Friday, 17 July 2015

Valley of the Giants

Our first official stop on Friday's journey from Bridgetown to Albany (after breakfast) was the Valley of the Giants,

Located just out of Walpole, this allows you to wander through the canopy and undergrowth of a Red Tingle forest.
Turning off the hwy, we were delighted by the sunlight streaming in and hitting the straight slender trunks of the trees that lined the road.

There are two parts to Valley of the Giants; the Tree Top Walk and the Ancient Empire.
Firstly, we climbed up into the trees slowly bringing us to the height of the bottom of the leafy canopy. Here we were on a level with the endless flitting of the birds, and could see through the gaps in the trees out across the surrounding tree tops and nearby fields towards the small hills in the distance.
For her own writing, Claire was keen to experience the feeling of sitting on a limb looking down into the undergrowth and looking out over the valley, all the while swaying with the ebb and flow of the wind racing through the leafy tops.

Coming back down to ground level we headed into the Ancient Empire where the boardwalk weaved its way through a superb collection of hollow trees.

The Red Tingle seems to have a very sturdy outer crust but the wood towards the centre of the tree is a lot softer and more susceptible to damage from insects, fungi, bacteria and fire. This leaves numerous old cavernous trees standing tall amongst a far younger forest. These hollowed trees used to be cavernous enough to shelter a car from the rain.

We were pleased to note that signs along the boardwalk intimated the presence of quokkas in the area, with the guide in the shop confirming that these little critters had in fact been reintroduced back into the area, even if they were not quite as friendly as those on Rottnest (check out Quokka selfies if you haven't already).
It seems the next step is to genetically modify the quokka genes to restore some diversity back into the population and cut down on the problems inbreeding would cause within such a small community

In addition to photographing the big, I was also chasing the small, with a group of blue fairy wrens constantly on the move just out of reach of my camera lens. I am told that now is the season when they turn (the males become bright blue) so we weren't sure whether these were males or females (except for one dapper little gentleman).

Our quiet scoffing of a cheese roll drew them near enough and kept them still enough for me to capture a few... on 'film'.

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