Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Empty Creel, Joyful Heart

THE fishing wasn't good, in large part because very little time was spent anywhere near flowing water. Flowing fluids of another kind, well that was a different matter. Red fluids, white fluids, amber fluids, distilled fluids, fortified fluids, fluids made by monks, drunks and, in the case of something blue and labelled as Caracao, skunks overfed with oranges -- all those and several other varieties being amongst the hazards of bush hospitality. But the weather, aahhh! By Monday, the sun was out and the foothills leading up to Hotham -- still amply covered with a white blanket, despite all those flim-flanneried predictions of snow-free winters --  were coming alive, as only the bush in the southeast corner of our great land does. In the sunny afternoons, little lizards in the dry bark along the creek banks; at night, the first of the warm months' microbats, fresh from a winter's slumber, flashing through the porch light's penumbra.

Get up that way if you can manage the trip. Do the four-hour walk to the top of Feathertop (an easy climb if you take the Harrietville track, less so if it is the path closer to Bright, which ascends from the vineyard) and marvel at a folded landscape stretching 360 degrees as far as the eye can see. And if you have the time, go "over the top", through Dinner Plain, past the Blue Duck (a fine spot to replenish many fluids) and on to Omeo and Bairnsdale.

One caution for those inclined to ill temper: Try to ignore the blackberries, broom, rabbits and foxes, all to be observed in profusion. It will only get you angry at the thought of the millions swallowed by government departments ostensibly devoted to protecting the bush. They don't. They protect their desks and comfy office chairs while the bush gets nobbled and gobbled by invasive species. If they baited Spring Street with flexitime forms soaked in 1080, the bush would be a lot better off.


  1. Conquered Feathertop in 1996 via the Razorback track from Hotham. A memorable trek, especially as the January weather ranged from sleet to baking sunshine to thick mist on Ftop and a thunder storm at Hotham to end our day. As I recall, many fluids celebrated the completion of that hike.

  2. You forgot the feral dogs (not real dingos )be careful Prof when you are in isolated fishing spots. No one kas been seriously attacked yet ,but it is only a matter of time ,according to my Bushworker mates.

  3. Possibly, because the billabong is professionally landscaped with iconic river red gums, the scourge of the osier was overlooked. How many inviting waters are now inaccessible behind barricades of sallow rampant? However, there is whisper of a fair wind in the willows, in the guise of a green grub. It comes in legion and with a voracious appetite. It could be win, win all 'round. The willows being constantly chomped and denuded may eventually expire. Meanwhile, the trout, lying in the froth lines underneath the canopy, wax fat as the virescent morsels tumble down.

  4. Old mate, anon3, had a deep pool in a creek running through his place. Decided he could do something with it, and would hang the occasional dead roo in a net bag over one end. Roo gets flyblown and a steady stream of maggots would fall into the water to feed the fish that lived there. Never short of fresh fish...

  5. a mate backs onto a National Park out west, has numerous goats on his place he catches and makes a living out of, wanted to clean the Park out of the feral vermin, asks Rangers for permission to enter park and hunt goats onto his property to pen and sell, "Oh NO", its a National Park! laden with feral animals, wild weeds, rabbits etc, "we can't let you do that", they then sent the helecopter in there and shoot the "billy goats mainly", at around $130 a head, one has to wonder "who is in charge of these Protected Habitats"
    my mate wonders why would you shoot mainly "billy goats", when 1 billy goat can impregnate hundreds of nannies? and nannies usually are pregnant or rearing kids,and killing one nanny takes out herself and either 1 or 2 unborn kids, or a suckling one, but of course old mate never went to university did he?