I've got such a picture-heavy post for you today, I hope you don't mind. I was going to add my trip to Crystal Castle in this post but I think that will have to wait until next time!
I stayed with my parents in the Tweed Shire of Northern New South Wales, Australia where they live on 110 acres of rainforest and paddocks.I had burnt 500 calories on the treadmill that morning but when I came home in the afternoon, no-one was home so I decided to take advantage of the alone time and take my parent's mutt-ley crew for a walk.
Here's Belle (blonde-the mum), Denzel (chocolate-the dad), and Mickey & Minnie (black-the pups).
Hiking in this region can be dangerous- my mum has been attacked by wild dogs but luckily she had our dogs to defend her and the choker chains that she used as whips. It makes her sound really cool, doesn't it? You'd think Denzel would have been the tough dog and chased them away but it was Belle who launched after them and Denzel stayed behind to protect Mum and his pups.
Maybe a year or so later it happened a second time and Belle was badly injured and had to get surgery but luckily she fully recovered and is a happy girl once again.
I knew I'd be safe with my labs and off we went.
The walk down is usually easy but it's when the dogs were most eager so they were straining on their leads and honestly, controlling four labs is hard. I let them off at the bottom of the valley so they could swim in the dam.
This area always reminds me of the shire from The Lord of the Rings, and I mean it's often called the Shire too- it's the Tweed Shire. It's such a funny area- rainforests connect with paddocks that connect with areas of lush green growth. It's beautiful. And would you believe you can see the beach from my parent's house?
The labs chased my dad's cows for a bit when we got to the paddocks.
Can you tell how steep that hill was? My thighs were killing me!
That's what their land looks like- the rainforest just stops and suddenly you'll run into a paddock.
Denzel ran off and came back with a bone. Dad's had cows for years and years so occasionally one will die and you'll run into a cow skeleton. Luckily I've never run into a partially decomposed cow! Mum suspects that this bone came from one of Dad's cows that got too fat and, no joke, got caught between two trees and died. Not exactly helping their case against meat-eaters, are they?
We headed back into the rainforest.
If you look closely at this picture, it's a tree that doubled over and turned itself into a circle- nature is weird and creepy sometimes.
It's usually pretty easy walking through the rainforest as the cows make tracks through it. Still, there's lots of roots and holes to look out for. Sometimes you'll see a snake (the brown snake is quite common here and can be deadly) but I've never ever been bitten or attacked by one. Carpet snakes can be scary because they're so big but you just have to remember that it doesn't want to hurt you so as long as you don't scare it you'll be fine.
The stream that leads to the dam was a bit hard to cross but there were a few fallen trees so I just chose one to climb over. We headed back up the valley.
I had a very romantic picnic here once with Byron for our anniversary. It's a little pocket of paddock surrounded by rainforest.
But of course the adventure wasn't over- on our way back up we ran into Dad's bull.
Bull's can look scary- they have this look in their eyes that says "don't mess with me" but they're generally pretty friendly. I just decided to let him pass me of his own accord, just in case he was in a mood. He trotted on past, on his way to tend to the ladies, I presume- judging by the two newborn calves Dad has.
We made it home and I had to have a shower immediately as the dogs had rubbed dirty dam water all over my legs, as dogs are apt to do! It was a great hike though and I'm very lucky to have parents that live in such a spectacular part of the world!
I'll be posting about my trip to Crystal Castle soon so stay tuned!