I am just finally getting around to updating. We spent all weekend with some friends in Albany and the Stirling Ranges, and didn't get back until Sunday night. By the time we had dinner and did some laundry and unpacked, it was time for bed, and we've been working and working out like mad people. So! Here is an update, with all of our adventures (and pictures!!!!!) from Albany and the Stirling Ranges.
Friday, Ben picked me up from work and we headed out to Albany. It is southeast of Bunbury, about a 4 hour drive. Mark had given us his GPS to use, and it took us on crazy, unpaved roads where we almost hit all kinds of creatures that we had never seen before. It was like 40 kilometers on a dirt road and we didn't see a single car or have cell reception. But it was kinda fun :) The house we were staying in for the weekend was beautiful! It was on the ocean in Albany, and it was huge. Ben and I had our own room with a nice queen bed, and everyone could spread out in their rooms. One of the girls had cooked a really nice lasagna, so we all sat down together (there were 8 of us) and ate a nice big dinner before the adventures on Saturday!
We woke up at 7 and Ben cooked everyone omelets. By the way, have you ever had artichoke and asparagus in your omelet? I never have, but Tyler insisted it was good, and it WAS. We headed to the Stirling Ranges, about an hour drive from the house in Albany. We all intended to hike Bluff Knoll--it is over 1000 meters tall, and a "3-4" hour hike. It is also the highest mountain in the southern half of Western Australia (and Western Australia makes up about 1/3 of the country).
The entire hike took us about 4.5 hours. We took a few breathers and spent 45 minutes to an hour on the top. The hike itself was INTENSE! The hardest I have ever done. But we went at our own pace, and took lots of beautiful pictures. There was absolutely nothing from stopping us from falling off the mountain--it felt like we could just fall off the earth. It was a winding trail that went all the way up to the very top of the mountain. Once we got over the tree line and on the back side of the mountain, the wind was crazyyyyy. But it was nice to have a breeze, since it was in the high 80s (for you American folk who use Farenheit) all day. The way down wasn't hard as far as heart rate goes, but it was difficult to control walking down the mountain. The "steps" are really high and you have to make sure your footing is decent so you don't go tumbling down 1000 meters. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't make it out alive if you did!
It was breath-taking and beautiful, and I can't wait to go back again. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The pictures are pretty good, but they honestly don't do it justice. You'd have to experience the hike for yourself :)
When we got back from the hike, we showered up and walked down to the beach. The boys went swimming, while Nat and I were not so brave. We barbecued and hung out, and lazed around after a very busy day.
Sunday, we took the back way home. We stopped and saw an area that looked and reminded us of Acadia. There was a part where water rushed in and slapped the sides of the ledge, and it reminded us of Thunder Hole! There was a natural rock bridge, too. The coast line looked so much like Maine, it made me miss home. We also drove through a cool windfarm with huge wind turbines. We were hoping to walk through but it was raining pretty hard.
Then! We did the Treetop Walk. It was raining, but they gave us ponchos to wear. It's basically this huge bridge structure that ascends up into these huge, tall trees. Did I mention it's "slippery when wet"? Because that's kind of important. AND, the structure that you walk on wiggles!! It was a little scary, but mostly cool. The highest point was 40 meters!! Which seems like nothing when you figure we HIKED 1000 meters the day before, but being in the tops of trees and looking down, it seems really, really far. We felt like we were in Jurassic Park. I was kind of hoping to see dinosaurs, but no luck unfortunately.
Here is a link to an album with pictures from the weekend. There were way too many to put in this blog, but you should be able to see the photos, regardless of if you are a facebook member (or my facebook friend) or not.
So now, Ben and I are just getting through this week as far as work goes, and then it's off to Margaret River we go for our 1 year anniversary! We are so excited. We plan to do another moderate/difficult hike on Saturday, and then some tours, dinner, etc.
In other news:
1) Ben is getting put on more projects as long as LCAA gets them (they are bidding on some right now)
2) My job is good, I like money, and babies are pretty cute, so it works out well
3) We are saving up to come home next June--researching cheap flights, it's looking promising!
4) We are faithfully going to the gym---Ben feels good to get back, and I'm loving the Les Mills classes
5) We are thinking about being Minnie and Mickey for Halloween, yes??
6) Our electric bill for 3 months was $56.70, and NO we will not trade with you!