Nest of the Condor (Nido de Condores)

April 14, 2018

Saturday 17thFebruary

The evening was still and mild when I went out at 0200. Well, as mild as an evening at 5000m can be. In the far, far distance on the horizon, a pale orange light. A high town perhaps in the general direction of Chile. The sky is clear but the recently set moon still lights up the sky over the horizon in the west, so the Milky Way is not as luminous as it usually is. We are now camped so high lightning from a distant, unseen storm lights up the sky. There is no sign of any cloud from horizon to horizon yet the flash reaches us from forever away.

But when I wake (after dawn) the breeze is up and low cloud fills the valleys below us. That’s new. It’s clearly below zero but it’s hard to tell by how much in this dry atmosphere when no ice forms any frost. You can’t say anything like “Oh, we’ve had ten degrees of frost” by looking at the ground. The burning sensation on your skin is a different measure. So too the fact that the Nalgene water bottles in our tent are frozen up. With no breeze the sub zero temperatures are actually very tolerable. But the slightest feather of a breeze cuts you deep and is to be avoided.  Read more

Oberon Fossicking

April 4, 2018

The galahs chitter away in their high pitched voices and in the distance the cockatoos draw their screeches out as long as they can. The distinctive crimson rosella chit chat has died away as the sun has shifted into its peach sheets. A pup yips and the other two or three dogs in Black Springs pipe up in reply.  Then go silent. The faintest chorus of frogs has started up, so faint I have to strain to make sure of what I am hearing. We are in the Black Springs camping area which is propped between the road to Oberon (24km away) and the state forest. There are a few others here as well given it is Easter. More than a few in fact, though fortunately unseen – there are quite a few hundred scouts (some say as many as 1000)  here on some sort of regional activity. We drove past their campsite – a sea of tents so the large number is plausible. They have been invisible today but we saw quite a few dishevelled, dusty, strung out kids on the forest roads yesterday. Read more