Debi Slinger https://www.debislinger.com lifecoach06 Wed, 17 Oct 2018 04:32:44 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://www.debislinger.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Debi Slinger https://www.debislinger.com 32 32 We are so busy giving our kids what we didn’t have….. https://www.debislinger.com/we-are-so-busy-giving-our-kids-what-we-didnt-have/ https://www.debislinger.com/we-are-so-busy-giving-our-kids-what-we-didnt-have/#respond Wed, 28 Feb 2018 04:51:27 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4203 As adults, most of us have fond memories from childhood: intently watching ants on the march, building a cubby house, collecting tadpoles from the creek, making mud pies or daisy chains, grabbing the rope swing and swinging out over the river and letting go, exploring the neighbourhood and stopping for a Sunny Boy at the…

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As adults, most of us have fond memories from childhood: intently watching ants on the march, building a cubby house, collecting tadpoles from the creek, making mud pies or daisy chains, grabbing the rope swing and swinging out over the river and letting go, exploring the neighbourhood and stopping for a Sunny Boy at the milk bar.

We are so busy giving our kids what we didn’t have, we forget to give them what we did have.

Whether we realise it or not, those moments in the outdoors helped shape our view on the world around us. As I speak with parents, we all have fond memories of our childhood being one of freedom and exploration and yet these days, we are reluctant to allow our own children have that same experience. Here some worthwhile reading about the ‘Me Generation‘.

Move forward to the next generation and those kind of activities are no longer common place. The statistics are alarming:

  • Only 6% percent of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own
  • 8 to 18 year olds spend an overwhelming 53 hours a week using entertainment media.
  • 1 in 3 students cannot ride a bike.
  • 1 in 5 climb trees unlike 20 years ago when it was 3 in 5.
  • 57% of primary students cannot hold their own body weight on a monkey bar
  • 47% of primary students haven’t climbed a tree
  • 33% of students don’t know how to play hopscotch
  • 30% play outside unlike 66% 20 years ago.
  • In the USA 80% of children don’t do chores.
  • 44% of parents wish their children played outdoors more often (UK)
  • 43% of parents admit relying on school to ensure children go outside (UK)
  • 43% of children say they’d rather watch TV than go outside.
  • 42% of children would prefer to play computer games than go outside.

There is a growing disparity between the time kids spend indoors wired to technology and the time they spend outside enjoying nature. The vast majority of today’s kids use a computer, watch TV, or play video games on a daily basis, but only about 10 percent say they are spending time outdoors every day.

Research shows the downsides:

  • Increased childhood obesity
  • Increased feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Reduction in critical development of motor coordination skills
  • Decreased fitness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Decreased academic achievement

In summary, young people can become progressively physically illiterate as the combination of impaired physical literacy and increased bodyweight decreases their likelihood that they will enjoy physical activity into the adult lives.

Research into the benefits of being outdoors, particularly as young people continues to highlight the valuable contribution they make to personal health and wellbeing of young people. The unique opportunities within the natural and social environments offered at St Michael’s provide a variety of contexts where these positive connections can be made which we often refer to as being with self, others and the natural world. The benefits of these connections are shown to lie in the strength and placement of these connections. Benefits are clearly evident on a program of the psycho-social,  psychological, physical and spiritual domains, particularly with regards to developing self efficacy, intellectual flexibility, personal skills and relationship building.

Kids find adventure everywhere

Embrace the outdoors with all its highs and lows knowing that there is no learning and growth without a challenge.

Now it’s your turn. Share you stories of being in the outdoors. Write a comment below.

 

 

 

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15 Signs You’re An Adventurer, An Explorer, A Traveller https://www.debislinger.com/15-signs-youre-an-adventurer-an-explorer-a-traveller/ https://www.debislinger.com/15-signs-youre-an-adventurer-an-explorer-a-traveller/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 04:48:07 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4196 I’m always so glad to home to my own bed and the next morning, I’m thinking about my next trip. What’s it like for you? How do you know if you’re an Adventurer or an Explorer or a Traveler? I know because of the list below. You may have more to add. Some of these…

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I’m always so glad to home to my own bed and the next morning, I’m thinking about my next trip. What’s it like for you? How do you know if you’re an Adventurer or an Explorer or a Traveler? I know because of the list below. You may have more to add. Some of these might not fit with you. But I guarantee that some of these will sit with you deeply and connect with you.

So here goes:

1. Planning the trip is gets you excited and revved up for travelling

Whether you make it up as you go along, go through a travel agent to book it all or are part of a tour, it’s all in the pre trip stuff that gets the juices flowing. What route will I take, where will I stay, who will I meet, will there be toilets and so on. The exploring of what is ahead of you is so much fun. I remember travelling to Burma on an Intrepid Trip and was buddied up with another woman of a similar age. We got along well without living in each others pockets. When you fart on the en suite and know your new travel buddy heard it – the barriers are dropped and a different friendship begins.

2. You’re not uncomfortable if you get lost

Church in Sion Switzerland

I have an amazing sense of direction and rarely get lost and if I do, I’m happy to ask someone ‘which way to….’ ‘where is the….’. Some trips take me on detours I wouldn’t have expected. I love the serendipitous nature of travel – Not sort for but desirable discoveries. Venice can be one of those challenging places to navigate but yet each time, I manage to get to where I need to because of….perhaps it’s intuition. But if I got lost, there was always someone to guide me to where I needed to go. Having faith in the compassion of people gets you a long way.

3. You can’t see a travel magazine, documentary or even a plane overhead without a strong urge to travel

Every time I hear that lovely English voice of Sir David Attenborough, I get tingles to travel. I used to be my dream to be his PA and travel the world. Now I want to be him and explore and discover every corner of the world. If I pass a travel agent, I stop and see what flights are on sale. If pick up a travel magazine, I’m enthralled about others adventures. Then the research begins – where shall I go next, how much does it cost, who would like to come with me and so on. The urge to travel is ingrained.

4. It’s always about the journey, not the destination

Ah we hear that so often but it is true. Half the fun is getting there. It’s when you arrive that a different travelling experience happens. Meeting someone on the Metro, chatting to a businessman in an elevator, ordering your lunch and sharing stories with waiting staff – it’s the fun of doing and being rather than getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

5. You travel light and efficiently

Ahhh Venice

I travelled to Egypt and Jordan with 10kgs, one pair of shoes and not much else. It was winter which meant I had some bulky warm clothes but it was easy and travelling light, mean more treasures to buy. That = rugs! I’ve been known to travel to Bali with a daypack and if I need something like a t-shirt or shampoo – you can buy it there. As a regular traveler, I know that I’ll wear that t-shirt for 2 – 4 days depending on temperatures. I know I’ll fall in love with those black shorts and they’ll be my first choice every morning. I have my essentials and you’ll find that in other posts. But travel light as possible – it saves heartache and for some – a bad back.

6. Your luggage is simple and probably a travelpack / backpack rather than a suitcase

I have a gorgeous Samsonite suitcase which I bought recently for a long trip to Europe and Iceland. I was leading the trip so needed to keep with me some sensitive information and needed to know my case was secure and solid. Otherwise, I take a One Planet wheelie bag for trips. For shorter trips, it’s carry on. I do have a bit of a fetish about luggage and own a variety of shapes, styles. volumes and capacities but have to say that I use all of them for different occasions. For new travellers, borrow first, see how things go and then buy the best that you can afford. You really do get what you pay for. For backpacks and travel gear, I personally go to One Planet – Australian owned and made.

7. You want to hang out with the locals rather than the tourists

A Charlie Chaplin mime in Venice

I’m always surprised how people head to Shopping Centres in countries when there are local farmers, villages and communities nearby. I can visit a shopping centre in my hone town and frankly, there isn’t much different from country to country. But people – that’s different. Walking through villages, chatting, smiling, sharing is what its all about for me.

8. Itinerary? Blah – make it up as you go along

I’ve done my fair share of group tours and I’ve always enjoyed them. But there is nothing like exploring on your own terms. Staying longer when others have left or getting there earlier when no one else is around. Soak up those opportunities to live in the moment without an agenda or itinerary to adhere to – they can be rare.

9. Destinations off the beaten tourist track push your buttons

I can technically say I’ve been to the USA (Hawaii) but it’s not somewhere that is on my hit list. I consider it’ll be a place I’ll visit when I’m in my 70’s. The only attractions are Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains and so on. If it’s popular – you probably won’t see me there unless I’m in transit. My favourite countries in the last few years have been Burma and Iceland. So much more than I expected and felt blessed to meet the locals and their customs, try their food (their beer) and immerse myself in everything that they have to offer.

10. A camera is your number one travel item

Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland

I only use my iPhone 6+ and I’ve done an online editing course which makes my pictures even better. If you lose a charger or cord they are easily replaceable (except in Jordan and Egypt as they are considered expensive, so mostly Samsung there). I upload to the Cloud whenever I can and if I’m travelling with a computer I’ll dump them onto the desktop as well. Yes an iPhone doesn’t do great night photos or close-ups but the technology is getting better and frankly, carrying around chargers, lenses, camera bodies, memory cards etc. etc. is less time I can be meeting locals.

11. The unknown inspires you

Ah Iceland. Can’t talk enough about it. What I thought it would be like and what it was were two very different things. From green valleys to icebergs, then underground hot pools. Oh and the food, the people, the vistas. Again, a serendipitous experience – not expected but so desirable.

12. New country different food and cultures yearn within you

Local market culinary delights

Now I didn’t try the minke whale in Iceland, nor the puffin – I do have my boundaries. But I did try grasshoppers in Thailand recently but only because I met an American woman who was sharing. No they don’t taste like chicken and yes they tickled as they went down my throat. I’ve only ever got sick travelling from eating two things – spaghetti bolognese in Bombay (Mumbai) and  samosas in Arusha in Tanzania. Both made me very ill but since then – nothing. I’m more prudent and happy to eat off the streets and vendors if I see it cooked in front of me. Plus the culture. Drinking kava with a family of teachers or in Burma eating lunch with school children. Ahhh, that’s what travel is about.

13. Scrolling through Netflix looking for travel documentary and travel shows is a pastime

Sometimes I have to just not look at doco’s or I’ll get the itchy bug to travel when I can’t afford it or don’t have enough holidays accrued. Then there are days I just binge on everything that is available about travel. It’s a great way of seeing what’s around and places you can visit, give you ideas and new adventures.

14. An adventure hasn’t finished before you’re thinking of your next one

Lake Bled in Slovenia

So as I enter Jordan across the Red Sea, I was looking over to Israel and was planning how I could visit that country on another trip. Syria to the north is in turmoil and I’m no hero so wasn’t go anywhere near that country. But it doesn’t stop. I’m always thinking of the next adventure, the next adventure. Hoping it’s Cuba in 2017.

15. Being somewhere totally new and different is when you feel you are truly happy

I’m blessed that my work has me in forests, mountains, lakes, oceans and more but there is never enough. I live in a street where literally, kangaroos hop down the street and cockatoos line up on my front deck waiting for their seed. Even in my own home, I found peace and joy. I chose to live here because it connects me with the outdoors and the environment and grounds me about who I am and why I’m here.

Now it’s your turn. Share what makes you travel, tips, parts of you that yearn for more adventures. Write a comment below.

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All in a days work as an Outdoor Educator https://www.debislinger.com/all-in-a-days-work-as-an-outdoor-educator/ https://www.debislinger.com/all-in-a-days-work-as-an-outdoor-educator/#respond Tue, 30 Jan 2018 04:52:57 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4207 24 hours in the life of a professional outdoor educator 4.30am – Out of bed in Melbourne, quick breakfast on the go, toss bags into car and drive a couple of hours to starting point. Stop and snap a few stunning sunrise photos. 6.30am – Arrive at Base and meet Course Coordinator (CC) to discuss…

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24 hours in the life of a professional outdoor educator

4.30am – Out of bed in Melbourne, quick breakfast on the go, toss bags into car and drive a couple of hours to starting point. Stop and snap a few stunning sunrise photos.

6.30am – Arrive at Base and meet Course Coordinator (CC) to discuss plan for the morning. I am the Assistant Course Coordinator (ACC) for the program. There are two staging areas where the students start and finish. I’ll be at one, the CC will be at the other.

7am Greet group leaders and shed staff checking the gear already prepped and packed into vehicles and trailers the day before.

7.15am Staff briefing, expectations, educational outcomes, medicals, changes to the outline, weather conditions, group changes, school staff changes.

7.30am Group leaders load gear, finishing vehicle checks and collect last minute items such as GPS and radios. One GL is in charge of ensuring all eskies and food tubs are in the right vehicles / trailers including any special dietary requirements.

Problem Solve: Group Leader unwell – replacement to be found by 9am (done)

7.45am Two new Group Leaders, first time in a professional capacity leading a group of students. Chat to them about their expectations, any concerns, explain in detail the client and their needs and what it’s like to lead a group of 12 – 13 yo girls and boys. They are itching to meet their group full of enthusiasm and energy. Go get em guys.

Problem Solve: Maps aren’t where they are supposed to be – colleague on another program finds them for us. (done)

8am. CC gives final detailed explanation to Group Leaders of the experience of the group and some tips on setting up the program for success. Final numbers relayed from school are sent through so we know who will be attending.

Problem Solve: One of the lights doesn’t work on the trailer. Shed staff fix immediately.

8.30am After final packing, checking, briefing – all staff jump into vehicles and shuttle trailers to their appropriate venues. Not enough seats for everyone, so after dropping trailer at one venue, ACC returns to base and picks up remaining staff.

9am Five groups at one staging area, five groups at another. Key is to make sure everyone and their belongings end up at the right venue. In the meantime, Group Leaders unload all the packs, stoves, woks, spaceships, sleeping mats, tents. raincoats, tarps, groovers, pipes and a multitude of water drums, eskies and food tubs.

9.30am All gear is laid out by Group Leaders for their incoming group so they can easily see what they each have to use, collect and carry.

Problem Solve: Severe Weather Warning advised by All Hours Contact. CC liaise with venue manager about consolidating groups from five camps into two which are compliant in case of a SWW. (done)

10am Some staff choof off to the bakery for some lunch and to refill their water bottles before group arrives.

10.40am Staff get to know each other as they aren’t all familiar. Great bonding time and shared adventures with groups. This is often where the more experienced staff share their strategies with groups.

11.30am Buses arrive at both venues on time which are around 10kms apart. Buses load of student soft bags.

11.35am Group Leaders meet their students and the staff member and vice versa. Morning tea / lunch begins as the Group Leader introduces themselves and talk about the program and what they’ll be doing.

12.10pm Group Leader, Staff Member and students start to unpack their soft packs and pack their gear into rucksacks ensuring it’s all waterproofed. Anything the GL or students decides isn’t required is left in their soft bag.

Problem Solve: A student left their soft bag on another bus which is at the other venue. Radio CC, identify bag and make arrangements for it to get to the student. (done)

12.20pm Games, fun activities and quiz time to break the ice so everyone knows who each other is.

Problem Solve: Student has forgotten lunch. GL speaks to the group and he is offered a sandwich, fruit and drink to share from their own lunches. (done)

12.30pm Soft bags are put into the trailer in a specific order to make things easier when they depart in a few days time.

12.45pm ACC shuttles, eskies with fruit and tubs with food, tents, tarps and groovers to the two campsites and covers them in case of rain. (car full)

1pm Group Leaders ask for a navigating leader for the afternoon. All groups depart from the staging areas and begin their walk which is no more than 5kms.

1.15pm ACC shuttles tents and water drums to the two campsites and covers them in case of rain. (car full)

1.30pm Group have used more water than expected (hot day), so resupply and take to each campsite. (Gotta tell students not to bring water bottles with small openings as it wastes so much water when pouring from drum).

2pm Shuttle packs to campsites for students who aren’t able to carry theirs. (car full)

2.45pm See a group walking, stop vehicle to let them pass. Don’t like to drive by a group – it can be demoralising for them. Notice student has blood on her knee. Pull over and check. Group Leader who is at the rear of the group arrives and treats the student. We are both agreeable that she may need medical attention. Student comes with me to our main base where I ask her to rest, hydrate and the CC will attend to her first aid needs shortly.

This wasn’t the wound but you get the idea

3pm CC arrives and has student wash her knee under the shower and clean it up. Upon inspection, needs to be done again because of the grit. Finally clean, CC is able to dry and treat wound appropriately. Student is easy going and wants to join her group. Inform All Hours Contact of injury. Student apologies consistently for being such a bother (how sweet).

3.30pm ACC grabs spare batteries for radios and an extra GPS for Group Leaders and distributes them throughout the afternoon.

4pm ACC and student see an echidna along the road and stop to soak up the joys of being outdoors.

6pm CC has skeds with group informing of weather for next 24 hours, fire rating and any requests from their group. Number of students home sick. School staff manager their pastoral care.

Problem Solve: CC manages a student with an undisclosed medical condition. Liaise with All Hours Contact to clarify and act accordingly.

7pm ACC arrives at her accommodation with colleague and has dinner.

9pm CC advised to rendezvous with him at the local Hospital. He has two students with him that require attention.

9.10pm CC does handover and returns to the field as he doesn’t have good radio reception at the Hospital.

9.10pm – 10.30pm ACC stays with students while treated by nurse. ACC advises CC that one students is able to return to group and he will come and collect him.

Problem Solve: One student needs to return to home. CC liaise with All Hours Contact. Parent breaches protocol and calls Hospital direct. Fortunately, the nurse attending the student answers the phone. Nurse advises student needs to go home. I then liaise directly with parent about meeting him half way for a pick up. (done)

10.45pm All Hours Contact ask me to pause as the parents are separated and she has to ensure both parents are aware of the medical condition and the arrangements made. Good result within five minutes.

11pm – Midnight ACC rendezvous with parent in Healesville and reaffirms students condition.

1am – ACC arrives back at colleagues home avoiding two kangaroos, one deer, three foxes, one dead wombat in the middle of the road (stop and check pouch, baby wombat dead, drag off road).

2am ACC goes over the next days activities, charges phone, radio and texts All Hours Contact and CC finalising the days events.

2.15am ACC falls asleep. Sigh.

Next day 7am – It begins all again……

This is a fairly standard  day in the outdoors with 175 students, staff and group leaders bushwalking in a well used area with a CC and ACC managing the logistics that pop up continually. The CC will have done far more than myself during the day including topping up dietary food that wasn’t disclosed on medical form, student scared of using a hole to poop in and one student doesn’t know how to cut vegetables and is having a tanty. School staff manage pastoral care. We manage the rest.

Some may see it as disorganised – we see it as problem solving issues that constantly arise that are often out of our control.

  • Incomplete medical information
  • Injuries
  • Environmental factors
  • Staff (OEG and School)
  • Equipment
  • Attitude and resilience of group

That’s what we do. That’s what we are trained to do. That’s why we are great at our jobs. Here is the opportunity for students to disconnect with technology and reconnect with themselves, others and the outdoors.

We have a small window of opportunity to make a difference in a student’s life and show them the power within themselves, how great they can be. It’s not always easy but when it works – it’s gold!

 

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Top 10 life lessons from travelling https://www.debislinger.com/top-10-life-lessons-from-travelling/ https://www.debislinger.com/top-10-life-lessons-from-travelling/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 04:50:17 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4201 Having travelled to…..well lots of countries, I know the benefits of unravelling your life amongst strangers and unusual locations. It definitely puts me outside my comfort zone which means I learn more about myself and the world around me. As I get older I get braver, but in some ways more conservative as I’m no…

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Having travelled to…..well lots of countries, I know the benefits of unravelling your life amongst strangers and unusual locations. It definitely puts me outside my comfort zone which means I learn more about myself and the world around me. As I get older I get braver, but in some ways more conservative as I’m no spring chicken anymore.

St Marks Square Venice 2016

Every trip is an adventure and I learn more about myself sometimes than the country I’m visiting. What I do know is that travelling is the best way to expand your view of the world, take you out of the bubble that is your home town and explore different food, cultures, traditions, religions, celebrations and more.

Here are some of the reasons I believe travelling will bring your some wonderful life lessons.

You are ever alone.

I remember once being in Fiji not knowing a soul yet I found others – they weren’t necessarily westerners or even similar to me, but they had a passion for travelling.

They knew what it was like to travel through unfamiliar territory not necessarily knowing where we were going or what we were doing. I’ve always found travellers to be friendly and helpful and if you have the courage to strike up a conversation you just never know where it will take you.

The world is a lot less scary than we think – despite what the media say

Yep the world is a scary place these days. Just think of all the airport security checks and arriving in a country where everyone is carrying AK47’s. It’s daunting, but I’ve always found that most people are kind and eager to help. You do need to have your travel radar up and be mindful of where you are, who is around you and keeping a keen eye out for anything out of the ordinary. But it’s most often easy going. Jump in and see how it goes. You’ve always got room to pull back if it doesn’t sit well with you.

You can live on very little when you travel

Keep it simple. I’ve read it over and over again and as a regular traveler and someone who used to pack weekly for a trip away, I’ve learnt to pack lean and mean. I know I’ll wear that t-shirt twice (maybe three times) before it gets a wash (if at all). I travelled to Egypt and Jordan with one pair of shoes because I did my homework and knew I wouldn’t need anything else.

You don’t have to pack everything – bandaids, mosituriser, shampoo and conditioner etc. etc. You can buy that when you get there if it’s not supplied at your accommodation. Being prepared is one thing but being over prepared is another. Of course, if you like to buy local treasures, you’ll need space for that, although I’m beyond that now. One memento is enough for me.

You learn how to lean on others

I find it hard to ask for help but as I get older and less tech savvy, I put my hand up and ask for help much easier. Which I’d learnt this lesson earlier in my life. Being independent is one thing but sharing our adventures and asking others about theirs is essential for a good trip. Open your eyes and take it all in like a child with a sense of wonder and curiosity. Everyone likes to talk about themselves so don’t forget to quiz people about their experiences and adventurers. They’ll be keen to share.

It’s all about the food

For as long as I can remember, I’ve told people who I only travel because of the ‘food’. Times haven’t changed. To explore and experiment is fantastic and most recently on a trip to Phuket in Thailand I tried roasted grasshoppers. Now I’m not normally someone likes to be a ‘box ticker’ who says ‘oh yes I tried tarantulas in Cambodia and dog in China and Whale in Iceland’, I find that cliché and frankly more about someone having great tales to tell about their tolerance for dining absurdity than anything else. But each to his own.

When travelling – try what you can. My tip is always make sure it’s cooked in front of you and be measured about what you choose and what you ignore. And of course, pack those charcoal tablets just in case you get a sore tummy.

You can have fun anywhere

You will find joy in the most unusual places. On the roof of a train (Morocco), at train station (New Delhi), on a truck (Zimbabwe) and so much more. Although according to MBTI I’m an extrovert, I’m shy and it takes me a while to take that step forward and say Hi. When I do, I’m rarely knocked back or given to cold shoulder. More often, it leads to a conversation that ends up being memorable. Example: Recently sitting in a brewery with a friend and a woman was sitting in the chair next to us but on her computer. She put her computer down and went off to the toilets. We were ready to leave but wanted to stay until she returned so her computer would be safe. When she returned, we started a conversation and BOOM – our stories unfolded and left feeling blessed. On another trip to Thailand I was chatting to the guy next to me who was a charter pilot so he knew heaps about planes. The stories he shared (some a wee bit naughty) were great and we had a great flight chit chatting about ‘stuff’. Take a chance having fun. You never know where it will find you.

Bedouin tent in Wadi Rum, Jordan

Bedouin tent in Wadi Rum, Jordan

Change, change, change

I’m 55 and have been travelling overseas since I was 21 – yes I was a late starter. What I’ve learnt is that travel is all about change. I’ve learnt more about myself than others. I’ve grown as a person and learnt to give more than I receive. I reflect over what’s important to me and who I really am and what I value. This is what drives me forward to explore more of our wonderful world.

You learn to relax

Chill baby. Like really chill. All those security checks, guns, body guards, uniforms – it can take it’s toll. These are the days of travelling overseas and you need to get used to it. It’s procedure. It’s protocol. Obey the rules and it’ll be fine. Don’t forget to breathe. Don’t forget to drink lots of water. Pause. Reflect. Learn. Take those memories with you. And share.

Question the everyday of your destination

So why do we get up at 7am and others at 3am. Why do others sleep when it’s dark and rise and sunrise. Why do some not eat on some days but gorge on others. Why? Lots of questions, not always answers. Travel gives you the chance to look at the culture around you and question why? Have an open mind. Ask others for their thoughts and opinions. Take it all in and come to your own conclusion. Question how it fits into your own everyday routine at home and your perspective on life. Beware: you may find that your beliefs are challenged and you may have to reconsider the status quo.

You become more connected with the world around you

A different language, different food, different currency, different customs and so much more. Travelling will challenge everything you know and believed in. Take it on board. Be respectful and observe And I mean really observe. This is where you learn. Take the time to connect with others and see their point of view. Expand your horizons and knowledge of this amazing world.

Now it’s your turn. Share your lessons from travelling. The good, the bad and the ugly. Right a comment below.

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Camping at Cooks Mill – Cathedral Ranges State Park https://www.debislinger.com/camping-at-cooks-mill-cathedral-ranges-state-park/ https://www.debislinger.com/camping-at-cooks-mill-cathedral-ranges-state-park/#respond Sat, 30 Dec 2017 05:01:05 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4223 I’ve been camping here for over 30 years and not much has changed. Parks Vic (or whatever their name is these days) do a great job of servicing the park by doing tree checks, grading the roads, vegetation management, tree hazard checks, managing the toilets and facilities. The rest is up to you. If you…

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I’ve been camping here for over 30 years and not much has changed. Parks Vic (or whatever their name is these days) do a great job of servicing the park by doing tree checks, grading the roads, vegetation management, tree hazard checks, managing the toilets and facilities. The rest is up to you. If you want to camp somewhere that has everything done for you, this is not the place. Rangers have more important things to do than change the toilet paper rolls so be prepared for a beautiful simple camping experience.

Satin Bower Bird home

There are a number of campsites in the Cooks Mills area much of which is shady amongst tall beautiful Peppermint, Blackwood and Red Stringybark gums with the sound of the Little River bubbling in the background.

The splendid, high-peaked ridge of the Cathedral Range offers spectacular walks and rock climbing routes to suit all levels of fitness and ability. The Cathedral Range is recovering from the extensive damage caused by the 2009 Black Saturday fires when 92% of the park was burnt. There is a pleasant old sawmill clearing (partially vegetated) sheltered in a forested valley near the bubbling Little River. This 3577 hectare park offers you a range of activities from relaxed camping by a clear mountain stream to an exciting climb to its high exposed peaks.Camping feeCaravan accessNo dogs/petsNo rubbish disposalPicnic areaRangerSpecial campsite

fixedw_large_4x

Black Spur

Access

The camping area is located off the Little River Road just before it crosses the river. Access with a 2wd is fine, albeit a little bumpy on the road in. From Melbourne head east through Healesville and through the mountainous Black Spur. Once you have left the Maroondah Highway and have driven north of Buxton, you will see the signposted turn off to the Ranges. Upon making another right turn into Little River Road you will need to drive on a dirt road to reach the camp areas.

Bookings

Advance bookings and payment are required. Individual sites cannot be reserved; please select your campsite(s) within the campground on arrival. For bookings go here or call Parks Victoria 13 1963. One campsite costs $27.50 as at the time of posting. When you book one site, please note that it is unpowered and the site accommodates a maximum of six guests. Individual sites are not reserved; please select your campsite(s) within the campground on arrival.  30 days prior 50% cancellation fee. Less than 30 days prior 100% cancellation fee. No Transfers.

Walking trails nearby

Toilets

Pit toilets are available in a few different places in the campground. Don’t rely on there being toilet paper so please bring your own. Don’t toss your rubbish into the toilets.

Facilities

There are picnic tables a shelter that are available for use by campers. The Friends Nature Trail (proudly can say I was part of the initial group that put this together) is an easy route through manna gum forest and takes about an hour to do the loop walk. The St Bernards Track to Jawbone carpark is a little more strenuous (can say that a group of students made this track back in the 90’s on one of our programs).

Fireplaces

Note that the fireplaces do not include a cooking plate so you’ll need to bring your own. Plus, you’ll need to bring your own firewood as it’s prohibited to take wood from the park but wood can be purchased from the nearby towns of Taggerty and Buxton. Use a portable gas stove or similar for cooking.

  • Light fires only in the fireplaces provided or use a portable camping stove instead
  • Ensure fires are never left unattended and are completely out before you leave
  • During summer and autumn Total Fire Bans are common – this means no open fires can be lit
  • For information on Total Fire Bans call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667

    Little River

Water

Recommend you bring your own water in although you can take water directly from The Little River. I would recommend treating it if this is the case. One of the local rangers, Rhyll recommends bringing in your own water as there is still ash from the bushfires washing into the waterways. Plus the never-ending logging trucks that are well placed upstream probably have some diesel run-off. In other words – treat or filter your water if taking from The Little River.

Rubbish

Carry in, carry out. There is no rubbish collection within the park and there are no rubbish bins so you’ll need to take it home

Campsites

There are 30 campsites available. Some are suitable for camper trailers, campervans, a small caravan or recreational vehicle as well as tents. During peak season, this campsite gets a lot of visitors. Be mindful of how far you spread yourselves out over your campsite. Do not camp under tree limbs. Note: bring your own wood, as firewood cannot be collected anywhere in the park. Also note that the fireplace here doesn’t have a cooking plate.

Pets

Not allowed

Wildlife

I could say prolific but that’s only when I need a goods night sleep. During the day you’ll hear if not see lyrebirds. They’ll often imitate chainsaws from the loggers. kookaburras, cockatoos, galahs and even the protected peregrine falcon. At night, the wombats come out along with the possums. Beware that the possums will rummage through your food tubs unless you seal them up properly. Kangaroos and wallabies tend to come out at dusk and dawn but you will often surprise them on walking trails. The every so interesting Satin Bower Bird have nests here and well worth hunting them out. Please do not disturb them. Take photos only.

Phone Network

Dodgy at the best of times. It’s intermittent and can drop out quickly.

Extra info

No known swimming spots here. No fishing allowed. No horseriding. No canoeing or kayaking.

Vehicle-based campingWood fireplaceNow it’s your turn. What are your experiences like of camping at Cooks Mill? Share and leave a comment below.

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Camping at Neds Gully – Cathedral Ranges State Park https://www.debislinger.com/camping-at-neds-gully-cathedral-ranges-state-park/ https://www.debislinger.com/camping-at-neds-gully-cathedral-ranges-state-park/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 05:00:11 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4221 I’ve been camping here for over 30 years and not much has changed. Parks Vic (or whatever their name is these days) do a great job of servicing the park by doing tree checks, grading the roads, vegetation management, tree hazard checks, managing the toilets and facilities. The rest is up to you. If you…

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I’ve been camping here for over 30 years and not much has changed. Parks Vic (or whatever their name is these days) do a great job of servicing the park by doing tree checks, grading the roads, vegetation management, tree hazard checks, managing the toilets and facilities. The rest is up to you. If you want to camp somewhere that has everything done for you, this is not the place. Rangers have more important things to do than change the toilet paper rolls so be prepared for a beautiful simple camping experience.

There are a number of campsites in the Neds Gully area much of which is shady amongst tall beautiful Peppermint, Blackwood and Red Stringybark gums with the sound of the Little River bubbling in the background.

The splendid, high-peaked ridge of the Cathedral Range offers spectacular walks and rock climbing routes to suit all levels of fitness and ability. The Cathedral Range is recovering from the extensive damage caused by the 2009 Black Saturday fires when 92% of the park was burnt. There is a pleasant old sawmill clearing (partially vegetated) sheltered in a forested valley near the bubbling Little River. This 3577 hectare park offers you a range of activities from relaxed camping by a clear mountain stream to an exciting climb to its high exposed peaks.Camping feeCaravan accessNo dogs/petsNo rubbish disposalPicnic areaRangerSpecial campsite

Black Spur

Access

Neds Gully is off Little River Rd at the northern entrance to the park; it’s a 50 m walk from the carpark to the campsites via a swing bridge. There is a 15 min limit on the drop-off zone; once you finish unpacking there is a larger car park further back near the toilets. An easy walk leads from Neds Gully to Cooks Mill along Little River. Access into the park is easy with a 2wd, albeit a little bumpy on the road in. From Melbourne head east through Healesville and through the mountainous Black Spur. Once you have left the Maroondah Highway and have driven north of Buxton, you will see the signposted turn off to the Ranges.

Bookings

Advance bookings and payment are required. Individual sites cannot be reserved; please select your campsite(s) within the campground on arrival. For bookings go here or call Parks Victoria 13 1963. One campsite costs $27.50 as at the time of posting. When you book one site, please note that it is unpowered and the site accommodates a maximum of six guests. Individual sites are not reserved; please select your campsite(s) within the campground on arrival.  30 days prior 50% cancellation fee. Less than 30 days prior 100% cancellation fee. No Transfers.

Toilets

Non-flush toilets are situated across the bridge in the car parking area. Don’t rely on there being toilet paper so please bring your own. Don’t toss your rubbish into the toilets.

Walking trail markers

Facilities

There are picnic tables a shelter that are available for use by campers. The Friends Nature Trail (proudly can say I was part of the initial group that put this together) is an easy route through manna gum forest and takes about an hour to do the loop walk. The St Bernards Track to Jawbone carpark is a little more strenuous (can say that a group of students made this track back in the 90’s on one of our programs).

Fireplaces

Note that the fireplaces do not include a cooking plate so you’ll need to bring your own. Plus, you’ll need to bring your own firewood as it’s prohibited to take wood from the park but wood can be purchased from the nearby towns of Taggerty and Buxton. Use a portable gas stove or similar for cooking.

  • Light fires only in the fireplaces provided or use a portable camping stove instead
  • Ensure fires are never left unattended and are completely out before you leave
  • During summer and autumn Total Fire Bans are common – this means no open fires can be lit
  • For information on Total Fire Bans call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667

Water

Recommend you bring your own water in although you can take water directly from The Little River. I would recommend treating it if this is the case. One of the local rangers, Rhyll recommends bringing in your own water as there is still ash from the bushfires washing into the waterways. Plus the never-ending logging trucks that are well placed upstream probably have some diesel run-off. In other words – treat or filter your water if taking from The Little River.

Rubbish

Carry in, carry out. There is no rubbish collection within the park and there are no rubbish bins so you’ll need to take it home

Campsites

There are 15 campsites available accommodating six people. This is site is suitable for tents only and are located 50m from the carpark. During peak season, this campsite gets a lot of visitors. Be mindful of how far you spread yourselves out over your campsite. Do not camp under tree limbs. Note: bring your own wood, as firewood cannot be collected anywhere in the park. Also note that the fireplace here doesn’t have a cooking plate.

Pets

Not allowed

Wildlife

I could say prolific but that’s only when I need a goods night sleep. During the day you’ll hear if not see lyrebirds. They’ll often imitate chainsaws from the loggers. kookaburras, cockatoos, galahs and even the protected peregrine falcon. At night, the wombats come out along with the possums. Beware that the possums will rummage through your food tubs unless you seal them up properly. Kangaroos and wallabies tend to come out at dusk and dawn but you will often surprise them on walking trails. The every so interesting Satin Bower Bird have nests here and well worth hunting them out. Please do not disturb them. Take photos only.

Phone Network

Dodgy at the best of times. It’s intermittent and can drop out quickly.

Extra info

No known swimming spots here. No fishing allowed. No horseriding. No canoeing or kayaking.

Vehicle-based campingWood fireplaceNow it’s your turn. What are your experiences like of camping at Neds Gully? Share and leave a comment below.

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Lake Mountain Alpine Resort in Summer https://www.debislinger.com/lake-mountain-alpine-resort-in-summer/ https://www.debislinger.com/lake-mountain-alpine-resort-in-summer/#respond Thu, 30 Nov 2017 05:01:48 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4225 Lake Mountain is known for its excellent cross country ski trails during the winter months but it has more to offer than just snow and tobogganing when the weather warms up. Only two hours from Melbourne, it’s a hit with skiers but these days has become more popular with bushwalkers and mountain bike riders. With…

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Lake Mountain is known for its excellent cross country ski trails during the winter months but it has more to offer than just snow and tobogganing when the weather warms up. Only two hours from Melbourne, it’s a hit with skiers but these days has become more popular with bushwalkers and mountain bike riders. With over 30 kms of trails, that weave their way amongst the snowgums, the stunning heathland, the wild flowers and natural beauty of an alpine environment – there is something for everyone.

Helicopter Flat looking south

I’ve worked at this mountain as a professional ski guide and as a recreational skier since 1989 and I knew it inside out. But after the 2009 fires, I couldn’t visit Marysville let alone the mountain for some years. Fortunately, I made my way up to the mountain more recently and was pleasantly surprised by the infrastructure and regrowth that has happened in nine years.

Let’s set the record straight – there is no lake at Lake Mountain. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to put tourists on the right track on that one. Lake Mountain was named after George Lake, who was the Surveyor-General of the area including the mountain.

What was previously one building a storage sheds for groomers is now multiple large buildings for Ski Patrol, Ski School, Ski Hire, Cafe, Toilets and more. It’s an excellent set up and well overdue.

Despite being a little disoriented at first, I was able to follow the trails (picturing them with snow) and making my way around the mountain to familiar sites. What a buzz yet filled with grief. The snowgums are beautiful with their stark white trunks set against the blue alpine sky. Yet they are all dead and regeneration is slow and challenging. This place will never be as it was, but perhaps will evolve into something new and better (crossing my fingers behind my back as I wrote that).

Prior to going up to the mountain you can download maps from the Lake Mountain Resort website here. They are excellent and it’s a good place to start, particularly if this area is unfamiliar to you.

  • How to get to Lake Mountain from Melbourne
  • Resort Map
  • Ski trails and snowshoeing Map
  • Walking and Recreation Trails Map
  • Mountain Bike Trails Map

I would also recommend you check the weather, particularly if you’re coming from Melbourne. What may be calm and windless in one place can be stormy and unpleasant on the mountain.

There is a cafe on the mountain if you’d like to utilise that for a meal and coffee but there is also free undercover bbq facilities available. The cafe is open 9am – 4pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday. You can contact them directly on 03 5957 7253. I’d suggest you bring some basic food and all the water you need (just in case) and plan for a big day out. You always have the opportunity to stop at one of Marysville’s great eateries on the way up or down.

Just as a side note, the water at the resort comes from the Echo Flat area of the ski trails. This is actually where the Taggerty River starts and it is an unprotected catchment. Under the provisions of section 6 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Minister for Health has declared the water not suitable for drinking. Therefore, bring all your own water or you can purchase bottled water at the cafe on the mountain.

images

So let’s start at the beginning as you leave Marysville. The resort is 22kms from town and will take you longer than you might expect as the road is windy and you need to take care as there are often many drivers (particularly motor bikes) going to and from the resort.

You can stop at a few points along the way if you need a break but you should be there in around 20 minutes. No toilets on the way so use the ones in Marysville.

There are a number of car parks on the way up but you’re looking for the very top one where there are two large buildings and massive car parking.

This photo to above is one of the Information Boards that will help you get oriented and give you ideas of what you can do.

Here you make choices: Do you walk to the summit of Lake Mountain, venture on the Flying Fox, go for a walk, have a picnic. I’d suggest a walk to start with. It takes 10 minutes to walk up to the Snow Gauge and is a gentle uphill walk easy for most people. Then it flattens out from there. In summer the trails can be tussocky but easy to walk on.

Make sure you have a map with you so you know where you’re going. Most trails loop and you can branch off at one point and end up at another that links up with your original starting point.

You can walk on many of the trails that will take you right out to the back of the Resort where in winter I’ve seen antechinus footprints in the snow or wombats shuffling under tree trunks to hide from the wide. In summer, you will see kites, currawongs, wrens, wombats, the occasionally wallaby or kangaroo and lots of skinks. Why not take the opportunity to bring a picnic and have a culinary experience in the alpine world. Beware the march flies are vigilant and I’d bring insect repellent with you.

If you’re not a big bushwalker, then try the walk up to the summit of Lake Mountain which tops out at the almighty figure of 1443m (highest point is 1480 on the Hut Trail). Mt Bogong which is the highest mountain in Victoria is at 1986 metres. If the weather is clear, the views from the lookouts are stunning and with any luck, you may even be able to see Melbourne highrises.

You can engage a professional environmental officer named Sue ( as at July 2017) who can be contacted on 03 5957 7222 or emailing her at admin@lakemountainresort.com.au. Sue’s experience in flora and fauna is exceptional and will give you an insight into the environs that you may otherwise miss without her knowledge. Ideally you would have a group of 4+ to engage her services and you will need to prebook.

Flying Fox from the start looking to the finish

Up for Adventure?

Having spent some time in Northern Italy in 2016 I was thrilled to see how the managers of the ski resorts utilise their facilities all year round with mountain bike riding and other activities. This is what is unfolding at Lake Mountain. They have installed an amazing 240-metre Dual Flying Fox that is easily accessible from the car park. It’s an absolute hoot and highly recommend.

Flying Fox Rules and Regulations

In summer there is also the ‘tube run’ which is a ski trail where plastic is laid down the trail along with water and in a tube you can go for a hoot down the hill.

Signage to the Flying Fox

Finally, Laser Skirmish. This is new and who wouldn’t love the chance to pop some of your friends with paint. For more information on the Adventure Activities, go to the website here.

End of Flying Fox looking up to the start

Operation of the flying fox, tube run and laser skirmish are subject to weather conditions in the White Season. For these activities and guided wildflower walks, group bookings are essential in the Green Season. (quoted from the website).

Mountain Biking

The Resort continues to do great work on expanding the mountain bike trails around the area with over 20kms of single tracks that caters for the beginner to the advanced. You can bring your own bike or hire them at the  Lake Mountain Cafe & Visitor Centre which includes a helmet. The bikes are Kona mountain bikes and are in very good condition. Costs $15 for two hours or $25 for a whole day.

This is not my photo but not sure who took it but credit to them.

This is not my photo but not sure who took it but credit to them.

If you’d like to camp up on the mountain, you MUST contact the resort management for permission a there are designated camping areas. Remember this is alpine heathland and extremely sensitive to overuse.

NOTE – During the summer months when there is a day forecasted for Code Red Fire Danger, the resort will be closed. If you need more information visit Parks Victoria here.

The Ski Trails are also the walking trails and here are the distances below (taken directly from the Resort website). This will give you an idea of the distance and time it may take you to venture around the area.

Trail up to the Snow Gauge

 Walking / Ski Trails

  • Echo Flat Loop – 1.5 km
  • Snow Gum – 1.5 km
  • Muster – 2.6 km
  • Echo Flat – 6 km
  • Roystone – 2 km
  • Woollybutte – 2 km
  • Panorama – 3.5 km
  • Long Healthed – 3 km
  • Jubilee – 6 km

OPENING HOURS: 24/7 during summer months. Limited in winter.

LOCATION: Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, 1071 Lake Mountain Road, Marysville

PHONE: (03) 5957 7222. There is only Telstra 3G coverage on the mountain.

PARKING: There are two large carparks close to the buildings at the Resort and a few more further down the road to Marysville but these are used as spillover carparks in winter.

TRANSPORT: There is no public transport to Lake Mountain during summer. You can drive or ride your bike up the mountain.

DISABLED ACCESS: Around the buildings it’s pretty good but not on the trails and tracks.

ATM: There is no ATM on the mountain during summer although if the cafe is open they have EFTPOS.

ENTRANCE FEE: No fee during summer

DOGS: This is part of the Alpine Resorts Commission and therefore, no pets allowed.

TOILET FACILITIES: Toilets within the buildings

SOCIAL MEDIA:  Lake Mountain Resort on Facebook click here.

Lake Mountain Resort on Twitter click here.

Instagram @lakemountainresort and #lakemoutainresort

WEBSITE: Lake Mountain Resort

Now it’s your turn. Share your stories of spending time at Lake Mountain during the summer months. Leave a comment below.

 

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If not now, when? https://www.debislinger.com/if-not-now-when/ https://www.debislinger.com/if-not-now-when/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 05:02:51 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4227 Time to stop. Reflect. Consider. Where are you now and where do you want to be. Here are some thoughts from Seth Godin that may give you some clarity. Care a little more. Show up. Embrace possibility. Tell the truth. Dive deeper. Seek the truth behind the story. Ask the difficult question. Lend a hand. Dance…

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Time to stop. Reflect. Consider. Where are you now and where do you want to be. Here are some thoughts from Seth Godin that may give you some clarity.

Care a little more.

Show up.

Embrace possibility.

Tell the truth.

Dive deeper.

Seek the truth behind the story.

Ask the difficult question.

Lend a hand.

Dance with fear.

Play the long game.

Say ‘no’ to hate.

Look for opportunities, especially when it seems like there aren’t any left.

Risk a bigger dream.

Take care of the little guy.

Offer a personal insight.

Build something magical.

Keep your promises.

Do work that matters.

Expect more.

Sign your work.

Be generous for no reason.

Give the benefit of the doubt.

Develop empathy.

If not now when

Make your mum proud.

Take responsibility.

Give credit.

Play by a better set of rules.

Choose your customers.

Choose your reputation.

Choose your future.

Thank the ref.

Reward patience.

Leap.

Breathe.

Because we can.

It really is up to us. Which is great, because we’re capable of changing everything if we choose.

All we can do is all we can do, but maybe, all we can do is enough.

Credit to Seth Godin. You can find this on his blog here

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Sugarloaf Saddle – Cathedral Ranges State Park https://www.debislinger.com/sugarloaf-saddle-cathedral-ranges-state-park/ https://www.debislinger.com/sugarloaf-saddle-cathedral-ranges-state-park/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 05:03:35 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4229 I’ve been camping here for over 30 years and not much has changed. Parks Vic (or whatever their name is these days) do a great job of servicing the park by doing tree checks, grading the roads, vegetation management, tree hazard checks, managing the toilets and facilities. The rest is up to you. If you…

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I’ve been camping here for over 30 years and not much has changed. Parks Vic (or whatever their name is these days) do a great job of servicing the park by doing tree checks, grading the roads, vegetation management, tree hazard checks, managing the toilets and facilities. The rest is up to you. If you want to camp somewhere that has everything done for you, this is not the place. Rangers have more important things to do than change the toilet paper rolls so be prepared for a beautiful simple camping experience.

Access

You can access Sugarloaf Saddle via The Mt. Margaret Road from Marysville or via Buxton. I’ll assume you are coming off the Maroondah Highway. Make your way to the Cooks Mill camping ground located off the Little River Road. Access with a 2wd is fine, albeit a little bumpy on the road in. Follow the signage west to Sugarloaf Saddle. It’s a little steep and doable in a 2wd but it’s a rocky and bumpy road. From Melbourne head east through Healesville and through the mountainous Black Spur. Once you have left the Maroondah Highway and have driven north of Buxton, you will see the signposted turn off to the Ranges.

Bushwalking

If you are looking for a bushwalk, head up the track directly opposite the parking area at Sugarloaf Saddle. You have a choice of going via Wells Cave Track or around to the south. I’ve done both dozens of times. Wells Cave Track is harder and more exposed. Even me, a experienced climber found it a wee bit harrowing as I stepped out onto the arete and climbed up. However, if doing a loop with students, I’ll go up through Wells Cave as I can rope them up with harnesses and helmets and rope the difficult sections. It’s easier going up this way than coming down. Follow the orange markers all the way up and down. There are plenty of them, particularly after the fires, there are

Walking trail markers

LOTS of them. If you are going up the south route to the top, it would be worthwhile taking a rope as it does get steep in a few spots. Just take your time. Don’t rush and be patient. I’ve had Year 6 students to people aged 60+ climb this route but it’s all about patience and enjoying the journey rather than the destination.

Once you reach the summit – you’ll be rewarded with the most beautiful 360-degree views, from the farmland of the Acheron Valley on one side of the range to the densely forested Little River Valley on the other. This is what makes the whole trip worthwhile. I recommend you sit and absorb all that is around you. Allow a half hour. Depending how far you walk across the ridgeline will depend on whether you see the stunning views of The Razorback from the summit.

Rather than speak about walking along the Razorback and beyond, I’ll talk to either returning the way you came or taking the alternate route to which you came up. Beware: wet weather makes this treacherous. Good shoes are essential. Runners won’t really cut it – solid shoes with good soles are essential.

There are a number of excellent rockclimbing sites around the Wells Cave area. Please only take on the climbing if you have significant experience. Do not take it lightly. I had a friend break his ankle here back in the late 80’s due to his high over inflated opinion of his ability and his underestimation of the degree of difficulty of the climb.Camping feeCaravan accessNo dogs/petsNo rubbish disposalPicnic areaRangerSpecial campsite

Bookings

No bookings required.

Black Spur

Toilets

There are toilets at the carpark at Sugarloaf Saddle. Don’t rely on there being toilet paper so please bring your own. Don’t toss your rubbish into the toilets.

Facilities

There is now a fabulous shelter at Sugarloaf Saddle where you can sit and have lunch, take shelter in case of rain and hang out planning your days activity. Originally there was nothing, then a small shelter but these days it’s gone much more upmarket. It is not for camping, so please don’t attempt to set up here for the night. The Rangers do come regularly and check.

Fireplaces

No fires allowed at Sugarloaf Saddle.

New shelter built in 2010

Water

Recommend you bring your own water and plenty of it. There is a water tank available but once found a dead possum in it so ever since then, I bring plenty of my own water.

Rubbish

Carry in, carry out. There is no rubbish collection within the park and there are no rubbish bins so you’ll need to take it home

Campsites

There is no longer camping available at Sugarloaf Saddle. I used to camp there a lot in the mid 90’s but alas, no more. And frankly, I can see the whole area revegetate and revive from the fires and human impact. It’s been a positive step for the area to not have camping.

Pets

Not allowed

Kookaburras are everywhere

Wildlife

The lyrebirds are prolific here and in the days of camping at the saddle, you could wake up to a cacophony of a variety of different sounds they make. They’ll often imitate chainsaws from the loggers. You’ll also find kookaburras, cockatoos, galahs and even the protected peregrine falcon. At night, the wombats come out along with the possums. Beware that the possums will rummage through your food if you leave any out before you return to your car. Kangaroos and wallabies tend to come out at dusk and dawn but you will often surprise them on walking trails.

Phone Network

Not bad on the top of the saddle but otherwise dodgy at the best of times. It’s intermittent and can drop out quickly.

Extra info

No known swimming spots here. No fishing allowed. No horseriding. No canoeing or kayaking.

Vehicle-based campingWood fireplaceNow it’s your turn. What are your experiences like of camping at Sugarloaf Saddle? Share and leave a comment below.

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Snake bite facts and figures – Australia https://www.debislinger.com/snake-bite-facts-and-figures-australia/ https://www.debislinger.com/snake-bite-facts-and-figures-australia/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 04:54:12 +0000 http://www.debislinger.com/?p=4209 In Australia there are about 3,000 snake bites per year, of which 200 to 500 receive antivenom; on average one or two will prove fatal. About half the deaths are due to bites from the brown snake; the rest mostly from tiger snake, taipan and death adder. Some deaths are sudden however, in fact it…

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In Australia there are about 3,000 snake bites per year, of which 200 to 500 receive antivenom; on average one or two will prove fatal. About half the deaths are due to bites from the brown snake; the rest mostly from tiger snake, taipan and death adder. Some deaths are sudden however, in fact it is uncommon to die within four hours of a snake bite.

A typical place to find a snake

Between 1979 and 1998 there were 53 deaths from snakes, according to data obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In 1906, the untreated death rates were as high as 40% to 50% for death adder and tiger snake bites! Improved supportive treatment and the availability of effective antivenom has reduced this considerably.

Antivenom are prepared from horse serum. The risk of anaphylaxis is very low (less than 1% even for polyvalent antivenom), but is increased in people who have had prior exposure to horses, equine tetanus vaccines, and a general allergic history. This increased risk is much more common in people aged 50 years or more. About 4% of all administrations are associated with minor reactions.

Pre-treatment with a non-sedating anti-histamine, subcutaneous adrenaline, and iv steroids is still recommended, although severe reactions are rare. In general the risk from the snake toxins is much greater than the risk of administering the antivenom.

Red bellied black snake are a stunning colour

Each State in Australia has a specifically formulated polyvalent antivenom to suit local snake species however, it is preferable to use a snake-specific antivenom whenever possible to reduce the chance of reactions. Details of which antivenom to use varies from state to state, and are found with the packs and test kits.

If an antivenom is administered, ALWAYS advise the patient of the possibility of delayed serum sickness (up to 14 days later). This is characterised by fever, rash, generalised lymphadenopathy, aching joints and renal impairment. The likelihood of developing this depends on the volume of antivenom required. It occurs in about 10% of patients who are given polyvalent antivenom. Treatment with steroids is usually all that is needed.

Shelf life of antivenom is 3 years when stored in a refrigerator. Antivenom should not be frozen.

Known homes for snakes

Bites of snake handlers comprise 10% of snakebites in Australia, and implicated snakes include several uncommon snakes kept in captivity that rarely cause bites in the wild. Snake handlers are often reluctant to receive antivenom because of a belief that they are at greater risk of systemic hypersensitivity reactions to antivenom, but there is little evidence to suggest this is true. However, they may develop hypersensitivity reactions to venom, which must be considered in the differential diagnosis.

The forked tongue is not poisonous but is actually a chemical brush used to transfer molecules to the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the mouth, where the snakes sense of taste and smell is located. A widely forked tongue increases the ability of a snake to track its prey.

Snakes do not have ears and cannot hear sound. Instead they detect sound by sensing vibrations passing through the ground.

Snakes’ skin is not slimy and normally it is dry.

Snakes are not attracted to milk beyond the fact that it is wet and easy to find by smell.

The venom toxicity of a juvenile snake is the same as that of an adult although they usually produce less venom.

Less than 10% of newborn snakes survive to adulthood. Most are eaten by predators, such as birds or feral cats, or are killed by humans.

Tiger snakes vary in appearance

In reality the danger presented by snakes is not nearly as great as perceived. Sporting accidents, dog attacks, lightning strikes and even peanuts cause more human deaths in Australia than snakebite.

The presence of the blue-tongued skink (lizard) is no indication that snakes are absent.

Australia’s most venomous (yield) snake is the King Brown (Pseudechis australis). Believed involved in very few fatalities.

The most toxic snake venom on mice (of the species tested) is the Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus).

Australia’s deadliest snakes are the brown snakes (Pseudonaja spp.). Believed involved in 22 of the past 38 deaths attributed to snakebite.

Snake identification chart

The world’s deadliest snake, based on documented deaths, is probably the Saw-scaled Viper (Echis carinatus) especially in Sri Lanka. The deaths of nearly fifty people per million from snakebite occur there each year. Today in Australia we have 0.13/million deaths each year.

The toxicity of snake venom is tested in mice. Mice aren’t people.

Bibliography: Anaesthesia USYD , Wikipedia , AIHW Publication (great data here), Parks Tas Brian Bush has written a great academic paper here

 

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