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Day 36 Trek

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Oh boy. Camping out again. lol I woke up this morning and my legs were so stiff. It took me a while to get them working again but I got them going. So I had my breakfast and packed up my backpack so I could join everyone on the trail.

Today we are going to see pristine white beaches and more heathlands. Hiking down to William Bay Campsite. The first thing we see are some Kangaroos on our way to Gap Beach.

The kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning 'large foot'). In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and western grey kangaroo. Kangaroos are endemic to the country of Australia. The smaller macropods are found in Australia and New Guinea.

Kangaroos have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head. Female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which joeys complete postnatal development.

They are not farmed to any extent, but wild kangaroos are shot for meat, leather hides, and to protect grazing land for sheep and cattle. There is some controversy about harvesting kangaroo meat. Doing so has both many environmental and health benefits over traditional meats. The kangaroo has been historically a source of food for indigenous Australians. Kangaroo meat is high in protein and low in fat (about 2%). Kangaroo meat has a high concentration of the fatty acid Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) when compared with other foods. Low fat diets rich in CLA have been studied for their potential in reducing obesity and atherosclerosis. Kangaroo meat is stronger in flavor than the meat from commercially raised food animals. It is considered to be tender. Minced (or ground) kangaroo meat may be substituted into dishes where minced beef would normally be used.

The kangaroo is an unofficial symbol of Australia, and appears as an emblem on the Australian coat of arms, on some of its currency, and is used by some of Australia's well known organizations, including Qantas and the Royal Australian Air Force. The kangaroo is important to both Australian culture and the national image, and consequently there are numerous popular culture references.

The word "kangaroo" derives from the Guugu Yimithirr word gangurru, referring to grey kangaroos. The name was first recorded as "kanguru" on 12 July 1770 in an entry in the diary of Sir Joseph Banks. A common myth about the kangaroo's English name is that "kangaroo" was a Guugu Yimithirr phrase for "I don't understand you." The Kangaroo myth was debunked in the 1970s by linguist John B. Haviland in his research with the Guugu Yimithirr people.

Kangaroos are often locally referred to as "roos". Male kangaroos are called bucks, boomers, jacks, or old men; females are does, flyers, or jills, and the young ones are joeys. The collective noun for kangaroos is a mob, troop, or court. Mobs usually have 10 or more kangaroos in them. Living in mobs provides protection for some of the weaker members of the group.

There are four species that are commonly referred to as kangaroos:

The red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is the largest surviving marsupial anywhere in the world. Fewer in numbers, the Red Kangaroo occupies the arid and semi-arid centre of the country. A large male can be 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 90 kg (200 lb).

The eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is less well-known than the red (outside of Australia), but the most often seen, as its range covers the fertile eastern part of the country.

The western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) is slightly smaller again at about 54 kg (119 lb) for a large male. It is found in the southern part of Western Australia, South Australia near the coast, and the Darling River basin.

The antilopine kangaroo (Macropus antilopinus) is, essentially, the far-northern equivalent of the eastern and western grey kangaroos. Like them, it is a creature of the grassy plains and woodlands, and gregarious.

In addition, there are about 50 smaller macropods closely related to the kangaroo in the family Macropodidae. Kangaroos and other macropods share a common ancestor with Phalangeridae from the mid-Miocene. The Phalangeridae are a family of nocturnal marsupials native to Australia and New Guinea, including the cuscuses, brushtail possums, and their close relatives. Species related to the modern grey kangaroos and wallaroos begin to appear in the Pliocene. The red kangaroo appears to be the most recently evolved kangaroo with its fossil record not going back beyond the Pleistocene period, 1–2 mya.

Kangaroos are the only large animals to use hopping as a means of locomotion. The comfortable hopping speed for a red kangaroo is about 20–25 km/h (13–16 mph), but speeds of up to 70 km/h (44 mph) can be attained over short distances, while it can sustain a speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) for nearly 2 km (1.2 mi). This fast and energy-efficient method of travel has evolved because of the need to regularly cover large distances in search of food and water, rather than the need to escape predators. To move at slow speeds, it uses its tail to form a tripod with its two forelimbs, then raises its hind feet forward. Kangaroos are adept swimmers, and often flee into waterways if threatened by a predator. If pursued into the water, a kangaroo may use its forepaws to hold the predator underwater so as to drown it.

Kangaroos have chambered stomachs similar to those of cattle and sheep. They regurgitate the vegetation they have eaten, chew it as cud, and then swallow it again for final digestion. Different species of kangaroos have different diets, although all are strict herbivores. The smaller species of kangaroos also consume hypogeal fungi. Many species are nocturnal, and crepuscular, usually spending the days resting in shade, and the cool evenings, nights and mornings moving about and feeding. Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight, that is during dawn and dusk.

Fighting has been described in all species of kangaroos. Fights between kangaroos can be brief or long and ritualized. In highly competitive situations such as males fighting for access to mate with females or at limited drinking spots, the fights are brief. Both sexes will fight for drinking spots, but long, ritualized fighting or "boxing" is largely done by males.

Despite having herbivorous diets similar to ruminants such as cattle, which release large quantities of methane through exhaling and eructation, kangaroos release virtually none. Eructation is the release of gas from the digestive tract through the mouth. The hydrogen by-product of fermentation is instead converted into acetate, which is then used to provide further energy. Scientists are interested in the possibility of transferring the bacteria responsible from kangaroos to cattle, since the greenhouse gas effect of methane is 23 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, per molecule.

Kangaroos have few natural predators. The thylacine, considered by palaeontologists to have once been a major natural predator of the kangaroo, is now extinct. Other extinct predators included the marsupial lion, Megalania and the Wonambi. However, with the arrival of humans in Australia at least 50,000 years ago and the introduction of the dingo about 5,000 years ago, have taken over the predator spot. A defensive tactic described by witnesses is a Kangaroo catching an attacking dog with the forepaws and disembowelling it with the hind legs. Kangaroos are shy and retiring by nature, and in normal circumstances present no threat to humans. However I would never assume they are friendly or tame.

Kangaroos and wallabies have large, elastic tendons in their hind legs. They store elastic strain energy in the tendons of their large hind legs, providing most of the energy required for each hop by the spring action of the tendons rather than by any muscular effort. This is true in all animal species which have muscles connected to their skeletons through elastic elements such as tendons, but the effect is more pronounced in kangaroos. There is also a link between the hopping action and breathing. As the feet leave the ground, air is expelled from the lungs; bringing the feet forward ready for landing refills the lungs, providing further energy efficiency.

The kangaroo has always been a very important animal for Australian Aborigines, for its meat, hide, bone and tendon. Kangaroo hides were also sometimes used for recreation, in particular there are accounts of some tribes (Kurnai) using stuffed kangaroo scrotum as a ball for the traditional football game of marngrook. In addition, there were important Dreaming stories and ceremonies involving the kangaroo.

As we keep hiking we come upon Gap Beach in Peaceful Bay. Peaceful Bay is a hamlet in the Shire of Denmark, a picturesque holiday spot on the Southern Ocean.

The Peaceful Bay area is renowned for its wildflowers it is home to the world's only endemic stand of red flowering gum (Corymbia Ficifolia) and over 40 species of native orchids. So it seems that every time you turn you see a new Orchid. I kept my camera handy so I could get all the pictures I wanted.

We keep hiking and reach the Quarrum Nature Reserve. A nature reserve (natural reserve, nature preserve, natural preserve, bioreserve, or just preserve) is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. The coastline of the Quarrum-Owingup Nature Reserve is rocky, wild and rugged. Hiking through this area proves to be challenging even for the best of us. But, we make it! We all end up helping each other.

We end up making it to Boat Harbor and on to Perry Inlet. Then we find ourselves at the William Bay National Park. William Bay National Park includes Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks. The granite boulders create a natural reef which protects Greens Pool from the Great Southern Ocean. William Bay National Park is located in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia along the Rainbow Coast, and is in the Shire of Denmark.

William Bay was named after the famed British Arctic explorer and navigator, Sir William Edward Parry, as were two other nearby features, Parry Inlet and Edward Point. The bay was named in the 1830s by John Septimus Roe.

The rare and ancient Main's assassin spider, currently listed as threatened, was found to inhabit the park during a survey conducted in 2008.

Assassin spiders, also known as the Spidsnuck, are a group of spiders of the families Archaeidae and Mecysmaucheniidae, which are extremely unusual in that they have "necks," which can be very long and slender or short and fat. Archaeids prey only upon other spiders, while mecysmaucheniids seem to be generalists. Assassin spiders were first known from 40 million year old amber fossils, which were found in Europe in the 1840s, and were not known to have living varieties until 1881, when the first living assassin spider was found in Madagascar. They are native to Australia and South Africa and Madagascar, with the sister family Mecysmaucheniidae occurring in Southern South America and New Zealand. They range in size from 8 mm to 2 mm. So be careful when confronted with a spider.

We reach our camp with no incidents of spiders and make camp having dinner right away.

I ended up with only 1587 steps today but was busy with cleaning up the area we were to camp in for 60 minutes as the last people were not as nice.

Going to sleep quickly and making sure my tent was truly zipped up against the creepy crawlies of the night.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1719 days ago
    Very interesting and informative - I learned so much! Thank you for taking the time to put this up. Enjoy the rest of the trek. emoticon emoticon
    1721 days ago
    really great I learned so much about roos......I thought that I had already learned a lot but I learned even more....thank you....i always love reading your blogs because they do have so much information..... emoticon emoticon
    1721 days ago
    Kangaroo is King! I love the picture of the wave..Beautiful!
    1721 days ago
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    1721 days ago
    WOW!! This is some long but interesting blog!! I learned so much about 'roos - we get them through our yard - the Eastern Grey - I have seen Reds in the wild but wouldn't want to get too close - they are huge!!
    We also eat 'roo meat - its very lean and nutritious - I buy it in the butcher - I couldn't go out and shoot them - the ones we see often have joeys!!
    1721 days ago
    Lots of Factoids and nice pictures here. Another emoticon blog. Always informative. Hope you are enjoying gathering pics and information on the Trek.
    IKacey co-leader of the Chair Exercise Team
    1721 days ago
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