Nowra, New South Wales, Australia (Google Map link):
Peacocks strutting their stuff in Nowra Animal Park
I can't believe we've only slightly over three weeks left on this part of our trip in Oz! Much to my disappointment we only managed to fit in a final two weeks in the Blue Mountains (somewhere I've really come to love for the scenery alone), which only left enough time to try re-adjust to the style of climbing required here, but not enough time to start pushing myself again.
I did manage to try one amazing line. A striking bulging prow of rock, called 'Don't Believe The Tripe' (grade 29/8a/5.13b – Australian/French/American grading schemes). Starting with a some hard moves (V6-ish?) straight off the ground, into some easy-ish but very steep climbing, and straight back into some hard very steep climbing. Interestingly enough, a hold fell off this route at it's hardest section, it's 'crux', and I'd grade the move at about V8 now - 15 meters up a 20 degree overhanging wall without rests. Trust me to pick a route that is really, really hard – I do like to challenge myself :)
The good part? Within one go, I could do the whole route with only one rest (the upper crux).
The bad part? The route is in on a piece of rock that NEVER gets any sun in the winter so rock temperature was painfully cold, and I'd no skin left! One proper go (with the single rest) last Monday was all I could commit to before I was starting to leave battle scars (i.e. blood) on the wall.
The crazy part? I haven't climbed since then! My tattered fingers were so bad that I've had to have an enforced break for the past week. I never thought I'd appreciate hand cream so much :o)
Still though, at present, I call damaged skin a job hazard at present! And I am now almost a professional haki-sacker :)
Current location is now Nowra, about 2 hours drive south of Sydney. We're camped in the Nowra Animal Park, meaning we've a mix of old and new creatures to keep us entertained. The Possums have mad a come-back and are regularly found hanging from their hind legs upside down in a bin having dinner – they're stronger climbers than we are! We've a couple of newer and funky additions.
Firstly, our new alarm clock is the dingos. These boys howl at exactly 7:15am every morning. Since I can't climb, they're a great incentive for me to get up :)
Our most colorful addition is the Peacocks. We've a collection of them on the campsite, and it turns out they have no concept of gently taking bread out of your hand. I've another large dent in the middle of the palm of the hand from this experience. Good thing, my hand is already bashed up!
The newest, and my favourite, are the Wombats! Think a Possum that someone has pumped up with bicycle pump, minus the tail. Actually that's not a good description. More like a bear, only about a metre tall and always walking around on all fours. These guys are nocturnal also, but have some sort of eyesight (hence the poor photo, I didn't want to blind him), and can be found waddling (they don't really walk) around the campsite from about 6pm onwards. We've already had a few close incidnents of almost falling over one :) To give you an idea of the size, I could crawl into one of their burrows (there's one directly below our tents)........
Tripping over Peacocks
Is he not the coolest?!?! Wombat 'waddling across the campsite at night
A Possom hiding in the rafters of the food shack. They can't see very well but their noses definitely seem to work :)
Learning experience from this week? It pays to look after my body. The skin incident has shown that something so simple can affect something major so I'll remember that one for future reference. Along with my (still) sprained foot, I'm unable to run or climb, meaning I'm now a very competent haki-sacker, and highly proficient with sit-ups (100 a day), push-ups (100) and stretching :)