Kangaroos in Blackheath: Week 117

Kangaroos copy

“KANGAROOS!”

Barret and I were camping with a group of friends outside the rural town of Blackheath. While I had been in no rush to leave my down-stuffed cocoon on such a cold morning, this unexpected announcement sent me jumping into action.

Oh my god! KANGAROOS? Really?

“Yes! KANGAROOS!”

“KANGAROOS?”

“KANGAROOS!”

With the camera in one hand, Barret hastily tried to zip the tent back up. When the zipper caught on a rain flap he gave up and ran off. I fixed the snag and then changed into my warmest clothes before meeting him near the edge of camp. The grass underfoot was damp from a fog that had moved in overnight.

“Did you know that kangaroos have three vaginas?” Barret asked as we tiptoed through a field of small saplings.

“What?! You’re lying.”

“Really.”

“That’s seems a bit excessive.”

“They have two uteruses too.” Barret paused to let the math sink in.

I already knew that kangaroos were capable of producing different kinds of breast milk at the same time for babies in different stages of development, but I had never factored multiple vaginas into that quick turnover formula.

“How does that even work?” For some reason I thought about bowling balls.

Barret looked like a naughty school boy who had just shared information gleaned from his big brother. “I have no idea!”

We were both wiser yet completely in the dark.

About: the marsupial reproductive system

How to get to Blackheath: Blue Mountain Line train from Central Station

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Blue Mountains: Week 107

Polaroid of the Blue Mountains, Australia

Sometimes nature creates its own air pollution, a welcome sort of haziness that settles on a warm sunny afternoon.

Jamison Valley, inside the Blue Mountain National Park, is one such serendipitous location. According to the publication prepared for the park’s World Heritage Nomination, “the eucalypt-dominated vegetation disperses fine drops of volatile oil into the atmosphere. The oil drops increase the risk of fire, perfume the air and scatter, with great visual effect, the blue light rays of the spectrum.”

The Clarendon Guesthouse: Katoomba, Australia

In layman’s terms, the mountains and forests look blue and smell nice because of the Eucalyptus trees. It is also only a two hour train ride from Sydney. Barret and I arrived Sunday afternoon at the small town of Katoomba which sits on the plateau overlooking the Blue Mountain National Park. We dropped our bags off at the Clarendon Guesthouse, a 90 year old building with live music and performances and left to make use of the last few hours of daylight.

A few blocks from our accommodation we jumped onto the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. It traced the edge of the plateau and offered plenty of panoramic views. The route led us through string cheese-like eucalyptus forests and past damp tropical pockets hidden from the sun.  An hour later we emerged from our cliff walk near the Three Sisters, one of the most popular attractions in the Blue Mountains.

Polaroid of the Three Sisters: Blue Mountains, Australia

Scanning the valley floor we saw flocks of cockatoos swooping from tree to tree. Their white feathers were striking against the blue leaves, their shrieks echoed against the mustard yellow cliffs of the plateau. Above us a lone rainbow lorikeet called out. The jade wings, blue face, ruby beak, and yellow chest reminded me of the crayon sets given out at family restaurants. They were always the colors you needed least, yet it seemed that everything in the Blue Mountains came in those four electric hues.

When the sun began to set Barret and I headed back into Katoomba for dinner. As we walked I wondered if any of the restaurants gave out crayons and if so, what colors?

Polaroid of the Blue Mountains, Australia

How to get to the Katoomba: Blue Mountains Line train from Central station.

About: The Blue Mountains

About: The Clarendon Guesthouse

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