Long Way Down – Weekly Photo Challenge – Descent

Dear Friends,

I know I’m an alpine beaver and not usually bothered by heights but I met my match at the Diamond Tree near Manjimup in Western Australia.

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This enormous karri tree hosts one of a series of tree towers built by foresters in the 1930s. They were used as lookouts to spot fires in the dense karri forests and the cabins at the top of the trees provided accommodation for the spotters during their long, lonely shifts.

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For me, the problem wasn’t going up. The ladder is pegged securely into the trunk of the tree and there is a safety net to keep climbers from plunging to their deaths. The hut at the top is 52 metres above the ground and the viewing platform is 46 metres, high enough to give a spectacular view over the forest.

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Unfortunately I have no photos of the view to show you, because I didn’t make it! I was so worried about going down again I had to stop at the halfway mark. My mind was playing havoc with my legs and I kept imagining myself slipping and sliding back down to earth. It was ghastly.

The trees are no longer used for fire-spotting and have been replaced by spotter planes. Now they tempt those who are brave (or foolhardy) enough to climb to the summit to enjoy the view before making the spinechilling descent to the ground.

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My knees are still quaking at the thought.

Justin.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Descent

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11 Comments

  1. Half way? That’s 100% further than I would have even considered

    😉

  2. You brave, brave beaver! Fabulous photos. If you can stand to see another descent, check Nikk going down in http://rainbowspinnaker.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/weekly-photo-challenge-steinbeck-canyon-descent/

  3. Dear Justin,
    I have been wondering this for a long time, but have only now got up the courage to ask … are you actually a Time Beaver and do you have a TARDIS? It’s just that you seem to go all around the world in such a short time, and you have photos from many, many different countries!
    Yours sincerely,
    Time Bear (currently from Australia)

    • Hello Time Bear. I am in Australia at the moment too, although I do get around a lot.

      Wouldn’t it be cool to have a Tardis. I would love to meet Dr Who! I think we would get on famously. JB

      • Hi Justin,
        he certainly needs the occasional Companion who isn’t a human, just to give him perspective. I’m sure you would be adventurous enough to travel with him for a while. I have my own Companion, who is also a bear, and we watch Doctor Who every Sunday – the Doctor is very inspiring! If you ever get to Cardiff, you could visit the Doctor Who Experience, and maybe get your photo taken with K9. 🙂
        Happy travels in time and space,
        Time Bear

  4. You are very courageous to get even near to going half way up the tree. I might have wished I could go up it (I don’t think being up at that height would have been a problem) but from previous experience I know that vertical climbs, especially if I need to use my arms to help me, are not for me!

    • Elaine, it wasn’t the height or even the vertical climb that beat me. It was the feeling that if I slipped I was going nowhere but straight down very fast, and that would not have been pleasant. Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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