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post #2491 of 2600 Old 03-12-2020, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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Long time no write - so I thought I'd fix this...

@Rob55 , it's good to hear from you, and especially to have such a good prognosis for Joannah. Also that you're still riding! ...you can look forward to spring without feeling sorry for us here - summer is horrific when you've got drought and heatwaves and shocking UV - we've been much looking forward to autumn, which is our loveliest time of year here. Yesterday morning started with mist across the landscape - that's what I like to see! Good luck and best wishes to both of you.

@CopperLove , this is funny, hee hee! But you know, everything is edible - there was some French guy who actually ate an aeroplane, you can look this up. Although, some things are only edible once... ...it was good to read that you're gradually getting your confidence back after those recent incidents with the horse. I remember when I used to be paralysed with fear every time I heard a tractor when I was 10 and about the same stage of the game you are now, because a young horse had bolted badly with me spooking at one (and it took a while to get over it, and to stop infecting horses with the nervousness I had because of it!). It's part and parcel of learning to ride, for those who want to go on trails (and IMO it's worth it; who wants to do arena circles all their lives - horses certainly don't...)


A couple of pics of the garden recently - the food garden, and the garden behind the house:



Those are apple trees with the nets on, and we're munching the early ripeners already!

The back garden has citrus trees and a couple of jostaberries, and a sort of bonsai avocado that got eaten by donkeys whenever it wasn't half-killed by frost...



Some recent adventures to follow...

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post #2492 of 2600 Old 03-12-2020, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Australia
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MT TALYUBERLUP CLIMB

In July 2018, Brett and I climbed Mt Talyuberlup for his birthday, and I wrote about this here: https://www.horseforum.com/member-jo...post1970571069

Less than two weeks afterwards, I broke my foot - remember all that? And there's been over 150 pages of writing in this journal since...

Anyway, we climbed all the other Stirlings peaks again last year, except this one. But then, we had a cool, initially cloudy summer's day for a change, and a visitor keen to see this mountain when we told her about it, so we went! The photos are a combination of Brett's and Qing Ying's (the name means Full Moon, how cool is that! ), who was celebrating her 30th this way! I had my hands full being the dog handler - and attempting to survive the uphill after a hot summer where I was disinclined to do cardiovascular training three times a week...

This was the shot of the Western Peaks driving into the Stirling Range National Park from its northern end:



If you look at the three peaks in the centre of the picture, the leftmost which is slightly lighter in colour and sitting in the background is Mt Toolbrunup, on which Brett proposed to me in 2007 and which we climbed on the engagement anniversary date late last year (photos back here: https://www.horseforum.com/member-jo...post1970798363).

The middle peak that looks like a pair of boobs is Mt Magog, which will be a few pages back from the above link; and the jaggedy-looking triangular thing down the slope from that, to the right, is Mt Talyuberlup - and you're about to see why it looks so jaggedy even from a distance!

Looking across to the trailhead, from the car park:



Near the start of the track - typical mallee (sparse-looking eucalypts) woodland:



Starting to climb - and for some reason I look like a hobbit here - in part it's the funny angle, I'm still coming up to the same level as Brett:



Brett at the foot of the spires over half an hour later, near the cave entrance:



Qing Ying ascending to cave level:





Here we are in the cave:





...and you can see that I need more cardio training if you look at that tongue hanging out! Brett is coming up into view in the cave if you look closely.

On the other side of the cave there's lots of jaggedy rocks:



Qing Ying took this gorgeous panorama, which it really pays to enlarge:


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post #2493 of 2600 Old 03-12-2020, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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If you look at the cliffs to the right of me, in the last two photos, we're about to climb into that crack in the cliff face, to the right of the rock that looks like an eagle. Here goes:









And here's our visitor taking a snap of Brett:



...who is still back near the cave entrance at this point, having taken those photos of us going up the cliff!



And this is Brett, having caught up with us, zooming into the summit at the top of that cliff climb:



Mt Magog from the summit of Talyuberlup:




The dog, and a lichen-encrusted bush:



Lunch was documented by our guest; lentil/beetroot/feta/walnut salad and tsatziki; apple strudel; plum cake and fresh fruit from our little orchard (which also gave us the apples and plums for the baking!).



Apple strudel at altitude - unfortunately without ice-cream!



Two photos from the descent - going back down the crack in the cliffs:



...and going down the steep section coming out of the cave:



I fell asleep in the car on the way back home, and continued my nap when we'd had afternoon tea at home - while Qing Ying went for a bushwalk around our place! She also went horse-riding for the first time while visiting us, and I'll tell you about that in the next post.
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post #2494 of 2600 Old 03-12-2020, 09:46 AM
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What a wonderful hike!
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2495 of 2600 Old 03-12-2020, 02:18 PM
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@SueC That saying about everything is edible but some things only once is popular around here. Hunting for wild morel mushrooms is very popular in the area, but you have to know what you're doing because there are obviously some mushrooms you wouldn't want to eat. I don't know if we have any of the "you can only eat them once" kind of mushrooms around, but some that probably would make you a bit sick.

The funny thing with Dreama is... some of the neighbors really aren't very nice. So they've done dangerous mean things on purpose like shoot guns off just barely into their own properties, near the round pen. A neighbor has also driven by as fast as he possibly could on a tractor with a bucket on the front as we were riding back down the road. While the gunshot makes her a little nervous she doesn't lose her mind over it as long as she has a calm rider. The tractor wasn't even note-worthy to her. With other horses around her, pulled off to the side standing in lush grass to eat, none of the horses even cared. I'm not even sure she'd have spooked at the dogs that 2nd time I fell if we hadn't already both had our nerves tore up from the incident with the fence in the woods. But now it's there in my head: this is what happens when a horse spooks. But we'll get there eventually. She's fine, I just need to get my head on straight.

Your latest visitor was very adventurous! She's the kind of person I imagined would end up turning up at your place eventually.

I hadn't thought to ask you yet specifically, you may even have mention of it somewhere farther back in your journal since I know we've talked about clothing before briefly (or maybe I read it somewhere in your journal also), what kind of backpack do you prefer carrying with you for your hikes?

Originally I thought I might get a sling pack or waist pack just to carry a bottle of water, phone, keys and some first aid things. But the more I think about it, a slightly larger bag might be helpful because I would be able to carry more water, a spare jacket or sweater if it's cool out, and maybe some lunch.

A slightly bigger backpack with a more open compartment could also be used for other kinds of travel as well, packing light to visit friends or family, etc.

But I'm a little torn because, while some of the name-brand nags are pretty expensive, some of the cheaper options don't look like the padding and support from straps/hip belts would be as good. That's the reason I don't like using my work backpack for any kind of walk or hike, because even with just a couple of water bottles and a spare jacket in it, the straps dig into my shoulders and make me feel constricted. I'm also not sure yet whether I should get a separate bag to pack for camping and a different smaller one for short hikes/day hikes, or just get a bag for day hikes and cobble together totes and other bags when I do pack for camping.

It seems like a petty thing to be so indecisive about, but if I'm going to invest in a piece of equipment for an activity I want to pursue, I don't want to choose something that won't suit my needs, and may hurt my back as well. You do some serious hiking so I thought you might have some good input

"I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable I am an original. Iím not falling behind or running late. Iím not standing still I am lying in wait." - Wait For It
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post #2496 of 2600 Old 03-12-2020, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Australia
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@Knave , it's a wonderful place... So lucky to live here. A European friend who's into castles, when he saw that, said I didn't need to be too sad about the absence of castles from Australia, with scenery like that!


Hello, @CopperLove ! Re a good hiking pack, we bought ours 13 years ago (and don't ever expect to have to buy replacements as they're very well made) so I had a look at what that manufacturer is offering nowadays. This is the closest equivalent to what we use, but they've taken out a feature we consider important, which I'll tell you about in a minute.

https://www.mountaindesigns.com/equi...ack/BP90141018

We don't use full hiking packs because we don't carry tents etc, we just do day walks. Depending on manufacturer, you will therefore either be looking at a small hiking pack, or a good day pack with hiking pack features. The most important of these is to have a comfortable, padded strap-up harness around your hips, so you can carry most of the load there and not on your shoulders. That made the most enormous difference to my hiking, once I bought this pack - it was so much more comfortable. (This topic is like saddle fitting for humans! ) You can adjust where the load hangs, the proportion that's on the hips versus shoulders, by lengthening the quick-release straps on the shoulders if you want to carry even less across the shoulders and even more on your hips. The shoulder straps on mine too are wide and padded (like with a good bra ) so very comfortable, and there is a strap connecting them across your front, so you can adjust tension there too and determine exactly where you want the straps to sit on you.

With packs like this, your centre of gravity is lowered and your shoulders are freed up, which means you can move without much hindrance from your load when you're walking, climbing, balancing across rocks etc. We usually carry lots of water, ample food, our cameras, first aid supplies, a raincoat and extra warm clothing even in summer, in case of a sudden change of weather or an accident that would force us to perhaps spend a night out on a mountain - hypothermia catches many people then unless you're prepared, and will easily kill people who are in shock because of a broken limb etc.

What the pack in the link doesn't have is a mesh divider between your back and the backpack that makes a gap between your back and the backpack so that air can circulate freely and you can cool better. I hate having a sweaty back and I overheat really quickly, so the extra evaporative body surface this feature allows has made me so comfortable, and not just in summer - even in winter, if you sweat on your back and the backpack is sitting in contact, it's really uncomfortable, and when you take it off it's icy in a winter gale. So I really recommend this divider. Let's see if I can find a picture showing that on our packs:



You see the gap between the pack and my back? I have a mesh divider in a bendy frame sitting directly on my back, which is rigged up so that there is a gap between it and the pack. I found a drawing of exactly that online, but it seems that most hiking packs I've looked at online today don't have this feature, yet I think it's really worth having and should be standard:



...image from here, more discussion: https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/q...hable-backpack

Just like with a saddle, it's the fit that's more important than the look. It makes such a huge difference...


OMG, your neighbours, that's terrible!!! I can't understand why some people are so unfriendly, and downright malicious. I had to laugh about your mushrooms though...

And you're right about that traveller, and we've had a few like that now! Overall, we've been getting really, really nice people, in part because the mutual review system of Airbnb means you can decide not to take guests that don't have excellent reviews from previous hosts. A lot of our guests are young and adventurous, and if they come on their own instead of in a couple, I make a point of going hiking with them of they want to, as I enjoy hiking anyway and I feel better when someone isn't doing a more remote track on their own!

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post #2497 of 2600 Old 03-13-2020, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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ANOTHER FIRST RIDE

I've offered beginner rides to a couple of suitable Airbnb guests so far. The first one I wrote about in the middle of this post: https://www.horseforum.com/member-jo...post1970811201

...and then there's more here: https://www.horseforum.com/member-jo...post1970822339

...and then there was the special trek with the more accomplished rider, who'd ridden ponies in Ireland as a child: https://www.horseforum.com/member-jo...post1970836657

This has all been entirely voluntary from me to people who I feel it's safe to put on a horse (for them and for the horse), as a sort of bonus extra. I enjoy it, so why not, and I've done that all my life with friends and acquaintances, even before Airbnb. It's nice being able to create good experiences between people and horses, and it's a ripples-in-the-pond type experience which has ramifications in many other ways for a person, so I love to do that!

So when our avid mountaineer from the previous post arrived and the animals all decided she was a good sort they wanted to hang out with, and she was besotted with them, I dropped the question on her, "Have you ever ridden a horse?" and no, she hadn't, so I asked, "Would you like to?" and got a resounding yes. It's so much fun to work with people like this! Like our previous complete beginner rider she was fit, had a background in stuff like Yoga / Pilates / Gymnastics, and had fantastic balance. You tack up, demonstrate how to get on and off a horse, and then it's their turn. Qing Ying was yet another person who did that seamlessly the first time, as if she'd done this a hundred times before - and that's despite the fact that she's really petite, and I had to make extra holes in the stirrup leathers to make them short enough for her! Little starting tips on posture, moving with the horse and how to hold reins, and off we went on a loop around the farm tracks, with the horse on a lead rope and the rider safe and supported.

One of the first things she said was, "Oh, I'm so high up!" I told her that's also the first impression I had when I started as a 9-year-old on a huge Warmblood school horse called Viola. The stirrups were chin level to me standing on the ground next to the horse! The other thing I remember was the never-before sensation of riding something warm and big and furry. It felt scary and safe at the same time. It's an honour to be carried around voluntarily by a big critter like that. I always liked the Hippogriff scenes in the Harry Potter books, because they showed exactly that. When we're so used to something, like people riding horses, sometimes you have to create an imaginary scenario with a fantasy creature that has parallels with the one we're used to, to open our eyes properly instead of take stuff for granted.

The other thing Qing Ying said after a while was that the whole thing felt like a form of meditation, very relaxing and grounding and very in the present. Which I know a few of us on the forum feel too, and have discussed before!

It's always nice when a new rider is smiling and the horse is smiling and at the end of a session, when the rider comes back to earth and you ask, "Is that something you'd like to do again?" they answer emphatically in the affirmative!


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post #2498 of 2600 Old 03-13-2020, 11:45 AM
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It does seem a lot like saddle fitting for humans I am glad you have validated my concern for picking the right bag.

The thing I immediately notice about the new version of the bag you use is that the hip and shoulder padding support looks much better than the other name brands Iíve been reading and watching reviews on. Your description of looking for ďa small hiking pack, or a good day pack with hiking pack featuresĒ is accurate and I think some of the bags Iíve been looking at have been designed more for other kinds travel, not so much for hiking.

A really popular brand in the US for travel backpacks right now is Osprey. While Iíve heard great things about them, quality, warranty, etc. the padding still looks better on the Mountain Design and Deuter bags from bicycling bag discussion you linked.

Osprey does make hiking bags as well but I think their rise in popularity has been partially due to ďminimal travelĒ being such a trendy marketing thing right now. Which if Iím honest is probably why Iíve heard so much about them (because Iíve wasted a lot of time watching youtube videos and sighing and daydreaming about places Iíd like to travel with just a backpack )

Browsing through the Dueter website, it seems they no longer make a bag with the mesh and curved frame divider system either. I havenít looked through every single one yet, but itís not what Iíve looked at so far and not in any other brand Iíve looked at either. Makes you wonder why companies stopped providing this feature since it seems like multiple brands produced it in the past?

A description on one of the Dueter packs I read includes this: ďPadded back panel is made of open-cell, hollow-chamber foam for cooling breathability.Ē Maybe brands have tried to decrease the bulkiness of that particular feature by just providing the breathable padded back panel. Iíve seen several with similar claims, but it definitely seems like the older design youíve describe would work better.

Iím going to browse the Mountain Designs site more. It seems they offer a free club membership with access to a discount and some good incentives for a first purchase, and are clearly pretty good quality if youíve been using one for 13 years!

There are also things I see about this 30L style of Dueter backpack that could potentially be helpful: https://www.rei.com/product/147416/d...sl-pack-womens
Itís supposedly designed specifically for women; I donít know how much that actually matters, but as with saddle fitting I guess it could make a difference since there are some average variations between male and female bodies. The Dueter bag also has an internal frame, which it seems like the new version of the Escape Multi 30L Day Pack is lacking after that mesh panel and curved frame were removed. But as I look at bags on the Mountain Designs site Iím guessing I may find a similar one that does have an internal frame.

None of my hikes this year are going to be anywhere near as long as yours, but from trying to use my work bag on short hikes and walks I know that certainly isnít going to work and that the way a bag fits is more important than the size itself. Thank you for pointing out these bags that are clearly much better designed for my purposes than the stuff Iíve been looked at

Note about the neighbors: Most of that has stopped now because theyíve had charges pressed on them for other things. Iíve not talked about any of that in my journal because I donít want to be getting advice saying I should move Dreama, because I canít imagine being anywhere else with the help theyíve given me, and Iíve also never felt there was an overt threat to her safety being pastured there. But things are getting better on that front.

It is so lovely of you hiking with visitors and presenting some of them with their very first horseback ride! I still get that ďOh, Iím so high up!Ē feeling, but some of that has gone away after lengthening my stirrups a bitÖ when itís not so much effort getting on, it feels less like youíre so far up.

"I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable I am an original. Iím not falling behind or running late. Iím not standing still I am lying in wait." - Wait For It
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post #2499 of 2600 Old 03-13-2020, 07:59 PM
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Don't mean to double post on your journal, but I had to because I wanted to pop back in and say how foolish I feel after all that talk of browsing the Mountain Designs site more and their membership benefits after realizing this evening that they are an Australia only brand They've still pointed me in a better direction though!
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"I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable I am an original. Iím not falling behind or running late. Iím not standing still I am lying in wait." - Wait For It
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post #2500 of 2600 Old 03-14-2020, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Can't you buy their packs on eBay? I'm surprised! But I liked the look of that pack in your hyperlink anyway. In the absence of mesh divider backpacks, it looks like a good one!

I'm glad that was helpful for you. Can't have you wearing the wrong pack saddle when hiking, now, can we?

Speaking of, we've just come back from another hike - Monkey Rock to Lights Beach and back, which I already documented last year, with nice photos here:

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jo...post1970742907

It was time to do that one again! Now I'm waiting for Brett to come out of the shower so I can give him a much-needed haircut, and then I'm off to ride Sunsmart - we also had a nice ride yesterday.

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