Thursday, March 27, 2014

Climbing the mountain, twice. Pt. 1

I don't pretend to be an expert on things I'm new with. I love photography but I am hopelessly lost with many of the settings still. 

I learn new things everyday I use it, sometimes those things are just a bit too late...

This past weekend I went to Shoal Bay in NSW. Shoal bay is a gorgeous quiet little resort town about 3 hours outside Sydney. Its seemingly tucked away from the mass hordes of tourists that flood into the major cities with a only a modest number of hotels and surprisingly uncrowded beaches. It is amazing, take a peek.

Ill give ya an extra large view of this beauty



Beach to one side bay to the other, both sides spectacular. With views like this I spent the whole day out taking pictures and could you blame me? 

The trail that resulted in the picture above was atop a rather steep hill, I want to call it a mountain but geographically I am not convinced I can without sounding lazy.


When I was your age I used to walk up those, uphill both ways
I went to sleep the Friday night of arrival with the intention of waking up for sunrise, taking a hike up that hill and having relaxing day on the beach. Much like the Blue Mountains however my plans are never quite as planned and my days journey turned into a mission in which I found myself looking upon one of the most beautiful views of my life twice in one day.

4:30 am.
My alarm goes off, Bad Fish by Sublime.
I know its super early to be getting up for sunrise, its still a few hours away but I have no idea how to get to the beach and I want to ease myself into waking up. I grab my iPod sloppily nearly dropping it off the bed twice and poke it to snooze. 

4:40 am.
Bad Fish again. '
I sit up cobra pose yoga style, eyes barley open. I grab the iPod and turn off the alarm lying my head back down. Ill get up in one second.

7:30 am.
Shit.

I get up and get dressed, no rush now the suns out and the sky looks clear and overwhelmingly blue against the bay. I go down to breakfast, buffet style. I've always found there to be the most interesting people at  buffets, especially breakfast. 8 am in particular is grazing time for every stereotypical traveler at hotels. The Hawaiian shirts are there, the safari couple, the pool side loungers bathing suits tight as ever and ready not to get wet, the socks n' sandals (flip flops are called thongs in Aus.) and the un-tan-ables everyone comes together in one room to feast and clog up the coffee line. I nommed my way through a hearty meal of poached eggs a double expresso and fruit before weaving my way through the crowd to set off on my photographic mission.

I hadnt had the opportunity the day before to explore, we arrived late and since it was my host moms mothers birthday celebration we went out to dinner. I was directionless but sure I could locate the great sights. Nothing was very far away and the trail to the hill seemed pretty self explanitory, I could see the staired section from below. I wandered a path along side the bay; joggers jogged by in their own worlds and power walkers huffed along with small weights in tow nodding as they passed, "morning, humph". Hup two three four always goes through my mind when I see power walkers. They always look so dedicated marching along. Off in the distance I noticed a wooden sign always a good sign for a trail, red tape however is not. I moved closer to investigate feeling a twinge of disappointment growing. 
I was greeted with this.

You must be shitting me

I was here for one day and hazardous trees were going to ruin my plans? I decided to continue along and see if there was another entrance. More walking along the bay more exercisers, I peered above longingly really hoping to find another way up. The path ran along side a home for elderly people, a strange exchange was made as I walked by a particularly creepy looking man.

'What err ya doing?" He asked nicely enough as I passed by
"Just taking some pictures" I responded keeping my pace lifting my camera and smiling
"Not Again!" He declared loudly continuing up a ramp

Guess its a popular photo spot go figure. The path was short and about two minutes after the exchange I reached the end. I hadnt relized that this area had been home to bunkers during WW2 but what greeted me was a ruined castle like structure right off the path in the water. It would not be the last of the war rememants of the day it was pretty awesome sight, gave me a woah moment for sure.

More views on my photo site

I wandered looking up the hill for paths but found nothing. I had one day here and there was no way I wasnt getting to the top. I walked back to the road closed sign intent on going anyways. If there were dangerous trees I'd take that chance. Much to my joy I saw a group of people with the same idea and jumped on the bandwagon of caution tape limbos and leaps. The journey up was what you expect, uphill. I dont know how long it took but maybe 20 mins in I was closing in on the top and was given a little taste of what was to come.



Picking up the pace a bit I finally stumbled on the scene of the very first picture of this post. What a breathtaking sight.



Followed by breathtaking sight.

Stupified by such a landscape I wandered in circles taking it in for as long as I could. I retreated reluctantly down the path again I had seen a sign for bunkers a little ways below. For a closed path there were quite a few people up there I was happy not be alone in my actions and just a bit surprised however to see so many children around. Truthfully though the path was in excellent shape it really just seemed like more of a precautionary measure to keep from being liable if a branch broke on someones skull, there was a heavy storm 2 days before from what I heard. I continued along a tree lined and mostly view less path towards the bunkers on the other side of the hill.

The bunkers were bunkers, they were really cool. I believe the enjoyment of them for this blog will be in the pictures nothing I can say will describe them any better than the photos. I had them mostly to myself and took full advantage of wandering the area, hence finding the ladder so obviously hidden from those unwilling to climb a small incline.



Rustic and morgue-esque



Calm down, its gently scribbled with rock. Look me up!

 I had the best time crawling down that ladder with all my camera gear and my backpack. Spider webs galore it was excellent. Rekindled my desire to travel around World War 2 sites of Europe. I really love going to historic battlefields its surreal to think that some places so serine and peaceful now were so full of horror in the past, so much emotion and tragedy. This was not one of those places but I will travel to some when I get around to Europe.

Ill give your minds and my fingers a break and do part 2 tomorrow. Blogging with photos takes a long long time you see. For more pics check out victoriafennell.com of course and thanks for reading, ya'll come back real soon ya hear!