I'm currently doing a course to become a forest ranger, and have just returned from a trip to the "red hills" - a plateau near Porters Creek Hut. We were up there for five days and (on the three working days) pulled out approximately 13,500 pest pine trees. The seeds blow from several plantations to the east, and establish themselves on the plateau. Without pine control, the whole area would soon change from native forest/scrub into a pine forest.
One thing that fascinated me was what we ended up doing in the evenings. Being quite remote, there was no internet or "normal" entertainment options, and as a result we had to use our creativity. There was a fair amount of riddles, and telling stories, but there was also a lot of creativity. People carved things from what they found - one guy made a fish slice (cooking utensil) from a piece of pine, another made a crochet hook (which another student then used). I made a claw pendant, as well as assembling some wooden stands to hold a pot over the fire.
Other highlights included:
- What a fantastic team of people!
- Stepping on a wasp nest and getting one up my trousers - 5 stings! At least I now know I'm not allergic (whew!).
- Getting my hair plaited!
- An awesome evening hike along the ridge with Max
- Beautiful helicopter ride in.
- Great weather. Even the rainy day was a lot of fun.