Saturday 11 June 2011 – Mount Stromlo

A walk on top of Mount Stromlo was another welcome suggestion from Dac. We hadn’t been up there since 2003, when we had a sad, grim and smoky wander past what was left of the observatory after the fires. Good to see rebuilding and regrowth now.

Interesting to look out over the new suburb – or is it a district? – of Molonglo. Gawdnose why we need a new suburb (or district) but there it is. Wikipedia reveals that it’s a district called Molonglo Valley, which will contain 13 suburbs with an expected population of 73,000. The first two suburbs being built are called Wright and Coombs. What a pity the powers-that-be don’t put in a spot of light rail to pre-empt some of the traffic problems to come.

Building Wright

What we noticed most about this walk was the cold. I hadn’t given much thought before to the protection we’re afforded by houses when we wander through the suburbs on our weekend walks. Having nearly frozen our bums (and faces) off on Stromlo, now I know. I was wearing reasonably warm clothes, and the wind cut straight through them. I needed my really warm clothes – the ones I wore to Corin Forest last year – the ones I never wear around town because I get too hot. And I needed a hat!

Ludicrous self-portrait taken on my mobile phone

Travelling hat - a winter hat?

Hat digression

<hat>Debbie, who cuts my hair, mentioned hats yesterday when we were discussing our next shearing opportunity. My sister will be here next week, and doesn’t like to see me with very short hair, so yesterday was out. So is next Friday, my sister’s last day in town. I’m going to be extremely wild and woolly by the following week, and Debbie reckoned I might need to wear a hat to cover it up. This caused me to realise that I don’t actually own a warm hat.</hat>

The place was quiet when we arrived, but by the time we’d finished staggering about, it was thronging. The cafe up there (now the Scope Cafe) is obviously a popular lunch place. It offers “sweeping views of the Brindabella Ranges, with floor to ceiling windows framing a 180 degree view – from the Cotter Dam north towards the Yass Valley.” We saw these views – and most of the other 180 degrees – on our walk.

The obligatory view of Black Mountain Tower

I’ve looked at Google Maps, and I’ve looked at Google Earth, and I’m still not too sure where we went. We struck out east (?) from our parking place beside the cafe and walked all the way round, more or less. I tried to take panoramas but lacked the steady hand and eye: trying to stitch them up, back home, there were too many gaps. I don’t have much to say about this walk so, rather than intersperse a few words with a great bunch of photos, I’ll make a gallery on a separate page.

Almost back to the car, we stopped for a little rest in a pocket park between an office block and the Commonwealth Solar Observatory.

Commonwealth Solar Observatory

I didn’t realise till I was writing this that the Commonwealth Solar Observatory building had been all but wiped out in the fires. This is a beautiful restoration.

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2 Responses to Saturday 11 June 2011 – Mount Stromlo

  1. dac says:

    Brrrr. It was cold with that howling wind.

    I tried to go to the restaurant to get a cold drink, but it was full, with people standing around waiting to be seated (and even more people headed in), and it looked like they only had tea and coffee and those ‘soda dispenser’ cups-only cold drinks, not a bottle or tin. So I turned around and left.

    It wasn’t really much of a walk, distance-wise, but all those ups and downs and the cold weather would have been the equivalent of a walk around some random suburb.

    The ANU walk was quite chaotic, with distances looking like a million miles on the printed map, but only being dozens of yards between significant intersections. Not knowing was very disorienting; especially when mixed with cries of ‘oh no, we missed that statue …’ guess I shouldn’t talk about future blog entries yet 🙂 Although Stromlo is really an extension of the ANU, so it should count, eh?

    Dac

  2. valkyrie1 says:

    I do wonder about the wisdom of walking to look at specific things, like the heritage buildings around Manuka, or the sculptures at ANU. You reckon you find it disorienting: try doing it with no sense of direction!

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