to sell it as a commodity to tourists without said tourists also thinking they can come and destroy public space in this manner. I told the slowest of them (the others were scurrying away from me) that she should take up photography, as then she could “take” fungi without touching or destroying them for others. I pointed out that their piles of fungi were presumably going to land in a bin somewhere; they weren’t even of any use. One of them was videoing the caper (as I arrived). I’m sure it made a fantastic Insta story.

Mycena interrupta

So. I didn’t get to show Abby the red fairy bonnets growing on “her” mountain.

Fern Glade Burnie fungi

Fern Glade, Burnie, is situated on the beautiful Emu River – a place where you feel like whispering, and not just because of the plentiful platypuses and paddymelons. Actually, on my visit, marsupials well and truly outnumbered fungi, which I had gone to see, even though the latter were numerous.

Mycena nargan Fern Glade

How many times have I driven past this place but never bothered to explore it? Countless. At last I was rectifying this matter today, thanks to posts on the fungi website.

Ramaria botrytis
Agaricus austrovinaceous (young)? Fern Glade Burnie

There are actually three Fern Glade walks in Tasmania: one here at Stowport, part of outer Burnie; one at Fern Tree halfway up kunanyi (Mt Wellington); and one leading to the Marakoopa Caves near Mole Creek. You could kind of do a Fern Glade fungi-crawl, trying to do all in a day, which is not, however, advised, as each is so beautiful, and the fungi so numerous in autumn / early winter, that the rush would destroy the hoped-for goal of enjoying peace, serenity, that “ancient feeling” one gets when in the presence of trees whose age and size makes your own look ridiculously diminutive and inconsequential, and whose majesty far, far outclasses anything humans can come up with. I suggest three separate days. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed by beauty.

Cyptotrama asprata baby Fern Glade Burnie
Cyptotrama asprata adult … huge and a bit washed out. Fern Glade

I didn’t really know anything about this place apart from the fact that it boasted nice fungi, so parked at the start, as that seemed a reasonable thing to do, and set out walking beside the river. I had no idea where or how far I was going. Besides, when you know you’re going to allow yourself to be waylaid by fungi, neither time nor distance has much relevance. It was a cold morning, and the paddymelons who greeted me looked even colder than I did. They just sat there, huddled up with their usual “bad posture” and didn’t budge a centimetre as I passed by. They were too cold, and too unthreatened to bother.

Amillaria luteobubalina. Honey fungus, which unfortunately causes root rot in Eucalypts.

I walked to the end of the “manicured” tourist-type track, but saw it was possible to continue, so that I did, for so long that I got hungry. Having left the car at 9 o’clock, I didn’t return until after 1 pm. There was plenty to amuse me!
Here is a selection of some of the fungi that I found. There were, of course, many more fungi than this. This is your “trailer”. The film lies in Burnie.

Entoloma albidocoeruleum
Leafy liverwort, not a fungus, but so delicate and beautiful I had to include it.

Re IDs. I have tried my hardest. Sometimes one asks for help but doesn’t get an answer. This is my best effort. I am happy to receive corrections.

Styx Falls 2021 Jun

I fear the drive to Styx Falls took longer than the walk – but that is not to say that the walk was not enjoyable or worth the effort: it was wonderful, with all the lushness and mossy beauty that one might expect of anything carrying the name “Styx” in Tasmania, and with a mass of colourful fungi to add to the joy.
To get to our (walking) start, we had to drive along the Styx Road from its eastern end, over the river bearing its name, and then up a spur until we curled back on ourselves, but now at a greater height. Once driving became dodgy, I parked and we began our walking part along a former road, but on a path that is now pretty overgrown (for vehicles; fine for walking).

Cortinarius austrovenetus

That easy part completed, we then plunged like deep sea divers into the green mass of steep forrested matter until the roar of the falls announced that the line we had taken was absolutely correct.
The bush was so thick, and the falls looked so lovely from a distance that I was tempted to try to shoot them from higher up and slightly further away, but found myself being pushed down to where Adrian and Caedence were, at the base. The wind and spray off the falls of the morning had been so bad (and any fallen trees in the basal area so very slippery) that this was not really where I wanted to be,  but the view of the falls was definitely superior to anything I could grab higher, so there I was. I would just have to try to get a spray-free shot. I even got out my umbrella to help, which made me pretty clumsy, and Adrian came to my aid. Part of the problem with falls like this is finding a base that is firm enough to hold the tripod still: not always achievable.

Styx Falls

While Caedence and I played with tripods and long exposures, Adrian explored a bit downstream, returning to announce that there was one small but pretty drop a bit further down, and something that could be a good fall beyond that.
Once our shooting was completed, we followed, to find what was actually my favourite waterfall of the day. It’s good the way that what pleases one person doesn’t over-excite another, and vice versa. For me, size of drop or quantity of water are not as important as finding a picturesque scene, and a fall with a beautiful shape and flow lines; here I had my desire. And it was not so big that it created a monstrous spray.  Hoorah.

Styx Falls Lower

The promising drop below turned out to be nothing but a log jam, so it was time to turn around. This did not disappoint me, as I was by now soaking wet and rather cold. My body yelled that it was hungry.

Aleura aurantia

As with this morning, the drop down had been so steep that I had a few misgivings about getting back up, but, also as with this morning, there was no problem at all, and the climb out was easier than the descent.  It had been  a great day of adventure and beautiful scenery, and I now had a mass of photos to edit. Sigh.
The falls of the morning can be seen at the site: