Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bouldering at Black Mountain + an Echidna Surprise

Last fall when we found out that moving to Australia was a real possibility, one of the first things we researched was rock climbing near Canberra.We knew that it would be nothing like Boulder, which is a climbing mecca in the States. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find lots of quality climbing within a day's drive of Canberra.

There aren't any tall cliffs in the city itself, so we've been doing a lot of bouldering instead. Bouldering is climbing at low heights and so it doesn't require ropes; instead, a climber usually traverses the bottom of a rock face. A second person sometimes acts as a "spotter," standing below the climber and providing a safety catch in the event of an unexpected fall.

The first bouldering area that we discovered is on Black Mountain and it's only a 2 minute drive from Andrew's work. It's a great place to go on weekends or in the evenings after work. There's evidence of other climbers—chalk on the holds and established foot paths between the various rocky outcrops—but so far, we've had the place to ourselves.

Our best trip to Black Mountain was a couple of weeks ago when we ran into a surprise on the hike out after climbing.  Drew and I were walking along the trail when I heard a rustling in the bushes a bit ahead of us.  I immediately froze, thinking it was probably a poisonous snake (most of the snakes in Australia are deadly poisonous). We took a few cautious steps forward and peeked towards the noise.  Imagine our surprise when we saw this...


I had no idea what it was! Luckily, Drew knew exactly what it was.  An echidna.  It's similar to a porcupine in that it has quills. However, it can't release it's quills on contact like a porcupine can.  Echidnas are one of only two egg-laying mammals in the world (the other being the platypus which is also indigenous to Australia). For more interesting facts and better pictures, check out the Wikipedia page on echidnas.

Besides the fascinating wildlife and easily accessible rocks, Black Mountain also boasts a beautiful view of downtown Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin. Come visit and we'll show you!

7 comments:

  1. Wow, everything looks so gorgeous! What an amazing gift this must be for you guys - keep the pictures coming.

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  2. Gosh, Mandy. I have been thinking about you. YOu are so brave, so trusting of those rocks. May they always be good to you and Drew. Sending love.

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  3. You guys are so buff! :) And I'm glad that the echidna was NOT a poisonous snake--eesh.

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  4. Wow! I never knew about bouldering. I am intrigued. I WISH I could visit!

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  5. You guys look so good. What a fun surprise to see the echidna. I miss you.

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  6. The hubs and I must give this a go too! We live just across the road from the tower and the botanic gardens! The view is breathtaking from up there :)

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  7. What a neat little creature! And that lake/surrounding area looks absolutely gorgeous!!

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