Sunday, 12 February 2012

A smashing time!

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end - and so they did!

It was fairly late in the day when we decided to try one last Pokolbin Forest track.  We had already cleared one smaller tree, when our way was blocked by this much larger one.

Nick, ably assisted by Vaughan, winched most of the tree aside.  When the track was mostly clear, Nick decided he could use the bullbar to push through the last bit.  Sadly the (very thick) branch slid over the bull bar and across the bonnet - then smacked into the windscreen, causing significant damage to the driver's side!

Of course, the damage could have been much worse.  The branch could have smacked right through and injured Nick as well!  Even so, the mood was fairly subdued as we headed home, just as a huge storm hit ...

Definitely not the best ending but up until that point, our first visit to the Pokolbin State Forest had been a wonderful adventure! 

Leaping Lizards

There was great excitement when Vaughan spotted (and caught) a Cunningham's Skink just prior to lunch.

Vaughan very carefully extracted the lizard from a rock crevice - and put it back just as gently when we had finished admiring him/her!

We hadn't seen one in the wild previously, so the find was quite special.

Although we are used to seeing Bearded Dragons as we head North on some of our longer trips, we weren't expecting to see one close to home so there was more excitement after lunch when I spotted a dragon basking by the road.  It was doing it's best not to be noticed but we are not easily fooled!

It was definitely a day for lizards - and lizard-lovers!  Much later in the afternoon, Vaughan and Nick found several geckoes among the huge boulders where I sat overlooking the valley (playing at being Queen of the World).  Again, we often see geckoes further north and finding them (almost) locally was a lovely surprise!

Poking around Pokolbin

Over the years, we've spent a lot of time in "the forest" which we occasionally refer to as "the Watagans".  In actual fact "the forest" is compromised of several adjoining areas:  Olney State Forest, Watagan State Forest, Watagan National Park and Heaton State Forest.  There are no distinct boundaries, although the National Park area is sign-posted to ensure visitors are aware of the usual rules regarding domestic animals etc.

The Pokolbin State Forest is not much further afield than "the Watagans", however we had never visited and were glad that our geocaching adventures led us there in early February.  It is a far less developed area than our usual forest without established facilities.

We were pleased to set up our trusty picnic table at a rustic lookout, overlooking much of the Hunter Valley.  The weather was gorgeous and we enjoyed clear views in all directions.

Later in the day we bushwalked along a ridgeline to reach some huge boulders where we sat looking over another part of the Hunter Valley, with wedge-tailed eagles soaring overhead.  Hard life, eh?!

We spotted a few potential camping spots while driving about and it may be we enjoy a longer visit in the not-too-distant future.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Easy way out?!

In the lead-up to Elmer's purchase in September 2010, Nick had carefully researched 4WD recovery options. Prior to setting off on our Yowah Christmas/New Year adventure that year, we bought various quality items including a high-lift jack and snatch strap.

Even back then, we both were very impressed by demonstrations of the Maxtrax Vehicle Extraction system. The tracks were too dear for our budget at the time, so we put them lower down on the wishlist.

Of course, after shelling out $330 for our recent off-road recovery (receipted as Stockton Beach salvage!) we now see the MaxTrax price-tag as more reasonable - and purchasing a set has a higher wishlist priority!