Long Way Down – Weekly Photo Challenge – Descent
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.
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.
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.
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The trees are no longer used for fire-spotting and have been replaced by spotter planes.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.
My knees are still quaking at the thought.