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Day 35 Trek

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Wow! On our 6th week already! I just can't believe it. All the things I've learned is almost overwhelming. I am getting very good at knowing which Gum tree I'm seeing and the Tingle trees as well. The rocks are always easy for me since I love to collect rocks and crystals. Australia has sure been educational for me. I can't wait to finish this week.

I woke up this morning with all of this running through my head. Just amazed at the trip so far. I packed up and met everyone else to get on the trail. With all these hills my bottom is going to look good by the time I get back home. I know it hurts enough for it! emoticon Climbing out of the valley and onto the top of the hill we turn around and look at the view for a last time and took pictures. Then we officially started our last week together in Western Australia on the trek. Thinking about what I learned about Frankland River and the area.

Here are some of the things:

The town and region were known as Frankland River until 1935. After the building of a local post office, the postmaster shortened the name to Frankland because "Frankland River" was considered too long to fit on signs and documents.

The state government set aside land for the townsite by 1909 and built a hall and a school. No further developments took place for some time and the townsite was not declared until 1947.

Frankland River was named by the surgeon Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson in 1829. Wilson, who was on his way to Sydney, left Albany to explore the hinterland while his ship, the Governor Phillip, was being repaired. He named Frankland River and Mount Frankland after George Frankland who was the Surveyor General in Van Diemen's Land in 1829.

Wilson's explorations helped to show that conditions in the interior were suitable for farming and settlers soon began to move inland. The area was settled in 1857.

Originally settled by farming families in the late 19th century, following good reports from explorers to the region and due to its good soils, consistent, reliable rainfall, rivers and lakes, the land was cleared of its heavy wandoo, jarrah and marri to make way for pastures for grazing and arable land for cropping.

Frankland expanded with the influx of war veterans following World War II, mill workers, shearing teams, seasonal workers on local vineyards and olive groves, townsfolk, farmers and retirees.

Education in the town was formally undertaken by the appointment of a head teacher and, as there was no schoolhouse built, the first teacher was given a tent with instructions to erect it for himself to house him until further accommodation could be found. Schooling was conducted in the town hall before World War II.

It is the most northerly, inland subregion of Great Southern, still Mediterranean in terms of dominant winter-spring rainfall, but with greater continentality, thus favoring Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Which is why it is an area where wine is made and has wine tasting.

We continue to hike on passing the Great Tingle Tree and coming upon and going through the Valley of the Giants. We wander through the Heathland.

A heath or heathland is a shrubland habitat found mainly on low quality, acidic soils, and is characterised by open, low growing woody vegetation. There are some clear differences between heath and moorland. For example moorland has a very peaty topsoil, and it is also free-draining. Moorland is generally related to high-ground heaths with a cooler and damper climate.

Heaths are widespread worldwide. They form extensive and highly diverse communities across Australia in humid and sub-humid areas. Fire regimes with recurring burning are required for the maintenance of the heathlands.

Heathland is favored where climatic conditions are typically warm and dry, particularly in summer, and soils acidic, of low fertility, and often sandy and very free-draining; mires do occur where drainage is poor, but are usually only small in extent. Heaths are dominated by low shrubs.

Heath vegetation is extremely plant-species rich, and heathlands of Australia are home to some 3,700 endemic or typical species in addition to numerous less restricted species.

The bird fauna of heathlands are usually cosmopolitan species of the region. In Australia the heathland avian fauna is dominated by nectar feeding birds such as Honey-eaters and lorikeets although numerous other birds from emus to eagles are also common in Australian heathlands. Australian heathlands are also home to the world's only nectar feeding terrestrial mammal: the Honey Possum. Heathlands are also an excellent habitat for insects including ants, moths, butterflies and wasps with many species being restricted entirely to it.

The honeyeaters are a large and diverse family of small to medium sized birds most common in Australia and New Guinea. Honeyeaters and the Australian chats make up the family Meliphagidae. In total there are 182 species in 42 genera, roughly half of them native to Australia, many of the remainder occupying New Guinea. A great many Australian plants are fertilized by honeyeaters, particularly the Proteaceae, Myrtaceae, and Epacridaceae.

Unlike the hummingbirds of America, honeyeaters do not have extensive adaptations for hovering flight, though smaller members of the family do hover hummingbird-style to collect nectar from time to time. In general, honeyeaters prefer to flit quickly from perch to perch in the outer foliage, stretching up or sideways or hanging upside down at need. Many genera have a highly developed brush-tipped tongue, longer in some species than others, frayed and fringed with bristles which soak up liquids readily. The tongue is flicked rapidly and repeatedly into a flower, the upper mandible then compressing any liquid out when the bill is closed. In addition to nectar, all or nearly all honeyeaters take insects and other small creatures

Lories and lorikeets are small to medium-sized arboreal parrots characterized by their specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar of various blossoms and soft fruits, preferably berries. They are widely distributed throughout the Australasian region, including south-eastern Asia, Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Australia, and the majority have very brightly coloured plumage. Species with longer tapering tails are generally referred to as "lorikeets", while species with short blunt tails are generally referred to as "lories".

Lories and lorikeets have specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar and soft fruits. They can feed from the flowers of about 5,000 species of plants and use their specialised tongues to take the nectar. The tip of their tongues have tufts of papillae (extremely fine hairs), which collect nectar and pollen.

Lorikeets have tapered wings and pointed tails that allow them to fly easily and display great agility. They also have strong feet and legs. They tend to be hyperactive and clownish in personality both in captivity and the wild.

The multi-coloured Rainbow Lorikeet was one of the species of parrots appearing in the first edition of The Parrots of the World and also in John Gould's lithographs of the Birds of Australia. Then and now, lories and lorikeets are described as some of the most beautiful species of parrot.

The Ultramarine Lorikeet is endangered. It is now one of the 50 rarest birds in the world. The Blue Lorikeet is classified as vulnerable. The introduction of European rats to the small island habitats of these birds is a major cause of their endangerment. Various conservation efforts have been made to relocate some of these birds to locations free of predation and habitat destruction.

Corymbia ficifolia or the red flowering gum also known as Albany red flowering gum is one of the most commonly planted ornamental trees in the broader eucalyptus family. It is native to a very small area of south coastal Western Australia to the east of Walpole but is not considered under threat in the wild. In nature the Red Flowering Gum prefers infertile, sandy soils but it is readily adaptable to most temperate locations, provided it is not exposed to severe frost or sustained tropical damp. It is difficult to graft but grows well from seed, typically taking about 7 years before it flowers for the first time and 15–20 years to reach something approaching its full size of anything between 2–8 m.

The Red Flowering Gum is a close relative of the West Australian Marri or Port Gregory gum (Corymbia calophylla). The Marri is widespread in southern WA. Although in the wild it can grow much larger than the red flowering gum.

As we keep hiking we finally come to Conspicuous Beach. It is beautiful and pristine. It is a known place for surfing because the swells are large enough for it. We hike up to Conspicuous Hill and look out over the beach for some gorgeous pictures of the rugged area. We keep hiking on to Rame Head Campsite. It is beautiful and there is a strong wind that comes over the hill along the campsite. I make sure to really hammer in the tent stakes tonight so my tent doesn't go "walking" away! What a beautiful day it has been. I look forward to this last week to really let it soak in.

Today I got in 2279 steps and 15 minutes of clearing trails to help out.

Time for a nice hot dinner and bed. I'm tired.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • 085052
    As we keep hiking we finally come to Conspicuous Beach. It is beautiful and pristine. It is a known place for surfing because the swells are large enough for it.
    219 days ago
    Great blog- well written, very interesting as usual - I love the flowering gums - we can get them in several shades through from deep vivid red to pale pink but cultivated!! THe true wild one is red!!
    1781 days ago
    Frankland appears to have been established by a hardy stock of people.
    1781 days ago
    emoticon Blog as usual, and very informative. Love the flowering red gum trees! I am also impressed with how many steps your are doing each day, I see they are increasing! emoticon as thats the reason for the Trek for you to improve your ability to move and be active!
    IKacey co-leader of the Chair Exercise Team
    1781 days ago
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