Thursday, 22 May 2008


This has almost nothing to do, directly, with growing food but if I hadn't done this walk I would not be the person I am now, with such a passion for the natural world and letting some things just be while treading ever so lightly on the rest.

Pattie at Foodshed Planet has written a good post about those terrible plastic water bottles that are the modern-day necessity for some reason and what the plastic does to your body. She mentions a steel alternative and one person commented, mentioning Sigg bottles. I have a funny story about an old Sigg bottle that Roger and I used when bush-walking.

Very early in our relationship we went bushwalking in Tasmania, in the days before any tracks and rules and bookings! We were very experienced at navigation and carried everything we needed for about 10 days hard bushwalking in a remote and challenging area, including 2 steel Sigg bottles for water. One night, in the Walls of Jerusalem, as usual we packed all our stuff under the fly of the tent so it wouldn't get wet (it rains a lot in the mountains of Tasmania; maybe we should have stayed there forever). During the night we heard an animal rustling around in our pots and pans - nothing unusual - and in the morning we just packed up everything into our packs ready to head off.

When you only carry absolute necessities you notice if something is missing and our best, bright red water bottle was missing. Oh no, we thought, it will just have rolled out and be lying under a bush nearby. It being high alpine terrain there was only one bush - the rest was wind-swept and dwarfed native pines, groundcover plants, moss and rock and so on - and the bottle was not there. We searched wider and wider - nothing. We never found it! Luckily there was a lot of water around - pristine ponds and lakes and rivers and we could do without a water bottle but it is a mystery to this day. Did a kangaroo put it in its pouch and hop away?Why would it do that? We didn't hear any kangaroos - they thump along the ground quite loudly usually. Did a little possum roll it so far away, with its nose, so far we couldn't find it? Unlikely. Odd, very, very odd; and there were definitely no people anywhere for miles.

That was a fabulous walk and was the beginning of my deep and unending respect and love of real wilderness. All other previous trips into nature paled into the background in the wild mountains of Tasmania, with only our wits and skills to keep us from the dangers of sudden snow-storms and ferocious winds, getting lost, deadly snakes and rugged, rocky cliffs. There is nothing so beautiful as drinking from a water-way knowing that there is no-one up higher than you, you are at its very source, almost on top of the world, in fact no-one within a week's walk of you, most probably. And we left our Sigg bottle there - I wonder where it is now.

Memories are nice things.

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