Into the High Atlass

The climb into the High Atlas Mountains offers a astonishing contrast to its neighbour the desert.

Its hard to believe that 3 days ride from Chegaga, the biggest sand sea in Morocco, you are in the mountains headed by Jeb Toubkal, at approximately 4,200 metres the highest mountain in North Africa.

From the desert there a few roads up to to the High Atlas, most of which take the traveller to Marrakech. But going via the Tiz n Test. The madness of the big city can be avoided.

Ok. So went to Morocco but not Marrakech!

Imlil is the main village in the High Atlass but others like Ouraganie on the TiznTest and Azmizmiz in the Anti Atlas a quite local Berber Villages with good accomodation.

The High Atlas and its Berber Culture is and amazing riding, travelling and cultural experience.

You may catch some high altitude soccer training.

Or buy a Berber rug

The motorcycle riding in the Atlas, high, mid and anti is something special. A topic for the next blog.

Heading to Spain and Morocco

It’s a calm crossing from Portsmouth around Brittany and across the Bay of Biscay to Santander in Spain.

Phase 2 of the long haul of flying from Melbourne to London (phase 1) to collect my Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 and ride to Morocco.

Stopped for a pint at the Ship and Castle next to the ferry terminal before joining the queue to board. There were plenty of bikes doing the crossing but only one Moto Guzzi.

My sister lives in London and it was wonderful to spend some time with her before embarking on this adventure.

Visiting the lovely little Lyric Theatre in Hanger Lane to see a play.

And heading to the south of England to go walking along the Avon River

And in the New Forrest

Next stop Spain!

The mountains and the sea of South East Australia. Part 2 – water flowing to sea

Rivers are like arteries of the land

The water they carry the life blood

Water is life!

Something we should never forget.

The Murray River, the longest river has its head waters in the mountains of South East Australia and wends a long path west before crossing through three states to meet the sea.

But these mountains don’t take their from the Murray but share a name called Snowy.

The Snowy Mountains and the Snowy River are both known for their wild beauty

The Snowy River originates on Mount Kosciuszko and flows 352km to the sea at the 90 mile beach at Marlo.

The Snowy was a wild river now somewhat tamed by being dammed at Lake Jindabyne.

When I was younger I walked the trail to the peak of Mount Kosciuszko from the ski resort town of Thredbo.

This trip was a ride through the mountains south to follow the river from Lake Jindabyne to the sea,

The route was through the southern sections of the Kosciuszko National Park and into the Snowy River National Park camping at the famous McKillops Bridge.

The campground sits just above the river with a little beach on the Snowy River

McKillops Bridge is a long narrow wooden bridge opened in 1935 that spans a low gorge of the Snowy River and links remote villages in the mountains of South Eastern Australia.

Originally McKillops Bridge was to open in January 1934 but a huge flood sent a 14 metre high wall of water down the Snowy River lifting the wooden top structure off the concrete pylons. The rebuilt bridge was designed to withstand a 17 metre flood. Not that that is likely now the wild river has been tamed by Lake Jindabyne.

The Snowy River National Park is home to smaller rivers, tributaries and deep gorges in the mountains, reflectiong the wild remoteness of these mountains.

At the little village of Marlo the Snowy meets the sea

At Corringle Beach on the Marlo Estuary sits an old slipway where the boats that used to ply the old wild Snowy were pulled up for repairs.

An immature Osprey standing guard over the estuary

A small line of sind dunes separates the estuary

from the 90 mile beach and the wild sea that pounds it.

The Snowy drops from around 2000 metres high in its short 350kilometre journey to the Ocean. No wonder it was a wild river.

The mountains and the sea in South East Australia. – part – 1 The Mountains

The south east corner of Australia is the cold place

The snow place

The icy Southern Ocean place

It’s been my place for many years.

There is an arc of mountains that follows the curve of the land almost parallel with the coast.

Th.e Australian Alps

The sandy yellow coastline

The deep Southern Ocean

All in a sweeping curve of nature.

At the top of the Australian Alps is the Kosciuszko National Park

The Park is one of my favourite places

To ride

To walk

To bath in the icy streams

Or thermal pools

My favourite camp spots are out on the Long Plain

Ghost Gully is my favourite camp site as it’s surrounded by the beautiful Ghost Gums.

The Aboriginal people say if you listen closely, when there is a breeze you can her the whispers of the ancestors.

It’s a place where I have rarely failed to meet an interesting character.

Louis is 79 and Ace his Palamino a big 15 hands tall.

Louis finds the big 16 and 17 hand horses a bit of a stretch now. So Ace is his companion.

Louis is a horse whisperer and been breaking and training horses since he was 15.

He attracted this mob of wild horses over to the camp.

He was getting the wild horses comfortable with him with the aim of capturing the foal, a young colt, to break and find a home for.

The horses are feral in the Alps and are displacing many native animals. It’s a contentious issue between horse lovers and those wanting to preserve Australia’s unique fauna.

Although it was autumn the wild flowers provided colour.

Toward the end of the Long Plain is Blue Water Holes, a series of high gorges and mountain streams.

At over 1200 metres altitude let me assure you the waterholes offer a bracing dip.

A far more comfortable swim can be found on the other side of the Snowy Mountain Highway at the Yarrangobilly thermal pool.

A beautiful 24c natural thermal pool and spa in the middle of the bush.

Down from the high altitudes in the low swampy plains the bush is thicker and kangaroos and other native animals abound.

From Kosciuszko National Park the Alps run West. Mt Donna Buang in the Yarra Ranges on the eastern edge of Melbourne is the last peak in the Alps.

It doesn’t get much snow these days. Unlike most of the other mountains it has not been burnt by bushfire and has beautiful tiers of rainforest topped by snow gums.

The pinkish trunks of the snow gums are both unique and beautiful.

And in the valley below are waterfalls and swimming holes in the mountain rivers.

Some of my most memorable times in nature have been in these mountains.

Wave Rock

Wave Rock is much more than its famous wave like curve but part of a granite rock field that spans hundreds of kilometres south to the coast near Esperance and east past Norseman to the Nullabor Plain.

The curve is just the face of this Granite Inselberg.

The huge rock hold little forests on top.

A drinking water dam at its side

Views across the adjoining country side.

And rock formations carved by time

The rock has an edge effect forest around its base. The water run off from the granite rock providing a water supply in an otherwise arid place.

At a nearby granite outcrop there is a cave with some very old aboriginal rock art.

Hand stencils are considered some of the earliest forms of rock art and this cave near Wave Rock has many examples.

These can be seen clearly if you enlarge the photos.

So there is much more to Wave Rock than can bee seen at first glance.