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I feel really lucky that I’ve had this time in Alice Springs – the weather has been unusually cool and wet, and the result is that the countryside is just speactacular, and apparently hasn’t been like this in recent memory
And i’m rather pleased to say that Fatty (my subaru outback) made it all the way out to palm valley fully loaded and didn’t die a horrible death as predicted by the sour lady at glen helen. I did lose the sump guard though, but i’ll be replacing that with a super butch metal one (because subaru inexplicably thought 2mm vinyl was adequate). And also a bullbar to prevent scraping his nose in rocks and things. ANd maybe giant lights to avoid cows and hoppies.
But yes. good fun.

Palm Valley

palm valley

palm valley

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Well, because my colleagues are all into it here, here and here I shall do the same. That and its just about the only interesting thing thats happened for a while, other than being pantsed in the FOSCE’s and adding a notch or 2 to my belt.

1/ Elective in Swaziland doing surgical sort of things! Lions and zebras and things!
2/ Elective somewhere. eek. hopefully africa doing something trauma surgerery.
3/ holiday! 6 glorious weeks trundling through morocco & southern europe i think.
4/ ED. essential skillz
5/ General surgery. Funsies!
6/ General medicine. because i should probably know something about medicine
7/ paediatrics. ’cause kids are cuuute. even if they are sick and snotty.
8/ Rural surgery in the tuna capital of australia. Tasty and fun!

so lots of things to look forward to.and at least i’ll know if surgery is for me. i probably should have put in something else. oh well

Full speed ahead!

Holy hell. First 2 weeks of med school done. It was intense, there are 135 people to meet, new routines, a hospital and campus designed to bewilder and confuse.  I’m kind of settling in – enjoying the challenges and the people, but I’m feeling my lack of science background tough to handle.
I’m already having to stay back till stupid hours just to keep afloat-I haven’t read a textbook since high school!  But hoping that it will get easier as it goes on.  I can however draw totally awesome pictures which is my contribution in PBL sessions.   To be honest, I am roughly on par with the science kiddies, I fall behind in the biochemestry and some of the cohort have PHD’s in their pet hormone so I’m never going to catch up there, but overall I’m happy with it.  Though I’d love to try and find a way to have a life as well.
I’m missing dancing and being active, other than becoming increasingly squishy, its odd not feeling stretched. There is a sensation in the body when you’re in top shape, it feels somehow ‘ready’. Ready for whatever silly thing I have in mind. Now I feel disconnected, or in James Joyce’s words, ‘lived a little distance from his body’.

However I have been able to go climbing at a lovely spot a short way out of town, though in keeping with the theme of my adventures – for those of you who have followed them, I managed to make it all the way up a grade 18 arete – which isn’t all that hard but I haven’t climbed above 16 for 6months, and was about to top out when my hand ventured near a hive of particularly territorial wasps which promptly swarmed and stung the crap outta me.  Apparently it my a few seconds to decide that letting go was the better option to being stung, and came back down. I was more than slightly concerned as I’m rather allergic to bees and other stingy creatures, but it seems i’m reasonably immune to wasp venom. THough I do swell up  in entertainly huge, painful and itchy lumps.

But anyway, overall this adventure is going well, the people are great (if all scary overachieving types), and I’m having fun. Hopefully there will be stories of debauchery, nurses and on call rooms soon, as I”m doing med for the nookie!

A wonderful few days, Sunday turned into a spectacular day and the Launceston rabble had come down for the rally the day before and now were keen for some Mt Wellington fun

view from the climb
The view from the climb
We took an easy classic route – Pegasus Direct (14) on Northern Buttress, while the others took more gusty routes to the left and right of ours. Despite being easy, it was one of the most enjoyable climbs I’ve done, it meant that instead of freaking out about where you are going to place your next piece before your arms give out, you could wedge yourself in and check out the view. Which is just wonderful – really there is nothing better than this – a beautiful day out on a mountain with mates. The only downside was that on returning home I discovered I had lost a black alien, which made it an expensive day out.

The next day was my last full day in Tasmania and Mount Anne was beckoning. Damned if I’d leave without getting her finally. (A quick recap. Attempt 1 was in the middle of winter and I hit ice on the gravel road coming down and crashed the car. Attempt 2 was an attempt at the full circuit in the middle of winter. Due to the shorter days, lousy weather I got benighted on the Eliza plateau, spent a cold night there and bailed the next day)
It was a little dodgy to start with as I had gone up Mt Wellington first to look for my Alien (which I didn’t find) but cleared up as I started my way up Eliza and was perfect as I summited. The pictures don’t quite do it justice. Scrabbling over endless scree, knees protesting, I often wonder why the heck I do this sort of thing – its expensive, dangerous and painful, but the feeling of getting to the top is just unmatched. For a few precious moments, the wind stopped completely and I was in alone in silence, on top of the world (or at least, that part of it).
mtanneview.jpg

I met an inspiring German couple Torsin and Mattina, who had travelled over 23000km around Australia, starting in Melbourne, up to Darwin, then down the west coast and south coast and now to Tasmania. Next was a drive up the interior to Qld and down the east coast to Melb. They had no timetable, and were 411 days away and counting. I hope when I retire I have the energy and sense of adventure to do something like that!

On the long drive back, you could see the fires near Maydena which had multiplied and spread from when I saw them from the summit casting an eery glow in to the night sky.

maydenefire.jpg

so part of the idea of going down to dance in tasmania once again was the chance to go walkabout as well!

Wombats at Narawntapu National Park
scratch.jpg
sprinting wombat

Forest and Creek in the Styx, where there the tallest flowering hardwoods in the world
styxcreek.jpg

Russell Falls at the Mt Field National park
russellfalls.jpg

the Chasm at the Tasman Penninsula, some of the highest sea cliffs in Australia.
chasm.jpg

Logging and burning near Fortescu Bay
logging.jpg

Somewhere along the Tasman Peninsula
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