Saturday, September 1, 2012

Enchanted Forest - Jupiter Creek

click to see all images at larger size

There's a legend out there somewhere about an enchanted forest ...a place that lights up with magic at certain times of the year ... it's "dark magic" on the last day of fall (Halloween, anyone?) and it's "bright magic" on the first day of spring. And you know, I'd have to swear we saw it yesterday ... the first day of spring. The sun shone, we took a spin out to Jupiter Creek on a whim, and couldn't resist a hike, for about an hour, in woodland that was pure magic!

The trees had turned to spun gold, the ground was alive with fairy bells, there was even a ruined castle tower with a "troll hole" ... but the trolls were sleeping peacefully in this magic time. You don't even have to use your imagination to see all this --

These images have been reduced in size, some down to 1000 pixels -- sorry. It was the only way to make the download sizes small enough, at an average of about 300k each, to be practical, because there's a whole swag of them. They were actually shot at 12MP, and there's not a lot of enhancement on them -- no painting and so forth, just a bit of adjustment in the shadows and highlights, because the light levels were difficult. We're just coming out of winter, and by 3:00pm the shadows are already getting long. (These images were also captured during the space of a single hour. Everywhere you looked, there was a new picture. I took hundreds.)

In fact, Jupiter Creek is the site of the old gold mines. All this woodland you see here is secondary growth: the whole area was clear-cut for the mines about 160 years ago. There wasn't a tree left standing when they were done, and as for the native population --? They appear to have beaten a hasty retreat, and who would blame them! It was all mine shafts and "puddles" and chimneys, of which some still exist. The area (about 10 square kilometers, I would guess) is full of chain-link fences and warning signs, telling people about the deep holes and tunnels, and to keep well out --

Because there's trolls down there. Big ones. And Orks. Lots of Orks. They must be paddling around in rubber boots right now, because there's been so much rain lately, the mine shafts are flooded and the main tunnel, through which you can usually walk, is flooded through much of its length. Dave took a flashlight and went in, to see. Too much water to get right through ... but he said there were a couple of trolls, Fred and Bert, playing poker. In fact, in this shot right below, you can see a lake of standing flood water that's deep enough, and has been there long enough, to be full of tadpoles:

click to see all images at larger size

The trail runs 3k in a loop to and from the parking area (which has a picnic table, a bin, and no bathroom. Makes sense, doesn't it?) It's a quite easy walk, so long as you don't mind climbing up a hillside into which "steps" have been made -- and the steps look and feel like they "happened" as tree roots grew there deliberately to make steps into the enchanted forest (see the second from last image).

Thanks to Dave for making this happen. He suggested taking the Millennium Possum (uh ... the van. It was either going to be the Possum Van, as per Red Green, or the Millennium Falcon as per -- well, you  know what. So I said, how about the Millennium Possum?) for a spin before we hit the stores. But, where to? I suggested Jupiter Creek, never thinking that we were going to actually stop there. So glad we did!

Jade, September 2
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