At times during the climb, you lose sight of your goal only for it to re-emerge even larger than before.
Fondest memory: Then there's a sence of presence, of awe of the geology of the place. The time it takes to weather such stones into such shapes defies the imagination.
The fragility of the vegetation that clings, in the most unlikely places, to a life so precarious as shown in pics 2 and 3. For whatever reason, a lot of my friends have commented favourably on the third picture.
The plant life is varied here, clinging to its existence in unfavourable circumstances.
Fondest memory: Yet, despite that there is diversification. Whether or not it is lichen clinging to a fence post (pic 1), amazing fungus halfway up a tree (Pic 2), grasses in a minamilist soil area (pic 4) or glamorous gum trees standing magnificently in a paddock (pic 3), there is variety for even the casual observer.
Ultimately the area is about the rocks.
Fondest memory: The variation in shapes, the variation in colour, the power they seem to have. The first shot shows a rock that Frank didn't know existed so we were pretty excited about this find whilst the second shot indicates the size of one that we passed by as you can see Frank in the left hand side of the picture.
The last is one of my favourites from the day out and gives you some idea how the stones and the forest co-exist.
In time we walked around the back side of the mountain. Here were different shapes, different angles, different formations.
Fondest memory: The first shows probably my favourite spot on the walk where moss clung in profusion upon this mostly sheltered rock face. The next shot was taken only about 50 metres further on and I put myself in so you can gauge the size of the crack in the granite.
Due to the prolonged drought (will Australia ever be free of it?) there are many dead trees in the area. Actually, many are wrecked by the occasional storm or lightning strike but their situation isn't helped by the dry weather.
Fondest memory: Thus it is that there are many twisted and bare shapes among the granite and, at times, their shadows play tauntingly upon the rocks.
After achieving our initial goal we sought new experiences and headed south along the ridge, seeking a rock formation I had espied from the paddock.
Fondest memory: At times there were glimpses out west through the foliage and the granite. At other times the going was awkward (see pics 2,3,4), having to navigate our way through cracks and looking for leads though often the way was interrupted by fallen trees, slowly in the process of rotting, something that takes a while out here due to the dry nature of sclerophyll forests.
Sometime during your visit to the New England area you'll come across a standout rock. It will be granite.
Fondest memory: It's when you get to see them up close that their huge size is even more impressive but, from a distance, as shown here, initially they may not seem that large.
This particular one requires a scramble through the scrub. This is genuine Aussie bushwalking country. One minute climbing over the granite, next stumbling over dead trees and then brushing aside intruding branches.
Upon receiving instructions we did a U-turn and drove back about a kilometre along the dust laden track before turning right and heading off through a paddock.
Fondest memory: As we neared a copse of eucalypts the sun backlit the scene and grass lit up in fiery browns and reds. It was as if someone had just painted a canvas a few minutes before and it was still shining in the sunlight.
My companion for the day was Frank. I've known Frank for a few years and he's one of those salt-of-the-earth type people.
Fondest memory: Without his help I wouldn't have known about where we were going, let alone how to get there. Just before we reached the house where we had to get permission we came across a stream of reflections. Despite the drought conditions it still made for a diversion from the dry scrub we were about to encounter.
Armidale is granite country. As a matter of fact, the whole of the New England area is granite country. It's a bold, solid and imposing type of rock that, in places, dominates the landscape.
Fondest memory: This then, is the story of a day I spent amongst the granite. Even getting to the spot you had a precursor of what was about to become apparent when we were approaching a cattle grid and came across this specimen.