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Kintail Burn, Dusky Track,Fiordland, NZ 2012 Six Moon Designs ‘Swift’ pack @ 450 grams


WARNING to ‘snowflakes’. This is a Conservative Blog. It will cause upset and offence to ‘sensitive souls’. Reading it may cause dangerous thoughts and emotions to arise in you. Read on…

30/06/2017: Multiple Use: There is no doubt that one of the best ways to achieve ultralight hiking weight savings is if gear you carry serves several purposes. Thus for example, the Poncho tent I am working on ( and likewise the bathtub floor groundsheet/chair I am also working on below (coming soon).

However, I finished these 12 gram (ea) shoes way back in April. They worked wonderfully well for my Fiordland Moose Hunting expedition on this year's Dusky Track walk ( & ff), and I had already posted a photo of what they weighed with and without the shoe inserts, yet somehow it had not occurred to me that I need not carry inserts specially for them when I could use the inserts from my shoes which I had definitely tested to make sure they absorbed no water after last year's shoe disaster on the South Coast track walk with Della:

Clearly though, all I need to do is dry my shoes' inserts put them inside my hut booties and I have saved an ounce! Twice as much as I could save by switching to the lighter containers I wrote about in my last post: Still, every gram makes a difference.

PS: You will notice that in the second photo the draw string tightens only around the heel. The reason for this is to allow maximum air flow out the top of the shoe so that it doesn't get clammy. I chose waterproof material so that I could walk through wet grass (as you need to do in camp, eg to put wood on the fire). It is really nice to have dry feet at the end of a day's walking, but you don't need to carry a brick around to make it so.

Weight of the shoe bare:

With blue foam inserts. (Not very serviceable):

With proprietary urethane inserts:

The shoe in the photo has been used for over a week on the trail so that you can see how tough the material is. You could make them last longer by painting some liquid latex on the sole (for wear) every so often, but this would increase the weight too.


PS: I know I haven't finished posting the patterns, instructions, etc. Please be patient. I am busy. I still have kilometres of fencing to build (another awful section through a dreadful slip completed yesterday) - and it is cold and wet, and I am old!

30/06/2017: ‘Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.’ Charles Darwin.


30/06/2017: This is the way for ‘nation building’ projects. No feasibility study? No problems:


30/06/2017: Saudi man and his 17 year old wife leave their 8 month old baby in the car whilst they take their 4 year old to the cinema. See anything wrong with this? Of course not. Fortunately they were prosecuted for this, but he was not gaoled for paedophilia:


30/06/2017: Industry is already beginning to fold all over Australia because of a lack of affordable electricity and gas and other mad Green schemes. It is ironic that in SA one of the first to fail is a Green industry:


29/06/2017: I have trouble finding my glasses yet Mars Rover Opportunity has found a bit of man-made space junk on the surface of that vast empty desert, larger than the land surface of the Earth. We should have set this little guy to looking for MH370!


Image of a strange, metallic looking object from the Mars Opportunity rover. Picture: NASA


29/06/2017: Paul Murray: You know you are in trouble when fewer people trust you to mind their pets than babysit their kids’:

29/06/2017: Lord knows I am not much of a footie fan, but it sickens me when I learn that Malcolm barracks for Bachar Houli’s ‘good character’ and gains him a lesser penalty than other players would receive on account of his wonderful, peaceful religion: &


29/06/2017: Seems we really needed those #illridewithyou bollards during Ramadan. Here’s the ‘Ramadan’ score for that wonderful, peaceful religion:


Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 8.57.39 am


 28/06/2017: We have thrown our country away. It may be too late to save it. Our Census results are alarming. We have had 1.3 million ‘new Australians’ in the last ten years alone. Now, those born overseas are over a quarter of us. Half of them are from Asia. Christianity has shrunk to barely 50%. Islam is our second biggest ‘religion’. Perhaps Tony can still save us, but I am deeply sceptical. On the other hand:


28/06/2017: ‘The Dead Sea and the Red Sea are already up to 10 degrees Celsius warmer than our Reef which has temps as low as 14 C during winter. Yet the Dead and Red Seas of the Middle East, with average temperatures of 30 C, have equally magnificent coral reefs (Red Sea Pictured). How can these corals exist in water so hot compared to ours?’ By the same token, the reef only came into existence after the last Ice Age as sea levels rose. When they fall again during the next one, it will die anyway. Larry Pickering:


28/06/2017: About those ‘Breatharians’ or ‘Airarians’ as they used to be called before ‘Vegetarians’ became ‘Vegans’ – if you can realistically give up food and water, couldn’t you further reduce your environmental footprint by giving up breathing? After all, every breath you exhale is just full of that nasty CO2 stuff which is really ruining the planet, isn’t it? Why if this goes on, we might one day have as much of it as we had in the Holocene 8,000 years ago, or even in the Jurassic when there was 50 times as much of it, and the planet was simply replete with life:

27/06/2017: A Spot of Solitude: My back and knee are still giving me trouble but the Meniers which has plagued me for the last fortnight seems to have taken a holiday, so I wanted to get away for a couple of days to see whether I was still up to some gentler country. I may need another back operation and I don't look forward to that. The knee I hurt looking for moose back in April in the Henry Burn near Supper Cove, Dusky Sound Fiordland NZ (See: & ff. The tyranny of aging really.

This is a new spot for me, so I did not know what to expect, for example would there be few deer as it had been badly burned out a few years ago? It might have been too thick or would it be impossibly crowded being relatively easy to access, and only gentle walking? Usually I would need my pack raft to get across this river to where I intended to camp and hunt but it has been so dry this winter I could simply walk across with Spot the Jack Russell riding on my pack, of course! I guess most people don't do much canoe hunting ( and don't pay attention to the BOM's River Heights as there was no-one at all about, even though it was a lovely sunny weekend in the High Country. Suits me!

I was surprised at once by how chewed out the bush was along the river. All the available grass and forbs were chewed right down to the ground, and they had been gnawing at this nasty prickly wattle.

And the many stags are smashing them to bits! Good riddance!

This tiny gully had been thoroughly scoured. There are too many deer here actually. It is wonderful though how the large herbivores create the clearings, isn't it? Did you realise that tens of millions of years ago grass made an alliance with the herbivores and declared war on the forests? The result is the pattern of great plains and receding forests we see on the planet today. Once the word for world was 'forest'. Now it is 'earth'. Grasslands store several times as much carbon (in their soil) per acre as forests do in total. They do this to prevent the trees from having it. They feed the herbivores and the herbivores keep the forest at bay and nourish the grasslands with their dung and dead bodies. A tiny part of that great battle is what we see in this small valley.

I only had a little time to look around as I needed to make camp and gather some firewood. This trip had been a 'spur of the moment' decision. I had not decided to go until well after breakfast or started out much before lunch - and I needed to be back tomorrow night! Still, little trips are sweet! I very hastily erected my tent, as it was getting dark. No great wind was expected so I did not peg it out properly. It  would still keep what little rain was expected off me. A large tree had fallen and shattered so I had more than a ute load of firewood ready in no time - and I needed it. The night was cold! Spot chased a stag away through the wattles as I was gathering wood. I could hear his antlers clattering against the saplings.

Spot enjoys the fire, and my sleeping bag. Always hard to get him off/out of it and into his own at bedtime.

A fire is such a lovely thing!

It's certainly warm enough inside though in that lovely warm yellow glow. I hope you like my new Deerhunter's Shirt. Kathmandu had a sale on these wonderful 'Tomar' wool shirts last week for $89. They still do: A great colour. So much better, and more practical than all that silly camo! Wool is just great!

Spledid to just stretch your feet out towards the fire and watch the greatest show in town:

Isn't it grand?

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I also finished the fourteenth volume of Poul Anderson's 'Flandry' ebooks on my phone while listening to some soothing music. What a cracker of a read they all are. So long as you love Sci-Fi as I do, anyway. Anderson is a genius!

In the morning Spot's bowl was quite iced up. It is the container of one of those Sirena Tuna meals, probably the Mexican Beans which are my favourite. It makes for a good ultralight cereal bowl, if you are looking for one! You will have to fight the dog for this one!

I just love watching the mist rising from the river in the dawn when I am doing the dishes:

Like this. Just so magical!

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Looking back at my peaceful camp among the wattles. What an idyllic scene! In other countries you would have to pay thousands to find such peace and tranquility. So far in Australia we are still blessed. In Victoria at least.

But, time to take a look around...It is easy and instructive to follow a game trail like this:

It will lead you past preaching trees such as this and deer bedding areas, sometimes a wallow. As you can see, as soon as you get away from the river, the fire regrowth is pretty thick - and already starting to die from overmuch competition. You will not be able to see a deer far off in this sort of country. A telescopic site, (a culler's tool really) would be no use here. This is the sort of country where the lever action comes into its own. You can carry it unloaded (as you should any gun) but you can quickly throw it to your shoulder as you load for a quick snap shot at a fleeing deer. You must always be aware of what is behind the deer though. There must be solid earth or else you must not fire. A .30 calibre round can easily kill someone a couple of kms away!

This deer path up this small valley is pretty easy to follow. 'They went thataway' says Spot. Well, actually they came from thataway. I am hoping they circled around back to where they came from, and will be looking the other way! Sometimes this is a better strategy than following them. There is a cold wind blowing from that way, and the sun is shining from this way, so they will be bedded in a warm spot out of the wind over there.

You can see it gets quite thick. Plenty of private bedding areas, but you will not see a deer faraway. Very chewed out - both a good and bad sign.

Here are a couple of nice fresh rubs. The path between them marks the edge of this stag's territory. He will prowl this regularly scent marking and thrashing like this to warn others off his hinds. I will follow his line and see where it leads. He is along it somewhere.

And it leads into very thick stuff indeed with just the occasional small clearing and bedding spot. This old doe had just lain down here and never got back up. She might have starved, died from old age - or worse still carried a bullet all the way from the road perhaps. On this occasion a herd of other deer (doubtless her relatives) had been sleeping contentedly beside her remains. I have seen this before. I canoed down the Macalister after the devastating fires there a few years ago when the river was still full of dead eels as thick as your legs and as long as you are, and the banks still strewn with the carcasses of innumerable wallabies etc which had starved.The place reeked and the river water was nearly one-half mud by volume. I filled an empty drink bottle which stood on our window ledge for many years to illustrate this. It's no wonder all the fish died.

There is a spot in the bush there (on the true left bank) where there is an ancient quince tree, a reminder folks lived there once long ago - during the gold rushes perhaps. Such wonderfully productive trees can live for 800 years and produce over a tonne of fruit each year. How much better than gum trees is that? Right under the tree was the mummified body of a hind, and camping right next to her were her twins who yelped an raced off as I approached. She had died trying to keep them alive and they had stayed with her body for weeks. I noticed that a few minutes after they thought the coast was clear they crept back to be by her side. And 'they' say that animals don't have souls or (human) feelings! I hoped they would survive to carry on her legacy.

The deer had even been chewing at this inedible stuff, doing a good job of clearing it perhaps, but getting little nutrition. A group of deer was bedded here. One honked at me and several others exploded off in all directions. It was just too thick to see any of them.

This drier ridge downhill provides a little further viewing than the thick stuff. This particular trail is incredibly well traveled. It has a raised edge nearly six inches high! A deer highway!

I wanted to get a good photo of Spot, the rubs and the pronounced deer trail. I was concentrating on that, whilst Spot was looking at something else. I guess you could see about thirty metres through this stuff.

What he could see was a young stag's legs. After a while I saw them too. By this time unfortunately my back was starting to kill me again (not to mention my knee) so I was not wanting to carry out a mess of dead deer anyway. I thought I would just sling my gun and see if I could get a photo of the bit of the deer you could see for illustrative purposes. If you are looking for a whole deer, you will likely not see one in such thick bush. An ankle, an ear, a nose, a bright eye, a tail going up (How the eye is attracted to movement!). That is what you see.

Unfortunately, as I moved the gun, he saw that movement, and giving me a very loud 'Hello' or 'Goodbye' he was off. I could have knocked him over with a snap shot chancing that the bullet would not be deflected by such whippy undergrowth, but that is certainly the way to produce a wounded deer such as the skeleton I had found before. He would be there (and bigger) another day. Mostly, for me, deer hunting is an excuse to be wandering around in our wonderful bush. I certainly don't need the meat - I have a flock of sheep, and I prefer lamb anyway.

I walked back down to the river. I was probably less than 200 yards from it. The deer in this place are not retreating very far at night from their favourite feeding grounds, but they are having to travel more and more each night for a feed. Along the river the going is flatter and it is generally much clearer. Most places you would get a shot up to 100 yards. Ideal country for hammock hunting really: You could wander along the river flats until just before dark, noting spots where there are two suitable trees (or a flat enough spot for your tent) and plenty of firewood (and access to the river for water for your billy). Or, if you were hunting it regularly, you could mark a route along the river back to your pre-chosen camping spots with these sweet little thumbtack reflectors which would allow you to find your way easily with your head torch in the total darkness:

I have all these fences to build at home, so I headed home. Unfortunately, on my way, I saw the butchered carcass of a deer not ten foot off  the main road, a road which hundreds of tourist vehicles traveled each day. Obviously shot in the lights! So completely unnecessary. The country is crawling with deer. But how many photos have you seen of guys with whole deer carcasses on the back of their trucks in hunting magazines? How far do you think they could have carried a whole sambar? Of course I was disgusted, and of course I moved it  further back into the bush. But you see this sort of thing too often. You have to think what folks who aren't hunters will think. 'Expletive deleted Hunters!' is what. And right after that that 'hunting' should be banned! Despite the fact that then there would be a plague of deer, and tens of thousands of them would starve, and the bush be wholly devastated by their presence. We have to eliminate the rogue element.

As hunters we need to be much more careful about the ethics of what we do, or we will lose our sport. People do not need to see hunters wearing lots of camo, carrying great big guns. You can wear much more suitable wool clothing as I do, which will attract no attention. You can carry a take down gun which is in your pack when you leave and arrive at your car so that people will not be the least alarmed. Any bits of deer you bring back can be discreetly inside your pack. And you can give the deer a chance by not using telescopic sights or shooting deer which cannot see you. Your quarry ought to be able to use the senses nature provided it with to avoid being killed. You have all the unfair advantage you need by being able to use a gun instead of a spear or knife. You need to use just your own senses and knowledge (plus hard work) to harvest the deer you take. You should not be relying on any electronic aids such as deer finders, radios or trail cameras. Just your eyes and ears, especially your nose - and your strong legs and back - which I wish mine were at the moment! Still I have had nearly seventy quite good years, and I imagine the neurologist will be able to tweak my back a bit so I can have a few more years wandering around the bush. I must ring him this morning.

27/06/2017: Small is Beautiful: Tiny Containers: The search for small receptacles to stow various necessities is ongoing. My friend Meg loaned me these lovely aluminium ‘tins’ to evaluate. She uses them for some of her tiny art works such as her fabulous ear-rings & etc. The smallest one here is perhaps a 10 ml model (and weighs less than 2 grams). There is a 5 ml model which no doubt weighs even less, probably not much more than 1 gram. Either of these would be very good for small quantities of cream such as heel balm, hand cream, sunblock, etc – or for fish hooks, swivels, sinkers, etc. You can find them for sale on eBay if you do a search such as ‘5 ml cosmetic containers’ priced from probably about 50 cents each.

I usually carry about four similar small Coghlans plastic containers which weigh 6 grams each, so I have a saving of 8 grams (or half an ounce) in switching to these ones. Every little bit helps.

The three pictured Sizes are: 1. 3.7 wide x 1.6 = 17 ml, 2. 5 x 1.8 = 35ml, 3. 7.1 x3.65 = 150 ml. They weigh 2, 5 and 13 grams respectively. Various sizes are available apart from those shown above: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 50, 100, 150, 250 etc. There may even be one big enough to use as a cook pot!

Of course they look better with Meg’s hand-made ear-rings in them:

I have tried using drinking straws as containers (as here: & - an even better use!) but have not found them very satisfactory, especially if you need to reseal them. They probably do suit for one-offs such as single doses of iodine.

‘Micro dropper bottles’ such as eye drops come in are handy for all sorts of things – a small quantity of ‘wilderness wash’ type soap for example. You will find plenty available for sale from about 3 ml up to say 20 ml if you search. They weigh from about 3 grams.

One of these vials is ideal for your sewing needle. You can wind some thread around them. They weigh about 2 grams. I am still searching for lighter - meanwhile my needle lives in my fishing hand line bottle. They have many other useful containers – as well as other neat stuff!

If you wear glasses (as I do), you could slip a needle into your eyeglass repair kit:

PS: These are the best needles: And this is the most useful thread (just last weekend I affected a repair on my daypack somewhere in the Gippsland forest with some).  If you wind some onto a small plastic (medicine) bottle you will have a handy ultralight (fly) fishing kit: Of course you always need a blade too. It doesn’t get much better than this:

See Meg: For fancy ear-rings and other beaut stuff: &

26/06/2017: Fire from a Can of Coke and a Chocolate Bar: This is just about my favourite fire starting tip: It is surprising the out of the way places you can find a humble aluminium can and beleive it or not, you can polish the bottom brightly enough that it will focus the sun’s rays hot enough to ignite combustible material. Full instructions here (and many other interesting things):

26/06/2017: How to Get Offended by Anything:


26/06/2017: This is happening in Melbourne (and now Gippsland):  And this is how to do something about ti:  The right of licensed law abiding citizens to carry forearms for their own protection should ever have been removed. In the century since it was attacks on the person have gone up over 1,000%. Time to bring back the right of concealed carry.


26/06/2017: The ‘average’ man’s shoe size has increased (since 1970) from Size 8 (me) to size 10. I make THAT 25%. When truly alarming changes (eg of the climate or environmental ‘toxicity & etc kind) are measured in picograms and such, such a profound change in only a generation should start such enormous panic that we should ALL be running away (presumably 25% faster, now). But really, what CAN have prompted such a profound alteration (and WHERE will it end?) We look set pretty soon to be very like ducks. At least many swimming records will continue to be broken. I note that an excess of human growth hormone will cause this sort of change in an individual – but if that’s the cause, where IS this hormone coming from? Growth promoters in poultry perhaps? I thought they had been banned. Anyway, something else to worry about!

26/06/2017: Why Government Always fails on Welfare:Singapore’s philosophy on welfare follows three basic principles: each generation should pay its own way, each family should pay its own way, and each individual should pay his or her own way.   These aren’t just guidelines.  The legislators codified the importance of family reliance by enabling seniors to file litigation against their children if they refuse to support them. In addition to heavy social pressures, the state also requires compulsory savings for retirement, housing, and other items deemed social necessities.  By requiring employers and employees to designate money for individual “rainy day funds” the government ensures that citizens have money when in need while simultaneously avoiding onerous taxes and bureaucracy that accompany the American and European models…The wealthiest societies are not those which provide their citizens with cradle to grave care; it’s actually the complete opposite! The freer the society the easier it is for individuals to act and create wealth which in turn raises the standard of living. If allowed to thrive, market forces will create the greatest outcome to workers, companies, and those in need. If the government is serious about helping the disadvantaged it should stop with the various welfare schemes, which inevitably fail, and get out of the way of the real engines of wealth creation. Neither the federal government nor any local authorities have the means to truly address poverty. Government fails; freedom works.


24/06/2017: #illridewithyou friendship bollards:


24/06/2017: James Russell Lowell (1819-1891):
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, grasping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there is never a leaf or a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest...


24/06/2017: Equality: Even JC admitted it, ‘for the poor ye always have with you, but ye shall not always have me’. We will never have an equal society. People are not born equal and will not stay that way even if they are. Neither is it the Government’s or anyone else’s job to make it so. Some societal effort towards an ‘equality of opportunity’; ‘equality before the law;’ Yes. But transformations such as Harrison Bergeron are just as absurdist as Vonnegut elucidates ( …It’s important to keep in mind the distinction between inequality and poverty. To confuse the two (as is common today) risks addressing the wrong malady. Just as we do not blame a cancer victim’s suffering on an unequal distribution of good health - that is, just as we recognize that a cancer victim’s illness is not caused by the good health of others and cannot be cured by making healthy people less healthy - we should recognize that a poor person’s poverty is not caused by the prosperity of others and cannot be cured by making wealthy people less wealthy.’…/why-is-this-distinction-so-difficult… &: ‘I recently read that there are only 1 million Americans with net worth of $5-25 million, and only 142,000 Americans with over $25 million in net worth. There are so many millionaires in NYC, you would think it's normal and end up with a distorted view of life. All inequality statistics could be solved by confiscating all of these wealthy assets. However, it would not even put a dent in American's debt to China. Another problem is that those people would go out and do it again, so best just to take their money and houses and stuff and then kill them, and kill their kids too just to be on the safe side. Kill the kulaks. Maybe better just to confiscate the wealth of old people who lack the energy to make money again. Hey - there's a policy to campaign on.’…/25934-Eat-the-rich.h…


24/06/2017: The Green and the Black: Many Australians (maybe even the majority?) have some Irish ancestry. For example I am 3/8ths Irish (willy nilly) having three Great-Grandparents originating from the ‘emerald isle’. Even 3/8ths Irish ancestry is not enough to claim Irish nationality, nor is my ½ English or 1/8th French the basis for any claim. Yet one can claim ‘Aboriginality’ on the basis of 1/32 (or less)! I never knew any of my great grandparents, so I can’t properly say I have any allegiance to them, (indeed even after much research I still know little about them) and have only been able to work out the names of 17/32 Great Great Great Grandparents let alone their nationalities, so clearly some of them could have been ‘Aboriginal’ – or anything else, but probably not extra-terrestrial, much as you may think otherwise! This is despite extensive research over many years, quite expensive document searches and the fact that my European ancestors came from countries at least where records have generally been kept for a long while (though the Irish destroyed a lot of their records early in the C20th!) To claim ‘membership’ or ‘belonging’ on such slender evidence (as 1/32) is just utterly absurd – and clearly racist in itself. Very many ‘Aborigines’ (perhaps the majority) also have Irish ancestry. Many would have more than 1/32 Irish, indeed probably more often than not more Irish than ‘Aboriginal’ ancestry, yet we are enjoined to accept their quite racist claim to be ‘Aboriginal’ without demur – indeed to question it (as I do here) is no doubt actionable as offending against some one of our latest ‘Big Brother’ laws. I would hardly cause any offence at all for referring to ‘aboriginals’ of Irish ancestry (or anyone else) as ‘damned paddies’, but imagine if I uttered a similar expletive about their assumed ‘aboriginality’! Like me, they can neither claim nor benefit from their Irish ancestry even if they might wish to celebrate it sometimes with hearty draughts of green beer – as we all do whether we have any or not! It is simply long past time such ‘racial identification’ stopped permanently. We are all simply human beings and citizens of Australia. We should be expected to carry out all our duties as equal citizens (eg respect the police, obey the law, work, pay bills and taxes, be as good as our word…) and to only call on our nation’s help on an equal basis according to our needs. Nothing more. Nothing less.


23/06/2017: Sure, more Gonski cash will solve this, while a big stick would not:


23/06/2017: Hard to decide whether this is a tragedy or not. Cairns man Feared dead After Attempting to have Sex with a Crocodile:


23/06/2017: Is There Such a Thing as ‘The Truth’? An Excellent Explanation:

22/06/2017: Adventures in Stoving: I really liked the title of this guy's website, apart from the interesting information it contains. Two selections: the world's smallest, lightest gas stove, and how to refill hiking gas canisters:

World’s Lightest Gas Stove – 25 grams: You can find this little guy available in a variety of places under different pseudonyms. I don't know whether they are all the same. it has had mixed reviews. Folks who haven't stressed it out too much seem satisfied it will do the job.

Refilling gas canisters:

The gadget which will do this is probably illegal in Australia (what isn't?), but would probably work, and save you money. Howevr, LPG is highly explosive, and gas canister stoves have other drawbacks, so maybe proceed with caution:

For most trips the weight of teh emty gas canister, (and not knowing how much fuel it has left) precludes using them at all. Esbit is the most weight efficient system (and I have pointed out a way to simmer with it here: ). My personal choice is meths (aka alcohol stoves). If you are only boiling then Minibull's 'Elite' stove is impossible to beat. Mine weighs <7 grams ( ). Otherwise you can try the 'Supercat stove ( ). The advantage of meths is that you can calculate (before you leave exactly how much fuel you will need to cook all the things you are taking and only take that amount of fuel (I usually carry it in a small platypus bottle).

Minibull Elite Stove

 Supercat Stove

Also worth considering is a wood fuelled stove. I have both the Bushbuddy and the Suluk (as you will see here and here I also have a Caldera Cone:

You could try making my Egg-Ring Stove it only weighs 7 grams and makes a stable emergency stove in case you ever run out of fuel (or your jet blocks up if you are using a canister stove).

Bushbuddy Stove:

Caldera Cone:

Suluk Stove:

Egg Ring Stove:

22/06/2017: DIY Glasses. You don’t even need an eye test!


22/06/2017: One response woth considering to the spate of Islamist attacks: Don’t be a victim - 100 Deadly Skills - An Evening with Navy SEAL Clint Emerson:


21/06/2017: World's tallest tree: who would have believed that this 154 metre mountain ash felled at Healesville in 1872 was 40 metres taller than the largest Californian redwood ever recorded:


21/06/2017: The Red Pill (2016): This is just about the best documentary we have watched in a long while. It follows the journey of a feminist who decides to investigate the ‘Men’s Rights’ movement and who is transformed by the experience into a supporter of many of its ideas. Cassie Jaye deserves enormous credit for her courage, intellectual rigour and honesty in making and screening this documentary (which has been vociferously banned by ‘activists’ all over Australia). Yes, there were issue of female inequality in the past which needed addressing (and we did! Men and women alike.) There were also more general issues of inequality (such as universal franchise) which we also addressed. Today, the pendulum has swung too far and there are now gross inequalities which unfairly affect men which need to be addressed. As one interviewee put it, ‘The patriarchy isn’t the problem and feminism isn’t the answer.’


21/06/2017: An Australian who rises to the position of Cardinal would normally be celebrated and admired. George Pell’s other achievements also single him out for adulation rather than condemnation. Yet this dreadful litany of false, scurrilous and vile accusations continues. I do not condone those who sexually abuse children, Quite the contrary. I think it is dreadful that someone who repeatedly raped children twenty years ago can receive a lesser sentence than someone who raped a grown woman last year. This does not seem to me to be justice. I would have thought that the offences are so disproportionate that the former could not have deserved less than the most hideous death. On the other hand, Cardinal Pell has been instrumental throughout in identifying, eliminating  and punishing those in his church who abused children in the past or at any time, yet he is singled out by the hate media as an evil monster. I just don’t get it:


20/06/2017: Seems like it, Mark Latham: Australia is full; immigration is a Ponzi scheme we cannot afford. It needs to be cut. Now. Both Lab/Lib are as bad as each other on this issue, as with so many others:

20/06/2017: Who were the ‘First Nations’? & (even more mind boggling)

20/06/2017: Weather Lore: An infallible weather forecast, if a change of weather is coming up:

'Wind then rain. No pain.

Rain then wind, stay in!'


In plain words this says that when rain comes first without wind then expect a long period of bad weather with high winds and heavy rain. But when wind comes first and is followed immediately by rain, then fine weather will follow at short notice.

Many people are trapped by bad weather in the bush every year, and if they but knew of this simple weather sign they could be prepared, and get out to a position of safety before really bad weather sets in.

Another infallible weather signal is the appearance of cumulus nimbus cloud, a foreteller of thunderstorms. While a greenish light in the sky preceding a thunderstorm is an almost certain sign of heavy hail. Halos (or circles) around the sun or moon also almost invariably mean rain is on its way.

Red sky at night, shepherd's delight.

Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning.

A red sky - in the morning or evening, is a result of high pressure air in the atmosphere trapping particles of dust or soot. Air molecules scatter the shorter blue wavelengths of sunlight, but particles of dust, soot and other aerosols scatter the longer red wavelength of sunlight in a process called Rayleigh scattering. At sunrise and sunset, the sun is lower in the sky causing the sunlight to travel through more of the atmosphere so scattering more light.This effect is further enhanced when there are at least some high level clouds to reflect this light back to the ground.

When weather systems predominantly move from west to east. A red sky at night indicates that the high pressure air (and better weather) is westwards. In the morning the light is eastwards, and so a red sky then indicates the high pressure (and better weather) has already passed, and an area of low pressure is following behind.

Clouds And Their Reading

Cirrus: This is the "mare's tail" sky of the landsman, shows as long threads or wisps of cloud. This is the highest of all cloud formations, and is a sign of a "high" barometric pressure, which means fine weather.

Cirro Stratus, and Cirro Cumulus: In these clouds the former is long wispy, cloud, and in the latter rounded small cloud the typical "mackerel" sky. Both are indicators of a high barometric pressure, and fine weather.

Cumulus and Cumulus Nimbus: Cumulus is the high white piled-up masses of cloud seen in summer. When streaked with horizontal bands it is Cumulus Nimbus, or thunder cloud, a sign of coming storms, which may be of short duration, or may indicate a change in the weather generally.

Nimbus: This is the grey ragged cloud which uniformly covers the sky. It is the true rain cloud, and an indication of low barometric pressure and rainy weather.

Storm Scud: This is formless masses of very low cloud driven fast before the wind. It is a sign of very low barometric pressure, and continuing bad weather.

A light-weight radio (such as this: might be a good way to keep up with the weather forecast as well as providing other entertainment. I have not been able to find a better than this one at 91 grams.

Tip: When heading up the bush it is particularly important to check the wind forecast. You need to know which way the prevailing wind is going to be coming from (You can't just rely on the observation that it 'always' comes from the West - no matter that this is true most of the time). A sudden change to0 the east will mean your tent is pitched the wrong way around. This is particularly important if the wind change is going to occur in the middle of the night in which case you need to pitch it so that it suits both wind directions - if possible. (it usually is!)

19/06/2017: Working on my next ultralight project. This time it is a bathtub goundsheet which doubles as a chair. In Tyvek this will weigh around 120 grams. I am hopeful I can duplicate it in a lighter material at around 80 grams. Add this to my poncho tent at 160 grams and you have a wonderful camping combo!


19/06/2017: Anderson’s Inlet: What a beautiful shallow bird-filled inlet where the splendid Tarwin River meets the Southern Ocean (Sth Gippsland Victoria). Having already walked from San Remo or Rye (Phillip Island) along the can now walk from Inverloch along the shoreline, cross Screw Creek (on a bridge) then continue on, sometimes on the shoreline, sometimes on the levee bank (depending on the tide). You may get your feet wet a couple of times as you cross small creeks (Pound Creek, Cheery Tree, etc – fresh preferably filtered water for your solitary camp) but you can walk out eventually at the bridge at Tarwin Lower. NB: The trip is better at low(ish) tide. Then you can walk through the wonderful mangroves!

Maher's Landing:

You will see more birds than you thought was possible anywhere in Victoria – and you will likely see a hog deer too, though you may not hunt it!. Lots of koalas amid the sugar gums close to shore. (These are so named because the gum is sweet and edible). Cross the bridge across the Tarwin, a quick walk along the river bank past the shops, supermarket, hotel etc and you are then on a path that becomes a cycle track after the jetty which you follow to Lees Rd, Venus Bay. Walk along Lees Rd a couple of kms to Fishermans Rd where there is a boat ramp and you can once again walk along the shore of the inlet, eventually walking right around Point Smythe and continuing on along the beach back to Venus Bay No1 Beach where you can come inland again for supplies at the local shops if you want – or you can continue on along the coast all the way to Darby River on Wilsons Promontory, days away. Just the beginning of the wonderful

Straw Necked Ibis hunt the shallows

There are more bait worms and bivalves in these mud flats than you can imagine!

The inlet is also a great fishing spot. Key species are Australian salmon and garfish.

Tarwin Lower Jetty:

Fishermans Rd Boat ramp Venus Bay:

See Also:

19/06/2017: 2053: Who would have guessed there had been this many atomic bombs detonated (not that I am much in favour of them) and that there are still several billion healthy people on Earth. Mind you, they are very pretty: & 

19/06/2017: Turnbull is toast! Still 47:53. Pauline up 2%:

18/06/2017: Lighter, Brighter, Better: Three great new Maratac flashlights:

Anodized Aluminium Tactical Personal Flood TPF AAA Light by Maratac 160 lumens - US$40.95 (June 2017).

A 14-15 gram head torch which produces 160 lumens will be hard to beat!

'The Maratac™ AAA Stainless Steel flashlight was so popular, we had it made in a right angle varient. The same great light in a right angle form factor, featuring a 105 degree beam of projected light for increased field of use and a glow in the dark reflector. Checkout this AAA powerhouse now with many new upgrades:

The reflector glows after the light turns off so it's easy to find in the night.


  • Length: 2.65"
  • Diameter: .57"
  • Weight 14 Grams / .35 Ounces without battery ( Incredibly lightweight ) 
  • Stainless Steel Pocket Clip ( Easy to clip onto a hat, MOLLE gear or shirt pocket )
  • Glow In the Dark Built In reflector ( Easy to find in the dark )
  • LED Type: Cree G2 Emitter ( High Output ) with a life span up to 50,000 hours.
  • Flashlight body is made of Aircraft Grade Aluminum 
  • Stainless Steel ring around the dome lens for added durability
  • The dome lens has been treated with an AR (Anti-Reflective) coating.
  • Proprietary circuit design features reverse polarity protection and runs off of one AAA battery that provides 3 levels of brightness ( Low /Medium / High).

Using a single Duracell AAA battery we got the following results:

  • Low Mode, 5 lumen output for up to 60 Hours ( Diffused Light )
  • Medium Mode, 48 lumen output for up to 4 Hours
  • High Mode, 160 lumen output for up to 75 Minutes'

Inspection : AAAx2 Extreme - Tactical Light by Maratac 385 lumens - US$ 42.50 June 2917)

'The Maratac Inspection AAAx2 Extreme LED flashlight is made to be both tactical and practical. The light is straightforward to use and has friendly ergonomics. The Maratac AAAx2 Extreme features an advance Cree XP-G2(R5) LED for greater brightness and efficiency.

  •  Medium 45 Lumens / Low 5 lumens / High 385 lumens  mode brightness control (Simple 3 mode switching)
  • Operation:
    • Press and click the back thumb switch to turn on the light into Medium mode. Lightly press again for Low mode and once more for High. Press and click anytime to turn the light off.


  • 22.8 grams or .8 oz (without battery)
  • 5.0" O.A.L. x .58" inch width
  • Type 3 Military Grade Anodizing ( Matte Finish )
  • Utilizes 2 Standard AA Batteries ( 1.2-1.7 Volts each )
  • Standard Modes ( Pressing Tail Cap Through Modes )


    • Medium ( 6 Hours )
    • Low ( 90 hours )
    • High ( 1.65 hours )'

Anodized Aluminum AAA Flashlight by Maratac™ Rev 4 now 145 lumens - US$41.50

'Worlds first production LED AL flashlight...the smallest, brightest, AAA flashlight? We think so!

Check out this AAA powerhouse.

After thousands of Request ( Medium / Low / High )


  • Premier Series
  • Glow in the dark Diffuser ( New for Rev 4 )
  • Glow in the Dark front o-ring around reflector ( New for Rev 4 )
  • Each light is hand finished.
  • Length: 2.6" ( Smaller than Rev 1 )
  • Diameter: .5"
  • Weight with battery is 37.3 grams ( 28.1 grams without battery )
  • LED Type: Cree XP-G2 S4 with a life span up to 50,000 hours. ( Newest & Brightest Emitter REV 4 )
  • with a life span up to 50,000 hours. ( Newest & Brightest Emitter )
  • The New Orange Peel Reflector is aluminum alloy.
  • Flashlight body is machined of Aircraft Grade Aluminum
  • The lens has been treated with an AR (anti-reflective) coating.
  • Its proprietary circuit design features reverse polarity protection and runs off of one AAA battery that provides
  • Now with 3 levels of brightness ( Medium / Low / High ).
  • Comes with clip & o-rings
  • Clip installed from factory to preserve finish
  • New Stronger Clip 

Using a single Duracell AAA battery we got the following results:

  • Medium mode, 40 lumens output for up to 7 hours
  • Low mode, 1.5 lumens output for up to 55 hours
  • High mode, 145 lumens output for up to 70 minutes
  • ( Rev 1 model was 80 Lumens and 48 minutes) ( Rev 2 model was 115 Lumens and 60 minutes)'

Of course each of them can easily be made into a head torch with two o rings, a bit of cord and a micro cord lock:

See Also:

18/06/2017: It just keeps getting better and better:


18/06/2017: If you believe this, you will believe anything: PS: I notice she seems to have found a slightly higher calorie air than he has!

18/06/2017: Well said, Harry:


17/06/2017: With this App and Zenni, the optometrist is dead. Other professions may quickly follow suit. I am all for abolishing the lawyers first: &


17/06/2017: Poor Tweetie! Forget about feral cats. Let’s ban windows:


17/06/2017: If we all became vegetarians would there be more food? No! There would be less:




16/06/2017: Are Alexander and Elizabeth the best ever children’s names? Can you think of any other names which have so many interesting variants, eg, Al, Alex, Lex, Lexy, Xander, Sandy, Andy? Why burden your child with a name which has none, or which (worst still) is mis-spelled? I know several people who have had to change their names by deed poll because their parents could not spell. How embarrassing! There are also for too many ‘h’s and ‘y’s creeping into spelling nomenclature!


16/06/2017: Malcolm has once again shown his appalling judgement and unsuitability to be PM by lampooning the US President. Malcolm must go! Now!


16/06/2017: The problem with young voters seems to be they do not know yet that the Left and Greens are pure evil. Tim Blair suggests some interesting home remedies:

15/06/2017: NZ Moose: Ken & Marg Tustin have been hunting these beasts in Fiordland's forests since the 1970s. The creatures are enormously elusive. Of course there are lots of browse, prints, droppings but so far they have managed to come up with a single cast antler, two positive DNA samples and a couple of (unfortunately) poor quality photos of them. Not much return for a lifetime of hard work, but an enormous, 'Well Done Ken & Marg!' for such a Herculean effort. They must have spent literally years of their lives living in these remote sodden forests!

For example, when I talked to them in Te Anau in April 2017, Ken had just come back from a six week stint in Herrick Creek, Wet Jacket Arm, Dusky Sound. Like me, Ken is nearly 70! No-one who has never ventured into these wet, cold, dense, dangerous forests (as I have - though much more briefly) has any idea of the effort involved. They could be literally swarming with moose yet it would be unlikely you would ever find one.

Here is a link to an interesting article about them, and the Tustin's quest: (You can read it for free once at least, but you cannot copy and paste any of it).

I suspect the moose are quite widespread throughout Fiordland National Park. I too have found moose sign in very widely separate areas, but they are present at very low rates per square kilometre (almost certainly well less than one) mainly due to the absence of really suitable feed. Nonetheless, it is a huge (largely unexplored, and unexplorable) area, so that there could still even be more than a thousand of them (unlikely), yet no-one would ever see them!

Books by Ken Tustin: 'A Wild Moose Chas'e & 'A Nearly Complete History of the Moose in New Zealand'. Films: 'A Wild Moose Chase and 'New Zealand's Fiordland Moose': All highly recommended.

Other books about Fiordland Moose: Ken Tinsley 'Call of the Moose'. Max Curtis 'Around the River's Bend' - this last tells the story of the last successful moose hunt in NZ in the early 1950s. If you are going to become a NZ moose hunter, I suggest you devour all the above material!

This is Jim Mackintosh beside a female moose he shot at Herrick Creek in 1951. Other moose were shot and photographed in the area in 1952, the last certain sightings. Only about a dozen moose have ever been taken in NZ, three of them by the 'legendary' Eddie Herrick who spent nearly ten years of his life in toto hunting them!

PS:  The type of river flat forest Jim has shot this moose in is quite rare in Fiordland. There is some (for example) across Supper Cove from the hut, at the mouth of the Seaforth River and then along the river to the Henry Burn and here and there all the way up to the Kintail, but it was mostly all well eaten out by moose a long time ago. All the same you can see old broken branches about 8-9' up where they have been, and they may still use such patches for shelter in dreadful weather. I have stalked through some of it many times. Sometimes you even find a recent print. Considering that it rains on average over 25mm (1") per day in Fiordland, a print does not last long!

Mostly you would be looking for them in much worse terrain than this, up the steep valleys and along the incredibly precipitous forested sides. PS: Even in this sort of country you would have to be very watchful for the dangers of morasses! PPS: 'Normally' when moose hunting you are looking for their 'signature' branch breaking at that 8-9' height, but you should also make yourself aware of their 'browse line' at that height - where they have eaten practically every leaf they can eat of their favourite food plants. This is far more ubiquitous, but perhaps less obvious.

PPS: AS I say in the first link below, I believe I had a close encounter with a moose back in April 2017 in the upper Hauroko Burn, yet there was very little available moose browse in the Hauroko, (but plentiful old moose sign), whereas coming down the slope from Lake Roe to Loch Marie for example there were lots of 'moose plants', but much less moose sign. Moose are where you find them!

See also:

15/06/2017: Shoelace Reinvented: I went to this site looking for a new pair of shoes. The Men's Topo Terradventure has been recommended to me as a wide-fit ultralight shoe with superior grip and wear characteristics weighing 294 grams. I am keen to try out a pair, but I need to see whether they fit first. However I was struck by the offer on the site of a new, superior lacing system. Also note they sell Aloksak waterproof bags:

'The Terraventure pushes the limits of lightweight performance and rugged durability. This platform features an aggressive lug design providing better traction and mid-foot stability. A flexible ESS forefoot rock plate protects the foot from stone-bruising while the ghillie lacing system insures a secure midfoot fit.



The Terraventure runs half a size small, so we recommend sizing up half a size from your current running shoe fit. ~15mm of room around the outside of the toebox is a perfect fit, allowing your foot to splay naturally. A full size chart is available below.



  • // 6 mm rubber outsole
  • // 14 mm (heel) // 11 mm (ball) midsole
  • // 5 mm footbed
  • // Total stack height 25 mm x 22 mm (3 mm drop)
  • // Weight: 294g. (size 9)

Slacklaces are flat elastic shoelaces that you truly have to try to believe. You will feel the difference with your very first step. Slacklaces are perfectly designed to eliminate any tight spots, banding, and pressure points that can improve circulation, comfort and performance . They are flat, wide, very light and have the perfect combination of stretch and stability. SLACKLACES are so simple to use and are great for triathletes, kids, elderly and even more useful for individuals with disabilities. SLACKLACES are designed with the ability to change with the constantly changing contours of your feet and they look as good as they feel! Slacklaces come in a variety of bright colors, and lengths to fit every shoe and every style!

Surelace System: A Better Fit that You Never Have to Tie Again Yankz! Sure Lace System is the most comfortable and innovative lacing system available.
The unique design is ideal for walking, running, hiking, gym class, biking and other athletic activities.

Expandable cords provide an unsurpassed level of fit and comfort. No more tying, retying, double knots or frazzled dirty laces. Slip on your shoe with Yankz!

Many important factors make the Yankz! Sure Lace distinct:

15/06/2017: Londonistan burns: I know this one may not be a terrorist ‘incident’ (as its mayor describes it), but the next one and the next…will be. Folks will have learned how to ignite high rise apartment buildings. Heaven know where we will house the residents when we have to abandon them, or who will pay the compensation to their owners & etc. Clearly the market value of apartments everywhere will crash.


15/06/2017: When is Killed by a Moslem Terrorist Week? Unfortunately, every week! Bravo, Peter Smith:


15/06/2017: On a happier note, Malcolm must go:


15/06/2017: As Australia goes down the gurgler, (eg handing illegal immigrants vast wealth) New Zealand flashes past us technologically at least:


15/06/2017: Those who think we will still be shoveling coal in 100 years will be dismayed that Steve Bramwell of Uni College London has made and stored magnetic monopoles. There exist vast forces which we cannot as yet either detect or control, but we will...

14/06/2017: Drop Bear: Found this poor little fellow dead in the paddock this morning. Looks to be a victim of the dread Chlamydia (They also call it, 'Wet Bum') which is so prevalent amongst them, though s/he had also been fighting and had a number of nasty scratches - unsurprising when you see the size of their claws. I had noticed it roaming from blue gum  to blue gum just the other day but had taken no notice as they are quite prevalent here, though not in epidemic proportions yet as they are in so many places, poor things. It is horrific to see them starving to death en masse, as they are/were eg at Cape Otway last time we were there in 2013.

Rear claw - quite a thumb:

Front claw - imagine being slashed by that. Those claws are over an inch (2.5cm) long!:

If you catch one that is in distress (eg after being hit by a car) it is quite difficult to handle them (you need a thick blanket or coat which you have no further use for!) as they will attach themselves firmly to your arm, those claws penetrating quite clear through your biceps etc, so that very soon you will be sorry you had picked it up. I saw a man in this state one day at Tarwin Lower one Sunday when we were out fox hunting along the Inverloch Rd - you could do that sort of thing then. We used even to hunt foxes out of the graves in the local cemetery (My hunting mate, the late Dick Davies was chairman of the Cemetery Trust). Some graves were quite prolific. I wondered whether richer people attracted a better class of fox! The local Leongatha vet had to euthenise the bear to get it off the poor chap it was attached to! Of course being such dreadful venal types as fox hunters (as we were) we thought the whole incident quite funny - except for the koala!

I do prefer seeing them alive, like this one, though he has pretty much eaten out his tree too, as you can see. Apparently once you start to see them, they are already too numerous for the good of the forest, like the little guy above. It was nearly thirty years before anyone first saw one after the First Fleet!

Curiously the foxes had not touched him. They must not taste anywhere near as good as sheep. A dead sheep would be scattered all over the paddock by the next day! This guy had been there about three days. He was a bit too far gone for me to try! I am not 'Bear' Grylls! No doubt so named because he usually eats them!

Interestingly enough, we used to skin all the foxes we shot, (we usually had a few dozen after a day's hunt - the proceeds paid for everyone's family's Xmas presents) and throw their skun corpses into the blackberry patches. Nothing ever ate a fox. I am certainly never going to start if even crows eschew them. They are vilely malodourous - as are koalas actually!

Apparently long ago there was a marsupial lion very much larger than these little guys. Thylacoleo Carnifex ( & Some cryptozoolgical types (or not so logical types) avow that these critters were arboreal (indeed that they still exist!) and that there is some danger of them dropping from trees and devouring you. I have spent a lot of time under trees and it has not happened to me yet. Neither is irt stopping me from heading 'up the bush' this week - though some much needed fencing is, Alas!

14/06/2017: What a hoot: The conceptual penis as a social construct:


14/06/2017: Balls to Mr Finkelstein: We could replace all our coal fired power stations with brand new super-critical ones (as the rest of the world is doing) at a fraction of the cost of these mad green schemes and have electricity production at under 4 cents per kilowatt hour practically forever (we have hundreds of years of brown coal here in Victoria - we have used less than 2% of the reserve!): The figures just don’t add up:


14/06/2017: Comey was a proven liar anyway, but he is also a criminal and should receive the appropriate criminal sanctions instead of being lionized by the Left:


13/06/2017: There is just ‘one’ thing wrong with all this ‘global warming’ stuff; well 58 actually:


13/06/2017: We need more H.L.Menckens today: Doesn’t this remind you of professional leftist agitators and other assorted worryworts who yet abound: ‘I hope no one will be upset and alarmed by the fact that various bishops, college presidents, Rotary lecturers and other such professional damned fools are breaking into print with high-falutin discussions of the alleged wave of student suicides. Such men, it must be manifest, seldom deal with realities. Their whole lives are devoted to inventing bugaboos, and then laying them. Like the news editors, they will tire of this bogus wave after a while, and go yelling after some other phantasm. Meanwhile, the world will go staggering on. Their notions are never to be taken seriously. Their one visible function on earth is to stand as living proofs that education is by no means synonymous with intelligence.


13/06/2017: Mufti thinks jihad is funny: ‘Our’ Grand Mufti, a man who refuses to learn English and who would not be granted citizenship under the ‘new’ rules can joke about ‘jihad’ and ‘terrorism’ while all about him Rome burns. Or is at least re-inforced with large concrete blocks! Away with this vile creed:


13/06/2017: ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world’ (Yeats, ‘Second Coming’) The lunacy is all just happening too quickly for me to even comment on. This week alone: The Fink Finkelstein and more mad schemes to make us all poorer and ‘save the planet’. What Tosh! Huge concrete blocks appearing everywhere to ‘save us from terrorism’. Whilst young Somalis who smash and rob jewellery stores are given no sentence. The Mufti jokes about terrorism. There is to be a new gaol for terrorists which the ABC reports is for IRA offenders! The Left get all the Queens Birthday honours when they have done nothing deserving at all – earning at best more custard tarts in their faces! I despair…At least you can read my hiking blog to return a little sanity to your lives:

13/06/2017: A Walk on the Wild Side: You can set off from Rye or San Remo (Phillip Island, Gippsland Victoria - public transport available) and walk all the way along the beach to Screw Creek, Inverloch. This comprises the beginning of the magical which will be a hiking holiday that takes a couple of months to complete exploring many of Victoria's scenic wonders.The section we were looking at yesterday afternoon after closing the shop ( was at Harmers Haven near Wonthaggi. Take a left hand turn near the end of the main street into Cameron Street and follow it past Harmer's Haven to a car-park and the beginning of this enchanting beach exploration walk Just a few steps along the path you come to this beautiful bridge across the lagoon:

Of course I was lucky enough to be accompanied by this beautiful lady (as I have been for 47 wonderful years) and her astonishing dog:

Here is that outstanding dog, Spot again. How he loves the beach!

A blue crane was busy fishing in the lagoon:

A pair of delightful sandpipers let us get very close to them:

As did this red-billed shearwater:

Even on a holiday weekend the deserted beach stretched on and on towards Cape Paterson (shop/s, hotel, etc) and Inverloch (even more amenities)

Looking back into the sunset towards Kilcunda:

Della managed to take an even better photograph:

And again:

So many enchanting skerries:

And other beauties bathed in the golden light of dusk:

And here is another beauty - as my mother used to say, 'A frog's pretty in a cat's eye'!

Twilight combs the skerries:

The last blush of day to the east:

After Screw Creek you need to get across or around Andersons Inlet (I am working on that - I hunted foxes ) whence you can walk all the way along Venus Bay Beach to Cape Liptrap. It is possible to climb around the lighthouse and descend again on the other side whence you can walk along to Bear Gully (a truly magical camping spot), Walkerville South, Walkerville, Sandy Point, Yanakie, Wilsons Prom...and so on and on - to Eden, Mt Kosciusko, then back along the Alps to Lilydale!

12/06/2017: Follow Your Nose: I have failed to follow my own advice on this one more than once to my regret as you can read in my account of my recent Dusky walk below. Trust your nose, Somewhere upwind possibly just in sight is something important you need to pay attention to. For example, you may wonder how ancient mariners unerringly managed to find remote islands when a failure to do so might have meant all would perish. At sea there is little scent. The great variety of scents comes instead from land animals and flowering plants whose varied odours drift on the wind detectable many kilometres downwind. Our mariners, knowing from their pennants the direction of the wind, and using their nose could tack back and forth heading infallibly for the source of the endless wonder that assailed their noses.

Of course at sea there are other clues to indicate the direction of the land. The wind and tides drive floating objects outwards in a pre-determined direction which you can follow back. Leaves, grass, flowers, spiders etc are a giveaway. The story of Noah and his dove is a charming metaphor (and of course it is unlikely a dove would bring back a twig unless it was nesting - but pigeons and doves do, so who knows?), but clearly the presence of a floating twig (or one in a bird's maw) certainly does indicate the proximity of land. Again, clouds build up against islands. The Maori did not call NZ 'The Land of the Long White Cloud' for no reason. Islands also disturb the movement of waves and currents. This disturbance can be detected by the observant mariner.

Similarly, in the desert there are few scents - again because of the scarcity of life. Where there is life in profusion is near water sources in such arid wildernesses. The scents from all the life around such oases wafts on the wind and can be detected 10, 20 kilometres away. It is how desert dwellers found them in the first place.

If you are out hunting and you smell an unusual odour (eg your quarry) don't ignore it. Investigate. And get to know the peculiar scents of the animals you hunt. Knowing the musky stench of a stag in rut is a valuable piece of information. Your nose can lead you to many other food sources. The scent of honey is unmistakable. A wild bees' hive is a treasure if you know how to safely rob it. If you do not the scent of the honey (or nectar) in bottle brushes can lead you to a sweet treat particularly in the morning. Ripe fruit, such as lily-pilies wafts out a delectable fragrance that should earn you a feast in some cool valley.

On our afternoon walks around Yinnar and Jeeralang, I am forever saying to Della, 'Smell that fox, wallaby, deer, pig', etc. It has taken her a while to learn to pay attention to her nose. She grew up in the city, and hasn't been a hunter all her life like me, but she is now noticing those most pungent odours at least. Pig and fox scent are very strong. We have seen four sambar deer on our afternoon walks just in the last week. The pig sign is becoming very prevalent. Another season of breeding and I fear they will be invading the local backyards and stealing babies from their prams!

Note: I have a confession (of stupidity) to make. Somewhere during this section between the two upper walk wires on the Hauroko Burn Fiordland NZ (You can imagine it is in the photo above) I encountered quite  a strong 'animal' smell not unlike a goat. I thought to myself at the time, 'Well, it's not a deer'. Then I thought, 'Could it be a plant'. You know how Dogwood in Australasia is so named because it smells somewhat like wet dog. I thought to myself  'I wonder whether the Leather Wood which you encounter just before the tops in NZ (and which is redolent with the musty odour of countless deer) is so called because it smells of leather?' There is a sweet cloying honey-like smell you sometimes encounter in these Fiordland forests I have never been able to identify, nor has anyone else I have spoken to been able to pick it for me. (it is not the flower of the ubiquitous tiny epiphytic orchid). I scanned the forest about. Saw nothing. Thought to myself, 'I do not want to arrive at Lake Roe in the dark' (The hut is hard enough to find), and carried on. Since then, I have bothered to check what a moose smells like. You guessed it. Just like what I was smelling on the Hauroko that day. There was a moose not 200 metres upwind from me, and I walked on. Despite having a tarp and hammock and weeks of food, so that I could have spent days hunting it! And I would have doubtless 'put it up' withing ten minutes! Despite the fact that one of the important reasons I go there is to see a moose. Despite the fact that I had photographed fresh moose barking just back there a little (See: Despite the fact there is a $100,000 reward for a photo of a NZ moose, I walked on! : Lesson: Trust your nose!

11/06/2017: Interesting DIY 3D Printing Project:

10/06/2017: Walking in a Straight Line: You have one leg slightly shorter than the other. Therefore if you are blindfolded you will walk in a circle. Clearly you need some other clue to stop yourself from doing this in the wild. There are a number of ‘tricks’ to learn. I have already mentioned how to use your observations of the ‘lie of the land’ to find your way:

I have mentioned before many times how you should train the tools you were born with (which you can count on having with you, hopefully in a working condition) whereas artificial aids (such as GPS, PLB and etc) can all too easily fail. Using the outstanding features of the landscape as a guide to your location is an obvious and necessary skill to develop.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked by a person with a GPS in their hand where they are (were), to which my reply has always been (simply looking around), ‘Isn’t it obvious?’

As I have mentioned before it is especially important every time you stop for a breather (at least every fifteen minutes let’s say) to spend that time looking behind you so as to memorise the prominent features of the landscape in your return direction.

Of course there are times when the prominent features of the landscape are not visible (or there simply aren’t many). This can happen in flatter terrain (even on plateaus, in heavily wooded areas, in fog or cloud, etc. Then you need to keep s a sequence of smaller features in mind in order to keep to a chosen route (eg I want to continue in a generally North-Easterly direction until I hit the ‘Divide’).

The most common method used to keep to a straight course is to note a particular tree in the correct direction of travel, and head towards this (Below, top left).


When it is reached a new tree is selected, and so on (above top right).

Although this will lead to a straight line between the trees sighted, it can also lead to a wrong course as shown in figure A

Having arrived at the first tree it is possible for the traveler to sight the next tree incorrectly and so gradually proceed to lose your correct direction.

You can avoid this error as shown in figure B. Moving from point 1 you sight tree 2 and head for it. However before reaching it you line up tree 3. Similarly you sight up tree 4 when you is part way between points 2 and 3, and in this way your line is always correct.

This method is good for open forest country, but does not work on featureless plains. There are two systems that have been common eg among the Aborigines for centuries.

In the first method, one person would always go ahead of the others, heading in the direction of travel indicated. No matter how featureless the country might appear to be, there would always be some small feature, perhaps just a particular clump of grass, beyond the leading person, and as soon as he appeared to be veering off course it would become obvious to those following and they would then signal him back to the correct line.

Many ‘primitive’ people (such as those from the eponymous ‘Canary’ Islands for example) had a ‘whistling language’ for use in such long distance communication. The Canary Islanders could communicate thus at a distance of several kilometers - at least from mountain top to mountain top! it is why the small birds of the same name are so called, not because of their song, but because they sounded like the islanders' whistling language. One useful feature of such a system of communication is that it does not scare the ‘game’ which is why it was used by so-called ‘primitive’ people who had to rely on the success of their hunt to live.

It is interesting is it not, that ever since the invention of farming (approx 9,000 years ago) the average human brain has been shrinking. The less intelligent can be feather-bedded by the food surplus, whereas in a hunting culture they would simply have failed to reproduce. As they would have starved to death!

The second method could be used by a lone traveler, and consisted of lighting two small fires which would give off a quantity of smoke for some time. The first would be lit at the camp site and you would set out in the required direction. After a short time, and before there was any chance of having altered direction, you would select a clearing and light another fire.

You could now proceed with confidence, knowing that as long as you kept the two smokes in line then you were going in a straight line. If you had a long way to travel you might light more fires as you went on, so that as the original smoke died down you would be able to continue with the directions maintained by the newer ones. Lots of early Australian explorers observed such lines of fires - then began to implement the strategy themselves.

You should also read:

10/06/2017: You look at the graphic and think, ‘Why did May not win an historic victory’. Just a couple of reasons, ‘When she announced that she would asset strip the houses of the elderly to make them pay for domiciliary care, I asked here whether she was actually trying to lose the election…The reason Labour has done so well is that for once young people turned out to vote. Young people generally don’t bother to vote. They did this time for one reason: they were captivated and energised by Jeremy Corbyn. No matter that Corbyn’s agenda would destroy the country, that he would empower bad people, that he would extinguish freedom. With the collapse of Britain’s education system so that the young know nothing and can’t think for themselves, they were easy prey for a Pied Piper of fantasy politics.’ Melanie Phillips (We saw the same phenomenon with Bernie Sanders). Something seriously needs to be done about the ‘education system’. Probably abolish it. It is doing a rubbish job!


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10/06/2017: Conservatives need to completely end all ‘welfare’ type payments to taxpayers and hand all that money back to them as tax cuts. This way they will get back $10 in tax cuts for every $5 in payments. After that it will be clear to taxpayers that what the socialists always offer is to take money from their pockets and splurge it on someone else – who does not pay tax, indeed who refuses to shift for themselves at all! At present whenever anyone proposes ‘budget savings’ which involve cutting spending, taxpayers who see $5 disappearing from their child care, education , health etc are alarmed because that money is not obviously being returned to them as tax cuts – so they become pawns of the socialist pied pipers.


Answer to a reply: You are missing my point. I am not saying cut out all 'welfare benefits'. I am saying cut out the ones handed back to taxpayers. Just the accounting exercise of doing so must waste a substantial amount of cash. However, in answer to some at least of your other points. I maintain that marriage and the family should form the basis of 'welfare', not the Government. It is because (since 1974) people have been able to treat the Government as their parents, husbands, wives etc - instead of relying on themselves and their support networks, that we have developed a vast disaffected cohort of 'dependent' people. This is not good for them and it is certainly not good for society. People must learn to stand on their own two feet and 'shift' for themselves, no matter how hard that lesson is for them. otherwise society will fail utterly! One of the best things about a 'support network' is that it is a two-way street. You get back as you put in. In the Government model, you can just help yourself to the trough without ever putting in. This is at best very poor moral (and economic) training.

09/06/2017: Ultralight Poncho Tent: This is going to be a 160 gram poncho which is also an excellent single person tent. It doesn't get much better than that. This is my second prototype of this wonderful piece of equipment. I have altered the dimensions slightly and changed the taper so it is long enough to lie out in without touching the sides. It is (usually) open at the front so you can enjoy a warming fire. There is plenty enough overhang so you are going to stay dry in a heavy downpour. Its dimensions are approximately 5' x 8'.

All the sides are catenary cut so it pitches tight and easily, and stands up to any weather. I have added a hood which centres the single pole (which can be a bush stick) and which acts as verandah and vent. There will be a small reinforcing patch inside it which will double as a pocket to take the two guys when not in use. There will be a couple of breast pockets to take the tent stake bag (11 stakes will make it well-nigh impregnable) and a couple of emergency mylar space blankets and a mini bic lighter in case you have no other preparation for your night outdoors.

My prototype is made of Tyvek as usual. I will be replacing the zips with waterproof ones as soon as they arrive. I will be adding another (optional) triangle of silnylon material which will zip in to completely close the front in the event of extreme wet weather - adding about 50 grams to the weight. I will be creating a groundsheet with a bathtub floor which can be modified with an inflatable mat and four short sticks to make a comfy chair from which you can watch your campfire. At a pinch you could shelter two people so there is ample room for one plus all gear and a dog (as you can see)!

The final model may be a couple more weeks in the making, likewise the chair. When I have completed these two projects I will be offering to sell patterns. There will also be an alternative model which has an extra approx 3' x 8' added which will add 75 grams. Though it can still be worn as a poncho it will be big enough for a shelter for two. Its dimensions are approximately 8' x 8'. It can also double as a hammock tarp.

This poncho will also form the floor of either/both of my final models of my Deer Hunter's tent and my 'Honey I Shrank' Tent or for the double model of this tent. If a couple carry one of these each they will have two raincoats plus a tent and a groundsheet for a total weight of 472 grams. Also coming soon!

298 grams in Tyvek, smaller than a shoe or box of tissues. The silnylon model will be about the size of a small bottle of coke.

It may be an ungainly looking poncho but it will keep you and your pack completely dry. Spot thinks it will keep him dry too if he stays close.

This was my first attempt at pitching it before i added the hood. I hastily put it up in the dark the night before. It rained and blew all night but it was taut and sound the following morning.

Side view.

You can see all the ridges stay taut.

Plenty of room to stretch out.

And room for a dog or two!

I will be making this out of 1 oz/yd2 silnylon with a 4,000mm head. It will weigh 160 grams plus 77 grams for the tent stakes, so a total tent and raincoat combo of 237 grams. If I made it out of .35oz/yd2 cuben fibre and used 1 gram pegs for every second one, it would sneak in at 100 grams total weight! To my mind it would be too fragile then, but might interest some people. I will opt for the more durable model which (with the addition of a bit of Tenacious tape in case of emergencies should last me many years.

See also:

09/06/2017: Dutch Treat: You have to give it to Andrew Bolt: he sure can mix it: three against one, and he won:


09/06/2017: Certainly, time to rename it the Margaret Court Defence of Traditional Marriage Arena. Gadzooks! Once sporting fields were named eg after great players. The demand it be renamed after Yvonne (as Google already has!) glosses over her obvious overt racism in firstly claiming to belong to a ‘different’ race, and then demanding special treatment of people based on race. This is no different than the Nazis and the KKK really. Should it be named after her because she was a great player? Well, perhaps, unless we are going to ban competitive sport because it is elitist. Or women’s sport because it is sexist. After all neither women would have won a single game against perhaps even the 200th male seed if there had really been a ‘level playing field’! And how unfair is all that 'winning' to mediocre players?


09/06/2017: Whatever happened to Christian Fletcher: ‘The Bounty’ (1984) is an excellent film, but what happened to the mutineers after they stranded themselves on the tropical paradise, Pitcairn Island? Like so many socialist idylls, this one did not end happily. When they were rediscovered approx 20 years later, there was only one of the original mutineers still alive. The intervening years had been ones of almost ceaseless murder. 14 out of 15 of the adult males had met his end this way. Fletcher was one of the first to go. astonishing! What a (horror) story this sequel would make:


08/06/2017: 'One way to make sure crime doesn’t pay would be to let the government run it.' Ronald Reagan




07/06/2017: I just do not get it that folk continue to be fooled by this CO2 nonsense. There is no correlation between CO2 and temperature. I repeat: None! And none of the attempts to reconstruct past temperatures and CO2 percentages shows any such causative relationships as the proponents of this weird ‘green’ religion posit. Indeed, ice core and (stromata) sediment CO2 and temperature data show CO2 lags temperature by aprox 800 years ie Temperature changes bring about changes in CO2 a very long time afterwards, and not the other way around. Just taking the brief period of my own lifetime, you can see large chunks of time when eg temperatures were lower than now but CO2 higher, the 1940s for example. (There were over 100,000 direct measurements of CO2 over 400 ppm in the 1940s!) Going back further we can see whole ice ages where CO2 was higher than today, and warm periods when it was lower. People are now invited to ‘like’ the proposition, ‘Don’t you believe in climate change?’ as if it were axiomatic. Well, as ‘climate’ pretty much means ‘change’ over long periods of time, it is well-nigh impossible to ‘deny’ it.

However, two points: the prevailing ‘climate change’ ie the one which has been operational now for at least the last 8,000 years is downwards towards the next ice age. We have been in an inter-glacial for nearly 15,000 years. For the last several million years there has been a well-nigh endless succession of ice ages and inter-glacials (Timed something like 100,000: 15,000 years alternatively). As there is no clear and unequivocal explanation of this phenomenon (even though it did not pertain to the great majority of life’s time on earth), the greatest probability is that such a sequence is 99%+ likely to repeat. Ergo, we are well on our way (at least 12,000 years (!)) towards the next ice age when a blanket of the frozen stuff will cover most of Europe, North America and Central Asia a mile deep.

The other point is that such periods as we have been able to ‘observe’ with anywhere near ‘reliable’ records (say the last 100 years or so), shows no clear pattern which is different from normal variation – meaning that short-term data shows none of the signature which would indicate ‘climate change’ especially of the ‘anthropic’ kind.

If there is nothing negative about CO2, is there anything positive? You’d better bet there is. CO2 is simply wonderful plant food. The increase in CO2 which has occurred in the last few decades (whether down to man’s outpourings or some other ‘natural’ phenomenon – such as a response to the Medieval Warm period’ of approx 800 years ago – remember that lag I mentioned before?) has produced an abundance of life. There has been a massive increase in ‘greening’ all over the world. The world has added a couple of areas the size of America of new forest cover as a result of that CO2. And crop yields everywhere are enormously up, meaning that poverty and starvation have well-nigh disappeared from the planet at the same time as population has risen substantially! At the same time incidentally the percentage of the ‘new’ CO2 which has a ‘human signature’ (Yes, this can, and has be measured – since the 1950s actually) has not increased substantially, despite mankind’s (seemingly) massive outpourings (Think Hazelwood, for example). It remains infinitesimal! And yet Trump has the temerity to destroy the planet with it. Oh Woes:


07/06/2017: Al Jazeera: Why is so much of our news on the ABC and even moreso on SBS syndicated from Al Jazeera the Qatari news service, a known backer of Islamic terrorism and even banned in Saudi Arabia? What sort of independence and lack of bias are our two public broadcasters displaying here? Whatever happened to Reuters, Associated Press, Pathe, etc where our news used to come from?


07/06/2017: How long before our own NDIS finds someone like Mr Eric C Conn? $600 million fraud. Wow:


06/06/2017: If only our pollies could perform magic as well as this guy. Don’t blink:


06/06/2017: Churchill 77 years ago today: ‘Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.’


06/06/2017: It is unfortunate that more folk no longer read the Classics. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are perhaps mainly moral allegories on the virtue of hospitality, and the punishment which ought to befall an unworthy ‘guest’ Paris stole Menelaus’ wife, Helen (thus provoking the Trojan War), as you might remember from Brad Pitt’s ‘Troy’; his fate was to have his whole city razed to the gound, his people killed or enslaved. Odysseus similarly punished the unwanted (suitor) guests who had been preying on his wife Penelope with violent and sudden death. And a right good thing too! We have had many unpleasant ‘guests’ in our country who perhaps ought to read more Homer – or be treated to his ‘remedies’! When in Rome, live as we do – or else!


05/06/2017: Where will it end? French ‘academic’ self-identifies as a hippo:

05/06/2017: Tier Gear Catenary Cut Hex Tarp: Thanks to Aussie Outfitter and hammock maker Tier Gear for allowing me to repost DIY instructions for this excellent tarp. You can purchase all the items you need to build it and the 'Netless Hammock' from them at a very good price with excellent service and speedy delivery.  These instructions detail one way to make a light weight hex shaped tarp with catenary cut sides. It incorporates a ridge line which is sewn using polyester binding tape. The binding tape ridge line is strong, should not need seam sealing, and adds very little extra weight. If you cannot sew you can buy the tarp ready-made from them for a very reasonable A$160 (2017):

Length of ridgeline is 335cm
Weight is 324grams
Fabric used: Xenon Sil fabric - 7 metres needed
Hardware used: Split rings (4), and Silkworms (4).
Ridgeline binding: 25mm Polyester binding tape - approx 4 metres needed
Tie outs: 13mm grosgrain ribbon and Silkworms.
Thread used: Serafil 60 continuous filament polyester thread but most good quality outdoor threads will do the job.
Needle: Size 12

Step 1:
Lay out your fabric on a large flat surface, measure and cut two pieces 3460mm long.

Step 2:
On bottom long edge measure in 900mm at either end, and mark. Draw a line from these marks to the top corner. Repeat at both ends of each piece of fabric.

Step 3:
Now we are going to mark out the catenary cuts. On the lines you have just drawn, measure and mark the mid-point. Also do this on the bottom edge.

Step 4:
Using a set square measure from the mid-point up 100mm and draw a line. Repeat on all sides and bottom edge.

Step 5:
Now using a length of 6mm dowel (or some other equivalent), and some heavy weights to keep it in place position the dowel so that it intersects the two corners and the mid catenary cut mark, and draw a line along the dowel. Repeat on all sides

Step 6:
Cut out the catenary cuts.

Step 7:
Sew a rolled hem along 3 sides of each piece of fabric but not the ridgeline. Pin where needed. Double stitched is preferable so a sew another line of stitching on the outer edge of the hem. Due to the cat cuts you will find the material will want to twist in places but work carefully and manipulate it as best you can. It won't be perfect.

The width of my rolled hem is about 12-13mm which is needed due to my tie out configuration. If you choose to go with a different tie out configuration you may use a narrower hem width.

Step 8:
Now take both pieces and pin the ridgeline together, making sure that the ends line up, and the sewn rolled hem is oriented to the inside.

Step 9:
Sew one line of stitching about 6mm from the edge along the length of the ridgeline. This is used just to hold the fabric prior to binding the ridgeline.

Step 10:
Using the polyester binding tape bind the ridgeline either by hand folding or utilising a binding attachment suited to your machine. Make sure you leave about 100mm at either end, though I recommend cutting it longer than needed now and you can trim to size later. You can also double stitch the ridgeline if you choose - which is what I did.

Step 11:
Fold the ends of the binding tape over, and stitch back onto itself on the ridgeline, leaving a loop of about 25-30mm at each end. I use a basic straight stitch bar tack with a z pattern which I have found to be more than strong enough. I measure and mark 10mm lines for the bar tacks, and sew a few times back and forth with a shorter stitch length than used on the tarp hem.

Also make sure you melt the ends of the binding tape to prevent it from fraying later on.

I use 2 split rings but you can use whichever hardware you like, or none at all.

Step 12:
For the tie outs I chose a minimal lightweight design which incorporates no extra reinforcing as the stitching is kept within the hemmed edge of the tarp material only.
Firstly I folded back a small section of the corner and stitched it down with a basting stitch - just to hold it in place.

Step 13:
I then used 13mm grosgrain which was cut to a length of 120mm, and sewn to each corner using the same bar tack z stitch pattern as used on the ridgeline with 10mm spacing. These were sewn on the inside of the tarp, and a loop left in the middle which your hardware is attached to or you can tie your guylines straight to this loop. Repeat on all 4 corners.

In this instance I used Silkworm hardware which are extremely lightweight but again you can use what ever you choose or nothing at all.

Step 14:
Once both sides of the tie out are sewn, its important to lay down a reinforcing stitch along edge of the corner. Flip the material over, with the grosgrain situated on the bottom and make sure you capture the grosgrain on the under side. A few stitches back and forth should do it. Repeat on all 4 corners and you are done.

Step 15:
Go hang it and admire your handy work.

05/06/2017: The Guinea Pig Club. Watch out for it:

05/06/2017: If any other political movement (eg the Nazi or Communist Party) had been responsible for, supportive of, and had as its inspitation a core central text as was the case with the three recent terrorist attacks in Britain (or elsewhere) the demand that those movements and those texts be banned and their adherents either deported or banned from entering our countries would have been unstoppable. What is it about disguising yourself as a religion (albeit an evil and murderous one - from the very core exemplar up) that graces your vile tenets in such an aura of sanctity that we are unable to act against you? State protections for all religions have to stop. Anything which preaches such patent falsehoods (and I include the new ‘green’ and ‘climate’ religions in this) must at very least receive no support from the State (ie no tax breaks, no education subsidies, etc). Indeed all such organizations ought to be actively opposed by the state with a view to ultimately eliminating them from our societies.

04/06/2017: Three more Attacks in London: With all this going on, you can’t imagine how May could lose on Thursday:

04/06/2017: Continuous Loop: Another Great Hammock Idea: This is just a much better way of attaching your hammock to your suspension system. it really protects the material of the hammock so it will last much, much longer: As you can see it goes through the seam you sewed in the end of your hammock, then loops back through itself so imposing much less stress on the hammock material.

The hook you see in the photo is a 3.4 gram 'whoopie hook' another genius idea for simplified hammock set-up. Also available from Tier Gear:

The continuous loop should be used in conjunction with the 'whoopie slings:

See also: Titanium Dutch Hook for attaching your tarp ridgeline:

04/06/2017: The Wonderful Clive James on that climate nonsense: ‘You can just about see how a bunch of grant-dependent climate scientists might go on saying that there was never a Medieval Warm Period even after it has been pointed out to them that any old corpse dug up from the permafrost could never have been buried in it… a more illustrative starting point for the theme of the permanently imminent climatic apocalypse might be taken as August 3, 1971, when The Sydney Morning Herald announced that the Great Barrier Reef would be dead in six months. After six months the reef had not died, but it has been going to die almost as soon as that ever since, making it a strangely durable emblem for all those who have wedded themselves to the notion of climate catastrophe…Personally, I don’t even like the idea of Trump changing a light bulb, but we ought to remember that this dimwitted period in the history of the West began with exactly that: a change of light bulbs. Suddenly, 100 watts were too much. For as long as the climate change fad lasted, it always depended on poppycock; and it would surely be unwise to believe that mankind’s capacity to believe in fashionable nonsense could be cured by the disproportionately high cost of a temporary embarrassment.’ Clive is as always, just great. How sad that he won’t be with us much longer. A ‘must read’: This link is behind a paywall, but you can read the story by copying the first sentence into Google and hitting ‘Enter’. One of life’s great mysteries…


04/06/2017: Meanwhile Noel Pearson wants a treaty. Can you guess why: ‘No Aboriginal leader has been given such lavish funds to show he can fix what these white politicians can’t — more than $150 million over eight years to help just 3000 people at Cape York. That’s a staggering $50,000 for each man, woman and child, on top of all the normal funding for welfare and services; but what has Pearson’s Cape York Initiative achieved with all that? Here’s what the Jesuit Social Services Australia and Catholic Social Services Australia concluded last year about Aurukun, the biggest of the four small communities in Pearson’s welfare “trial”: “Aurukun’s deterioration is evident in a range of indicators, including: Criminal convictions (ranked 11th in 2007 and 1st in 2014); young adults not engaged in work or study (ranked 107th in 2007 and 5th in 2014) and unemployment (ranked 262nd in 2007 and 10th in 2014).”’ (Andrew Bolt)  NB: That $50,000 would be on top of the approx $100,000 per capita squandered on ‘aboriginal persons’ specifically by the Commonwealth Government – and that is on top of the ‘normal’ spend on Welfare, education, Justice, health, Housing, Public Transport, etc, etc on which so many are also dependent.

03/06/2017: Whoopie Slings - Great Hammock Idea! Hummingbird Hammocks have one of the lightest suspension systems around (2.3 oz - 66 grams per hammock). The genius idea about them is the whoopie sling tension adjustment system. Here's a little video I took showing how they work. Setting up your hammock just perfectly is literally a breeze and the work of a minute:

It is a little hard to see how they work, but basically the end of the rope is passed up through the hollow centre of itself, forming a loop at one end) so that it can slide fairly freely through when there is no tension but as the tension increases the outside of the rope (tube) holds on harder and harder to the length that is passing through it. It is an ingenious idea (probably familiar to riggers), and would also work well for tent guys. In the pictured example there is a handy knot at one end to hold on to whilst pulling the end through and so tightening up the 'hang' of the hammock. These would work with any kind of hammock, and can be bought separately from them (see below)

Tier gear also a make an adjustable centre line (using the whoopie sling principle) which helps your hammock to hang flat. They certainly do that, and only add 6 grams to the weight of your set up Well worth it as it also gives you somewhere to hang a few things. You can make a small silnylon bag (like a miniature saddle bag) to hang from the centre line so that you can easily reach things like your glasses or head torch in the middle of the night.

I usually add a gear hook at each end of my hammock(s) so I can attach things out of the weather at the ends of my hammock.This only adds a couple of grams too.

Available here:

see Also:

03/06/2017: Menzies again: ‘I do not believe that the real life of this nation is to be found either in great luxury hotels and the petty gossip of so-called fashionable suburbs, or in the officialdom of the organised masses. It is to be found in the homes of people who are nameless and unadvertised, and who, whatever their individual religious conviction or dogma, see in their children their greatest contribution to the immortality of their race. The home is the foundation of sanity and sobriety; it is the indispensable condition of continuity; its health determines the health of society as a whole’


03/06/2017: Too many people today have never learned to have pride in themselves. As a consequence we are turning into a nation of beggars whose only sense of pride comes from ever louder demands that someone else, eg ‘the Government’ ‘should’ do something more for them. The only pride many people seem to have is in ‘crying poor’, (They are the ‘battlers’, you see) as if it is their ‘right’ that the correct response to this quite pathetic display was to shower them with even more free things. However, the really correct response to all such temper tantrums, is ignore them; when they have quietened down advise them to stand on their own two feet and shift for themselves! These are the two most important rights: the right to work (I do not mean the ‘right’ to a job); & the right to own private property. All such ‘leaners’ should just get on with it!

02/06/2017: The Lie of the Land:

If you want to move around in the bush with confidence without getting lost (and without artificial aids (except for noting the general northerly direction from the sun (or its shadow - eg on your thumbnail: You should always take note of the 'fall' of the country. The fall is the slope of the country; if you follows this slope, however slight, you will come to a watercourse in time, even if it is only a small dry gully. This in turn will lead down, getting larger as it is joined by other gullies and creeks until it reaches the river, and the fall of the land will continue until the sea is reached.

So as you move about you always have this fall as a reference point in the back of you mind. You might say you are on the 'southern fall of Rocky Creek' or the 'west fall of Little Sandy'. Starting from a known point you will move about quite freely,confident that all the little gullies and creeks that you may cross lead back to the river system that you are using as a reference.

Whichever way you move, whether up or down, or in any direction, you are always conscious of being in a sort of bowl, and at the very bottom of the bowl is the river.

If you move on to higher ground, when you reach the highest point you will look for a change in the fall of the land. The next slope will lead to a different creek, and this may join the earlier river that you are using as a point of reference, or it may run into a totally different river system. If you can deduce this information then you can move around this basin with the same confidence that you used to traverse the first.

Suppose you are travelling from A to C below

While you are moving around A you should be conscious of the fact that all the fall of the land is towards creek A, and know that this will eventually join the main river.

As you move up to the highest point, you should realise that as this is the highest point it must be the divide between area A and area B. Usually this is called simply the 'divide'. You should then try and establish a mental picture of the new system which you have to cross. Is the fall in the same general direction? If so then it may well be a creek system that will in turn join back to the main river. If not then what is its general direction?

Having established the general direction of the fall, the you will be able to proceed with confidence. In this case you will have noted that the general direction of the main creek is the same as the previous one, and will therefore assume that they are both tributaries of the same river.

As you proceed you will also be taking into account the fact that the small gullies feeding into the main creek do so at an angle to that creek, and you will also use this to help you keep your directions. Because you have formed a mental picture of the creek system A and have related this to the new creek system B, you can now move across this new creek system with confidence, secure in the knowledge that as long as you continue to keep the fall of the land to your right side, then you will be travelling in the correct general direction.

In time you begins to climb, and once more reaches a new divide. Before moving on you establishe that in this case the new creek system is running at an angle to the previous one, and in order to keep to the correct course you must travel in the same direction as the small tributaries of this creek. In this way yoou will arrive at the general position of your objective.

Usually you only attempt to travel in such a straight line if the country is gently undulating. If you encounters steep gullies and deep creeks you would simply follow the divide itself, following the course indicated by the heavy dotted line. You would still locate yourself mentally by comparing the direction of the creek A with creek B, and in turn their relation to creek C, but will have the added advantage of being able to keep two creek systems in sight all the time, thus allowing greater precision in your pathfinding.

Notice how the early explorers used this system to move with confidence over unknown territory. Kennedy for instance made constant reference to the ‘Divide’ when he explored Cape York. He knew that if the rivers that he crossed were flowing to the East then he was not very far from the coast, but if they flowed to the West then the Divide must be on his right side. Similarly Mitchell crossed all the westward flowing rivers on huis ay to Victoria. It was only when the rivers began to flow away to the South or east that he knew that he had crossed the Divide. By observing the lie of the land (and his compass) he was then able to make hs way back again

NB: So that your return jouney will be easy and you will not ‘get bushed’ you should fall into the habit of taking a brief spell every few minutes and turn and face your rstarting point while you ‘catch your breath’ observing carefull what the country looks like from that direction and particularly how your route proceeded in comparison to the lie of the land. This way you will easily be able to make your way back. This is even the case if you do not return by the same route, but usually walk a circuit (as I normally do when hunting in order to cover the most country). If you have looked back and noted where your starting point was and how you got where you are you should have no difficulty returning to your starting point even by a different route. Usually following the ridges (or the divides) is the easiest route.

See Also:

02/06/2017: Astonishing light show:


02/06/2017: Congratulations to Donald Trump for exposing the world’s nakedness! It is at best absurd, but more likely evil that climate change is taught as axiomatic (even though he majority of the population disagrees with it), but schools may not teach the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount (which used to be central moral statements) because a tiny portion of the population has some other sick and aberrant view! And what a great line: ‘I care more about Pittsburgh than Paris.’


02/06/2017: As soon as China (or anyone) succeeds in ‘unlocking’ methane hydrate the vastest supplies of hydrocarbons ever will become available. This will spell the end of many current ‘resource’ economies (such as our own!) Clearly the Chinese believe they are close.:


02/06/2017: This from the latest edition of the Islamic State's magazine: ‘As the Crusaders continue to wage their vicious campaign on the lands of Islam they are constantly reminded that this honorable ummah has men – heroes - who gallantly demonstrate with their operations that (Westerners, ie us) will be met with blades that plunge into their bodies, vehicles that unexpectedly mount their busy sidewalks, smashing into crowds, crushing bones, and severing limbs, and bullets that pierce their filthy bodies while they are in the midst of their foul enjoyment. The likes of Man Haron Monis, Numan Haider, and Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar in Australia, and others set heroic examples with their operations. With their blood they incited, instructed, and demonstrated practically for other Muslims how one can attain Allah’s pleasure and escape His wrath while stationed in the garrisons of the open war arena against the Crusader West.’ Yet the head of ASIO can find no connection between refugees, immigration and terrorism! &



01/06/2017: MH128: At least this incident ended ‘happily’. Well done those brave folks who tackled this person. A question remains however: ‘Why do we let them in?’



01/06/2017: Quote of the week, Enoch Powell, from his famous ‘rivers of blood’ speech, 1968: ‘It almost passes belief that at this moment 20 or 30 additional immigrant children are arriving from overseas in Wolverhampton alone every week - and that means 15 or 20 additional families a decade or two hence. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant-descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.’ The whole speech is to be found below. You DON”T have to be a rocket scientist to be gifted with a certain degree of prescience or to see that a current policy is leading the nation to future certain disaster: if you read the whole speech (in today’s context) I feel that you will find it hard to believe (as I do) that Enoch Powell has been long vilified for making it:


01/06/2017: Less Government. More freedom: In so many ways the anarchists had it right! Government over-reach is more than problematic. It is stealing the very last of our freedoms, drowning us in a maze of red, green and black tape, destroying our economy, handing our nation over to foreigners, turning our education ‘system’ into an agency of extreme leftist indoctrination, bankrupting us with massive debt…’

I just hope that you are able to see that life is generally better when government is reduced to the proper size and scope.

We should be able to say what we want to say without fear of retribution.

We should be able to live out our convictions and worship as we please.

We should be able to protect our own homes and do what we want with our own property.

We should be able to raise our own children and make our own health decisions.

We should be able to be free from the fear that the government is watching, tracking and monitoring all of our electronic communications.

In every human heart there is a hunger to live free, and big government is the enemy of freedom.

The dreams that our forefathers once had for this nation may have faded, but they aren’t dead just yet.

A new generation of patriots is rising, and we are determined to take our country back.’ This is the most frightening statistic: Today, there are less Americans that are self-employed than there were 27 years ago. In April 1990, 8.7 million Americans worked for themselves, but in April 2017 only 8.4 million Americans were working for themselves. That may not sound that bad until you realize how much our population grew over that time frame. In 1990, the population of the United States was 249 million, but today the population is 321 million. So the percentage of Americans that are working for themselves has gone way, way down.

31/05/2017: Things that keep you from hiking, hunting…

I am really keen to return to my beloved Gippsland mountains for some hiking, fishing, hunting but I still have so many jobs to do around the farm. We have been 'fixing' two dams damaged by last year's floods (hopefully they will hold now); we have a new boundary fence with two neighbours to construct in a terribly difficult situation; we have had sheep to sell and transport; we have hundreds more trees to plant; sometimes we have a bit of baby-sitting to do, and we have done a 'Spot' of burning off (just like this: as you can see. Life is such a serious business! Must stock that dam behind me with some fish at least!


31/05/2017: Venery is certainly not dead: My post yesterday ‘A Wild River Stag’ has already been ‘shared’ by over a thousand people and ‘liked’ by even more. Maybe the vegetarians aren’t winning after all!


31/05/2017: Meetings: I have a friend who is really good at attending meetings (which I am not!) If only having meetings was really a way of actually getting things done, how much work would be achieved! I am much more archaic, clinging to the ‘old scientific’ definition of work ie that it is a measure of moving mass over distance. Oh well, I had better get on with it. There is no-one else to meet with here, saving Della, and she treats my excuses with the scorn they deserve!


31/05/2017: ‘Beerenomics’: Every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill comes to $100. They pay their bill the way progressive taxes work. The poorest four pay nothing. The fifth pays $1. The sixth $3. The seventh $7. The eighth $12. The ninth $18. The tenth man (the richest) pays $59. The ten men are content, until the bar owner says he wants to reward their custom by reducing their bill by $20. How will they divide the $20 windfall so everyone gets a fair share? The owner suggests reducing each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he is, to follow the principle of the tax system. So the fifth man, like the first four, now pays nothing (100% saving). The sixth pays $2 (33% saving). The seventh $5 (28% saving). The eighth $9 (25% saving). The ninth $14 (22% saving). And the tenth now pays $49 (16% saving). Each of the six is better off and the first four still get free beer. But outside the bar they compare their savings. “I only got a dollar,” says the sixth man. He points at the tenth man, “but he got $10!” The others agree. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2?” yells the seventh man. “We didn’t get anything at all,” yell the first four. “This new tax system exploits the poor!” So they beat up the tenth man. The next night he doesn’t show up at the bar so the other nine drink without him. But when it comes time to pay the bill, they discover they don’t have enough money between them to pay even half!

30/05/2017: A Wild River Stag: I know lots of you have seen this photo before as I have used it as a signature image for some time. Unsurprisingly a number have asked, 'There must be a story behind that stag, Steve. Tell us about it'. Well, here goes...You can no doubt tell by how much I have aged that it was a number of years ago. I was working my way up an overgrown, neglected river in East Gippsland making a trail, opening up some country that had pretty much closed over with regrowth and blackberries. (No, I am not going to tell you which one - go find your own river!)

I live two hours from the city, yet I had had over four hours of comfortable driving in the old Land Rover Defender and then a couple more of rough 4WD scrambling to arrive at the end of the track where a relatively popular vehicle hunter's camp was to be found. There would be no point in hunting anywhere within half a day's walk of it if I wanted to see undisturbed deer. There was no-one there - one of the advantages of being a shift worker, farmer or retired is that you can hunt during the week when pretty much no-one else is about. It takes the deer a couple of days to settle down after they have been quite stirred up by the weekend warriors - even longer now that so many are wearing the dreadful camo clothing which is so impractical, unnecessary, even dangerous unless it is blaze orange, which looks just as silly though.

Other folk had pretty much pushed and broken a path up along the river through the predominantly black wattle regrowth to the intersection with a small river flowing in on the true right bank where most had turned off. I was enlarging this with my machete in case I wanted to bring my wife with me on a future expedition as she is partially sighted, so needing a pretty clear path to follow. I had this small river to cross on the first day and a number of side gullies. The little river looked promising, and was clearly where most people go to hunt, as their paths led that way - but I was heading up the main one.

This is what the side river looked like a little further up after you had cleared the thicker stuff. Worth some exploration on another occasion perhaps, except that was where most folk were going. The lie of the land tells me there are some good flats up there somewhere, mostly where those big side gullies you can see come in. It is much more gentle country than where I was going. I have always preferred the harder country because of the lack of company you can enjoy there. 'No company is better than bad company,' I always say. And there are so many good books still to read - which are so light now that the e-book has been invented! I now read them on my phone.

Those bluffs you can see mean you would have to cross and recross the river or climb deer paths over them. Of course, this is a very easy river to cross. (See: Still, a lesson is in order: Can you see where you should cross this river? No, you don't try boulder hopping eg top centre. Forget about having dry feet if you are hiking, fishing  or deer hunting. You can make a pair of ultralight camp shoes so you will have dry feet of a night (such as these:; that is all you need. Or a pair of Crocs if you aren't handy.

Boulder hopping or log walking will just get you a nasty fall sometime far from help, perhaps a broken leg or fractured skull, or even death if you get swept away under a log jam. You should cross where the current is least (not necessarily where it is shallowest - do not worry about getting your thermometer wet; it will still work!), and where the bottom is not rock, but sand and gravel so you don't slip - so step between the two large boulders centre left and work your way across above the two small rocks centre. That is where the water is slowest and you can see soft bottom between the rocks. You should try to cross facing upriver or downriver to minimise being knocked off your feet by the current. I find upriver best.

A stout stick (or hiking poles) will provide you with a third or fourth leg to help with balance. Many people say you should hold the pole upstream, but I favour downstream. Always undo your chest and hip belt, no matter how small the crossing. It is a good habit which will one day save your life. If you are swept away with your pack cinched up, you are in dire trouble. If the current is clearly such that you will likely be swept off your feet, either don't cross at all or find a very long straight section where you can paddle across using your inflated sleeping mat as a kick board with your pack tied on top. You may have to walk quite a ways up or down a river to find such a spot. I have sometimes spent most of a day about finding just such a suitable crossing point in swollen rivers. And I have camped out for the better part of a week, waiting. So, don't you be impatient with your life! You may not get another! Certainly you would be lucky to get another half so good as the one we have!

After the crossing there were a number of flats and bluffy ridges to cross, an interesting anabranch with numerous wallows, one containing a large stag which fled noisily and precipitously, his klaxon on full volume. It was a fine warm day in late autumn and I was walking into the westering sun so that the sun winked endless reflections off the rippling water. I do love the echoic roar of fast white water. There were numerous rapids but nothing above Grade 2 and there was plenty of water for a future packrafting trip, which I have subsequently made. Delightful. I wish I had had my Klymit pack raft with me on this occasion: (but...'If wishes were fishes...')

The autumn break had long since arrived, so there was feed aplenty in the bush, such that any game was like to be in good condition. The wombats and wallabies were fat enough you had nearly to kick them out of the way. The air was alive with the beat of bronze-wing pigeon's wings, wood swallows' curving flight, currawongs calling. Wrens and sitellas crept along every branch rattling the bark. The tree fern gullies rang with lyrebird song... Below, a honeyeater taking the sun:

And above, a wood swallow, such a lambent grey:

As you push along a river, you scatter the riverfolk before you. Time and again a blue crane croaks and rises awkwardly to claw his way pterodactyl-like upstream. Black and wood ducks scatter or loudly clap away around a bend. Every so often there is the soft dipping graceful flight of a blue jay, my favourite. And then I hear the whistle and click and I see the painted beauty of a bee-eater scything through the sky. Water dragons flop into the river; every so often a water rat glides off a wet bank otter-like. You can sometimes see the painted shards on the shingle where they have feasted on molluscs or small crustaceans.

This first trip here I only got about as far the first day as you could get in a half day if you were vehicle camping (way back there) and the track was already clear. I camped the night on the ground under my old home made 7' by 7' two ounce weight nylon tarp (below), as I was tired and there just weren't any suitable trees in the only suitable spot close to water. This is sometimes the case with hammock camping, so you should be flexible enough that you can camp on the ground. See: This tarp cost me $7 a metre to make many years ago, so it cost less than $30 intoto , and I have had about a thousand dollars use out of it!

A tarp of these dimensions is pretty much the minimum for shelter for one person. For two you need something slightly bigger, such as my 8' x 8' 'winged' 200 gram cuben tarp I have mentioned many times. You can sleep sideways in it under the overhang and stay quite dry unless the weather circles the compass, in which case you will have to swing it round too - but that just about never happens. You worry too much!. You can have a nice cheery fire out the front, like this. You can instead use it as a hammock tarp and it will still keep you quite dry. In silnylon it would weigh about 220 grams. In cuben even less. I am going to make up my poncho in this 7'x7' configuration soon, as it will be even handier if it is your raincoat too: The waterproof zios now available are quite magical.

I cooked my meal on the Bushbuddy stove (shown):, some Chinese sausage with mash and Surprise peas. A fair meal, but I have better. (Try a search above for 'Food')

The cuben tarp with one 'wing' closed. You can see it again here:

I can tell you are thinking I haven't got enough gear for a few night's camping in the bush when temperatures may fall to freezing. That (230 gram cuben fibre) pack looks just too small to contain a change of (warm) clothes, a raincoat, sleeping bag, food, etc. However, I can see that I even had enough space for a small quantity of Bacardi 151 rum in case the nights got just too cold! You take too much! By the time I was sitting down to tea in the tarp (as you see me) the temperature was already falling down to 5C or less, but I am still in my shirtsleeves. This is what having a warm open shelter with a fire out the front is all about! You really need one of those Big Agnes Cyclone chairs I have got ( and the Thermarest Neoair mat if you haven't already got one to be really comfy. I see from the photo that this was before they came up with the women's model (, or perhaps I took the one with the rectangular corners as it is more suitable for hammock camping. I have not bothered with a ground sheet as the ground was nice and dry after that warm sunny day. I had an emergency space blanket I could use ( 50 grams - as above) if it rained. If you want an idea of what I carry for a fair expedition, have a look at the list here:

I had stopped at this spot where a tree-choked blackberry gully entered the river because the way ahead was closed by bluffs on each side of the river and a hugely dense blackberry thicket. There were good numbers of deer up  the side gully and a dozen or so came down just after dusk to serenade me as I cooked my supper. You could see their eyes winking like fireflies in the light of my head torch just outside the circle of the firelight. They usually vent their disapproval like busy traffic for five minutes or so, then move on about their own cervine business.

It looked too thick to hunt up the side gully though. Perhaps it opens up further up. On the map it is many kilometres long, and carries a lot of water in a wet season judging by the debris where it joins the river. This is sometimes the case. I still haven't checked it out. There are many such stream bends to peer around whose surprises I may never see. The far horizon retreats just as quickly as your footsteps advance. And time waits for no man.

In the morning I put off work long enough to snag a trout for my breakfast on a hand line (See: Alfoil grilled trout with muesli might not be everyone's view of ambrosia, but I felt they were pretty good. These East Gippsland rivers are alive with trout. You should always bring a line. Bait is easy: trout will eat anything. When I went to wash the dishes I noticed signs of an old hand's camp I had missed the night before in much the same spot from years' ago. The remains of a rusted hurricane lamp hung from a nail driven into a tree branch, and there was an old  handle-less frypan scattered amid the tussocks. I bet they had heard a tale or two in times gone by.

The next day I had nearly 200 metres of blackberry regrowth to hack a tunnel through almost straightaway. In places it was 12' high and thick as your wrist, so it was hard going., and as a result I did not get very far the second day. Not even a deer had penetrated this thicket. It was a narrow gorgy section both sides of the river at this point so it was clear no-one had penetrated further for some years either. Of course I was using this: You should get one(or two). Up to this point, the first day and a half's hacking had seemed pretty unpromising. Sure, there were deer about. I had several honk at me and a few others crash away into the bush. One had even ploughed across the swollen river, unseen because of the thick regrowth, but you have to be able to actually see them if you are going to take one home.

The bush is sprinkled with scenes of great beauty, yet it can be improved: here a bower bird has scoured the bush to find blue coloured objects (as they do). No other colour stands out quite so well in our forests. He has made a pretty spot for himself underneath the blackberry and dogwood fronds and amongst the wild marshmallow. You hope his efforts were rewarded with a doting mate!

I guess other people had expected that the thick stuff would go on forever and had given up on this particular valley which is why I had it pretty much to myself. I was beginning to think so too, I must confess but once clear of this horror patch of blackberries the river flats on both sides started to open up a bit. Sometimes you could see a hundred yards through the trees, plenty enough to encourage me further on. Also, the deer I was beginning to see were now much less spooky. Instead of honking and crashing off, I was at least getting to see them for a bit. After lunch ( I watched a doe with twin poddies (very unusual) for a few minutes before she grazed off around the corner of a side gully.

If you are watching deer, or any other animal never look them in the eye. Indeed, when they look at you, lower your gaze, or even bend double as if grazing. If you continue to ignore them in this way, they will usually ignore you too so long as you don't move quickly. Just watch one of Attenborough's documentaries how slowly a tiger for example stalks his prey even though he is always in broad daylight. You can stalk right up to a black wallaby, for example like this without spooking them. I have often demonstrated this to disbelievers, usually concluding the demonstration by snatching the startled hopper up by his tail, something which I do not recommend with a full size kangaroo - or a sambar deer! I have tried - both!

I love to watch the does gliding with their young,  and the young gamboling like little lambs, running in circles, climbing and jumping from anthills, while the does - almost like wind-up deer, always with a front hoof poised quivering in the air, ready for a warning stomp telling the small flock: 'Fly. Danger! And, in the wink of an eye they all disappear into the hushed silence of the bush.

Kookaburras delight in warning you that deer are moving just ahead: 'Up this side gully. Quickly!' Their raucous cries echo off the ridges. Of course they have their dawn and evening chorus. That's not what I mean. How often have they alerted me to a big doe or stag just out of sight, but which I can then stalk. When I am chain-sawing firewood at home they will swoop between my face and the saw, their wings almost beating against my nose to snatch a grub or a wood roach my sawing has just revealed. Maybe they have feasted oft enough on venison, they are encouraging us onwards, 'Feed me' they call. Anyway, their daytime chorus ought not be ignored. I have followed their advice successfully many times.

As dusk swiftly approached the clearings on the other side of the river at this point were becoming a little more interesting, whereas I was walking along a narrow strip beside the river on mine, with just a thin string of spindly bushes along the river bank. I admit I was concentrating on the other side (though I had no intention of shooting something on the far side) as it seemed there was no cover to hide a deer on mine - only a bit of tussock and the low bushes. Yet suddenly this lovely stag stood right up from among the tussock, appearing as if from nowhere under the overhanging branches of a large bedraggled gum. There he stood glowing with robust health in his glory, framed by the westering sun and the succulent native willow. There was no skillful stalk or triumph of trick shooting in this encounter. It was just a second's effort to throw my lever action up and send a bullet into his chest.

Somehow, no matter how many times you do this, you always expect that the loud report will drop them like a stone - and perhaps half the time this is so, but this guy just steamed off through the river like a locomotive. The water was shoulder high, yet he must have made a bow-wave three feet high as he clove the torrent. I drove another round into his chest as he crossed the river, but he showed no slackening. When he hit the other bank he turned 90 degrees and ran up it at a gallop, quickly disappearing from sight round a slight bend through the thick undergrowth. You always think, 'Damn. Another miss', but your confidence in your practiced skill tells you that both those rounds went soundly home, and this big guy has to be lying dead just around the corner very soon.

It doesn't pay to rush ahead to check though, as likely this will just spook him further if he has any puff left at all, making him just that much harder to find if he manages to run off further, maybe into an acre or two of thick man-ferns. If you give him a spell, he will stop to try and understand what all the noise was, but when he stops he will just lie down quietly and die. So, that's how I found him, just around the corner: he had crashed through that thick stuff behind him, and as soon as he was free and clear he paused an instant, crumpled and was gone. I always feel a terrible sense of loss when I kill anything. I will probably just stop someday when the pain of spoiled beauty becomes too great. But it was not this day!

And there he lies, still. In the photo the river doesn't look all that deep,or the current very great, but it is and it was. It was getting along at quite a fast walking pace here, so would have bowled me over like a straw man had I tried to cross, and swept me over rapids and what I would describe as 'an entertaining drop' if I was white water canoeing! And of course the water was icy. I had also seen nowhere I could have crossed safely either the previous day or this. And there was only a little over an hour of daylight left, as there usually is.

I headed upriver, hoping for a crossing, but I soon concluded I would have to camp and find a way across on the next day. I found a couple of suitable saplings to swing my hammock right next to a splendid sandy beach on the riverbank. Here it is in the morning light. Nothing better than this on the Riviera! You can probably figure I had a tranquil relaxed sleep wrapped in my hammock camped in such an idyllic place (and I did, except for troubled thoughts about having lost my trophy to the river - and time). As you can see, the weather was quite warm, and by now the stag had been lying out on the river shingle amid the native willows for 12 hours. I would need to find a safe way across the river very quickly if I was to recover anything.

If you have not tried hammock camping, you should. I was using a homemade hammock back then made of the same 2 oz stuff (coated ripstop nylon) as the tarp. It weighed around 350 grams including the dyneema suspension 'ropes'. I am currently trialing one of these: which weighs less than 150. They are truly splendid hammocks.

Here is a snap of me taking the sun in one on the shores of Dusky Sound Fiordland last month (April, 2017) while I watched some miniature (Hector's) dolphins playing and frolicking in the limpid waters of the fiord. If you have not yet been there, put it on your 'bucket list'. See: BTW: I have now realised that I just missed a moose in the Hauroko Burn on my second day out. A photo would have been rewarded by a $100,000 prize, but would have been worth far more in achievement and memory than any money. Whether I will live to have another such opportunity, who can tell? Never ignore your sense of smell! - see Dusky 2.

The moving light-play over the embers in the fire, the soft roar of the river, the mournful note of the mopoke and the moonlight creeping low over the frosty mountains are better than any entertainment on TV. What need is there of other company? You can safely give your heart to the mountains, knowing you will need no other friend. The awesome stillness of solitude is all the balm the troubled soul hearkens for. You can still fairly feel the warmth glowing out at you from the colas of my modest campfire. It was a colder night than my first and quickly fell to freezing, yet I was warm, sheltered in my hammock by the tarp, listening to some pleasant music and enjoying a quiet tipple of rum, some macadamias, beef jerky - and a hearty trail soup, such as this:

I always sleep on my back in the hammock (insulated by my Neoair sleeping mat and a couple of small pieces of closed cell foam for my elbows. I have a small pillow which I put under my knees, not under my head; this is necessary: It is more comfortable than any bed. There are no lumps or sticks to poke at you, and no creepy-crawlies running over your face as sometimes happens on the ground. A gentle, rhythmic sway quickly eases you to sleep, and you wake free of aches and pains which hard ground sometimes brings. There is also no danger your bed will get inundated if it rains in torrents, and you don't need a flat spot. There is also no danger of being struck by lightning!

I was moving in the dawn after a breakfast just of muesli chased down with a cup of black coffee next morning. Not long afterwards I tripped over this heavy hunting stand in the long tussocks. It had clearly lain there these twenty years or more. What an incredible thing to have lugged so far through the wild bush! The placid bend where I had camped had it seems many times before been the camp of others - as it will doubtless be in future when I too am dust. In Fiordland, moose hunting I had tripped over a barbed wire fence deep in the near impenetrable jungle. There are few places others have not trod before, yet it is the feeling of solitude, of being the first, of being quite alone in the wilderness which leads us back again and again to push on and explore the wild places by ourselves.

There were plenty of other deer about in the dawn, as indeed there had been in the gathering dusk the night before. I had watched a pair of does with their young frolicking and grazing not 200 yards from where I had shot the stag, and not half an hour afterwards! This is quite normal in undisturbed country. I passed a much better stag busy in a wallow right out in the open on the river margin next morning, again something you frequently see in undisturbed habitat, but not so much elsewhere. I had pretty much walked right by him (no more than twenty metres away) before he deigned to abandon his joyful smelly excesses, let forth a desultory bugle at me and rush off into the whippy undergrowth. Soon I discovered a truly beautiful flat, and clearly an old route once 'properly' blazed. Look at that feed! Note also the coprosma have been stripped of berries, yet it is fruit time! A promising sign. Deer do love mast.

Many wild fruits are edible (some even palatable). Both prickly (shown here) and sweet coprosma are quite pleasant. Also lillypilly, pittosporum and wild cherry. (I doubt deer get many wild cherry as they usually browse it as high as they can reach - if you are ever in Fiordland 'moose hunting' as I am fond of doing, you will notice the browse line is nearly 3' higher. Those guys really are monsters!). Contrary to popular belief plants which ooze white sap are not universally poisonous (though the sap may be) . Figs are a case in point, though there are not many wild figs in Victoria, save in far East Gippsland. Similarly the belief that red fruits should not be eaten is completely wrong, as the majority of fruits are red (especially the edible ones!) The clear to yellowish sap especially of wattles is quite edible and nutritious. We used to often eat it as children. Pretty much all fish, crustaceans and molluscs found in Victoria are not only edible, but delicious. So too are pretty much any animal or insect you will find if you roll over a log or stone, though a little roasting improves their taste I find. The heart of tree ferns is pure carbohydrate and has kept many folks well filed for protracted periods in the bush. It is better baked. All the rushes and sedges, including cumbungi have edible tubers, also best baked. There is no need to go hungry if you happen to find yourself lost in the bush. Nor need you be wet or cold. I will do some posts about such matters soon. Meanwhile, it is always worth practicing such survival skills as you never know when you will need them, and it boosts your self-confidence - particularly if, like me you prefer to hunt alone.

These fruits are fine (providing you have correctly identified them), but if you are tempted to try an unfamiliar fruit, you should first split it and touch the damp flesh to your lip, then wait five minutes. If nothing untoward happens, then touch it to your tongue and wait again. Next chew it a couple of times, then spit it out. If nothing at all has happened it is almost certainly fine to eat, though some things can make you scour especially in large doses. Interestingly enough, we know a lot about the edibility of many Australian plants from the likes of Sir Joseph Banks who was always keen to try eating new things. Again, the colony nearly starved a number of times (particularly 1791), so lots of plants were tried perforce, sea purslane and pigface for example. Europeans rapidly discovered just about as many edible plants in a decade as the previous inhabitants had in a much longer time. The latter were masters though at extracting poisons from otherwise inedible things, like cycads. Don't even try.

As the morning wore on, the river continued deep and swift with nothing in the way of a single safe crossing. The flats on the other side were truly beautiful though. Like a manicured park sprinkled with ash and peppermint gums. They would make good hunting once I discovered the fords the deer used. Fords are one of the best spots to lie in wait for them actually (if you are an ambush predator, which I am not; I get bored waiting, ever eager for new sights and sounds, and not much worried whether I ever take another deer). You can use the westering sun as a kind of spotlight to get a clear shot at the deer as they tiptoe across. This way you can (legally) take them quite close to dark. You need to position yourself though so that your shot will impact a river bank upstream and not skate along the river perhaps endangering someone else kilometres away. And, ideally you need to have already established a campsite quite close by. At least there will be plenty of water for your billy. There is also plenty of fallen timber for your campfire opposite. You could camp there for a year without using it all up, by the looks. Notice the animal drinking spot, centre. That would be a great side gully beyond. I bet there are many adventures to be had there.

Look at this beautiful wallow I found. You can see how the stag has been using the trunks of the trees as his towel. They are well coated with malodourous mud. Here would be a good spot to search for a cast antler, or to wait for him to return as dusk or dawn. You should drag a branch through the bottom if you want to find one,as they are usually found rolled into it. If you find one it will give you a good indication of the size of the resident stag.

Finally I found just such a crossing: the water is slower and shallower here, but still waist deep. You can just make out a deer path on the opposite bank. The bracken flats opposite would make a sheltered 'nursery' area. It had taken nearly half a day to find a suitable crossing. I still needed a stout branch as a prop to prevent myself from being toppled over. I took another three hours to walk back to 'my' stag by which time I was long dry. Unfortunately he had now been lying there for a full twenty-four hours, all day in quite hot sun. His skin would 'slip' and I could not trust the meat would not have begun to spoil since he had not even been gutted. A sad waste really.

I deeply regretted my precipitate action in shooting him in the first place now. So often it is just much better to admire and wonder. I have done so many times since. Deer hunting is mostly an excuse for me to get out hiking and camping (sometimes into places you otherwise could not go, such as our 'National Parks' which are being saved for future generations, rather than ourselves).

And here he is, lying as he fell (with my gun tangled in his rack!) I know the river looks as if you might cross there, but I can assure you I would have been swept away - and there were some particularly nasty rapids downstream. You just can't take such a chance particularly when you are all alone in the wilderness. He was, as you can see, as fat as mud!

On another trip I found these (two) beautiful crossing points a further hour's walk up the river. If only they had been a bit closer to where the stag had fallen, I could have had his meat and cape in the cold water of the river overnight, and back to my car before mid-day the next day if I had hurried - or if I had had my pack raft with me. Life is replete with 'what-ifs'. You just can't let them trouble you. The dice falls as it falls. That is all. You should have 'no regrets', as Edith Piaf said so mellifluously. We are just passing quietly through life. We arrive with nothing, and leave with nothing. Hopefully, you accumulate a few special memories along the way, such as the photo below, taken by my lovely wife Della on my next trip.

And mine of her: There she is, taking her ease on the riverbank opposite me. While we were camping there, a platypus swam around and around this huge pool for half an hour i guess. Such an enchanting sight.

On an even later trip, the river came down in an awesome torrent, and did this whilst I was there. This was just around the corner from the photo above. I just had to wait it out. It pays to have a cache of food in a canoe drum (or similar) against such eventualities; anyway to have enough spare tucker. Tie it under a log well out of reach of any potential floodwaters, so the wombats and possums don't p[lay games with it! You can easily see you could be trapped by floodwaters for a week or more. Half the forest must have ended up at this spot. I know the roar and grinding of the river overnight and sounds like gunshots as vast logs snapped like kindling when this happened was ominous in the extreme

We have explored much further up the river since on a number of trips - and of course, now we can take the dogs. There are many splendors further up. We have gone five more days up. I know most folks find one day's walk away from their vehicle quite enough, mainly because they carry too much, but the further you go the more fascinating things you see. Always, the Victorian bush is a riot of wildflowers, even in winter when I most love to enjoy ot. That's why we have so many honeyeaters such that our State bird is one - I have even seen a little 'helmeted' guy here, though I never tell 'the powers that be' anything they don't need to know! On this occasion every gully was bedecked with snowy clematis, and there were any number of parti-coloured wild peas in bloom.

We have found a truly splendid flat on a magnificent sweeping bend. It must be close to 100 hectares (as square kilometre) where we love to camp. the fishing and swimming is even good in summer. It resembles one of those beauteous English parks, the deer have done such a fine job manicuring it. Further on there is a wonderful hidden valley which you would just about step across without even noticing, but a day's exploration up it will bring many delights: waterfalls, orchids, postcard-perfect clearings...Further on a second small river joins this one. It has a small plain a kilometre or so up which in the summer is a riot of everlasting daisies.

The best part is that when we want to head back to the car we can just blow up the packrafts and enjoy a delightful day or two (like Huck and Tom - or Ratty and Mole) just drifting and 'mucking about' on the river.

Of course this was not the end even of this trip. I was in no hurry to get back and had two days' walk in any case, so I took my ease for a couple or three of delightful days lying about in my hammock in the sun, fishing, nosing up a side gully or two... Just in general really enjoying our beautiful Australian bush - and my solitude!

Alas, this is pretty much all I managed to recover from the stag. This was also just about the only time I have left meat in the bush. I had forgotten to pack my 'embryo wire' or even a folding meat saw, so I had to take the antlers off one at a time (I could not even remove the skull cap whole). I only managed to do this by standing back a ways and putting a couple of shots into his skull so I could recover each antler with a shard of broken bone. Sometimes I am not so well organised either! Still, at least I have the antlers, arranged decoratively in a vase by Della as a reminder of a mountain adventure years ago. Hopefully, even at 68 there will yet be many more...

Unfortunately others have followed our trail, though most only travel one day upriver camping approximately where I crossed on this occasion, so that the deer thereabouts are much more skittish nowadays. Sometimes I venture a further five days upriver (as I said) where in winter there is never anyone about, and the deer are as common as rabbits!

30/05/2017: Nothing to do with Islam. Move on. Move on: ‘“Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home,” Corbyn said, which explains all those post-WWII terror missions by offended Germans and Japanese.’ Tim Blair. Then too there are the more than 30,000 Presbyterian terrorist attacks after September 11, 2001: This chap (a Moslem himself – I fear for his life, actually) actually blames it on the Moslem ‘holy’ books. Who would have guessed?


30/05/2017: The Catholic education system has declared war on the Turnbull government: Add to that the fact the Budget estimates just don’t add up. Morrison and Turnbull fail the most elementary of arithmetic tests. Australia is in dire economic trouble yet these fools fiddle while Rome burns. Bring back Tony and some moral and financial rigour:


29/05/2017: Punish the Dead: I have long advocated this as a preventative to much of the evil which inflicts us. When we still had hanging as a punishment, the condemned were buried in unsanctified ground and their corpses were ‘buried’ in quick lime so that their dead bodies would continue to suffer agony and would be wholly consumed, leaving nothing for ‘Resurrection Day!’ Once Moslem miscreants would likewise have their corpses mutilated and be buried wrapped in a pig’s skin, so that they remained unclean and unable to enjoy the benefits of the manifold virgins promised in their ‘heaven’. A punishment which attacks the core beliefs of the evil simpletons who are the usual perpetrators of such dastardly acts is long overdue. In the C19th in Malaysia, a spate of suicide attackers running ‘amok’ was curtailed by the expedient of punishing them with incarceration in ’lunatic asylums’ so that everyone could see that they were quite mad. This deprived them of their heroic iconography. Certainly innovative approaches are needed to lessen the prevalence of these awful events:


29/05/2017: Making it up as they go along, like so many today, eg the ‘indigenous’ lobby:


29/05/2017: This is a REALLY great article; to paraphrase: ‘(Leftists) have a new word for what normal people call “success”. They call it “privilege,” as if a happy, prosperous life is the result of some magic process…We can’t have the (Australian) people thinking that hard work leads to success; people might start asking why (Labor) constituencies don’t just work harder instead of demanding more money from those who actually produce something…What they say is privilege is what we say is a reward for doing more with our lives than waiting for Uncle Sucker to refill our EBT cards. “Privilege” is a result of not being a human sloth, of not doing drugs, of not having kids we can’t afford them, and of not living our lives as a practical exercise in chaos theory.’


28/05/2017: Thomas Jefferson: A good government is one ‘which shall restrain men from injuring one another (and) shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits.’ And that is all! Let’s leave out the rest, shall we?


28/05/2017: What Menzies would have said about the Budget, and the Liberal Party of today:

27/05/2017: Hunting Thumbtack Reflectors: Thumbtack reflectors such as ‘Fire Tacks’ are a great way to mark any route you may need to travel after dark – eg after sitting up over a wallow or game trail for a sambar deer until the light fades and then wanting to get back safely and quickly to your camp. NB the Stealth ones visible only at night or in UV light. A search for ‘hunting relectors’ or ‘reflective thumbtacks’ will find you quite a range. They are usually only a few dollars for a pack of 25, so you can economically mark quite a long trail. Of course they have a million and one uses other than for hunting. See eg:

At night they look like this. You shouldn't have any trouble following them!

27/05/2017: I Love to Go A’Wandering: Hiking Songs: Songs to maintain your walking tempo, if your spirits begin to flag or when hiking with children.

Since time immemorial people have walked (and marched) to the accompaniment of songs, and oft with fife and drum, so when we took our infant grandson for a walk around to the weir the other day ( and we needed to jolly him along a bit, we quickly ran through our rather short repertoire of readily remembered tunes.

When we got home I naturally thought I would try the internet for some more suggestions but Google drew (relatively) a blank on this one, no matter how I searched. Yet I am sure that when Alexander crossed the Hellespont or Caesar the Rubicon, or Napoleon marched on Marengo or Washington on Valley Forge (& etc) it seems vanishingly unlikely that the troops did not swing along with a rousing chorus on their lips – maybe their last words: ‘Once more into the valley of death…’ & so on.

The secret of (winning) infantry is to move large numbers of men (often along a narrow course) quickly and unexpectedly. The ‘Little Drummer Boy’ had several tempos in his repertoire: the slow march (often reserved today for ceremonial occasions – but more normally a resting beat), normal time and double time for example. As hikers we can add a few more to this list: skipping and polka for example, which might look a bit silly with a column of troops in full accoutrements!

Here are just a few which come to mind. You might use the first letter of the last word to 'trigger' the memory of which song to sing next. The first one is particularly evocative: it was sung by our brave First AIF as they went into battle at Gallipoli, Fromelles & etc.

A Long Way to Tipperary,

Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends

Clip Clop My little Horse

Down by the Riverside

Five Hundred Miles

Found a Peanut

Frere Jacques

Grand Old Duke of York

Hey Let's Go

Hi Ho It’s Off to Work We Go

I Want to Go Home

If I Had A Hammer

If You're Happy And You Know It

Irene Goodnight

John Browns Body

Kum Ba Yah

Loch Lomond

Mares Eat oats and Does Eat Oats

My Grandfather's Clock

Old Man River

Pack up your Troubles


The Ants Go Marching

The British Grenadiers,

The Happy Wanderer

There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor

When Johnny Comes marching Home Again

When the Saints Go Marching In

You are My Sunshine

See Also:

27/05/2017: Treaty: The so-called ‘Constituttional Convention’ (which no-one else could attend) meeting at Ayer’s Rock has decided on a Treaty, no doubt to be followed quickly by freehold title, compensation and compulsory repatriation of ‘non-aboriginals’. Such divisiveness must be overwhelmingly rejected. We are and must remain one people ‘under the Southern Cross’. That is all: ‘We should recognise that any constitutional recognition would be extremely bad in principle because it would create two classes of citizen… More than a decade of government-funded activism has now resulted in most of the officially recognised Aboriginal leadership wanting much bigger constitutional changes, ranging from a treaty between the Australian nation and the Aboriginal nation, through to compensation for dispossession and much more…This is all madness. The whole thrust of liberalism in the 20th century was to abolish all civic distinctions arising out of race, culture or inheritance. Your father may have been a beast, but you start with a clean slate. Your father may have been a prince, but you must establish your own character through your actions. Neither virtue nor vice, or any kind of civic distinction, goes to one citizen over another on the basis of race…If you are a Sri Lankan refugee who arrived in a boat and got your citizenship yesterday, you are just as good a citizen as me or as any other Australian...In principle and in practice, this is a recipe for conflict and disaster... Within this powerfully destructive paradigm there is an overwhelming incentive to create, celebrate and, above all, preserve grievance.... Because the grievance arises out of identity, it can never be adequately addressed. Conflict and complaint go forever…It is destructive, divisive and immensely dangerous for a multi-ethnic society such as Australia...Nobody is actually responsible for the misbehaviour of their own ancestors. Racial guilt, inherited guilt — these are ideas liberal political culture, when it was sane, had consigned to the dustbin of history.’ Greg Sheridan, The Australian. Many 'old Australians' (including most of those who also claim 'aboriginality') have ancestors who were evicted from their land as a result of the 'enclosure movement' of the C18-19th. Many arrived here penniless, as servants or in chains - and had perforce to make their way in this 'new world', as well as they could, as we all do. To imagine otherwise is a dangerous fantasy. We cannot and should not 'rewrite' history. The past contains many examples of 'injustice' No doubt the future will too. We can only hope to do something to prevent the latter. Nothing at all can or should be done about the former. - An interesting aside: recently I linked to Watkin Tench's 'history' of the first five years of Sydney town (4/3/2017: in which he recorded how the colonists took in the many many orphans caused by the small pox and measles epidemics amongst the aboriginal citizens he witnessed - and raised them as their own, no doubt also gifting them with their names. How few of us, I wonder have no 'aboriginal' ancestry as a result of like happenstance.


27/05/2017: This man, Norman Borlaug is responsible for saving the lives of over a billion people. If the climate becomes colder as was predicted in the 1970's (& some current predictions, see eg: ) we will need several of his kind to prevent catastrophe. Remember this, the Little Ice Age killed something like 1/3rd of Europe's population. Much more agricultural research is needed, particularly in the field of adaptation to a shortened growing season (and genetic engineering of plants to flourish in colder conditions):

26/05/2017: Happy Birthday Ultralight Hiker: My blog is two years old today. Many thanks to my daughter, Merrin for helping create and maintain it, and to my many readers and supporters for enjoying it. There are now 924 posts here, so plenty of things to enjoy! My post about canoeing the Seaforth River Fiordland is also two today, so I have moved it up the list so you could enjoy it again:

I also could not resist reposting two of my most popular photos, this wilderness river stag:

and this snap of us on Cox's Bight from our 2011 trans Tasmania hike:

26/05/2017: Dusky Track: Canoeing the Seaforth: Some folks are just downright suicidal, and sometimes I am one of them! In 2009 I had conceived a plan to be the first person (I think) to canoe the mighty remote Seaforth River in Fiordland NZ. I had a brand-new Alpacka ‘Fjord Explorer’ packraft ( courtesy of Kevin Rudd’s bushfire compensation scheme following the 2010 fires here which left us trapped at home for weeks with fires burning all around us.

That year I walked in from Lake Hauroko to Loch Marie (3 days) with my raft and gear in my trusty Gossamer gear G4 pack: On the fourth day I canoed across the lake, then walked down to just past the Bishop Burn and spent the rest of the day canoeing the Seaforth. I had carefully checked out the river from Google Earth which misses some big rapids -Trust Me! I had also walked around that lower section of the Seaforth quite a lot of times so I thought it was pretty safe. Well, I knew there were a couple of quite deadly rapids, but I was indecently confident I would hear them coming up and could safely portage them. (Every man has a plan which will not work!)

Most of the river is deep and wide and consists of pebble races or Grade 1-2 rapids at most. Unfortunately, there are 2-3 rapids which come up on you pretty quickly, which it would be death to attempt, and which are quite difficult to portage. The worst was in the general vicinity of the old Supper Cove Hut. Suddenly on a left-hand bend, there it was: with perpendicular river banks both sides, but no other option but to grasp a tree root on the right bank and hang on for dear life! I did manage to climb 5 metres up that vertical bank pulling myself up by the tree root, then haul up my pack and the raft (both of which I had tied to a line) after me. There was one other nasty rapid below this - which I had never seen even though I had walked that section near the mouth of the Henry Burn (Moose Creek) extensively.

Once I was in the flat water below I thought I was home safe. By then it was getting pretty cold and daylight was fading. I had realised that there were oodles of sharks in the Fiord but I thought to avoid them by paddling the shallows on the margins of Supper Cove. I had forgotten the 2-3 kilometres of tidal deep river above the Fiord, which teemed with them! They were mighty curious too, repeatedly cruising underneath the raft, gently lifting it as they rubbed underneath. It was a little unnerving!

Steve must not have been on their menu that day! I had this experience about twenty times before I made Supper Cove where you can be sure I hugged its margins like a drunken sailor! However, as you can see I made it – much to the astonishment of the (few) onlookers, including my daughter Irralee, who had been anxiously awaiting me there for three days! The Seaforth River is a beautiful and exhilarating trip. I somewhat regret I might not paddle it again though!

I have been back for other looks though, as recently as a month ago. See: & ff.

Thousands of beautiful tarns on the way across from Lake Roe - Seaforth in the background

Thousands of beautiful tarns on the way across from Lake Roe - Seaforth in the background

A very steep descent to Loch Marie

A very steep descent to Loch Marie

First view of the Seaforth coming across from Lake Roe

First view of the Seaforth coming across from Lake Roe

Putting in to cross Loch Marie

Putting in to cross Loch Marie

Some beautiful serene stretches of river along the way

Some beautiful serene stretches of river along the way

Some awesome views

Some awesome views

One of those vertical banks I had to climb

One of those vertical banks I had to climb

Quite a few log jams along the way

Quite a few log jams along the way

Some beautiful views along the river

Some beautiful views along the river

One of those 'killer' rapids i avoided

One of those 'killer' rapids i avoided

Sunset over Supper Cove Hut

Sunset over Supper Cove Hut

My daughter Irralee waiting for me on the Boat Shed beach at Supper Cove

My daughter Irralee waiting for me on the Boat Shed beach at Supper Cove

Supper Cove Hut loomed a welcome sight after such a river journey

Supper Cove Hut loomed a welcome sight after such a river journey

Packraft and Big Agnes mattress/floor inside Supper Cove Hut

Packraft and Big Agnes mattress/floor inside Supper Cove Hut

Great fishing for Blue Cod at Supper Cove

Great fishing for Blue Cod at Supper Cove

See also:

25/05/2017: How Long Till Sundown? Here is another neat trick. If you hold your hand out at arm's length, the width of your fingers approximates to 15 minutes. You can use this to judge how long it is till sundown (and remember you have approx half to  an hour of usable light after sundown). Using this you can judge whether you will likely make your destination, or whether you need to make camp sooner.

25/05/2017: I Love to Go A’Wandering: Hiking Songs: Songs to maintain your walking tempo, if your spirits begin to flag or when hiking with children.

Since time immemorial people have walked (and marched) to the accompaniment of songs, and oft with fife and drum, so I when I took my infant grandson for a walk around to the weir the other day ( and we needed to jolly him along a bit, we quickly ran through our rather short repertoire of readily remembered tunes.

When we got home I naturally thought I would try the internet for some more suggestions but Google drew (relatively) a blank on this one, no matter how I searched. Yet I am sure that when Alexander crossed the Hellespont or Caesar the Rubicon, or Napoleon marched on Marengo or Washington on Valley Forge (& etc) it seems vanishingly unlikely that the troops did not swing along with a rousing chorus on their lips – maybe their last words: ‘Once more into the valley of death…’ & so on.

The secret of (winning) infantry is to move large numbers of men (often along a narrow course) quickly and unexpectedly. The ‘Little Drummer Boy’ had several tempos in his repertoire: the slow march (often reserved today for ceremonial occasions – but more normally a resting beat), normal time and double time for example. As hikers we can add a few more to this list: skipping and polka for example, which might look a bit silly with a column of troops in full accoutrements!

Here are just a few which come to mind. You might use the first letter of the last word to 'trigger' the memory of which song to sing next. The first one is particularly evocative: it was sung by our brave First AIF as they went into battle at Gallipoli, Frommelles & etc.

A Long Way to Tipperary,

Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends

Clip Clop My little Horse

Down by the Riverside

Five Hundred Miles

Found a Peanut

Frere Jacques

Grand Old Duke of York

Hey Let's Go

Hi Ho It’s Off to Work We Go

I Want to Go Home

If I Had A Hammer

If You're Happy And You Know It

Irene Goodnight

John Browns Body

Kum Ba Yah

Loch Lomond

Mares Eat oats and Does Eat Oats

My Grandfather's Clock

Old Man River

Pack up your Troubles


The Ants Go Marching

The British Grenadiers,

The Happy Wanderer

There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor

When Johnny Comes marching Home Again

When the Saints Go Marching In

You are My Sunshine

See Also:

25/05/2017: The Manchester Bomber’s Mosque where he plotted his evil. See anything wrong here?


25/05/2017: I agree. Long since time to shut the gate. If we need to become a police state to protect ourselves, then we let the wrong people live here:


25/05/2017: But not necessarily for the better:


24/05/2017: Man is the Measure of All Things (Protagoras) Some handy estimation tricks.

This astonishing Pre-Socratic was a brilliant mind. I guess everyone knows his 'Theorem" about right angle triangles. The saying above might not be quite so well known (or his enjoiner, 'Eschew beans'! I think I know why!), but we can use some of the proportions of the human body and the a property of an Isosceles Triangle (ie one with two equal sides) to do some pretty handy estimations.

You hold a stick at arm's length as shown in the drawing on the left so that the top of the branch exactly aligns with the top of the object whose height you want to measure. You can do one of two things: drop the stick over as in the drawing on the right, or pace the distance between you and the object. The height of the tree will be exactly the same as the distance from you to the object (Isosceles triangle, you see) Or the point on the ground where the stick on the right indicates.

You have formed a little isosceles triangle with your eye, your arm and the stick This triangle projects forward to the larger isosceles triangle formed by your feet, the distance to the base of the tree and the height of the tree itself, so the height of the tree is always exactly the distance from you to the tree..

Here is an interesting proportion. The distance between your eyes is almost exactly 1/9th of the length of your arm to the tip of your thumb (as shown below). By alternatively closing one eye and then the other, and estimating how far the object aimed at with your thumb 'jumps' sideways, then multiplying that estimated distance by 9 (it might be easier to multiply by ten which is close enough really) you can get a pretty good estimate of the distance to that remote object (ie it will be distant roughly ten times the distance your thumb jumps!) Neat eh?

This can be useful if you are taking a long shot (eg at a deer) with a rest, or eg if the object is your destination and you wish to know how far away it is, or if you need to cross a river and you want to know how wide it is so that you can judge how far upstream you need to start swimming or paddling (on your Thermarest Neoair mat) to safely get across. Always cross at the deepest, slowest straightest spot. You will already have measured the speed of the current by throwing s floating twig in and timing it.

If you dropped the stick to the side as in the right hand drawing in the first illustration, you can use the approximate number of tree lengths to estimate how far your thumb has jumped. If you assume that a similar tree near you which you measured by pacing is the same height as the one on the far bank, you will have a very clear idea of the distance to the remote object in tree lengths. From then on, it’s only a matter of simple multiplication.

The featured image is Da Vinci's famous 'Vitruvian Man' where Da Vinci sets out his ideas of the ideal human proportion:

24/05/2017: ‘Only on the ABC. The night before the Manchester massacre, Q&A panelists agreed Islamist terrorism was really no problem… Mona Chalabi: the chance of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist is one in 3.6 million… Lawrence Krauss: You’re more likely to be killed by a refrigerator, in the United States, falling on you.’ (Andrew Bolt) Remember 20 April 1968 when Enoch Powell warned of the ‘rivers of blood’ which would ensue from ‘indiscriminate immigration’. Cassandra was similarly hounded to her grave, the fate it seems of all who accurately portend the future.

24/05/2017: I am glad this solar scheme crashed as it would have killed lots of birds (like wind turbines) but I do regret the ‘lost’ $100 million which I would have preferred was in my bank account! Thanks again Jules:

23/05/2017: Epirbs are not Taxi Hailers: Lots of people are misusing these tiny devices. I guess because they are (relatively) cheap, but really if you want to spend time in the wilds, spend some money to get a decent communication system eg either a satellite messenger or a satellite phone – or both.

 So many people are pressing the panic button because they have a sniffle or ran out of Oreos occasioning hugely expensive search and rescue operations for them that eventually governments are going to have to charge everyone for the thoughtlessness of the few. Mostly people just want a specific thing eg a helicopter pick-up from a specific point (which will be an extra for a search and rescue operation) but which is relatively inexpensive (say $1-2,000) and ought to come out of your own pocket. Often such a pick-up is non-urgent as well.

 Val from Hauroko Tours related to me an example from a few years back. He had dropped a group off at the Hauroko Hut to begin the Dusky Track (See: Later the very same day they hit their Epirb. Within an hour of starting out on the Dusky, they found the Hauroko Burn flooded. In my opinion they could have proceeded, but in any case it would likely have gone down by the next day (and they had a lovely dry hut to stay in whilst waiting it out).

 Any walk on the Dusky is likely to encounter flooding/ waiting etc. Such is wilderness experience. Also, Val would have been back in three days, so they only had to wait. Clearly they had food for 8-10 days if walking the Dusky. Instead they hit the Epirb occasioning an urgent and expensive search which in my opinion they should have been charged for! Such ‘Crying Wolf’ behaviour is likely to cause the authorities to become less interested in launching into such wasteful exercises. The public purse is not infinite.

PS: Over reliance on electronic knick-knacks is problematic at best. before folks venture into the wild, they ought first have properly equipped themselves with a functioning set of the equipment they were born with: brain, eyes, ears, hand feet, back etc. The first of these needs some training. I will be posting some ideas about this soon, but in the meantime you might review this

23/05/2017: The ABC condemns an Imam who wants Islam reformed ( ; meanwhile in Manchester some unreformed ‘explosions’, possibly just a ‘party balloon’. Pity it killed 19 + people though… 

23/05/2017: Abbott and Newman are utterly right: under the current leadership the Liberal Party has completely lost its way. If this continues there is no hope for Australia:

23/05/2017: How tastes evolve. Interesting:  I doubt either hunting or meat eating will be gone soon though.


21/05/2017: Are Men with beards more desirable? A non-sequitur really. Of course we are:


21/05/2017: Astonishing Headlines: Colleges Are Putting Tampons In Men’s Bathrooms Because Men Can Have Vaginas Too! And it may actually be illegal for me to post this – ‘hate speech’ perhaps? Surely though, it is just quite mad:  &


21/05/2017: The big tax steal: income tax receipts are expected to rise from $179 billion currently to $230bn in 2020-21and company tax is forecast to rise from $68bn to $95bn in 2020-21; so $78 billion of tax increases per annum right there (leaving aside the disastrous bank tax and Medicare levy increase) yet still this Government cannot live within its means. Unfortunately much of the projected tax increases are cloud cuckoo land yet all of the spending increases are set in concrete – despite their representing scandalous waste and overspending. Australia is doomed under anything like this scenario!


20/05/2017: Ultralight Ultra-Sharp Knives: Ceramic knives are sharper than metal ones and their edge can last 10 times longer. They can also be lighter. I have been thinking that this ‘ceramic escape knife’ would fit well in an ultralight fishing kit such as this: This little guy weighs only 3 grams, has a blade 1.25” (3.175cm) and is 1.75” long  x .4” wide (4.445 cm x 1.016 cm) It may be illegal to import or sell this product in Australia. There is a metal version which weighs a colossal 8 grams:



Some options:

This guy has an enchanting range of ceramic knives:


20/05/2017: Sound advice for your kids: Just scroll down the ‘contents’ section and you will see this is the real McCoy:


20/05/2017: If you have an autistic kid, the government will mow your lawn. The NDIS is just a giant Ponzi scheme and rip-off and should be scrapped. The percentage of people who are ‘disabled’ is now nearly ten times the percentage it was at the end of WW2 when so many genuine cases existed as a result of the war. It is now 10% of the adult population (and growing) and fueled by a costly lifestyle which none of the recipients would even have been able to earn through their own efforts (supposing they would make them) even if they were ‘able’. No, of course there should be no increase in the Medicare levy. Half the nation’s ‘health’ care costs should likewise be scrapped. We should not be paying for self-inflicted ‘health’ costs. For example, if the problem can be fixed by sewing the person’s lips together or forcing them to walk 20 km a day, they should just be left to fend for themselves and cease bludging on the rest of us.  &


19/05/2017: She’s Buried Chest High:


19/05/2017: Antarctic Flights from $1199: Well $1999 if you want a better view, but really not bad for the visual feast of a lifetime. I know it’s a lot of money to spend for a 12 hour flight where you end up right back in Melbourne where you began, but ‘you can’t take it with you’, and it is unlikely you will be trudging across the icy wastes in pursuit of Scott and Amundsen. Della has already put her hand up for a flight when I find that tiny pot of gold I buried in the backyard some time – perhaps sooner:


19/05/2017: Tony Abbott says there is “no doubt the 2014 budget was the gold standard in terms of budget repair and economic reform”. Well, he is not quite right Arthur Fadden’s gazumped him utterly by doing it all in one year. Still and all, our country won’t wait another year before we begin to heal ourselves from the looming disaster of becoming another Greece!


19/05/2017: Glowing plants (eg to replace street lights). I think this is a really cool idea and would like some seeds. Della would definitely want the glowing rose, I’m sure. Of course there will be many leftist nutjobs who oppose all genetic modification (no doubt even if it saves their own life – well, duh!) who will be horrified at the idea, but ‘Go suck!’ guys:

18/05/2017: Wings and Water: My favourite airline operates out of Te Anau Fiordland, New Zealand I have flown in to or back from Supper Cove a number of times, so I have a collection of snaps which will maybe whet your appetite to the visual delights in store. It is almost impossible to take really good photos through a plane’s windows (as I’m sure you know), but these will give you some idea of the magnificence of Fiordland from the air. Some of the beautiful views I have experienced from their plane over the years:

Their pilot, Kylie ready to take you on the flight of your life at the lake’s edge, Te Anau.

Here is their plane at beautiful Supper Cove, Dusky Sound. The DOC hut is just a few steps up the path behind the plane.

And here it is taking off at Supper Cove

View of the Fiord

How steep the edges of the fiords are - notice all the fuschia regrowth (light green): this is a favourite moose food.

View of supper Cove Hut from the air.

Me at Supper Cove.

Leaving Supper Cove - view down the fiord.

A little further down the fiord.

Loch Marie - hut in centre.

Wet Jacket Arm.

Lake Manapouri.


Tarns in one of the passes probably Pillans.

Just look at this patch of fuschia regrowth - how many moose could such feed support? And how hard would it be to ever see one?


Probably Doubtful Sound.

These new slips will regrow with Fuschia. Moose can travel around these steep sides, but I doubt you or I can!

Look at this wonderful perched lake. So many beautiful secret spots in Fiordland where no man's foot has ever trod.

Fiord after fiord after fiord.

Those mountains are certainly steep.

Looking up the Seaforth River, Supper Cove.

Trampers Transport : Supper Cove - Dusky Track. Take the easy way to the Dusky Track at 9am daily. Fly from Te Anau to Supper Cove or return. They can also ferry stores to and from Supper Cove. Duration: 30 Minutes flight time approximately - $330.00 per person (2017).

They also do a range of wonderful ‘joy’ or scenic flights. There are numerous places they can take you into the Fiordland National Park. Fancy a bit of hunting or maybe you are joining a cruise somewhere in the fiords - let them take you there!

Here are just some of their destinations: Blanket Bay (Doubtful Sound), Bligh Sound, Breaksea Sound, Caswell Sound, Chalky Inlet, Charles Sound, Charles Sound – Helipad, Dagg Sound, Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound / Supper Cove, Dusky Sound / Cascade / Luncheon, Earshell Cove, George Sound, Glade House, Te Anau Downs to Glade House, Glasinoch River, Gorge Burn, Junction Burn Hut, Lake Alabaster, Lake Hakapoua, Lake Hankinson, Lake Hauroko, Lake McIvor, Lake McKerrow, Lake Manapouri, Lake Marchant, Lake Mavora, Lake Monowai, Lake Poteriteri, Lake Rakatu, Lake Wapiti, Lake Wilmot, Long Sound, Martins Bay, Milford Sound, Nancy Sound, Preservation Inlet, Stewart Island, Sutherland Sound,Te Anau Downs, West Arm, Wet Jacket Arm, Worsley Arm,,Queenstown.

18/05/2017: Worldwide, forests are booming – due to CO2 fertilisation. Up 25%+:


18/05/2017: Food for thought: ‘It's a fact that the earth, right now, is about as cold as it has ever been in the past half-billion years…the Eemian Interglacial… lasted around 15,000 years, beginning about 130,000 years ago…The Hippopotamus was distributed as far north as the rivers Rhine and Thames…Trees grew as far north as southern Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago instead of only as far north as Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec, and the prairie-forest boundary in the Great Plains of the United States lay further west — near Lubbock, Texas, instead of near Dallas, Texas, where the boundary now exists:,-with-the-Hippos-of-Britain.html

17/05/2017: Water from thin air: A New Dehumidifier: This device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun. It is still a long way off being available, but it may someday make long desert journeys much more possible:Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun...

The prototype, under conditions of 20-30 percent humidity, was able to pull 2.8 liters (3 quarts) of water from the air over a 12-hour period, using one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of MOF. Rooftop tests at MIT confirmed that the device works in real-world conditions.'

Read more at:

  Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun


 - Dilbert by Scott Adams


17/05/2017: Your ABC: Is having a loving family an unfair advantage? How Left is this- and should we have to pay for it? Shades of Harrison Bergeron:

17/05/2017: Well said: ‘A balanced budget is not necessarily good. Most of the dreary comrade societies aimed at a balanced budget – ‘We take 100% of your income and spend it all’. There is only one tax on the people and that is government spending. The treasurer needs to slash that big tax. All else is flummery.’ Viv Forbes.

16/05/2017: Hiking Crayfish Bisque

First catch your crayfish...Once again here's a delicious soup to cook in the wild after you have been doing a spot of fishing. Naturally it uses only dried, concentrated and lightweight ingredients. I based it on a traditional bisque recipe we have eaten for years but with ultralight ingredients. My tastes run to peppery and my wife is a lover of tomato flavour, so at just these proportions the dish may be a little intense for you (or not enough), so you can play with the proportions a bit until you get it just right. I hope you enjoy it.

To 1 Litre of water add:

10 teaspoons of milk powder (add cold and stir in - it mixes better)

1 x 40 gram packet Continental French Onion Soup (NB low salt is good)

1-2 50 gram sachets of tomato puree (to taste)

1-2 small cubes or teaspoons of chicken stock

1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)

1 Teaspoon (to taste) of sweet paprika.

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Bring to the boil. Simmer 3-4 minutes Stir oiccasionally. Add:

200 gram can of shrimp (if you don't have a cray) A 100 gram can of tuna will do in a pinch!

1 x 85 gram packet of Magi 2 minute noodles well broken up (into 1 cm lengths)

Simmer a further 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.


For other hiking food ideas, try a search for 'food' in the search bar at the top right hand corner of the page.

See Also:

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16/05/2017: So, they just discovered 5 million square kilometers of extra forests no-one had noticed before: that’s more than half an Australia. Pretty hard to miss:

16/05/2017: Tim Blair is right. The Budget was all about Malcolm, and Malcolm (and it) must go! & I do think it has to be Abbott, otherwise the Liberals are finished. Morrison has tarnished his image fatally by his ‘association’ with Turnbull.

16/05/2017: How Lucky Can You Get: Gllard draws her own ticket in Mercedes Benz raffle:

15/05/2017: A Ball of String and a Feed of Cray: Once you have your feed of trout (See Below) you will have some heads, tails, fins etc left over. Now you have your cray bait for the next course! All you need to catch them is a bit of string. I have wound 50lb line on my ultralight hand line (because it was what I had lying around) – it would cast a lot further still with lighter line. Certainly though, a few 3-4 metre lengths of this is all you need to catch a feed of crays. You might need to mark the location of your lines with some tiny pieces of fluoro tape as this Dyneema line will be very hard to see.

If I am vehicle camping, as in the photo, I usually use a length of fluoro ‘builder’s line’ because it is hard to miss in the bush. When I am in the camper, I also have a small folding trout landing net with an extendable handle. It is very good for scooping them out. If you are lightweight hiking you will have to make use of a forked stick to pin them down, and maybe get your feet wet as well as you wade in to pick them up just behind the claws (as shown) – but the feed of crays will be worth it. NB: You cannot kiss a cray – definitely don’t try this at home! When there are lots of them on the move (they are easy to see particularly if you have polarising lenses) you can often just walk along the side of a shallow stream and just pin them down with a forked stick. I have sometime caught half a dozen in this way in a few minutes!

 They can grow to quite a size, as you can see! I am going to pretend my eyes are closed as I am dreaming of the Lobster Bisque in the next post, but I was just not ready for Della to take the snap, and in the next one, the cray was blurred from too much wriggling.

All you need to do is tie something smelly (like the fish heads) to one end of the line. I often use chicken necks because they are cheap and easy to tie on a line. Here and there along the bank in the vicinity of overhangs or upstream from logs, drop a bait into the water then tie the other end of the line to a branch. Don’t leave enough slack so the cray can pull the bait underneath his log as you may not be able to pull him out with it. Go have a cup of tea or something more refreshing, then come back in say half an hour. In most mountain rivers in Victoria there will be a cray on the end of the line, indicated by its having grown taut.

Very, very slowly without jerking pull the cray towards you until you can observe him. You need to be patient. He is greedy and doesn’t want to let go of his prize, but he will if you are foolish. You need to get him to where you can quietly scoop him from behind (or give him a little slack and he will back into your net). Or, if you only have a forked stick, you need to slowly move it from behind him until you can deftly pin him to the bottom just behind the claws. Then you can step into the river whilst holding him immobile and pick him up with the other hand.Watch those claws. They could almost sever a finger!

There are not so many about in the winter as they are less active. The old saw was that as soon as the wattle was on the water, they would be ready to bite. You can keep them in a bag in a cool place for hours, or tether them to a sapling with a length of string. I brought a bag back from deer hunting once (so they are about even in winter!) put them in the fridge in a supermarket bag for at least a week. When I remembered them, I was surprised they were all alive and ready to bite me!

There is a gender, size and number limit you must conform to if you don’t want to incur a penalty – and you want them to remain always abundant. If you have a billy large enough  to boil them in, that is the best solution. If you are car camping you will be able to first anaethesise them by adding some salt to the water (The reverse is true of sea crays – fresh water will knock them out). It is heartless to drop them straight into boiling water and is also likely to get you scalded as they will leap!

They only need a very few minutes to cook. Watch the colour. They do not go quite so red as sea crays. If you do not have large billy because you are hiking, you will need to kill them first eg by driving a knife (carefully) through their brain. Then you can just cook the bits with the meat. 1-200 grams of fresh cooked meat will be enough to make the accompanying bisque recipe if you are hiking. This will make them ‘go’ a lot further. There are few things quite so delicious as fresh caught crays, so enjoy!

PS: However, yabbies, their smaller cousins are just as delicious - but you will need more of them, a couple of dozen would be good. Most streams also contain 'ghost shrimp' which are smaller again but a few dozen still make a fine feed. They are very sweet. The method for catching yabbies is the same as for crays. Shrimp will come to all sorts of attractants (eg soap or crushed leaves) and will swarm all over a landing net laid on the stream bottom. Shrimp also make excellent bait for fish - so you can begin again!

See Also:

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14/05/2017: Say ‘Goodbye’ to Global Warming: Dr Fred Singer: ‘During the same decades, quite independently, there was a severe reduction in ‘superfluous’ (mostly) rural stations unless they were located at airports…the number of stations decreased drastically in the 1990’s but the number at airports declined less sharply, leading to a major rise in the fraction of reporting stations at airports…This led to a huge increase, from 35% to 80%, in the fraction of airport weather stations - producing a spurious temperature increase from all the construction of runways and buildings -hard to calculate in detail. About all we can claim is a general increase in air traffic, about 5% per year worldwide…We have however MSU data for the lower atmosphere over both ocean and land; they show little difference; so we can assume that both land data and ocean data contribute about equally to the fictitious surface trend reported for 1977 to 1997. The absence of such a warming trend removes all of IPCC’s evidence for AGW.’

14/05/2017: Quote of the day: Bertrand Russell: ‘The whole conception of a God is a conception derived from the ancient oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.’ ‘Why I Am Not a Christian’: &


13/05/2017: Vargo Titanium Pocket Cleats: Vargo has this lighter traction device for snow and ice slippery clay, etc:  They weigh 2.3 oz 66 grams nearly 1/3rd the weight of the competition so they might find a place in yoiur pack if you are going somewhere slippery. Cost is US$59.95

Ultralight Traction Device


‘Improve speed and traction on winter runs or ultralight hiking with the Vargo Titanium Pocket Cleats™.  The titanium alloy spikes claw into snow and ice yet weigh nearly a third the weight of the competition without reducing strength or durability.  When not in use the legs fold down and nest to easily fit into packs or pockets. Nylon carrying case included. 


Available in three sizes:


Small: Women’s 6.0 – 9

Medium: Women’s 9.5 – 12; Men’s 8.0 – 10.5

Large: Men’s 11 – 13


Note: Pocket Cleats™ will not fit or work well with shoes that have extra-thick soles ("Fat Shoes") or shoes with a non-hourglass shape sole.




Titanium alloy contstruction


Compact folding legs


Reliable Duraflex™ fastners


High strength nylon webbing


Convenient nylon carry case




Weight (medium)     Size Open            Size Closed


2.3 ounces each       5.9"L x 1.8"W       4.3"L x 1.8"W   


(66 grams)                (150 x 45 mm)     (110 x 45 mm)’


See Also:

13/05/2017: Sacked for supporting ‘cultural appropriation’. ‘In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities…I’d go so far as to say there should even be an award for doing so — the Appropriation Prize for best book by an author who writes about people who aren’t even remotely like her or him.’ You know, just like John Steinbeck’s great novelette, ‘Tortilla Flat’ or Xavier Herbert’s ‘Poor Fellow My Country’ & etc. But the ‘thought police’ don’t agree, and are active everywhere. Facebook has also begun banning folks whose views it doesn’t like. The new censorship frankly terrifies me. It is a tyranny perhaps even worse than all the old tyrannies we had clearly identified and spent most of our lives fighting against. It’s power and reach and immediate effect is greater. There is also no sense of what can be done about it. There is no appeal. For example Facebook’s decision is anonymously taken, immediate, permanent, and there is no appeal: Incidentally, we watched Spencer Tracey in the 1942 film ‘Tortilla Flat’ last night. What a great actor he was! It is available from Pirate Bay. The ending (Hollywood!) is different from Steinbeck’s but still, a very satisfying film:

13/05/2017: Censorship has become so rife: I can remember wanting an end to censorship in Australia (this was back in the 60s) because I wanted to read such classics as ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ and ‘Tropic of Cancer’ which I illegally imported. We succeeded. Censorship today has become so nit-picky, it is unbelievable. Soon we will not be able to comment on a white woman wanting to self-identify as a black man for example, yet others can apparently with impunity advocate raping nine year old girls, and indeed do so: & I expect that soon I will not be able to say such things on Facebook (or perhaps anywhere) any more.


13/05/2017: Of course, if you think only Islam is/was extremist, try to remember the evil that was done in this man’s name (ie Jesus & with teachings like this): ‘He who is not with me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters…Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world nor in the world to come…Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell…The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire…If thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched…If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple…Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life…Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division…For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it…’ & etc, ad nauseum. Charming fellow. and remember what his approach was to Gadarine swine and fig trees (not to mention money lenders!) this essay by Bertrand Russell (‘Why I Am Not a Christian’) ought almost to be compulsory reading. Anyway, give it a try: &

12/05/2017: East Tyers Walking Track: I spent six hours yesterday working on clearing some of this excellent track which had been long neglected and overgrown. Apparently there were six other people doing the same, though I never saw them, which indicates you can have a lovely solitary experience on the track. It connects O'Shea's Mill to Caringal Scout camp and thus comprises an interesting addition to the Upper Yarra Track Winter route - see:

I have (roughly) cleared the first third of it - starting from Caringal, but it is marked all the way now with tape, so it needs about two similar days' work to complete the job apparently expected to be done by Spring, but it is now walkable, so the more people walk it (with one of these: over the winter, the less work there will be to do.

I will now investigate re-opening the West Tyers walking track which has been similarly neglected and which links Caringal with Western Tyers/Morgans's Mill and the similar loop from Palmers to Growlers along the Western Tyers - both of which I have walked years ago. They are extraordinary beautiful sections which deserve to be open to everyone - not just the intrepid!

The track begins auspiciously. The track follows an old logging tramway linking bush mills (such as O'Sheas) to Collins siding where the railway ine to Melbourne was. NB: You can also walk along the tramway from Caringal to Collins siding.

There are some lovely stretches if river, somewhere to try this out:

Here's another.

And yet another.

There are some interesting bridges.

Some best avoided. You should never worry about getting your feet wet:

Some beautiful timber.

Mountain ash are magnificent - you can see why they were logging along here in the past.

An interesting geological formation.

It will be such a splendid track when the clearing is quite finished - and even better when it links both to Collins siding (Erica) and to Western Tyers (Morgans Mill) and beyond eg to Tanjil Bren and Newlands Rd so that a circuit of the Baw Baws can be had. Well, it already can. See below:

12/05/2017: Dude I want that: Dude I want that... Indeed! This is not strictly ‘ultralight’, but I just thought you might nonetheless like this amazing gift site -at least the 'outdoors' section. If you have perhaps become jaded by the pedestrian offerings of your local outdoors store, check out some of these amazing products:  Here’re ten of my favourites:

Banana Lounger

Onegee Bungee

Onak Foldable Canoe

Swim Fingers

Folding Survival Bow

Pocket Bellows:



Pocket Cleats:

Thermal Breaching Tool:

Gazebox retractable garage:

12/05/2017: The Delusion of Free Money: Who’s Invest in a Country Led by Bank Robbers? That’s the first problem. The second is the utterly bizarre belief that banks would not have to put up their fees to fund this – meaning that it is just another example of taxation by stealth, just like inflation and ‘bracket creep’ – which alone is delivering nearly $100 billion over the forward estimates! Do you still remember when Peter Costello used to actually balance the budget, Australia had no debt and the government could return people’s money to them via tax cuts? This is not a Liberal government. It is not even a sensible government. Turnbull must go!  &

12/05/2017: Couple Marry on Everest: `It is a really catchy headline and image isn’t it - and a great idea? A friend of mine noticed a wee bit of Photoshopping but s/he was being pedantic. I suppose the next ‘logical’ step is for folks to marry on the summit of Everest where they could quickly combine the two important ceremonies (ie marriage and funeral) into one –if there was any celebrant foolish enough to accompany them! See:

For info on how to do this in an ultralight manner see eg: 

12/05/2017: Touche: ‘I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not ‘greed’ to want to take somebody else’s money,’ Thomas Sowell.


12/05/2017: Has the Amount of Carbon Dioxide Changed Significantly Since the Beginning of the Twentieth Century? Giles Slocum Monthly Weather Review October 1955:

11/05/2017: The Ultralight Fisherman: Today is using a 1 oz (30 gram - including a selection of flies and leaders) hand line made from a 100 ml plastic 'spice'  bottle which easily and accurately casts 30 - 40 metres - as you can see! A pill bottle of roughly the same size  though slightly heavier, would work just as well. I tried an empty Nurofen bottle, for example. Another half an ounce or so would add a couple of lures, hooks, split shot, etc suitable for bait fishing as well. (This particular bottle is 14 gram 100 ml about 43mm wide and 80mm long and has the advantage you can see through it).

I must stock the repaired farm dam with trout! It already has eels.

Amid the windfall quinces in the garden.

The scales do not lie.

The pink 1 mm Dyneema string is a wrist strap in case you drop your hand line. A dab of silicon around the hole I had to drill to thread it would make it completely waterproof as well. Everything you need fits right in the bottle, in a few mini snap lock bags. You could even take some artificial bait with you.

I went for a walk around to 'The Weir' ( again this afternoon - no fish trying to climb it, alas. It is a very small log-choked stream for fly fishing, but in 2-3 casts I did have a small trout following my fly - unfortunately the stream was too small, so he saw me and headed South. I will be going up the bush sambar deer hunting soon where there are much bigger streams and bigger trout. I will be eating some!

See Also:

Soon to come: 'The Ultralight Deer Hunter'.

11/05/2017:  ‘Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts,’ Richard Feynman


11/05/2017: Some folks are touting this Macron win. As if Marine getting 40% of the vote was meaningless. Meanwhile neither the Republicans nor the Socialists, France’s two ‘Main’ parties got a single vote – in other words 100% of French people voted for someone else. What if that should happen in Australia? Would the ABC just headline that Pauline failed to become PM? The times they are a’changing! It will be interesting to see what happens in the French Parliamentary elections in a couple of months’ time – and how it plays out after that.


10/05/2017: ‘Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.’ Susan Ertz.

10/05/2017: Ultralight Coconut Fish Curry: We found this soup to be just about the most delicious we have ever eaten at home - and we eat a lot of soup, so just imagine how delicious it will be on the trail. Again it uses Continental French Onion Soup as a base and makes use only of dehydrated ingredients (or ingredients which will not leak, or which can be 'caught' on the trail).

1 Litre water

25 grams of Coconut Milk Powder (comes in 50 gram aluminium sachets. You could use the whole sachet)

50 gram sachet Tomato Paste.

40 gram packet of Continental French Onion Soup

2  Teaspoons (Clive Of India) curry powder

1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring to the boil


100 gram sachet Safcol Yellowfin Tuna

16 teaspoons Surprise Peas

Simmer 5 minutes

Add (slowly, stirring as you go) approx 12 Teaspoons Continental Deb Mashed Potato.

Serve and eat. Try this at home. You will be delighted.

PS: My daughter, who is more a coconut than a curry person says, 'Halve the curry and double the coconut'. You might try that if you think your tastes are more that way. If you don't like fish (what?) you might also try the recipe with a can of this: The cans would also be perfect for making a 'Supercat Stove':

See Also:

10/05/2017: The Budget: Debt up (now $600 billion), taxes up, spending up. No clear plan. Surplus to remain four years in the future (so 15 years since the last one). This is a Labor Budget. Fadden turned around a similar disastrous financial situation for Australia back when I was born in one year! &


10/05/2017: We have Malcolm. Meanwhile, Theresa may shows Australian Conservatives the way forward. She has a 22 point lead over Labour! Bring back Tony Abbott:


10/05/2017: Hazelwood Aftermath: This is happening because we have entered a new era of energy madness, shortfall  and rationing. Mark my words, there is worse to come: &

09/05/2017: Invisible Worlds: The Weir: Just around the corner (about 2 km) from our house lies the Billy's Creek, the Morwell National Park, (the start of) a lovely walk (the Grand Stzelecki Track) and just a kilometre up the track and stream this lovely old weir (built in 1913) set amongst majestic blue gums in a lush narrow, steep valley. The weir used to be part of the Morwell Water Supply.

You can see it has a hole in it about 200mm/8" in diameter through which much of the stream flows. The hole has an enchanting history. It was created as an act of anarchy by local farmers who were incensed at how much of their own water supply had been stolen by the Government. A pity moe of us weren't as galvanised by government theft.

The hole is 2.1 metres/7'  above the pool at the bottom which is only 35mm/14" deep. On pretty much just one day of the year, trout try to swim up the outflow of that pipe, tunnel through that hole and so emerge in the stream above the weir to lay their eggs. Unbelievably some make it. We observed (and filmed) this on Mothers day 2006, May 14. Sometime in the next week, if you visit this weir every day you too will witness this natural miracle.

Below the picture I have attached a very poor quality video of the event, but you can still make out what the trout are doing. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the national park (which would not worry me) but there are some very busybodying locals (alas!) who will make a fuss if I take the dogs for a walk there every day, so I may not manage a better piece of film due to other work commitments - but you may!

It is a beautiful walk up amid the blue gums:

There are fine bridges to play on:

Milo spots a trout:

There is a lovely picnic spot at the weir with a sign implying no tents under this tree - but nothing about hammocks!

Milo is learning to be an ultralight hiker. He can really use that Gossamer gear pole.

It is quite hard work though and needs lots of concentration.

09/05/2017: Hunter, angler, gardener, cook. Interesting website. Some great recipes:


09/05/2017: The White Man’s Burden: No doubt everyone else in Australia has been astonished by this absurd piece of political correctness gone mad Bill Shorten has been castigated over. Personally I give Bill enormous credit that he failed to notice that the ad contained ‘insufficient racial diversity’, meaning of course that he failed to notice any racial differences in the folks in the photograph – which is just what would happen if someone was not a racist at all actually, isn’t it? Surely it is the racists (ie those who advocate for ‘diversity’ who notice (and think it is important) what ‘race’ we belong to. The Human Race, stupid! I still like Kipling’s version best: I particularly like the lines:

‘Watch Sloth and heathen Folly

Bring all your hopes to nought.’ (That’s surely been happening a lot all over.)

The White Man's Burden

TAKE up the White Man's burden -

Send forth the best ye breed -

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need;

To wait in heavy harness

On fluttered folk and wild -

Your new-caught sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man's burden -

In patience to abide

To veil the threat of terror

And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple,

An hundred times made plain,

To seek another's profit,

And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden -

The savage wars of peace -

Fill full the mouth of famine

And bid the sickness cease;

And when your goal is nearest

The end for others sought,

Watch Sloth and heathen Folly

Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden -

No tawdry rule of kings,

But toil of serf and sweeper -

The tale of common things.

The ports ye shall not enter,

The roads ye shall not tread,

Go make them with your living,

And mark them with your dead !

Take up the White Man's burden -

And reap his old reward,

The blame of those ye better,

The hate of those ye guard -

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah slowly !) towards the light:-

"Why brought ye us from bondage,

"Our loved Egyptian night ?"

Take up the White Man's burden -

Ye dare not stoop to less -

Nor call too loud on Freedom

To cloak your weariness;

By all ye cry or whisper,

By all ye leave or do,

The silent sullen peoples

Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden -

Have done with childish days -

The lightly proffered laurel,

The easy, ungrudged praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through all the thankless years,

Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,

The judgement of your peers.


09/05/2017: More ‘White man’s Burden’ – nearly a million of them: ‘About 870,000 non-citizens, mostly from Britain, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East, are claiming $15 billion a year in welfare benefits, according to new analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office.’ (Herald Sun) Why is this so? Why this absurd generosity? Why are they here unless it is to be parasites on the body politic?

08/05/2017: Steve's Ultralight Fish Chowder: Following my post about hand Line Fly Fishing I have had several requests for the Hiking Fish Chowder recipe so that I had to make it for lunch, and it was excellent. I doubt you have had a better hiking meal. Try it at home, then make sure you take the ingredients when you next head out to the hills (and streams) with your handy new hand line!


1 packet Continental French Onion Soup 460 kJ 112 calories 40 grams

1 Litre Water

4 (heaped) Teaspoons of milk powder -approx 350 kJ 80 calories 17 grams

16 Teaspoons Surprise Peas (4 Teaspoons per 250 ml) - 300 kJ 72 calories 80 grams

100 gram Sachet Safcol Yellowfin Tuna (or equivalent filleted fresh brook trout) - 616  kJ 150 calories

12 Teaspoons (Approx) Continental deb Mashed Potato - 150 kJ 35 calories 40 grams

Pepper or curry powder to taste (unnecessary)

Bring to the boil and simmer 5 minutes

Delicious! Total 1876 kJ 460 calories. 177 grams - not including the fish!

PS: The French Onion Soup makes a great base for many meals. I will be adding more! You can just make one cup of nit up on the trail and save the rest for later. Adding some peas makes for an interesting taste and makes it go a little further. The dehydrated mash thickening also makes it feel like you are eating more (and you are). (Weight and calories are approximate)

08/05/2017: Hand Line Fly Fishing: Fishing with a bubble or float is an old technique. I’m sure most of us have used this method with live baits to catch a variety of fish. It also works well with flies and other floating lures to catch trout.

My handline of choice is Streamlines Tideland which weighs 2.4 oz. I cut the rubber handle off mine (saving an ounce). It now weighs 1.5 oz (43 grams). You can easily cast over 20 metres accurately. It is as good as most spinning rods, better where there are overhanging branches, as you can cast underarm. It is ideal for getting a trout dinner out of small wooded alpine streams. I could trim its weight some more by cutting off the corner with the angle grinder and smoothing the finish. I might get it down to a functional 1 oz (or 30 grams), yet still have a superlative casting hand line.

Below are typical rigs taken from Martin Joergensen’s and Will Rietveld's articles below.

The technique is simplicity itself. Cast and slowly retrieve. The splash of the bubble hitting the water attracts the fish’s attention which is then directed at the fly tied to the invisible line. When it strikes you need only set the hook, reel it in, prepare it and eat it. More detailed tips in the articles below.

‘The Streamlines handline has landed trout in the Sierra Nevada mountains, bass in low land lakes, and up to six pound snook in Costa Rica. The Tidelands model is an inexpensive lifetime tool, ideal for backpackers, kayakers, or as a part of any complete survival kit. Casting handline has been used for decades in Costa Rica as the primary tool of ocean shore-line fishermen who must live on what they catch. Streamlines has evolved this tool, combining improved design with modern materials. It casts far and accurately, limited only by the skill of the fisherman. This go anywhere, fish anytime tool is patented and molded of plastic strengthened with 40% fiberglass reinforcing. It is overmolded with a rubber Santoprene handle.’ US$ 17.90

You could even do it with my 4 gram fishing hand lines below:

2015-09-23 13.43.23 comp

Some great articles on the technique (and related matters):

 Fishing a bubble: Martin Joergensen:

 Spin Fishing Using The Fly And Bubble Method: Mike:

 A Simple, Minimalist, and Ultralight Approach to Catching, Cleaning, and Cooking a Backcountry Fish Dinner By Will Rietveld:

 Ultralight Tic Tac Fishing Kit: Rik Christensen


 For an ultralight hiker/fisherman I think Will Rietveld’s method of cooking trout takes some beating (particularly if you were using twigs in the Caldera Cone). However, I have also been experimenting with various dry ingredients to make up a tasty fish chowder. Continental French Onion Soup is probably already a standby with you (though it takes a five minute simmer). A packet contains about 8 teaspoons full which makes four cups, so you can make them individually. Added to the (filleted) fish, it makes a tasty broth. You can thicken it (as I have mentioned before) with some Continental Deb mashed potato. A little milk powder will add to the chowdery effect. I know you don’t have to add pepper or curry powder to everything (so my wife, Della says) but these can add some zest to the overall effect. Enjoy.

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 Other Posts:

08/05/2017: Libertarianism: ‘The central tenet of Libertarianism is freedom. It is the right to choose. Not just choose 'stuff' while shopping, but everything. Where to live, who you associate with, who you do business with, who you work for or who works for you, and what you want to do with your life. While it is often contrasted with Socialism and Communism, this commentator points out there is a third thread which is often overlooked, but cuts across the philosophical spectrum - bureaucratic centralism. It's my belief that Conservatives are essentially libertarians (small "l") who like having, or believing in, the direction that centralized government can provide. Which is why Libertarians, more often than not, are lumped in with Republicans. In my recent past, I've learned to distrust and, whenever possible, avoid anything government claims to provide, or that people believe it should provide. If I could avoid, or it was practical to avoid, all things the government provides, I would. Unfortunately I don't have that freedom, since it's been taken either by vote or by bureaucratic diktat.’ (Bulldog) See also:  &


08/05/2017: ‘If you were a visitor from a distant solar system come to our nation or even a time traveler from our own nineteenth century, I submit you would be perplexed. This Trump person (being?) doesn't seem to be all that different from many leaders who have come before him. I mean, what has he done exactly? Enforced some immigration laws that were enacted by the Congress over several administrations? Tried to fix a mediocre healthcare plan with another plan that may or may not be as mediocre? Called for a tax reduction similar to those enacted by previous Republican and Democratic administrations? Cut back on some regulations that became overly burdensome? Called for a temporary halt to immigration from a half-dozen countries his predecessor had already cited as dangerous hotbeds of terrorism? Shot off a few dozen cruise missiles at the airfield of a dictator who was gassing his own people, but didn't harm a single person in the process? I could go on, but you get the point.’ Roger Simon.


07/05/2017: Exercise in a Pill: This is for me:


07/05/2017: Thanks Capitalism: How about the 78% percent reduction in extreme world poverty from 1981 to 2015:



07/05/2017: Affordable Housing is a Supply Problem: If I were a Government seriously interested in reducing the cost of housing, I would bulldoze some of the nearby ‘national parks’, buy a giant 3D printer and ‘print’ concrete houses en masse for pennies and dump them on the market:

07/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 8: Upper Spey to West Arm is somewhere between 4 and 6 hours, nearer six for me these days. There have been a number of contradictory signs over the years. As the last hour or so is on a hard gravel road, and much of the walk is along flattish river banks and this is your last day,  there is a temptation to hurry. Most likely all this will achieve will be to finally tear your feet to pieces (especially your toenails) and you will miss or have to wait for the bus/boat anyway, so chill out and enjoy the scenery along the beautiful Spey River valley.

The mountain which hangs over Upper Spey resembles one of the Easter island heads.

Upper Spey sunset.

The colours are beautiful.

Leaving Upper Spey in a dewy dawn. The orb spiders have been hard at work on the coprosma.

Detail of the orbs and fruit.

Lots of duckboards at the beginning. This used to be quite swampy patch in years past.

All day is just a gentle incline following the Spey River valley downhill.

With some hobbity bits.

The Spey is a pretty little river. You can walk along in it for kilometres instead of on the track when the level is low. Good trout fishing too!

Bryn just could not resist the temptation to revel in some Fiordland mud one last time!

Eventually I tire of walkwires. There are three this day. The very last one over the Dashwood Stream I chose to wade.

But as I have said before, Bryn just loves them! That stream is really steaming...

A light in the forest.

Still a few muddy patches.

Spey river scene.

Lunch by the Spey River.

Easy fishing.

The very last walkwire over the Dashwood Stream.

One last glimpse of the Spey River

And we are out on the Wilmot Pass Rd - the end of the Dusky Track! We have made it!

Wilmot Passs Rd at the end of the track - with Steve Hutcheson 2012.

Bryn 2008.

An enigmatic Kiwi sign on the Wilmot Pass Rd echoes our feeling exactly!

Just in time to catch the Doubtful Sound bus - you wish!


Wilmot Pass - just a couple of kilometres off-route towards Doubtful Sound. When they were constructing this road in the 1970s a bulldozer driver saw  a live moose cross right here.

View of Doubtful Sound from Wilmot Pass, not such a clear day, unfortunately.

The Mica Burn.



Here we are at West Arm. Methinks they have cold beer on that 'real journeys' boat.

Inside the Manapouri Power Station hundreds of metres underground at West Arm. Unfortunately you can no longer see this.


I was right: A well-earned beer on the boat across Lake Manapouri.

Heading back to 'civilisation'.

It is a beautiful lake.

Hitching back to Te Anau from Manapouri 2012.

Fiordland Birds: An Aside: If you thought it was quiet (and peaceful) walking the Dusky track and that you don not see anything but a handful of birds as you traversed it, that's because New Zealand has lost 99% of 99% of its birds. Most were eaten by stoats or possums. This is a stoat trap along the Spey River intended to catch some of these pests. in places where there are lots of such traps and they are regularly checked (such as the South Coast Track) the birds are very slowly making a comeback - but it will be touch and go. Do not interfere with a stoat trap as someone has done here.

You are lucky to get snaps of more than a handful of birds, such as these:


It is such an awful change from what I am used to in the Gippsland bush, Victoria where you are likely to see up to 500 bird species, and at any time walking =in the bush there are probably fifty birds visible and audible of probably upwards of a dozen species - almost more than you are likely to see in a lifetime in Fiordland. They have a plan t recover their bird life. I hope they succeed with it.

06/05/2017: Think Poor, Be Rich: There are lots of folks like this. A friend of mine who endlessly espouses handfuls of commie gobbledygook has just inherited $3 million, but I misdoubt it will change his/her ideology one iota. How many such folk in our capital cities live in ‘millionaire’s mansions’? Whilst here at Jeeralang Junction we eke out a living in much more modest accommodation they would demean though we built it ourselves, every brick and stick – but I would not swap it for half a dozen of their urban prisons, no matter that ‘they sing in their chains like the sea’ (‘Fern Hill’). Seeming is the new doing:



06/05/2017: A very fine speech on Australian values, and the way forward: An example‘Australians have every justification for pride…and we should equally be proud of the broader Western civilisation of which we are part.Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy. We’re close to being the world’s largest exporter of coal, iron ore and gas; and the third largest exporter of education. We’re one of the world’s top re-settlers of refugees…We enjoy a combination of freedom, fairness and prosperity that rightly makes us the envy of the earth.We are part of a civilisation which has exported scientific learning, material prosperity, and concepts of democracy, justice and freedom to the entire world. We don’t discriminate on the basis of race, creed or gender. We do our best to judge people by the content of their character…we are convinced that every human being has…equal rights and responsibilities; and our basic rule of conduct is to treat others as we would have them treat us.The modern world is unimaginable without this legacy of Western civilisation.’


06/05/2017: Where’s the Plan? The worst thing about Turnbull’s Gonski 2.1 squandering $18 billion on ‘education’ (whilst making students pay more), is that there is no focus on how this will turn around the decline in Australia’s measured educational standards. If even Kazakhstan is beating us in these results with a fraction of the spend, it is long past time to think on quality not quantity. The domination of ‘educational’ institutions by Leftists (and low staff:student ratios) has led to this decline. Well past time to sack half of them, pass (some of) the money on to those doing a good job, increase class sizes, and bring back a big stick for those who will not knuckle down and learn! Pickering’s observation that you can’t land an aircraft at Badgery’s Creek for weeks at a time is just the icing on the cake for Turnbull’s economic tomfoolery!


05/05/2017: Jelly, The Smallest 4G Smartphone. This is a neat little phone – fits in your fob pocket, but has all the functionality of your regular smart phone. Only 60 grams, less than $100. It would be excellent for ultralight hiking. You might also consider it as a spare phone – if only you could have duplicate sim cards. Well, you can illegally, actually. Try Google. Personally, I am tired of phones being too big, and getting lost, broken or in the way. This is the solution:


Super portable


05/05/2017: Wonderful: ‘My struggle is real, and my male-identifying genitalia will no longer be silent! As a person of absolutely no color who embodies an intersectional reality that includes my utter lack of genderfluidity and my unemployment-questioning, differently-veteraned, and non-pagan experiences, I am totally oppressed by progressivism’s hegemonic power structure. I am also the victim of a systemic system of hostile paradigms that denies my truth regarding my phallo-possessory identity.’ Kurt Schlichter:

05/05/2017: Under Howard the Australian Government got by with about 17 cents out of your every dollar. That amount is closer to 26 cents now after Rudd, Gillard and Turnbull (Abbott was reducing it). Any more than a tithe I hold to be onerous taxation and public waste. It is not their money. It is ours. Give it back and stop wasting it. You and I can name a hundred things the Government can stop funding or reduce spending on – why can’t they?


05/05/2017: Richard Lindzen, one of the world's most famous climate scientists: ‘Although I have presented evidence as to why the issue is not a catastrophe and may likely be beneficial, the response [from most audiences] is puzzlement. I am typically asked how this is possible. After all, 97% of scientists agree, several of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past 18 years, all sorts of extremes have become more common, polar bears are disappearing, as is arctic ice, etc. In brief, there is overwhelming evidence of warming, etc. I tended to be surprised that anyone could get away with such sophistry or even downright dishonesty, but it is, unfortunately, the case that this was not evident to many of my listeners...


The accumulation of false and/or misleading claims is often referred to as the ‘overwhelming evidence’ for forthcoming catastrophe. Without these claims, one might legitimately ask whether there is any evidence at all.


Despite this, climate change has been the alleged motivation for numerous policies, which, for the most part, seem to have done more harm than the purported climate change, and have the obvious capacity to do much more. Perhaps the best that can be said for these efforts is that they are acknowledged to have little impact on either CO2 levels or temperatures despite their immense cost. This is relatively good news since there is ample evidence that both changes are likely to be beneficial although the immense waste of money is not.


04/05/2017: Malcolm despises the Catholic vote and decreases spending on the education of their students with his ‘new Gonski 2.1’ both directly by reducing the per capita spend on schools and indirectly by increasing their children’s university fees. No doubt the per capita spend on Islamic school students has increased. As I have seen no news about this conundrum I am almost certain of it. He would have done much better at the polls to have completely cut out the latter (which just increases the risk to Australia’s nationality and security) and increased the former. Catholic voters are predominantly upper working class to middle class. In either case they are universally aspirational voters who can see the value in scrimping to provide their children with a better education than the leftist pap doled out nowadays by our state schools. These folk are quintessentially liberal/conservative voters. To so anger them as these actions will do will alienate them completely and makes his party completely unelectable. Coupled with a promise to splash vast amounts of money on a new airport for Sydney (leaving aside the fact that surely it was Victorians alone who aid for the construction of Tullamarine) when Hong Kong airport for example carries several times as much traffic as the much more convenient old site (& on a smaller site) is political suicide! They will have to close the old site to force anyone to use the new one, but if they do so, traffic to Sydney will collapse. Who would want a 1/1/2 hour each way trip to the CBD when in Melbourne you can be downtown in ten minutes?

04/05/2017: 900th Post: Another milestone today: my 900th post here at the Ultralight Hiker. I am just back from walking the Dusky Track in Fiordland as my recent posts no doubt inform you. It is getting harder and longer as I age, but I am just glad to be able to be there and other wonderful places, and doing it. Plenty of time for the easier walks later on, I hope!

In my Hummingbird Hammock, ( Supper Cove, Fiordland New Zealand 2017.

It's been a busy 5ive and one half months! What are some of the highlights of the last one hundred posts?

Well...Trekking in Nepal:

And a much more modest walk on the Mirboo North Rail Trail:

Some ideas for pack rafting in Gippsland:

and canoe hunting:

A visit to the 'lost' Yarra Falls by 'a reader':

A week canoeing the Wonnangatta/Mitchell:

A new $10 tent:

Some thoughts on hunting:

A trip to Mt Horsefall:

Camper Mods:

A new ground sheet idea:

An excellent ultralight hiking soup:

At last a map for the Upper Yarra Track:

A canoe/motorbike trailer insert:

A visit to Blond Bay, Gippsland:

and much more...

What have I planned ahead: well, I aim to complete a last prototype of my Deer Hunter's Tent make a cuben fibre version with a poncho floor I will be going into the Victorian High Country with a one-legged friend fishing and hunting for a week at least. I hope to complete the 'Four Rivers Circuit' I have mentioned several times before, to canoe the Wonnangatta from Hearnes Spur to Kingwell Bridge, to canoe/clear the Hawthorn Creek section of the Latrobe, walk some of Victoria's Wilderness Coast, complete a circuit in Wilsons Prom, take a trip to Western Vic and walk some of the hundreds of kilometres of coast walks there, get some more work done on my idea of a Gippsland hiking circuit, make a motorcycle carrier for the Discovery/Defender...I will be busy. And of course there are jobs around the farm that get in the way of such pleasures too! Today I am working on completing the pump house move so we can finish repairing the lower dam before winter. There is one shed to re-roof, one to demolish and rebuild. Many fences to build and many trees to plant...Life just gets in the way of making plans!

04/05/2017: The Swiss show Malcolm the way forward for his new citizenship test: They are right to reject such folks as the Norwegian experience for example shows that migrants fattened on welfare tend to assimilate less well over the years:


04/05/2017: Singapore too shows the way, deports inflammatory imam: After Bourke Street and London…if you were in any doubt we are in danger, our own home-grown ‘religion of peace’ group declares ‘death to the apostates,’ Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman, Uthman Badar. This group is so extreme it is banned in Muslim-majority nations like Bangladesh (but not here – why?):


04/05/2017: In similar news, when a reformist imam visits Lakemba he is hassled and jeered. My uncle Leo used to be Post Master at Lakemba back in the 70’s when I used to travel through the peerless middle class Aussie suburb each day on my way to work at nearby Punchbowl Boys High a white middle class school then with even some Jewish students - but now also a hot-bed of Moslem insurgency. Since that time successive treasonous governments have thrown our wonderful country away:

02/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #7: You have a big climb and descent today: over a kilometre up and then down again from the Kintail Hut to the Upper Spey Hut. You don't have to worry. Though it takes me longer now, I did this section in 2006 when I was a mere 58, the first time I walked over Centre Pass, in five hours. I'm afraid today it takes me nearer 7. Still good to be out there. If you are young and fit and get an early start it might be possible for you to walk all the way from here to West Arm and catch the last boat across Manapouri (about 5:15, but don't quote me). I know I just missed it in 2006, and I was really hanging out for a cold beer in the Moose bar Te Anau after nearly two weeks in the wet forests of Fiordland!

Resting in the Kintail Hut with Steve Hutcheson 2012.

Crossing the Seaforth: I usually walk across the river at this point, but Bryn actually prefers walk wires!

My turn.

Beautiful flat stalking to begin with: one of the denizens seems to have lost something.

The track follows the Kintail stream upwards towards Centre Pass.

The Kintail Stream is quite gorgey. There are many beautiful views of water crashing down.

Like this.

The walkwire across the Kintail Stream. I find this the most frightening of the trip. It is so long, such a long way down and car sized rocks below with water torrenting over them should you fall. Bryn just finds it fun! If the stream is low you can cross in the stream below.

High on the face overlooking Tripod Hill and the Gair Loch there is a huge 'new' slip. You can see plants are beginning to colonise it. look out for moose browse on fuchsia here in 20 years' time!

You would not want to be here when this slip formed. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you are a moose - due to the edible regrowth) slips in Fiordland are very frequent. The 'Christchurch' earthquake of a few years back created thousands of them. They are as unavoidable as being struck by lightning but if you can you should avoid overhangs. that being said, I have never walked the Dusky without hearing a number of them!

The track becomes steeper. 

A bit of a scramble in places.

And steeper. Some places it is so steep you have to climb up a chain for support. Bryn Jones. But it is nowhere near so bad as the descent from lake Roe to Loch Marie. Soon you break out into leatherwoods and then into extensive snowgrass tops.

The mountains tower over you. There are many beautiful views back down along the Seaforth whence you came. if you are like me you will wonder whether you will ever see this view again . In 2006 oI thought I would never see it again, yet as it turns out it has become almost routine. Still i wonder whether I will ever gaze down upon Tripod Hill and the Seaforth ever again - or hear a lonely moose call. As I am quite old now, and ought to go places where Della can accompany me, this may be my last Dusky trip.

The awesome view back down the Seaforth somewhat spoiled by Bryn And me. Tripod Hill on my left shoulder.

Here it is without us. You have followed the Seaforth up from Loch Marie which you can just make out left of centre behind the Tripod Hill to the right of the Gair Loch (at the right base of the hill, then pretty much straight up to where you are now.

Finally you break free of the leatherwoods and have a view of Centre Pass - still a long way up, another half an hour or more! Some of the younger folk leave their packs near Centre Pass and climb Mt Memphis - risking the keas! I must say I have never been tempted, but then I have seen the view many times flying over it.

The cliffs certainly beetle overhead.

There are many strange plants in these high alpine meadows.

The last pinch is a bit of a climb - you wonder whether you will ever make it!

Centre Pass.

Time for a drink. You will miss that beautiful cystal clear Seaforth River water.

Now you have all that way down again to go to the Spey.

In Centre Pass in 2008 Bryn and I were visited by a pair of Kea who entertained us for quite some time with their many tricks.

I suspect they would have eaten out of our hands - or nipped our fingers off!

Again the cliffs beetle overhead.

You feel quite small in this grand scenery.

Just before you enter the leatherwoods you can turn back and view Centre Pass one last time. There is an hour or so of tree-root hopping to go - nowhere near so bad as the descent from lake Roe to Loch Marie though.

There is a substantial slip to cross. You may not be able to see the markers on the other side - look out for the cairns.

Finally you are down to flat going along the Spey River.

The Dusky still has the odd muddy patch awaiting you.

Finally you arrive at the Upper Spey Hut. Your last night in the wilderness of Fiordland. Time for a feast on all your remaining food (except tomorrow's lunch and breakfast).

03/05/2017: Taxing Time: A timely reminder from Peter Costello” The 20 per cent of Australians on the lowest incomes pay no net income tax. They are entitled to income support through the pension, unemployment benefits, parenting benefits and other allowances. But they don’t pay income tax. The next 25 per cent of Australians pay hardly any income tax, on average, about $1500 a year or $30 a week. These two groups, representing 45 per cent of the population who file tax returns, pay under 4 per cent of the income tax in this country. So who pays income tax? Middle and higher income earners carry the income tax system. Those earning above $80,000 pay two-thirds of the income tax collected in this country. The 2 per cent of Australians on incomes above $180,000 really make up the revenue by paying 26 per cent of the country’s income tax.’

03/05/2017: Red, green and black tape have been strangling Australia for too long. $176+ billion a year is incredible. We must end them now: &

03/05/2017: If only the Liberal Party would listen, but under Malcolm that is impossible: ‘The Turnbull government is at war with the people. This is a government which hates their own constituents. The Liberal Party has lost touch with what it stands for’ Latest polling from Qld shows that the Libs would lose government on Qld results alone if an election was held today. Even Dutton would lose his seat, so who is to take over from Mal. You guessed it: Tony:

02/05/2017: The Six Main Storylines. Vonnegutt was always interesting. Reminds me of Irving Berlin’s comment that there were only six tunes:

02/05/2017: ‘The government will also be keen to do something about what looks like an incipient disaster in respect of the expanding student loan book (which is held off-budget) and the increasing proportion of bad debts (loans that will never be repaid, at least in full). By 2018, the student loan book will reach $70bn, with perhaps $19bn unrecoverable, ‘Judith Sloan. Clearly there is no point in paying for such ‘university’ education amongst folk who are clearly unable to (ever) earn an income sufficient to repay it. We are pushing far too large a proportion into (worthless) university courses instead of either putting them to work or training them for work. Meantime every year we have to import thousands of people to perform work no Australian will undertake or is qualified to undertake whilst paying close to a million people to be unemployed, another million to imply breed (more like themselves – ie unable or unwilling to work) and close to another million to be ‘disabled’ – a proportion of disabled to able of nearly six times what it was at the end of WW2 when so many really disabled servicemen returned to Australia. Waste. It is all just waste.

02/05/2017: For at least the last thirty years all the gas you have been using (from Bass Strait) has been fracked - as has most of the oil you have used since WW2. I can't figure why stuff which was solved long ago is for some people a hot news panic story eg over-population, resource depletion, pollution, whaling, immunisation, fluoride, etc, etc. The World's Resources Aren't Running Out: Maybe you didn’t have time to read Julian Simon (eg ‘The Ultimate Resource’ – which for me, many years ago was a complete game changer), but maybe you have time to read this short article, which makes much the same point more succinctly:

02/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #6: Loch Marie to Kintail is another long section much like coming up from Supper Cove. It takes me 7-8 hours, but I am not a racer. Much of the trip is walking along pleasant river flats. Some of the clearings are so big you have to look out for the (large) triangles on the other side. There would be pleasant camping along this section, as in similar parts of the trip up from Supper Cove. I have seen fish in the river above Loch Marie, and there is a mounted photo on the wall of the Loch Marie hut of one such caught in the upper reaches of the Seaforth River above Kintail. It would also be a fine area for deer hunting during the 'roar'.

The first approx 3/4 of an hour are not so pleasant, hillsiding, rocks and tree roots, etc. this can be avoided if the river is low. You can walk up along the other side (or in the river) and cross once it flattens out on the true right bank as I have done here:

Looking back towards the Loch Marie Hut (centre) you can see it was easier going walking up the river.

You can avoid this bit of difficult going at the start when the river is low.There are a couple of  bits of hobbit country where you climb over tree roots for about an hour I guess, but it is very pretty, and not too bad.

This new bridge is a pleasant spot for a breather. It was not so nice wading across here up to your neck in the past.

There are some quite big clearings (more on the other side of the river - usually easily crossed in this section). this one complete with waterfall.

Hobbit country.

Some places you have to hang on so you don't fall in the river.

This debris gully is a good spot for a morning break.

And to check your map - you should have it laminated (as shown) for Fiordland weather.

You wouldn't want to be here when it was really raining though!

Lunch stop about half way you can get down onto these boulders and have lunch in the sunshine on a nice day.

Tripod Hill and waterfall.


We often stop for a break at the Kenneth Burn walk wire. Bryn taking it easy. Bryn and Irralee are both immune to sandflies. that would be nice!

Kenneth Burn.

After the Kenneth Burn there is a bit of a rocky climb around a giant slip and a bit of tree-root hopping going down to the head of the Gair Loch (which can be quite unpleasantly swampy when it is wet). After that it is easy river flat going to the Kintail Hut which is off the track a bit to the left. It is a very damp spot, so you probably won't be having a fire. You also have to walk back about fifty metres to get a sat phone signal.

The Kenneth Burn 'slip' has regrown with hundreds of acres of fuschia. This is a favourite food plant of the NZ moose, and you will see many examples (mostly old) of moose browse and barking if you keep an eye out. If you are very quiet and lucky you might even snap a photo of one -- there is reputed to still be a $100,000 prize! When I was walking out in 2012 there was one spot in particular to the right of the track just about the top where a moose had obviously stayed and grazed the tops of every plant for several days - just days before I passed, worse luck!

This is the Fuchsia slip I have been talking about. Hundreds of acres. You can imagine thousands such throughout the moose range in Fiordland.

Irralee pointing out some moose browse about 2.5 metres up a fuchsia on the Kenneth Burn slip.

Detail: You can see they have bitten through twigs between 1-2 cm in diameter and broken them off. Nothing else could do this 2.4-2.7 metres (8'-9')off the ground.

A bit of rougher going heading down to the Gair Loch.

A bit of swampy going near the Gair Loch.

Easy to go down to your hips!

Looking down on the Gair Loch from near Centre Pass. The track has circled behind the Tripod Hill(from left to right in the photo) then come along the right hand side of the Loch. There would be good fishing, I imagine.

And then pleasant walking for an hour or so until you come to the Seaforth walk wire and the Kintail Hut.

Like this.

Seaforth Walk Wire. The hut is a little further along about 200 metres back from the river on the true right bank

Kintail Hut.

01/05/2017: Other People’s Money: Bandits, swindlers and overlords throughout history have delighted in the questionable pleasures of squandering other folks’ money; their activities have also always attracted a host of cronies eager to share in the largesse. These evils are what today we call ‘government’ and ‘public service’. Around ‘Budget’ time (or ‘heist’ or’ protection money’ time) our minds are focused somewhat on what they chose to splash our cash away on. A rational observer (from the faraway planet Tralfamidore perhaps) would assume that ‘they’ would at least limit their activities to spending only what ill-gotten gains had ‘fallen’ into their hands. Our ‘robber barons’ today are also hell-bent on borrowing even more money than they coud possibly squeeze out of us (in our name) at usurious interest rates (no doubt intensely supported by that great moral bank, Westpac) so that we and our descendants will have to hand over even more of our ‘hard-gotten’ to them in perpetuity. When you are spending other people’s money you would think there would (at least) be some moral compunction to spend the money wisely and frugally, to save for a rainy day & etc – just as honest folk do. The scum who ever inhabit the echelons of power have no such nicety. They cast our wealth around like confetti, behaving ever as if there will be no tomorrow. Sadly there may not be if this goes on in our country much longer. They should at very least ‘live within their means’, and make savings wherever they can be made, returning all monies saved to those to whom it rightfully belongs. (The greatest wickedness of the twentieth century was not making war on civilians – though this is very similar - it was government’s ‘inventing’ the income tax, whose premise was that everyone’s money wasn’t their own but properly belonged to government who would return that small portion of it – to its rightful owners- that they chose we deserved). If politicians and public servants have to take their own lunch to ‘work’ - to which they travel on the bus - and have the worst ‘working conditions’ of all in society well, that is only right and proper. Folks who chose the life of the parasite deserve no better! Now watch what is actually in the Budget – and weep!

01/05/2017: Westpac: has decided it will bring about an end to our largest export industry – coal mining. If this finally drives Adani away too it will also spell the end of all our export industries, as it will be impossible to persuade anyone that our sovereign risk is not too great for them to venture hither. You expect suck reckless destructiveness from undergraduate nihilists and greens activists, not from one of our largest banks. If I can sell my Westpac shares this morning, I will. I have no desire to support such wickedness! Addendum: all four big banks now ban coal! Only development can ensure prosperity:

01/05/2017: What a fascinating essay. Just a sample: ‘Antonio Gramsci was the most formidable Marxist after the founding father. He realised that the proletarian revolution was not enough and that there were other ways forward. He advocated a long march through the institutions: educational, cultural, journalistic, bureaucratic, ecclesiastical. This has been alarmingly successful, thanks in part to widespread naivety among conservatives, who thought they were being hard-headed when they reasoned: “Leave culture to the leftists. What harm can they do?” This is dangerous nonsense. Everyone understands the importance of soft power in international affairs. That is equally true in domestic matters. The Left not only uses its marchers to undermine Western culture. It also uses its power to de-legitimise free enterprise and promote egalitarianism. Lose the culture war, and the economic war is in jeopardy.’

30/04/2017: Why prejudice is a good thing: Amid all the guff about ‘hate speech’ (which clearly only means ‘things you don’t agree with’), the concept of ‘prejudice’ is accepted as axiomatically bad by many folk - yet clearly the converse is the case. If we did not have to ability to pre-judge, we would be wasting an awful lot of time in all sorts of pointless and meaningless exercises. My guess is that the average human being takes sub 2 seconds to pre-judge practically everything, and especially whether someone is dangerous, whether they like them, whether they will talk to them or continue a conversation & etc. If we did not have this terrific ability pretty much hard-wired we would spend most of our lives talking endlessly to bores who button-hole us at coffee machines, on trains, at bus stops, in shopping centres, & etc. The ability to ‘pre-judge’ and its corollary the ability to make quick inferences from insufficient data are essential to our survival and happiness. You jump out of the way of all those falling safes long before your senses tell you there is a danger – that’s mostly why you’re still alive. No doubt prejudice creates some collateral damage such as the odd hurt feeling, but we all know that we have to learn to toughen up against such slights. Most people get really tough at an early age by learning to ignore their parents who are almost always simply terrible at sensitivity and minding their own business, and will without any urging at all drop absolute clangers about our latest hair style, choice of clothes, boyfriend or girlfriend, weight, appearance, etc which we would have simply long ago walked away from absolute strangers if they tried such lines out on us. As a survival tool you simply just have to develop the instant ability to pre-judge what is coming and be ready to slope out of there in an instant when your reflexes alert you. I am simply prejudiced against everyone and everything, so mind your own business! IowaHawk ‘I'll let you ban hate speech when you let me define it. Deal?’


Replies to comments: And you lack the ability to make split-second decisions? I think not. If we could not pre-judge, I doubt we would ever be able to make any decisions.

But I think you are wrong anyway: if prejudice leads to anything it is avoidance, not hate. It is more often love which leads to hate.

30/04/2017: Triage originated as a battlefield concept (its origins in the French ‘trier’ = to sort, not necessarily into threes – as in ‘triangle’) where due to scarce resources and time constraints the wounded were sorted into three groups: those who would die anyway, those who were unlikely to, and those whose chances of living would be most helped by immediate assistance. It is an example of the utilitarian principle (later articulated by John Stuart Mill, ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’ – though it yet has many critics). In any non-imaginary society resources are always limited, and have to be allocated according to budgetary considerations. Accordingly keeping people in prison costs (in Australia) somewhere between $250,000pa and $350,000pa - in the ACT’s new model ‘human rights’ prison which has been much in the news of late. The cost of legal aid can easily run to $1 million per case (or higher), and the cost of ancillaries (eg repatriation of bodies, as in the present case) can be added to that. In the present case, the ‘Bali Nine’ have incurred (in equivalent Australian dollars) costs of say $250k per person for ten years = $22.5 million, to which you can add legal costs of several million, and ancillary costs – let us say (conservatively) $25 million. In 7/9 these costs are continuing. The cost of saving a life (in the Third World) via a vaccination programme against common preventable diseases is perhaps as little as $10 (calculated at .10 cents per vaccination and a mortality of 1% in the unvaccinated) or as many as 2.5 million lives saved for the same outlay. Even in the first world many innocent lives could be saved by medical interventions costing $100,000 per person which have to be forgone due to budgetary constraints, so even here the same outlay could save 250 innocent lives. Question: Why do some people value the lives of the guilty many times higher than the lives of the innocent?

30/04/2017: Alexander Van der Bellenthe the Austrian president, (a former Green): ‘the day will come when we have to ask all women to wear a headscarf – all – out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.’ Great stuff!

28/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 4 & 5: The trip to Supper Cove is a side trip taking two days - but really worth it! The walk up/down from Loch Marie to Supper Cove takes me 7-8 hours. I know you may be younger and in more of a hurry - who know why? Most of the distance is very pleasant, flat walking along a river/lake. There are two exceptions: the hour you have to spend climbing around the giant slip which created Loch Marie until after the Bishop Burn (which is not too bad actually), and the last hour if you cannot cross Supper Cove at low tide before you reach the Supper Cove Hut. It is one of the nastiest tree/rock hopping bits on the whole track, seeming doubly worse as it comes at the end of a long day. Many folks have turned their knee or ankle on this section (including me), so leave early enough you are not hurrying at the end of the day when you are tired.

Supper Cove itself is one of the pleasantest spots on earth, and you should plan to spend a few days there. It has likely got the very best toilet view in the world too! You might be able to prearrange (as I sometimes have) a helicopter or the float plane to leave some supplies tied up in a bag in the rafters of the boat shed so you can extend your stay. You will be able to have fresh fish three times a day if you have a hand line, some sinkers and hooks - or you may be lucky enough to find some there that the DOC has not confiscated. You should plan on this and have some oil/Alfoil (and a little salt to taste) to cook the fish with. The Blue Cod particularly, easily caught in the deeper water off the rocks behind the hut are perhaps the best eating fish in the world. Maybe include a cheap frying pan in that bag.

In 2009 I paddled this section with my Alpacka 'Fiord Explorer'. I am not going to do so again!

There it is on the shores of Loch Marie! See:

I even paddled across the lake itself though I can't imagine why now.

First the track follows the old miner's track along the edge of the lake. A few rocks, but easy going.

The loch is beautiful in the dawn.

Everywhere there is the beauty of water moving.

My son Bryn crossing the first walk wire in 2008.

Some beautiful views of the lake through the ancient trees.

Sometimes when the lake is very low it is easier to walk along the edge of the lake. Look out fro moose tracks in the soft mud and sand. Such tracks have often been seen here.

At one point as you climb around the slip listening to the roar of the water as it crashes over the giant boulders and wondering that trout can find their way past it, you will come upon the remains of the iron tools C19th miners used to make this section of the track. What hardships they must have endured.

Lots of places DOC have put in new steel or wooden bridges (even a new walk wire) since I first walked it nearly twenty years ago. It certainly cuts out some difficult scrambling up and down.

Eventually you meet up with the Seaforth River again below the Bishop- Burn. This must be about where I put in on my raft trip in 2009. There are many beautiful river vistas ahead.

Mind you there were some rapids to avoid!

Real 'Huck Finn' stuff this.

The flat going is split by an unexpected ladder.

Crossing the Mcfarlane Burn 2008.

The Old Supper Cove Hut site. Just before you leave/join the river you will see (if you look carefully) the remains of the old hut. Right in the centre of the photo you can just make out the parallel lines of the tree fern trunks which formed its floor. It was the last point you could get to by boat. It would have been a useful shelter if the river and particularly the Henry Burn swamps were flooded. It would have been a cold, wet camp to have lived in whilst you were building the track in the C19th though!

My son Bryn demonstrating just how swampy it gets between the two arms of the Henry Burn in 2008.

My daughter Irralee crossing the 'Waterfall Burn' in 2007.

The Waterfall Burn. There is a 160 metre waterfall at the top of this unnamed stream. You can climb up with difficulty by following the next gully (ie on the true right down Fiord). in 2000 the top of this higher waterfall was shrouded in mist and it appear4ed to simply fall from the clouds. It was pouring with rain and photography was impossible/disappointing. There was fresh moose sign (tracks/droppings) up this burn then too.



Easy walking, as you can see. If the tide is not so full you can still cut off a fair bit of nasty stuff. The track is usually not far from the shore (after crossing) the first ridge. If you are looking across the Cove facing the hut you will see some white rocks on the other side. if you aim for the right hand end of those rocks, you might still see a taped trail leading up to the main track when you get near. This is the view looking from the hut side towards the 'Waterfall Burn' side. The low tide at Supper Cove is approximately 2 1/2 hours earlier than Port Craig (so, if Port Craig's low was at 1:30 pm for example (as it was on 21/04/2017), Supper Cove's was at approximately 11:00 am.. You can check the tide info at the Met Service NZ before you start on the track to see whether you will be able to cross Supper Cove.

If the tide is fully low you can walk all the way across the cove. You can just walk out past the boat shed and helipad, cross the Hilda Burn, then head straight across the Supper Cove flats. Only 'thermometer deep' as you can see Bryn crossing in 2008.

This is the first view of Supper Cove looking towards the hut (unfortunately at high tide). The hut (invisible) would be almost exactly centre. See the white rocks on the shore opposite. You would aim just to the right of them if you were walking across at a lowish tide, then walk up (approx 50-100 metres to the true left bank of the Hilda Burn) to intersect with the track. I did mark the low tide trail in 2014 with tape and a buoy hung from a tree on the shore. You might still spot them.

First view of the hut from the air (with Della 2011:

My daughter Irralee crossing the Hilda Burn 2009.

Arriving at the Supper Cove Hut.

This is the beautiful view from the verandah looking up the Seaforth. The moose were released on that sandbar (centre) in 1905. Many delights await at Supper Cove.

Such as fishing off the rocks for blue cod: my son Bryn demonstrates.

A Hummingbird hammock comes in handy at Supper Cove 2017:

It is becoming a busy switch over point for tour boat operators.

You can often 'catch a lift' to/from Supper Cove from a a helicopter:

Or a float plane.

About 100 metres behind the Supper Cove Hut there are the remains of another 'mystery' hut guarded by a fantail. You can continue up that ridge (past the cataract) and drop down into the Hilda Burn upstream (if you are intrepid/foolhardy). Just after where the Burn splits in two I glimpsed a cow moose in 2000.

28/04/2017: ‘Human’ prehistory just took a number of big hits. Evidence for hominids in America has pushed their presence back 100,000 years! There is also other news about two more of our relatives: & &


28/04/2017: Bring on the ‘English Solution’: ‘The milestones are impressive: an average of a thousand new jobs a day over five years; unemployment down by almost half a million in a year; a jobless rate half the eurozone’s; more jobs created than in the rest of Europe put together; more people in work, more women in work, more disabled people in work than ever; the highest percentage of the population in work since records began. All this while the public sector has been shedding 300 jobs a day.’


28/04/2017: ‘Shelley Garland’ advances the cause: white men need to be disenfranchised:

27/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 3: It will take you slightly longer to walk from Lake Roe to Loch Marie than it did from Halfway Hut, though this will come as a surprise when you seem to have walked 3/4 of the way there over pleasant snow-grass tops sprinkled with myriad jewel lakes and you are gazing down on the Loch and its tree trunks just a kilometre below you. That last kilometre is a doozy!

Looking back towards the hut from lake Roe look-out reveals the way ahead towards Loch Marie.

Looking down from the climb in the previous photo.

Last view of Lake Roe and its hut. 

A myriad jewel lakes.

Mist magic.

Looking up the Seaforth towards Centre Pass.

First view of the Fiord and the sea faraway.

The last tarn before the perilous descent.

Loch Marie seems so close down there: It is. One false move and you will be there.

But it is not without its beauty.

It is horrendously steep. Not a track at all, but more like some horrific ladder mostly made of tree roots and rocks. Here and there a chain for support.


It is a nightmare descent which seems as if it will go on forever.

But finally it does come to an end (after 3+ hours!)

There is an emergency shelter in case the river is too high.

A very long, high walk wire if it is not quite so high, or you can cross below the walk wire if it is low, like this,

A very pretty waterfall to look at.

The lake of course with its many tree trunks.

And just a quarter hour's stroll from the walk wire the cosy Loch Marie hut on a n elevated peninsula overlooking the lake and the river - shown here with a fairly cold son Bryn in 2008.

27/04/2017: I really do not get ‘feminists’ playing down child marriage and genital mutilation (eg amongst the Moslem community) which would make slaves/property of all women and children:


27/04/2017: Outlawry. It was such a good idea: H. L. Mencken explains the ancient punishment of outlawry, last applied in England 155 years ago: ‘Certainly it is simple enough in its workings. A man who deliberately chooses the career of an outlaw is made one officially. From that moment he has no rights whatever. Any citizen may beat him, wound him and even kill him without challenge. It is a misdemeanor knowingly to conceal him, or even to feed him. He is thrown into the exact position of the victim he assaults and robs, and is paid off in his own coin.’ I am sure many others are sick to death of folks who wantonly abuse the law, prey on and endanger us – such as this current spate of home invaders. Clearly neither punishment nor deterrent is working. I think if you took the left testicle for the first offence with the clear proviso that the right one would next be taken for a further offence, the rate of offending would plummet!


27/04/2017: 5 million more people over the last 15 years: Nearly ¾ of that under Labor. 1 in 5 people living here now is a new arrival during that period. Far too many are sponging off taxpayers. They have driven up house prices to levels that Australians cannot afford to buy a home. Our roads, schools and hospitals are overcrowded near to bursting. Huge chunks of these folk have no loyalty to Australia, or are openly opposed and hostile to everything we stand for. We must turn the tap off on immigration now, before we lose our country. A return to Labor will also, always spell a return to mass immigration (of unsuitable people). Of course, as folks have oft observed, ‘Liberals want immigrants to work but not vote, and Labor want immigrants to vote but not work.’

27/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #2: If it took a little over 6 hours to walk from Hauroko to the Halfway Hut (as it did me this year - I was quicker seven years ago, no surprise), then it will take slightly longer to walk to Lake Roe Hut. Do not time yourself to arrive after dark. The hut would be very difficult to find in poor light as it is off-track to the right.

The view ahead out the front door of the Halfway Hut on a fine sunny Fiordland morning. Deer have kept the lawn well mown.

The same view from the air. It is a large valley. Room for a few moose there.

The trail begins: most of the day is tree root hopping (but it is not bad going) save between the two walk wires and after yoiu break out onto the snow grass tops for the last half hour or so.

Beautiful vistas.

Pretty views of the Hauroko Burn below.

Very roughly it is about one-third of the journey to the first walk wire, one third to the next, and the last third to lake Roe.

You could walk along the river fishing between the two walk wires. The track is almost always close by and in sight on the true right bank in this section.

Lunch at the first walk wire. I was in no hurry. My new Icebreaker 'Departure 2' wool shirt ( worked wonderfully in Fiordland. It was soft and comfortable and protected me from sandflies. The breast pocket was just the right size for my pocket camera (Nikon Coolpix S7000). It was a beautiful temperature for the days' walking (about 15C) and had no unpleasant smell to it even after more than a week of wear without washing (it did get wet a couple of times though - as when I fell over in the Jane Burn for example). Once wet it did not strike cold after less than a minute, and dried out completely (from soaking) on my back in less than an hour. Highly recommended. It now comes in a beautiful green and black plaid - something for my Xmas list!

A note on sandflies: Generally they do not bother you when moving or of a night but some places especially near water they can be terrible. It is easy to believe that folks have been driven to suicide by them. Some places they will cover every exposed piece of skin in the blink of an eye. Most folks are allergic to their bites and come up like the surface of the moon in an agony of itching. There is a solution: Come prepared. I always carry extra repellent and ointment as it is easy to lose one from your pockets.

It is relatively easy flat going between the two walk wires; time for a spot of fly-fishing perhaps.

Through a serene and peaceful forest.

Until you come to the second walk wire.

After which the track starts to gradually rise until it eventually breaks out onto the snow grass tops. You know you are about there by the strong smell of deer in the leatherwood forests near this boundary.

You climb up the Hauroko Burn which becomes quite steep in places, falling in small cascades.

You begin to get views of the tops ahead and to the sides.

And the view behind down the valley is quite spectacular.

It is a pleasure though to at last start to break out into snow grass country.

The way ahead is now clear (if not well marked). it is straight over that hill in the centre.

Finally you come to Lake Laffy on your right. The hut is at the head of the lake behind those leatherwoods. As this lake empties into the Hauroko it may even hold trout. Worth a try at dusk.

First view of the hut.

Lake Roe Hut is just off to the right behind Lake Laffy snuggled amongst the leatherwoods.

Just in front of the hut a comfy seat has been provided.

The view in front of the seat is quite spectacular.

You can walk up the hill behind the hut and get some spectacular views of Lake Roe after which the hut is named.

26/04/2017: Remember that ‘bee ban’ on neonicotinoids? Turns out it was all a fake, and that the ban has made things very much worse. Who would have thought the Green folk could get so much wrong?


26/04/2017: Trump is seeking a 15% corporate tax rate. What a boost to capitalism that will be. Will Australia follow suit, or will we just keep stealing money from the taxpayers and pouring it into ‘worthy causes’ none of us would support – such as the $500 million Mal and Jules poured into various mainly Islamist programmes in just the last eight weeks:

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26/04/2017: The inability to write clear English should never get in the way of academic success, it seems. This has certainly been the case since (at least) the time of Wittgenstein. The writer of this article ably demonstrates an ability to do so - as well as highlighting a parallel inability amongst his/her opponents that it is a sheer pleasure to read. It is most unfortunate that ‘belonging’ and ‘seeming’ are often judged to be superior to ability. This should never be allowed to happen whatever apparent (numerical) inequalities may seem to be represented by the proportions of various groups (women, blacks, Martians, dogs etc) at the top of successful life’s various arbors. The presence of incompetent ‘representatives’ of such ‘minorities’ at the very acme (such as eg Barack and Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton) merely diminishes the achievements of the truly able, such as Thomas Sowell, for example. Do read on: or Also see:


25/04/2017: One hundred years ago today: the infant in the middle was my father, Lawrence Jones, so like my own adorable grandson, Milo who is now much of an age as my father was then. He was born on the very first Anzac Day, so it would have been his birthday today, had he not been cruelly taken from us when I was just 13.




25/04/2017: ‘Probably the most extreme form of inequality is between people who are alive and people who are dead,’ Peter Thiel. So true, yet each has an equal share at present, ie one life. The marketers of ‘immortality’ however are like to be promoting a Ponzi scheme of even greater magnitude than the welfare state, as ever increasing percentages of our lives are dedicated to paying for our own immortality - just as ancient Egyptians spent so much paying for it till the lot of the living and the defence of the realm fell into disarray. There is an old (Jewish?) saying, If the rich could pay someone to die for them, the poor would have a good living’. This dilemma underlines the inevitability of all such Ponzi schemes: someone else must be found to come along and pay the Piper. Yet it is so much fun spending other people’s money, that I doubt its fascination will ever diminish.


25/04/2017: Civilisation at the crossroads - The Fall of Constantinople 1453 under Mehmet 2:

Istanbul was Constantinople

Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople

Been a long time gone, ol' Constantinople

Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night...

Why did Constantinople get the works?

That's nobody's business but the Turks.’(from a song by Jimmy Kennedy)

It all sounds so innocuous, doesn’t it, but Erdogan has just become immeasurably more dangerous than Putin, having been handed dictatorial powers last weekend. If you need a reminder of what the rape of Constantinople was like, you might read this: Such rapine, slavery or worse yet looms ominously over Europe under his hands. Erdogan, not Kim Jong-un may be the most evil leader in the world today. You might send to ask the 3,000 he murdered in his coup last year and the 30,000+ he imprisoned…I suspect you will be answered by a stony silence. Under Mehmet 2 Western civilisation was overwhelmed by barbarism. Today we are facing a repeat performance of this immense tragedy.


25/04/2017: Emmanuel Macron is likely to become president of France in the run-off against Marine Le Pen. His wife was his teacher at school, and they fell in love when he was 15 and she 39, with three children. Why is this fine in France but the kind of thing that could have her jailed here?

25/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #1: Regular readers will know I have just returned once more from hiking the Dusky Track, Fiordland New Zealand - probably NZ's toughest and most beautiful. I have now been on the Dusky nine times. For most of its length it is more a route than a track. Take away the track markers and it would disappear completely. So many places too it goes where no sane route would take you: straight down a drop-off in the section from Lake Roe to Loch Marie, for example when any experienced off-trail person (a hunter perhaps) would follow the easier route down the Jane Burn.

You need to beware of kea in the Lake Hauroko car park - and elsewhere. They will tear unatttended packs and tents to shreds.

Most sections take all day, so it pays to get started early (at dawn - as you will need to do on the first day if you are to catch the bus and boat) as many places it would be extremely dangerous to be walking in poor light or at night. Also, being one of the wettest places in the world and with lethal changes of weather, it is essential you have some kind of shelter as you may easily find yourself caught out at night. Rain strips heat from your body 25 times faster than dry air. See: I chose a hammock and tarp as the often torrential rain may mean that it is impossible to find anywhere dry on the ground. At very least take a hiking umbrella: It might be even more desirable and less tiring to slow your pace and plan to camp put some nights instead of staying in the huts (if the weather is pleasant). Most places, except when journeying across the tops, there are plenty of trees to swing a hammock - and if you are near a stream, there is the likelihood of fresh fish for supper - or breakfast!

Dawn breaks through clouds over Lake Hauroko

I find the Backcountry Navigator App and the NZ Topo maps which are free, really useful for keeping track of just where you are: You can switch the GPS on on your phone to check this from time to time, leaving it usually in the default GPS off and Flight mode to conserve batteries. This way you would not walk past the hut, and might have a feed of fish as well. The Halfway Hut may be the last hut in NZ which has the old-style open fire places which were so warming and efficient. The new 'green' stoves are absolutely hopeless. I am not convinced they put out any warmth at all for a large expense of effort and fuel. You certainly cannot cook anything on top of them, or even warm it.

You should also download (to your phone) the map here: and the brochure here: so that you can study them beforehand and refer to them as you go along.

Especially in autumn there are often long periods of high pressure where you can walk for days without taking your raincoat out of your pack. I have found Elders 28 day Rainfall forecast for the bottom of Tasmania ( to be a pretty good indicator of the onset of such periods (allowing three days for them to cross the Tasman). By paying careful attention I have managed to visit Fiordland many times without getting wet. The GFS and NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory also give a pretty good 16 day forecasts:

Finally a beautiful clear day as we chug North towards the Hauroko Hut and the beginning of the Dusky Track.

Most folk walk from South to North, ie from Lake Hauroko to Lake Manapouri. This is dictated by the availability of transport to begin/end the trek. Both ends are on a lake which has to be crossed, usually by boat. The regular Lake Hauroko boat drops off twice per week whilst there are several boats a day across Lake Manapouri. This means that if you wish to walk the track largely by yourself, you have only to wait at the Hauroko Hut for a day or two (fishing) whilst others get well ahead of you. I usually bring in some canned food to last these days, leaving them in the hut if I don’t need them where they are available to others who might be stranded there for a few days - but without causing a rodent problem. Of course you can charter a boat, plane or helicopter anytime.

Johan & Namu tied up at the mouth of the Hauroko Burn

It is also possible to do shorter sections of the track by availing oneself of ‘back loads’ on helicopters or the ‘Wings and Water’ float plane ( ) which operates a ‘regular’ service to Supper Cove at the head of the Fiord. It can land in many other places in Fiordland too, such as Lake Hauroko in this example. Another brilliant spot it can take you is to Cromarty on Preservation Inlet from where if you are very intrepid you can walk back all the way to Tuatapere or Lake Hauroko. The float plane is cheaper per hour than a helicopter and can take five passengers, so the cost can be divided in such a way as to cost only $100-150 ea. perhaps less if there was a full load both ways. This flight from Te Anau to Supper Cove would have to rank as the most beautiful plane journey in the world! The various helicopter operators can also often provide discounted ‘back load’ type fares, so it is well worth asking them about availability: & & In any case you need to take their telephone numbers with you and a (hired) satellite phone so you can call them in if you ever need them.

The Hauroko Hut, a comfortable hut a minute's walk from the lake and the burn.

Boat transport to the Hauroko Hut is usually organised with Johan and Joyce at Lake Haoroko Tours and bus transport to meet with them at the Clifden suspension bridge with Trips and Tramps Johna & Joyce also operate a jet boat on the Wairaurahiri River (as does another operator) which has to be just about the best jet boat ride in the world (and a convenient way to begin or end the wonderful South Coast Track (see eg: You would probably leave your car at the long-term car-park at View St, Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, or you can catch a bus back to Te Anau from there.

The Track begins.

Track times are pretty fluid as with many NZ tracks. For reasonable fit people of my age (68) it is rare for a section to take less than six hours, and some will take more than 8. If you have a late start here, it might be better to wait until next morning so you won't have to hurry. That way you could also do some trout fishing in the Burn which the track parallels for many hours. It is possible to walk along in the stream in many places, then rejoin the track - if the water levels are low. The sign on leaving the Lake reckons about 6 hours to the Halfway Hut, which I reckon is about right.

The Hauroko is a beautiful little trout stream.

With more delights around every corner.

The first 3/4 of an hour after leaving the hut you are walking along on basically river flats quite by the true right bank of the Burn more or less until you come to a walk wire on a side burn. After that the track climbs and the tree hopping begins. Nonetheless it is fairly easy going until you arrive at the walk wire near the junction of the Gardner Burn. After that the track climbs around a gorge and the going gets pretty rough for an hour or so until you come out onto the flats along the Burn again (now the true left). You have nearly two hours walking along here until you come to the hut, set back a little from the stream so that you might not see it if you were walking in the stream fishing, for example.

The track begins to climb after you cross this pretty side burn.

There are some lovely views still down to the river.

And it is not without beautiful 'ents'.

It is a magical path.

Then you come to the Gardner Burn confluence walk wire

After the Gardner Burn there is a rough section.

Once you break out onto the flats again you could easily walk along in the stream fishing for your tea.

Bracket fungi make excellent fire starters when dry: some fine examples.

My daughter Irralee at the Halfway Hut 2009.

A note on getting lost: From time to time you will lose the track markers. probably about twice a day! There are many deer paths, and many wrong turnings others have taken to follow. As soon as you realise you have lost sight of the markers, Stop. Before ever thinking of panicking, have a cup of tea. My mother Marie always advised this, and it is damned good advice. Spending s a little time doing something else, then being warmed by a refreshing 'cuppa' does wonders to allay fears and settle your thinking. Consult your map. Try to work out where the track must be. Often the track follows one side of a stream or another. Try to remember when you were last on track, and how far back you think you went wrong. Try to remember the last little bit of your path. Mark your current position so you can find it again, eg by a small cairn, breaking branches, etc. Backtrack to where you think you went wrong, marking or at least noting your route as you go (so you don't get even more lost). You shouldn't ever be more than a hundred metres from where the last marker was unless you were really wool gathering and there was a very pronounced deer path (or etc) you have followed.

Sometimes it will be the way ahead that is unclear (even if you have the markers behind you.) Again, try to work out (from your map and the lay of the land) where the track must go. Make little forays forward and back to your marked position along obvious routes until you find the path ahead. If this does not work, try forays (back and forth) a little further off what you thought was the 'line' of the track until you find it. If you are starting to panic, have another cuppa! Unfortunately the 'obvious routes' are not always correct There are a couple of places (eg one below Loch Marie as the track skirts the huge slip which created the Loch) where the track switchbacks unexpectedly, and the markers are missing or hard to see, yet lots of folks have forged straight ahead making a very pronounced path where the real path is just about impossible to see. Remember that whoever fixed the markers ensured that you could always see one before or behind when they nailed them to the trees. I know many will have fallen off, but if you are 'lost' and careful, you should after less than 100 metres find one leading one way or another. You should by now have refound the track.

If you really find it impossible to follow the track in one direction, then follow it in the other. It is better to give up the idea of completing the track than to die! In the (very) unlikely event that you cannot find the track in either direction, go back to the map and try to work out where the track must be (eg it is roughly following the true right bank of a stream. If you follow the stream you will find it again (eg at a walk wire where it crosses). Be very careful walking off-track as the ground often has large holes which can open up beneath you. This whole area is an ancient moraine. You are much better carefully trying to find your own way out of a situation like this than immediately setting off an Epirb/Plb which might not work from the location you find yourself in - or the batteries might be flat! I carry both a satellite phone and a satellite messenger/Epirb hybrid (such as this: However both may fail, whilst you should always have your wits about you! You should in any case have let someone know your intentions and when/where to start looking for you. If you have a shelter and warm clothing, and do not stray even further from the general position of the track, you will be found alive, or you will find your own way out.

Perhaps the worst places to get lost are on the tops (which are often not as well marked as they might be). Frequently you cannot see the way ahead (especially in heavy rain, fog or cloud). You need to take extra care in those sections as it is colder, windier and harder to find shelter. Some folks decide they will walk all the way from Lake Hauroko to lake Roe Hut on the first day, for example. Once you break out onto the tops the route is marked by snow poles or such but they are often far apart and you sometimes cannot see the next one. Try to make sure you don't get in a position where you can't see the last one too! As the lake Roe hut is not on the direct line of the track (but off it to the right - walking in this direction) you would pass it by in the dark (which could be quite disastrous on a cold, wet night). Try not to have a fire at Lake Roe. There is very little wood thereabouts which should be conserved for real emergencies. I strongly advise people to take each section a day at a time. This is not a race. Haste will only mean you see less of the outstanding beauty of Fiordland. No-one will appreciate that you are some super hero able to run the whole track in one day as some kind of super-marathon. Such haste will also only make it more likely that some disaster will befall you: a fall, serious injury, becoming lost or hyperthermic in the dark, or etc. Plan to take at least seven days to finish this track, and allow for more like ten. It is likely to be nicer than you thought, or nastier - in either case more time will be required.

The Elusive Fiordland Moose: Along the way there is sporadic moose sign if you are alert and keen eyed. Nothing else could reach up 2.5-2.7 metres (8-9'), break off branches as thick as your thumb and strip them, or devour all the lower vegetation of their favourite broadleaf plants, or systematically bark trees, or leave footprints as big as a cow's.These solitary leviathans yet roam these forests unseen.

This coprosma has been systematically broken off about 2.5 metres up.

And this.

Broadleafs have commonly been stripped to this height.

They like to snack on nutritious bark as they amble along.

Leaving footprints as long as my glasses case. Like this:

Or this.

Someday someone will stumble round a corner onto one and snap its pic. Already two confirmed C21st DNA samples have been collected, and one indistinct photo. It is only a matter of time...

You are now one seventh of the way - More installments to come...

See also:

24/04/2017: Astonishing images of hand-carved food:


24/04/2017: The Great Buster Keaton: 100 years ago this comic genius made his first film, ‘The Butcher Boy’. You can watch it here: Perhaps his greatest ever film was ‘The General’, 1926. If you have never seen it, do:

15/04/2017: A Hummingbird in the Hand: I just took delivery of these fabulous new ultralight hammocks. One, (the lightest of course -147 grams) will be coming with me on my upcoming Dusky Track adventure. I would not be ‘betting my life’ on one for ten days in the wilderness unless I had every confidence they are a superior product.

These are the cleverest and best engineered hammocks I have seen – and I’ve seen (and made!) a lot of hammocks.  They are made from reserve grade parachute nylon and are designed, engineered and built to rigging specifications - meaning you can be confident their weight ratings will not fail you.

Button End.

The suspension system and button-link connectors are brilliant. The suspension system weighs just two ounces (60 grams) and is easily attached with the button-links. I know I could probably reduce the weight a fraction (maybe 20 grams) by replacing the ultra-light webbing with dyneema, but as this would harm the trees more, I hardly think it is worth it. Chris & Kathy have worked out the design and parameters of these hammocks just about perfectly. They have also ensured that everything packs down into the smallest imaginable packages for stowing in your ultralight pack.

Ultralight Whoopie Sling.

However, you know I can’t stop tinkering: I have already added dyneema gear loops to each end of mine so I can attach bits and pieces there instead of leaving them on the ground overnight – and I have added an adjustable centre line (these added 8 grams) to a see if I can achieve ‘the perfect hang’, though I am pretty sure the folks at ‘Hummingbird’ have so designed the hammock that you lie pretty flat in it, and the sides don’t press in too  much – more about that later.

Ultralight Tree Strap Suspension System - 30 grams/1 oz each end!

They have three sizes of ultralight hammocks:  Single 147 grams/5.2 oz - weight rated: 136 kg/300lb, Single + 210 grams/7.6oz – weight rated: 158kg/350lb, and Double 289 grams/10.2oz weight rated: 181kg/400lb. I will be using their Single ultralight hammock as emergency sleeping quarters in Fiordland (in case of flooding), and I might do some off-trail camps as well, as I usually do. It will also be excellent (along with my cuben tarp) for eating lunch on those (inevitable) wet days. Look out for a full(er) review on my return home.

Chris & Kathy also sell many hammock accessories (such as tarps eg ‘Heron’ from 243 grams/8.6oz) to complete your hammock home. All their gear is competitively priced given the high quality of their products.

'Heron' tarp.

Check out their page here:

15/04/2017: 19 Gram Dyneema Camp Shoes: I just finished making this pair of ultralight camp shoes for my Dusky track walk which I start on Monday. They are made from 3.6oz/yd2 Dyneema fabric. Paired with a pair of  down socks from (approx 50 grams per pair), I should have nice dry, warm feet at the end of what is usually a fairly wet slog each day. I will post the pattern and instructions when I get back (promise).

See also:


15/04/2017: Kim Jong-un has about a week to live: You just don’t tangle with ‘The Don’. Watch him sort out a heap of ‘impossible’ problems left over by the ineffectual, indeed quisling Clinton/Obama maladministration. Last week he was showing Assad and Putin who was boss. This week Korea. Next on the list has to be Iran.


15/04/2017: Terrorists are seeking a cost-of-living (dying?)  indexation rise. Unbelievable:


15/04/2017: Australia’s Debts (both public and private) are horrific and suicidal. A crash (like the 1890s) is inevitable unless we ‘find’ a government which can force us to step back from the abyss:


14/04/2017: Camper Crane: As you know we have a slide on camper for our Defender. These usually come with detachable wind-up legs which are quite awkward to operate. I decided to instead suspend the camper on this crane arrangement in the old dairy for easy installation/removal. In addition, I bolted some 4”x4”s to the floor so that the truck would be forced into exactly the right position when I wanted to place the camper on it, then it is a quick and simple matter to bolt it to the deck. A couple of minutes and we are off on our next trip . See you!


Camper suspended above tray height. There is a crane (red above) at each of four corners.

The camper is connected to the crane with eye bolts and chain.

Detail from above.


This is quite a simple arrangement and really makes it enormously easier to fit the camper to the truck. I recommend you do something similar. I bought these cranes from eBay for about $150 each.


14/04/2017: Discernment or Discrimination: Back when I was a teacher, it was easy to see where ‘bad teachers’ often went wrong: they just could not tell the difference between ‘good students’ and ‘bad students’ and insisted on ‘punishing’ the former and being lenient to the latter. The result: chaos, lots of discipline problems and poor learning outcomes for all. You were probably all in such a class at some time in your school career. Mercifully, usually such teachers usually did not stay long. Our social policies such as justice, immigration and welfare have long suffered from the same syndrome. We punished the legal owners of firearms with draconian laws, for example for the atrocious misdeeds of a tiny minority of illegal firearm owners, when such upright citizens are the very folk whose every help society needs most. This lack of discernment by John Howard (and others) after Port Arthur lost the Lberals (especially) a large slice of conservative or mainstream voters which they have ever since struggled to win back. Of course Labor has been unable to win them either. Our ‘welfare’ policies again just continue to reward bad behaviour, often the same bad behaviour that we all saw go unchecked by that bad teacher at school – or the bad parent in public. Again and again such ‘welfare’ recipients grow fat (literally) at the public trough without anything in return being required from them – let alone a check on their rampant breeding habits. The honest hard-working taxpayer is punished with punitive taxes to pay for the excesses of the indigent. Similarly when DFAT warned that some immigrant groups would not assimilate (some Moslem groups after the Lebanese Civil War back in the 70s or some black Africans early this century, their warnings were either ignored or willfully overturned. The disproportionate crime rates among some African groups (up to 70 times the average) and the fact that practically all of our terrorist ‘problems’ originate in the former group are cases in point. These are not mistakes we can afford to just keep making. We need to develop a lot more discernment and discrimination. These were once words which showed you owned some wisdom. The ’elites’ have turned them into negatives. In reality it is the ‘elites’ which are the problem – and their ‘solutions!


14/04/2017: ‘I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements.’


13/04/2017: My post from two years ago today: Meaningless Universe: Far too many young folks think so – but they are wrong! I woke in the night having a philosophical dream, the result of a mis-spent youth at Sydney Uni perhaps. Its motto, ‘Sidere Mens Eadem Mutato’ (Horace = 'the stars change, the mind remains the same’) has a deep resonance with me still. What a privilege it was for Della and I to attend that great institution (in its heyday!) courtesy perhaps of our and Menzies ‘Commonwealth Scholarship’?) I yet remember many night-time conversations (I was a night student all my University studies) with our greatest philosopher the (late) David Armstrong outside his rooms underneath ‘the tree in the quad’, the tree which was planted (as was the quad - to mirror Bishop Berkeley’s tree & Oxford Uni). The tree which remained, as it was ever perceived by God. David was the C20th greatest Empiricist. A privilege also to have been his student. Certainly he would not have found the universe meaningless; indeed (as my dream concluded) such a concept is impossible. Only a hypothetical universe without an observer would (necessarily) be; ours could not! It may even be ‘the best of all possible worlds’ as Leibniz maintained. Certainly, despite even this trick knee, the prospect of a week’s walking (hobbling) in the wondrous enriching forests of Fiordland leads me to conclude, it is!


12/04/2017: Yarra Falls Shelter House: A reader has located the ruins of this magical place and forwarded some wonderful photos: ‘It is on the SouthWest side of the junction fairly high up, where the treeferns diminish (beneath one of the highest on the edge of the spur). It is extremely difficult to find and you could walk within a few metres and pass it.’

The chimney. The blue and white "Gentlemen" sign was found in the debris on the concrete slab and is fired enamel on steel.

The Fireplace.

Tag inside chimney.

Evidence of split timber formwork in chimney construction. Fireplace.


Henry Short and Robert Hoddles oil and water colour paintings of Upper Yarra Falls. Short incorrectly assumes this is Starvation Creek.

Main falls 2011.

Main fall Upper Yarra Falls 1910 and 2011


12/04/2017: The ABC is seriously out of control. Their contrived ‘stories’ are too often offensive to intelligent observers, (such as the beat-ups over Donvale or Indonesian abattoirs) but warning jihadists that Pauline Hanson was soon to visit Afghanistan is wantonly evil. Our politicians deserve our nation’s protection – we can decimate them at the polls, not some lunatic in a hijab:


12/04/2017: Expect the end of women’s sport: If you’re a talented young male athlete and you want to make absolutely certain you win track and field events, here’s a perfect strategy


11/04/2017: More Dusky Adventures: I start on the track on Monday for ten days. As you travel to work on Monday, you can imagine me at the same time standing on the deck of a small boat (Nimu) chugging across beautiful Lake Hauroko en route to the Dusky. Walking the track takes seven days though if you are young and very fit, you might double up a couple of shorter sections into one day reducing the trip to five days or less. If you do not travel to Supper Cove (sheer insanity – it is the most beautiful part of the trip), it could be shorter yet. I will be taking my time, spending a couple of days at Supper Cove fishing and moose ‘hunting’.



See also:


11/04/2017: Ultralight Travel Toothbrush: Not an ultralight hiking toothbrush perhaps. For that most folks cut their standard toothbrush in half, but this one is really good for travel, being very slim, compact and light and giving very nearly as good a result as a rechargeable such as the Braun or OralB, but without needing a power socket or all that extra space/weight. It is also very comfortable and non-slippery to the hand.  Colgate® 360°® Optic White™ Battery-Powered Toothbrush: 36 grams inc battery, comes in Soft and Medium. I have tried a heap of battery powered toothbrushes over the years: this one is by far the best, smallest and lightest. At that weight too I have no doubt some people will take it (and some floss) hiking too. The floss can come in handy for repairs, or for fishing:

See also:


11/04/2017: ‘Any means-tested welfare payment provides an incentive to be poor’. Nick Cater. Just repeat this over and over to yourself until you get it:. Our Governments waste most of our money. Mostly they waste it on bludgers whom we would not give the time of day to, let alone a helping hand. A helping boot up the arse, maybe! And they throw the money at these wastrels without expecting a sou in return! Wickedly poor investment strategy. Disastrous moral policy. Government should be about ensuring that people become their best selves, not reinforce folks in being their worst selves. If you keep on rewarding bad behaviour, which is what almost all ‘welfare’ is, you will be repaid with plenty more of it. Apart from our money being thrown away on welfare per se (35% of the Budget!), most of the remainder also goes to ‘service’ these same folks; other big ticket items include: Public transport (2%), Justice (?%), Education (8%), Health (16%), the Public Service (6%), public Media ($2 billion!), Recreation (seriously, 1%) Housing 2% Interest 5% (and rising!) Some of these items are even more (mis) represented in State Government Budgets (particularly, Justice, Education, Public Transport. Less than 5% is spent on Defence or other worthwhile projects. Over two thirds is spent on welfare with no meaningful return, not even gratitude. This is charity gone mad! We need to decrease spending and taxes! Here’s a graphic indicating totals and percentages from the 2013 Budget:…/interactive-budget-2013-whe…/4682404


11/04/2017: How Mad is the Left? South Australia just blew up Port Augusta, its last viable coal-fired power station even though they have already had several state-wide blackouts as a result of closing it. I hope here in Vic we can hold off demolishing Hazelwood until folk see the decision to close it was premature and ill-advised, so that if it can be re-commissioned to save us from similar blackouts and we can work at replacing it with something more modern, but just as reliable:

10/04/2017: You may want to get a pet raccoon after this:  

10/04/2017: Guy Builds Water Cooled, 72,000 Lumen LED Flashlight and Takes it for a Nighttime Stroll:


10/04/2017: Oh Wow: The Difference Between Sex Change Operations and Severing Spinal Cords:


10/04/2017: This is what happens as a consequence of letting folks flood into your country and ultimately taking it over, as happened in SA – there were no Bantu there when Europeans arrived and for 300 years thereafter, only Bushman and Hottentots who are not responsible for these awful crimes. The Bantu were C19th invaders (Remember ‘Zulu’ – who were one such tribe?) We will face the same sort of horror here in time (apart from losing our country) if we continue with our current indiscriminate immigration policies:


09/04/2017: Super Simple Trail Meal: Take one packet of Ainsley Harriot's Spice Sensation Cous Cous (100 grams) 1492 kj (352 calories) plus ½ packet (65 grams) Craisins Fruit & Nut Trail Mix 1389 kj(332 calories) Totals (165 grams) 2881 kj (684 calories) = 4.14 calories per gram. Just boil 2/3 of a cup of water (approx 6 mls meths) and add to the couscous, stir and wait a couple of minutes for it to fluff up, toss through the trail mix. Eat. Delicious!


09/04/2017: Extraordinary: Falling Sea Level: The Critical Factor in 2016 Great Barrier Reef Bleaching!


09/04/2017: ‘One Ring to Bind Them’. The odious oppression of the ‘elites’:

08/04/2017: The Thylacine Returns: Here’s hoping that ‘Tassie’ follows the Night Parrot and other such ‘beasties’ back from extinction. We once tried to hunt ‘The Inverloch Tiger’ with hounds, but the hounds just would not give chase, and only behaved very strangely. Perhaps this was because it really was something different (from the foxes and deer they were used to trailing) - as I understand hounds have to be specially trained eg to hunt big cats such as mountain lions in the US. On the oher hand I have encountered both a striped fox and a striped dingo over the years, so I will wait until they have the ‘snark’ in their hands before I agree ‘Tassie’ is back from the dead:

Benjamin, the last thylacine in captivity, at Beaumaris Zoo Hobart in 1933.

08/04/2017: This is a great idea: Before you climb onto the ‘support’ bandwagon for some (new) Government initiative, ask yourself whether the ‘poor taxpayer’, ‘the woman in the street’ really wants her money thrown away on this latest boondoggle:

08/04/2017: A letter to Malcolm: Thanks for the blackouts to come:


07/04/2017: Turnbullus Pachdermus: The Liberal Party seems to have found every reason for last year’s election debacle except the two obvious ones: the absence of Tony Abbott and the presence of Malcolm. Conservative voters loathe Turnbull (just as most everyone loathes Shorten). Please, hurry up and give us a proper PM!


07/04/2017: Nihil ex nihilo’ (‘Nothing from nothing’) used to be a popular saying, mostly followed by ‘ergo Deum’ (‘Therefore God’). For long this approach: the attempt to understand and explain the ‘Universe’ by reason (once, alone) was supplanted gradually by ‘the scientific method’ (or ‘epistemology’ in philosophical terms, ie that which ‘we’ can apprehend with the senses). Of course the former reasoning was shown (reductio ad absurdum) to be fallacious in that, if used as a ‘proof’ of the necessity of a ‘God’ it also required the existence of prior ‘things’ to create ‘God’ and so on ad infinitum. The religious mentality resiled at the idea of the ‘Big Bang’ ie the ‘universe’ coming into existence out of ‘nothing’, but there IS definitive scientific proof of ‘things’ coming into existence out of ‘’nothing’ (as required by Quantum Theory). In ‘reality’ the exact amount of matter/energy appearing ‘out of (discrete ‘quantities’) of nothing’ has been measured and quantified by physicists today (and may even one day provide all our energy needs!) Only so much can be learned by reason; even then you have to be very careful of the truth of ‘axioms’ , first principles, premises – and also of the validity of the argument…


07/04/2017: The concept of natural 'balance' or 'harmony' was always a silly, unsupported quasi-religious concept - I always preferred Shakespeare's 'nature red in tooth and claw' personally. But it is encouraging to see this study showing that without intervention natural systems decline - much like the paucity we see in 'old growth' forests as compared with the profligacy we observe in secondary regrowth:

06/04/2017: Catching Your Breath - Walking Uphill: I am often gob-smacked by just how bright Willis Eschenbach is, but THIS observation was astonishing. Could breathing OUT more combat the breathlessness you get by strenuous walking uphill. I tried this out on my recent hunting trip, and it’s TRUE. I was able to walk in one go to the top of hills I normally have to pause several times to ascend and arrive completely NOT out of breath. Try it yourself:

The 'Road' to Lobuche.

'He said “You’re not breathing out enough.”

He explained that particularly when we’re swimming, but also with any exercise, people usually end up panting, taking very rapid, shallow breaths. We focus on breathing in, on forcing more air into our lungs. He said that the way to break that habit was simple—when you start running short of air, don’t mess with the in-breath, just breathe out for one count longer.

He pointed out that when we swim or run, we usually fall into a pattern. With me, when I swam I breathed out and then took an in-breath with every alternate stroke of my arms. He said when I ran short of air, there was no need to mess with the in-breath—what I had to do was just add one more beat to the out-breath. So for example, if I was running, I was in the habit of breathing in for two steps and out for two steps. When I started running out of breath, I needed to lengthen my out-breath to three steps … and then if that wasn’t enough, lengthen the out-breath to four steps, and so on.

And that was it. There’s no need to make any alteration to the in-breath, we’re all really good at that part. Filling up the lungs isn’t the problem, it’s emptying the lungs.'

Another useful breathing technique:

First Published on: Sep 29, 2013

06/04/2017: Breathes There The Man... from The Lay Of The Last Minstrel

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)


Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

'This is my own, my native land!'

Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,

As home his footsteps he hath turned,

From wandering on a foreign strand!

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

For him no Minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,

The wretch, concentred all in self,

Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And, doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,

Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.


06/04/2017: The recent London ‘incident’ which ‘incidentally’ killed five people, was in fact an Islamophobia ‘trigger event’ – this according to the Met Police! What hope is there?


06/04/2017: Gillian Triggs. What a monster! More horror from the woman who left her child to die: Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home,” If only she could do something to stop it, she would! Our hero! She has a plan: & &

05/04/2017: Breathing Trick That Puts You to Sleep in Seconds: I always go straight to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but I know some people toss and turn, especially in the wilds. Here's how to go out to it just like flicking a switch:

1. Before you begin, place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just above your teeth and keep it there throughout the exercise.

2. Exhale completely through your mouth quite forcefully so you make a "whoosh" sound.

3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly and softly through your nose for a mental count of four.

4. Hold your breath and count to seven.

5. Next, exhale completely through your mouth, making another whoosh sound for eight seconds in one large breath.

6. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three times for a total of four breaths.

A good pillow is a big help. here's one I use:

Another useful breathing technique:

04/04/2017: A Snowflake apogee: The dreadful oppression of transgender women by pussy hats:


04/04/2017: Terrible. Another disaster for free speech. When will we stop putting up with this tyranny? ‘Internationally renowned author and anti-Islam campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali has cancelled her upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand, citing security concerns as one of the reasons for the decision. Syed Murtaza Hussain of the Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia Inc…informed Festival Hall in Melbourne there would be 5000 protesters outside the venue if the engagement went ahead.’


04/04/2017: Not long before his sudden and premature death, Australian Energy Market Operator chief Matt Zema spoke candidly at a private conference of power-industry executives. The enormous subsidies heaped on renewables, he said, mean one thing and only one thing: "The system must collapse": First day post Hazelwood – Tassie Hydro props up Eastern electricity grid:


03/04/2017: An early morning reflection:





03/04/2017: The more things change: ‘Two blokes and a cocker spaniel don’t make a family,’ Paul Keating. John Slater, ‘I hate to break it to the rainbow fascists, but the cause of diversity is poorly served by quashing dissent and publicly humiliating anyone who dares to stand in your way. Two plus two does not equal five, freedom is not slavery and launching a corporate jihad against those whose views differ to your own does not make you tolerant.’

03/04/2017: Cursive, phonics, times tables…when will we return to education as the primary goal in Australia?


03/04/2017: Paul is right Pauline: You can end Halal Certification Now:

02/04/2017: Quote of the day: 'Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys'. P J O'Rourke.

02/04/2017: This guy is right: a ‘lone wolf’ who uses encrypted message service ‘WhatsApp’ minutes before his terrorism is not acting alone. The self-identified Moslem Bourke St terrorist had similarly sought out or been sought out by ISIS & etc to carry out his dastardly acts, and is not acting alone. The important identifier is that he clearly felt himself to be a member of a group:

02/04/2017: Gender expression is basically a fashion choice ‘...enshrining certain sorts of pseudo-scientific presuppositions into law.’ Man Self-Identifies as a Hen:  &

02/04/2017: God, save us from Al Gore!

02/04/2017: This chap can wear his feet backwards. Should come in handy sometime:

02/04/2017: Merkel. The woman is mad or evil or both:

02/04/2017: Saw my first waterspout today! It was only a small one, about a metre high, and it appeared suddenly while we were gazing at the Mitchell River, at the Mitchell River Silt Jetties where the river flows into Lake King. Of course, I didn't have my camera to hand and this picture was taken after the event....and no doubt I missed the only chance I will ever have to photograph one...but it was so exciting! There was no wind detectable and I heard a sound very similar to leaves in a willy willy. Then the spout appeared, a twirling vortex of misty spray dancing about a metre high above the water surface. I stood mesmerized (well, apart from calling to Steve to "Look at that" without any indication of what "that" was). We both gazed transfixed as it danced on past us and then meandered over to the other side of the river, taking about 2 minutes or so before it disappeared. I was sure that it was a "watersprite ", a word that came go me from Shakespeare, I suspect. My googling of the phenomenon threw up the more mundane term "spout", but it will always be a magical sprite to me after taking 63 years to show itself! Must be time for a unicorn sighting next!

Image may contain: sky, tree, plant, cloud, outdoor, nature and water

01/04/2017: The guy is just wrong. Doesn’t matter what kids read – as long as they read. If you can get them reading comics, magazines or horror stories, just do it:

01/04/2017: Weird people: ‘Leftists Attack V.P. Mike Pence For Being Loyal to His Wife!’ I mean no-one surely goes out on ‘dates’ after they are married – else what is marriage about?

01/04/2017: Blond Bay, Roseneath Reserve, Hollands Landing…Gippsland is just magical. Where else can you drive right to a wild lakeshore amongst the banksias to camp for the night, be serenaded by vast flocks of black swans (and the occasional bark of a hog deer) then be woken to a glorious sunrise where waterbirds hunt the dawn? (And with an internet connection!)

Spot is mesmerised by it too.

Pelican at Holland’s Landing.

Gulls scour the surface watching for minnows rising.

Then drop and pounce.

A family of divers on their morning swim.

A gull combs the surface: So many birds.

31/03/2017: More Gippsland Secrets: Here are another half dozen beautiful Gippsland places that I love


Sale Common: This is a truly wonderful walk starting at the old Port (on the right as you enter Sale from the West). You can easily spend a whole day meandering along its many paths and enjoying breathtaking wildlife views just a toddle from the town centre.

 Ross Creek: A little more out-of-the-way. As you travel up from Erica/Walhalla to Woods Point, after you pass the Mt Victor Spout on your left you will see a number of tracks marked Ross Creek. You should take the last (third) of these (which has the gentlest incline). At the end of the track walk up the creek to the ruins of this delightful C19th mining settlement.  This is a huge boiler which the forest is making its own.

 Macailster Gorge: You will have to canoe down the Macalister from Basin Flat to Cheynes Bridge river height permitting (or walk downstream from Burgoyne's Track). The cliffs which mark the beginning of the gorge have a distinctive Chinese look.

Snowy Bluff: Again this is a walk into one of our fabled 'wilderness areas'. The Mt Darling-Snowy Bluff Wilderness was set aside by Joan Kirner back in the 1980s. Few people visit. You walk in from Dimmock's Lookout on the Mt Howitt Rd above Arbuckle Junction. The going is thick in places as the road has overgrown (this will lessen as more people make their way to it). It is better treated as an overnight trip. There is water in the Mt Darling creek (right of photo). So many things named after Governor Darling.

Wingan Inlet: Little Cormorants make their home right at the inlet's mouth. You access this trip (on good gravel roads) from Cann River. So many beautiful things to see along the Croajinalong Coast.

Combienbar: In East Gippsland is one of those places you have often seen the turn-off to but never ventured nearer. Do! It is a place of utterly astounding beauty.

See also:

30/03/2017: Cooking for men? Or you could try Steve's Nepali Dahl Soup. Now with Della’s ‘seal of approval’!


30/03/2017: Expect more of this as the blackouts hit and increase. No doubt Hazelwood could have been (could still be) saved by just such a similar paltry injection of cash. Meanwhile this morning is likely the last day you could have viewed the eerie mists above the Hazelwood Pondage which were such a feature of the farm we owned for years right across the road from it – such that we called it ‘Brigadoon’. No doubt the Barramundi are already beginning to suffer, and will soon die:


30/03/2017: So, not all of the Government waste is down to Labour. Turnbull could find some savings by cutting this little piggie from the public teat:


29/03/2017: Hazelwood’s final day. The AEMO’s final report now blames renewables for the SA blackout. Many more to come on account of this absolutely mad energy policy - and right to the last, Hazelwood produced more power constantly and reliably than all the useless wind generators in Australia. We shall go down there this afternoon to say a final tearful farewell to our beautiful old friend who has served us so nobly for so long, of course still hoping that it will yet live again:


29/03/2017: From Shirt To Puffy: Imagine a light shirt that automatically puffs out into a jacket when the temperatures drop. A textile lab is working on a fabric to do just that. This is a step upwards from the inflatable clothing I have written about before. I think it still has a way to go before it replaces wonderful down garmens such as Montbell’s, but it sure is an interesting development:


Like this:


See also:


29/03/2017: Some good news: Brownie The Town Dog's Grave.

Owned by no one but beloved by all, Brownie was a good dog:  


29/03/2017: Erdogan, the Turkish dictator is a serious concern; He said, ‘If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets’


29/03/2017: Perhaps you can leave it all to the cat: I thought this had all gone out of the window long ago (under Whitlam) and that Andrews’ new ‘marriage’ rules had been the final nail in its coffin, but maybe not so. I won’t be changing my will, but you might think of consulting a solicitor if you think ‘Tiddles’ needs more;

28/03/2017: New Ultralight Survival Shelter: Terra Nova Superlite Bothy Bags. There are occasions when you just may not survive unless you have a roof, even when you are planning to arrive at a hut or paid accommodation (See: If you are not carrying a tent (or even an umbrella See eg or  you should think about one off these. This new model from Terra Nova weighs only 253 grams, shaving 100 grams off the one I own. I carried this one: on my Everest Base Camp walk (see eg:

It weighed 350 grams which may seem a lot to haul 5 ½ kilometers into the sky when I didn’t need it! Then again, I haven’t needed a funeral plan yet either, and I’m not complaining!

Available at Massdrop right now for US$79.99: Superlite Bothy Bag

Superlite Bothy 2

For 2 people

Fabric: 70gsm polyester with PU coating

Silicone-coated fabrics

Dimensions, packed: 5.1 x 4.3 in (13 x 11 cm)

Weight: 8.9 oz (253 g)

If you were sitting on your Neoair Xlite Women's in there on your CycloneChair you should survive the night in warm clothes even if it gets down well below freezing, and the rain is pouring down - otherwise you would die!

Superlite Bothy 4

For 4 people

Dimensions, packed: 7.9 x 4.7 in (20 x 12 cm)

Weight: 14.1 oz (400 g)

28/03/2017: Snow Goose is Good food: Absolutely. I’m sure there are many interesting ‘bush meats’ might be added to that cornucopia too here in Oz. Throw for koala, echidna, platypus…on the barbie: Includes recipes!


28/03/2017: Malcolm’s Snowy ‘Thought Bubble’ starts to unravel – not that he will get it through the Senate when the Greens realize there will be less water for the environment and that the three spotted newt may suffer mental disfunction as a result! The $2 billion would be far better spent rescuing Hazelwood and replacing/refurbishing it with up-to-date ‘clean coal’ technology. The first two generators were turned off yesterday. Generator 6 had been running constantly for over 49 years! Three more cease today, another three tomorrow. Last night we had blackouts in Morwell and Traralgon to ‘celebrate’. Many more to come. I am investigating the DIY Junkyard Battery:


Ron Pike, retired irrigation farmer and water consultant writes: ‘As a retired executive officer, strategic engineering, from the Snowy Mountains Authority, Max Talbot, told the ABC last week: “This appears to be no more than a thought bubble about something we rejected as too expensive over 20 years ago.”


Talbot explained: “Pumped storage hydro requires about 20 per cent more energy to pump the water than is returned to the system when that water is used to generate electricity...


“Therefore it is only commercial when the differential between peak and off-peak prices (is) far greater than 20 per cent.”....


As Talbot pointed out, this scheme was considered and dismissed in the 1980s...


To generate the additional 2000MW of power the PM claims this scheme could produce would require pumping at least 1000 megalitres of water every day back up to Tantangara Dam from Talbingo Dam, a lift of more than 600m. The power required to do this in the hours of off-peak load is almost 15 per cent of the total NSW baseload production.’ Sack Turnbull Today!


28/03/2017: Safe nuclear waste disposal: This series on the secrets of nuclear energy have been just great:


28/03/2017: ‘It appears that at least one person has perjured himself over this and that one person is FBI Director Comey. There’s no way to square his testimony with these new revelations. The best he can do is split hairs and claim he was not part of the spying effort. Of course, there’s no way to touch him as he runs the FBI. In fact, there’s no way to investigate any of the intelligence organizations. This is the point where many of the robot historians of the future will say the American political class murdered itself.’ The death throes of American democracy...


27/03/2017: Astronaut who walked on the moon: ‘why I know aliens haven’t visited Earth’. I thought it was a great headline too. I really liked his argument. But there is much more to Alan bean than that. He is also a gifted artist who encompasses real moon dust in his works:


27/03/2017: Ultralight Keyboard Warriors: I took a side-trip to Reddit to re-post some of my ideas/adventures thinking ‘like minded’ people there might be interested, people at such sub-reddits as Bushcraft, Ultralight, Wilderness Backpacking, Camping and Hiking for example. You would think so, wouldn’t you? There was considerable interest from the readership, as you might imagine.


Unfortunately, like much of the media, these ‘sub-reddits’ are controlled by a small clique of control-freaks and extremists – by and large very rude people as well! Even though I sought (and gained) prior approval to share these posts from their ‘moderators’, nonetheless they were universally condemned and/or removed by the moderators and their extremist allies even though clearly the great majority of Reddit readers (ie 19 out of every 20) just came over for a look and most stayed for a much longer visit –and I thank them for it! The clique staged a massed campaign of ‘down-voting’ as well as frivolous, rude and contemptuous commenting – this from folk who have not a shadow of our bush experience - and much of it carried on in secret (from the 'community') in that it occurred after my posts were taken down in contravention of an expressed promise otherwise. I should mention that neither the moderator at MYOG or Trail Meals acted like this, indeed quite the contrary (and thank you) - but there are many negative commentators nonetheless who serve only to alienate people like me from engaging with Reddit.


If such social media is to persist, the 95% need to wrest control from the 5%, else it will ultimately fail, or society itself will fail. This extremist ‘cell’ revolutionary method has ever been the means by which democracy has been overthrown by fascists, communists and other enemies of society. Evidently much the same behaviour applies also at Twitter. Facebook (with its emphasis on ‘liking’) seems much friendlier. Pinterest and Instagram even moreso.


Needless to say, I will be abandoning Reddit. It is (at least as presently constituted) a quite anti-social ‘social medium’, and I suggest you also avoid it, as it is likely only to upset you, as it has me. I will concentrate on improving the acessability of my site.


I noticed, whilst this was going on, that for some mysterious reason Word Press has shrunk nearly all my photos (some so that they are almost impossible to make out). It is a mysterious vehicle. Apparently you can click on them to see a larger version, but I’m sure people would like a larger, clearer image at the outset – so, I will work my way gradually through the nearly 900 posts and enlarge all the photos, many thousands of them. This may take some time, and naturally posting will be a bit lighter while I get this done.


I also noticed that the meta tags (at the bottom of each post - which is what helps the search engine find the post when you do a search for a particular topic) are missing on most of my posts. A search engine therefore might not find some of my ‘camp shoe’  orSouth Coast track Fiordland’ & etc posts (to give an example), even though there might not be any other appropriate posts anywhere on the net on that topic. This is an even bigger job and will take some time. Please bear with me.


Oh, and thank you for your continuing support (including many messages of such) here at ‘The Ultralight Hiker’. So far I have only ever had one slightly negative comment which was down to poor wording rather than malice – which is nice. As I’m sure you understand, this blog is ‘a labour of love’. Such support is appreciated.


Meanwhile, my wonderful new NBN interent connection is playing up again (as always) and is just so slow. I need to see if I can negotiate with the ISP/NBN to get this improved. The ‘information super highway’ is just crawling along here…No doubt others have the same problem.


27/03/2017: Turnbull is still 10 points behind in the latest Ipsos Poll. He is dead meat. He must be replaced by Tony Abbott this week so Hazelwood (and our power supplies) can be saved. Ring a pollie today.


Poll crash


27/03/2017: Control, censor, ban or kill. That is the first recourse of tyrants of the Left and their Moslem ‘allies’, not debate or dialogue You will remember how they successfully banned Geert Wilders’ visit (representing the largest bloc in the Dutch Parliament). Now they seek to ban this lady too who has suffered so much already from Islam, not the least being mutilation. She need to be celebrated, not crucified. Of course she already has a fatwah against her, and must have 24 hour protection:


See also: ‘Western intellectuals accuse the liberal from the Muslim world of being a racist against Muslims, or an Islamophobe, or a “native informant” and a tool of imperialism. Sometimes they accuse the liberal from the Muslim world of stupidity, too, or lack of talent. This was Salman Rushdie’s experience in the years after he came out with The Satanic Verses, back in 1988, which he has described in his memoir Joseph Anton. The experience of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, originally from Somalia, offers probably the most widely discussed example after Rushdie’s. But the pattern of Western condemnation can be observed in many other cases as well, directed at liberal writers of different kinds and views’


26/03/2017: Too true: 'With all the many problems facing the biosphere (man being its parasite in chief), the arrival in the Dutch parliament of the Party for the Animals is a small step forward—but it is not enough. Everyone knows (or ought to know) that man could not live for a day, for a second, without bacteria. I therefore hope and expect before the end of my life to see the emergence of a Bacterial Liberation Front, to save bacteria from the ravages of antibiotics.'


26/03/2017: Environmentalists Aren’t Just Wrong. They’re Loathsome And Evil Too: I have to agree with Delingpole: Folks who are already responsible for 100 million unnecessary deaths (from malaria) on account of their hyped DDT ban, and who would like to see one third of humanity starve to death or all the remaining wilderness in the world destroyed (which would be the consequence of returning to 'organic' agriculture) are just not nice.


26/03/2017: I think folks who vote for Labor & the Greens should have to pay a larger proportion of their income in tax to help pay for their spendthrift ideas. So long as I am being forced to pay, I want none of their policies - or their debts! Problem is, most of the Lefties don't pay any tax, do they? It’s so easy spending other people’s money.


25/03/2017: A judge in the UK recently described a criminal before him as ‘a self-confessed liar’. I wonder about the judge’s ability to arrive at ‘truth’ by this reductionist method! Which ‘lie’ is he accepting as ‘truth’?


25/03/2017: Lone (or lobo) wolf attacks. Nothing can be done? Poppycock! For a start we can prevent them by removing all their supporters from our countries - along with their mosques, halal scams and sharia law demands. But in any case we can do what Saddam used to do, or what the Israelis do. When there is an attack, punish the entire family of the attacker. Saddam used to kill them all. Effective, but perhaps too extreme for snowflakes. The Israelis simply go around to the guy’s house (it always is) and demolish the family home with an excavator! If you make his family pay, they will stop him – or warn the authorities if they can not. Almost always they are complicit anyway.


25/03/2017: How do you turn corn into cars? ‘If capitalism – which is to say, human ingenuity set free to follow its own natural course – is a kind of social machine, then politicians are something like children who take apart complex machines without understanding what they do or how to put them back together. (At their worst, they are simply saboteurs.) When they rail against capitalism, automation, trade, and the like, they resemble nothing so much as those hominids at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, shrieking hysterically at something that is simply beyond their comprehension.’ This is a truly great essay:

24/03/2017: Trump chose well with Rick Perry: From a 2016 interview:

‘Kimmel: "You once shot a coyote while jogging."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry: "True."
Kimmel: "You jog with a gun?"
Perry: "I do interviews with a gun."’

24/03/2017: Trump vindicated: Further to Comey’s ‘inadvertent’ admission (22/3) I also notice one of the US govt snoops admitted today that they might have ‘inadvertently’ tapped Trump’s phones. The noose is closing Obama! I wonder what the ‘fake news’ will make of this!

24/03/2017: Save Hazelwood, bring back Abbott: I see this morning Tony backing my idea of the Federal Government taking over our beautiful power station in order to protect us from the many blackouts we are certain to have next summer and in the future generally, maybe even this winter if it is a bad one. Ring a pollie today!

24/03/2017: Heaven knows I don’t much like Malcolm Turnbull, but the piece of scum who is being offered up to us by the Labor Party as his alternative is much more than beneath contempt. A thief, a liar and a rapist – these all figure largely in his CV! See, eg: &

24/03/2017: And then there is there piece of scum the Greens have put up, Mr $3.75/hr: Entirely beneath contempt (and laughable to boot):

23/03/2017: Breakfast this morning: Growlers on the Western Tyers: even with an internet connection (external antenna) so that I could send these pics! The two river views are outside my 'bedroom window'. With Spot & Tiny. Off to Kirchubel today!

The river is just outside the window:

View upstream:

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water

View downstream:

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water

23/03/2017: Ultralight Glasses Case: 12 grams: If you have got to my age (or had other bad luck) you no doubt need glasses. I now wear progressive frameless titanium glasses (14 grams) all the time, but I also need a spare pair in case I lose or break them. The quite lightweight case they came in from Zenni weighs 47 grams (blue below). I knew I could do better. Like this:

As you can see I have also managed to fit in a pair of clip on sunglasses, Weight 4.5 grams eg to prevent snow blindness!

This is 350 ml (12 oz) PET drink bottle I cut down with a craft knife (I should have left a tiny bit more of the neck) and some bubble wrap = 12 grams, a saving over over an ounce ie more than the weight of a muesli bar on the trail, or more than enough weight of fuel (metho) to cook a meal. Every little bit of weight saved helps lighten the load and means you can go a little bit further, easier. I could have even cut down on the (used) bubble wrap a little more.

Here it is compared with my old glasses case.


Indeed switching to these frameless glasses (two pairs) also saved me over an ounce (28.5 grams)! I have simply rolled the glasses up in the bubble wrap and squeezed them through the neck. These flexible titanium frames are quite difficult to break anyway: you can just about stand on them, so they will be fine in the ‘possibles’ bag in my pack.

This ultralight glasses case has been safely stowed (without any due care) in my pack now for over a year and maybe a thousand miles. All its contents came out perfectly for a photo this morning.

See also:

otions.23/03/2017: The blackouts to come: Understand this: the myth of renewable energy is what is getting us into this mess, but renewables cannot produce energy reliably, cheaply or even with as small an environmental impact as fossil fuel or nuclear. (Think of the pollution and misery involved in the Niobium industry, the millions of dead birds and bats, etc)…/by-the-numbers-lifetime-perf…/ Meanwhile Hazelwood continues to churn out more electricity per day than all Australia’s wind farms combined, but only for three more days…/hazelwood-countdown-53-years-ol…/ unless the Federal Government acts now. Ring a pollie today!


22/03/2017: O’Shanessy Aquaduct Trail:


Upper Yarra Track Side Trip: This excellent trail which parallels the Warburton-Lilydale Rail Trail for most of its length is an alternative way to begin or end the fabulous Upper Yarra Track.


It starts/ends at the original weir built in 1914 just below the current large dam which is probably 20 times the original size. Then continues for about 40 km until it meets up with the aqueduct from Badger weir Healesville. You can now walk along the decommissioned section. There is an internet page about the story.,+O%27Shannassy,+Aug+3+and+8+2012+083.JPG


The trail runs in parallel with the Warburton Rail Trail, however, the O’Shannassy Trail is set into the mountain ranges, and therefore provides a different perspective to the environment. Surrounded by tall trees, and ferns, the trail follows the historic open channelled O’Shannassy Aqueduct, and allows for spectacular views of the Yarra Valley.’


Warburton is in the middle of the trail. The trail is on the north side of the Yarra. About 700 metres from the Yarra to the aqueduct on a well marked path. It's a good alternative to the rail trail and you can also access the weir from the Warburton -Woods Point Road about 15 km east of Warburton. There is a locked gate there which was closed to walkers until about 4 years ago but now there is a 6 km walk, that goes along a road then follows a pipeline.


If you finished the Upper Yarra Track at Big Pats Creek, you could walk into Warburton, then cross the Yarra and go up hill on Yuonga Rd to the trail. At the other end you would get off at Parrot Rd, walk along McMahons Rd, Healesville-Dalry Rd and Koo Wee Rup Rd and rejoin the Warburton-Lilydale Rail Trail for the walk in to Lilydale Railway Station.


If you are exiting the Upper Yarra Track from Big Pat's Creek Road you could instead of walking towards Warburton turn right and head upriver for a couple of kilometres to Cement Creek road and that takes you to the aqueduct via a place called Redwood Forest that has become really popular and has a huge cleared area for camping plus the clear cement creek. Map available here:


22/03/2017: Suppose the Federal Government were to compulsorily acquire Hazelwood next week using the Emergency Reserve powers of the constitution…the lights would stay on, the economy wouldn’t falter, unemployment wouldn’t increase, the government would go up in the polls, the Left would be rightly seen as the wreckers and extremists they are – after all, practically no-one seriously believes that (through CO2) humanity is doing any serious harm to the planet. No AGW has yet been detected. All the evidence so far is that the planet benefits from an increase in CO2, (the 20% increase in greening is pretty much all the evidence you would need) whether it is caused by people or not (which is still a moot point), as we continue to exit the ‘Little Ice Age’ and increasing temperatures liberate huge amounts of CO2 from the oceans where it has been trapped by cold for centuries (just like the fizz in your soda bottle!). We can pull back from this catastrophic brink at the 11th hour. Let’s re-nationalise Hazelwood. It would cost practically nothing, as its present value is entirely negative to the current owners – they currently have a bill of billions to decommission it and restore the open cut. So, at no cost to the government something can be done which will be of immense benefit to the Australian community. What a ‘win-win’ that is.

22/03/2017: Turnbull seems to have found his mojo the last few days: the attempt to rework 18c, his defence of the plebiscite and the ‘omnibus’ Bill are cases in point. It is difficult to see what sort of morality the Labor party can have in opposing them – particularly as only days ago we buried free speech martyr, Bill Leak. His son certainly agrees with me: 

22/03/2017: Clearly Trump is right. Obama had him bugged. Comey couldn’t lie straight in bed: When asked in today’s House Intelligence Committee meeting about President Trump’s tweets that the Obama Administration had put Candidate Trump and his campaign under surveillance, FBI Director James Comey said:

“I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.”

But also:

“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

Because it is an open ongoing investigation and is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining.”

And the clincher:

It’s hard to say because I don’t how much longer it will take. But we’ve been doing this — this investigation began in late July, so for counterintelligence investigation that’s a fairly short period of time.

So, they have been investigating since July. It’s classified. They conduct an investigation without any surveillance…

22/03/2017: The World’s Great Religions: You must have heard this phrase. As if there was anything great about any religion! What’s so great about delusion, self-deception, the diversion of immense assets and effort to fantastic goals, the subjugation of billions to falsity and hatred? ‘Good manners should deter us from insulting other people over their faiths on most occasions…But these are not normal times. And the one occasion when good manners should not determine our actions is when others threaten us with death or maiming if our speech offends their faith. We are then under an obligation to defend free speech, if not by blaspheming ourselves, then at least by protecting the right to blaspheme expressed in the speech of fellow citizens. Not only does the right to free speech include the right to offend, moreover; it is largely meaningless without that right. Speech that offends no one requires no protection. Indeed… the right to be offended is also an important right because, even if we are reluctant to admit the fact, it frees us from the prison of unconsidered opinion and the prejudices of our own religious-cum-ideological community’:

21/03/2017: The Ultralight Trail Baker: You can make a baking stand (‘the Flashbaker’) out of aluminium flashing.  You just need to cut a circle a little smaller than your pot and leave three approx 1 ½” ‘legs’ on the outside of the disc which you fold down to support whatever you are cooking. (OK, this one has four legs!) This works well with a thick dough. I have often made ‘damper’ in my cook pot with such an arrangement. My original flashing ‘baker’ weighs 13.5 grams.


 L to R: Snowpeak 1400 ml Titanium Cook pot Frypan Lid, Brasslite Turbo 1D Stove, Brasslite Traillbaker, ‘Flashbaker’,  Evernew Titanium Sierra Cup, Snowpeak 1400 ml Titanium Cook Pot

 Or you can also buy Brasslite’s excellent ‘Trailbaker’ here: which weighs 50.5 grams. It would be possible to make a suspension system for an Evernew Titanium Sierra Cup (Weight 63.5 grams) which does the same thing – and doubles as a cup (Remember the ‘Hot Lips’ though: Some titanium windscreen material (if it had enough holes in it) or lightweight weldmesh rolled into a cylinder ends joined with a paper clip would probably ‘do the trick’ or a circle of thin wire with three attached hooks for suspension from the top of the billy.

 I gave up cooking 'bread' on the trail maybe ten years ago - just got so many other recipes happening I guess, and was finding it a bit tedious, especially due to advancing arthritis. I find these  good for: Of course another alternative is 'Johnny Cakes' or 'fried scones' - a great colonial Australian favourite, and a favourite with me for many years too!

The ‘Flashbaker’ just goes in your normal cook pot. This is all you need (except for a simmer stove. I use these: You don't need two pots at all, one inside the other. Of course this only worked with a stiff dough which sits on the baking disc or stand. If you want to bake a cake, or something with a runny dough, you will need something like the Trailbaker or Sierra Cup (above)

PS: Use a wad punch to make the baking disc even lighter. I figure you could take off at least 1/3 of its weight to bring it down to say 8 grams! Or you could make the baking disc (The Meshbaker') out of 1 cm stainless steel weld mesh. The holes would distribute the heat better too when baking bread.

I only ever baked bread (or 'damper' usually) usually to use for my lunch the next day, along with eg a sachet of tuna or some peanut butter. It is actually just as easy (and quicker) to make 'Johnny Cakes' or ‘Bannock’, maybe in the traditional way: on a stick! More about them, later…and my damper recipe!

A Reader Writes: ‘Bread on the trail does not have to be messy. Take a sandwich ziplock back and put in the bag

1.5c flour 1/4tsp salt 1/4tsp sugar 1/4tsp dry yeast

On the day you are going to make fresh bread add 3/4c water to the bag and mix the ingredients by kneading through the bag. Once everything is mixed work all the air out of the bag and seal it.

It will need to set for about 6 to 8 hours so you can put it in the top of your pack or leave it sitting at camp. After which the bag will be puffed up. Simply open the bag and dump it into the greased dish you are going to bake it in. Let it rest for about an hour before baking.

I have put it into an old scout pot inside the scout cook set, closed the set and buried it in coals to cook. Takes around 15 to 20 min to cook and you have fresh bread. I have seen people cook it in a used bean can that is put in there cook pot with a couple of rocks in the bottom to keep the bean can off the bottom.

No mess, no hassle, easy and can be made at the start of the hike to have it ready that night.

21/03/2017: Too True Viv: Greens are not only the enemy of the environment but of humanity & civilisation too:

21/03/2017: I have been waiting long for this: Gillard to face perjury charges: The prosecutions have begun: They will (eventually) end with Gillard in gaol and stripped of her parliamentary pension, and with the public reassured that there is justice yet!

20/03/2017: You can stop Google tracking your every move:

20/03/2017: How Trump is dumber than Bernie Sanders:

20/03/2017: ‘Textualism is a formalist theory that primarily interprets the law based on the ordinary meaning of the legal text… and not considering non-textual sources such as intention of the law when passed, the problem it was intended to remedy, or significant questions of the justice and rectitude of the law.’ Wow! I think we need more of the plain speaking I spoke about on 16/03/2017: ‘On the ineffable virtues of monosyllables and portmanteau words’:

19/03/2017: 2WD Folding Motorbike: Here’s just the thing to cut up those bush tracks even more – or you could think about walking, and saving both your money and the bush!  &


Taurus 2x2: two wheel drive system makes it very capable in boggy mud


Taurus 2x2: disassembles quickly to fit in the back of the car


See also;

19/03/2017: The Kiwis have a new sport which might soon go viral: wallaby tossing – what could be more fun:

19/03/2017: Once again Turkey (what used to be called ‘the sick old man of Europe’) is a problem. It is sick all right. Was it ever not? Just for a thousand years or so…Under their latest dictator, they threaten what will maybe be called ‘The Fifth Crusade’ when Europe finally responds. We can only hope it is not WW3! Still and all, it is about time the tide turned. Europe has long needed to push back against this burgeoning menace, not invite it into its home! The success of conservative parties in the recent Dutch election shows that Europe may at last be ready to take on this new Hitler, Erdogan and his invading army of ‘refugees’ and ‘guest workers’:

18/03/2017: Steve’s Nepali Dahl Soup: I made this dahl entirely with dried ingredients so I could make it on the trail. It made over a litre. I had trouble eating half. Very filling, tasty and nutritious. Do try it at home first. I would put the lentils in one small snap-lock bag and all the other dried ingredients in another. This soup will make a welcome change from whatever you are eating now and is very light and cheap to make.


1 cup red lentils

 3 ½ cups water

20 grams Hormel dried bacon pieces

1 table milk powder

2 teaas powdered/dried onion

½ packet Tomato cupasoup

½ teas turmeric

1 teas ground gunger

½ teas hot paprika

½ teas garam masala

½ teas coriander

Pinch groundblack papper

2 teas dried chives

1 teas garlic powder

1 teas cumin


Soak lentils 10 + minutes

Add ingredients

Bring to boil, then simmer 20 minutes.

Salt/pepper &/or curry powder (not needed) to taste

Thicken continental deb mash (not needed)

Comment: Delicious!

18/03/2017: First the fake news (Wilders lost), then the real news from Holland: Holland moves to the right. The Government lost ¼ of their seats. Labor lost ¾ of their seats. Wilders up 1/3. Shake in your boots, Angela:

18/03/2017: The great (Polish!) novelist Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) had such a turn of phrase and depth of perception (and all this genius in his third language makes me feel tongue-tied!) eg, From the description of Donkin as he boards the Narcissus: ‘Is there a spot on earth where such a man is unknown, an ominous survival testifying to the eternal fitness of lies and impudence? . . . He was the man that cannot steer, that cannot splice, that dodges the work on dark nights; that, aloft, holds on frantically with both arms and legs, and swears at the wind, the sleet, the darkness; the man who curses the sea while others work. The man who is the last out and the first in when all hands are called. The man who can’t do most things and won’t do the rest. The pet of philanthropists and self-seeking landlubbers. The sympathetic and deserving creature that knows all about his rights, but knows nothing of courage, of endurance, and of the unexpressed faith, of the unspoken loyalty that knits together a ship’s company. The independent offspring of the ignoble freedom of the slums full of disdain and hate for the austere servitude of the sea.’ A wonderful review here:

18/03/2017: I remember when I was ‘working class’ and that meant I worked in a factory, as a shop assistant, cleaner, farm labourer, fruit picker, taxi driver, etc. Now that phrase means ‘welfare class’. Immigrants eagerly flock here to take up that sort of work, but many ‘native born’ and ‘natives’ too often disdain it – or anything else that means work. The raw data shrieks at us that we cannot continue on this course: ‘40 per cent of children from jobless households are on welfare by age 20; 39 per cent of children follow their parents’ footsteps and live off the taxpayer; 12 per cent of children under 14 are growing up in jobless families’. Amongst those identifying as ‘aborigines’ the figures are even worse! Here is an instructive tale of two families, one which works and one which will not:

17/03/2017: Hoons: Recently we were up near Toorongo trying to work out a hiking route from Noojee to Tanjil Bren &/or to Mt Horsefall. (More about that soon!) We walked along this ‘closed’ road from the Toorongo No 3 Bridge to ‘Rabbit Flat’ (an interesting part of the world). The road had been ruined by dozens of these huge bog holes caused jointly by folks not owning a shovel (with which to drain them), no maintenance by the DOC, and sub-human 4WD ‘hoons’ entertaining themselves with plowing the road. The puddles were so deep poor Tiny had to swim them.

This kind of madness has to end. So does the policy of the DOC closing roads rather than maintaining them – a situation caused by their employing an army of university ‘educated’ bludgers who want to spend all day in offices having meetings or playing at computer screens or driving round in Hiluxes. Instead they should employ folks who actually want to do (physical) work (the only kind really) such as driving 4WD tractors and actually fixing the roads and/or creating and maintaining firebreaks (we have an out of control fire near Caringal this morning in an area where the tracks have also become impassable) also spraying noxious weeds and eradicating pest animals.

Neither the ‘hoons’ behaviour, nor the DOC’s strikes me as ‘conservation’ – if the greenies have not made that a dirty word for you too!

There was also some Himalayan Honeysuckle fringing parts of this track, a beautiful invasive plant much to be preferred to the ‘usual’ blackberries (also present):

17/03/2017: ‘How often we’ve seen the kind of mad superstitions that have our politicians this week struggling to keep on our lights and gas. They aren’t really new, these taboos on coal and fracking. We’ve seen such things before — irrational taboos on everything from fish and pigs to uranium and genetically modified crops. The Nuer people of Sudan and Bena Bena of Papua New Guinea, for instance, would go hungry rather than eat chickens or eggs. Tasmanian Aborigines starved rather than catch scaled fish, a taboo brought in some 4000 years ago and not shared by mainland Aborigines. Hawaiians banned women from eating bananas and coconuts until 1819. And Jews and Muslims will not eat pigs for purely religious reasons. All such taboos seem to make no sense and only make people poorer, while the powerful use them to show who’s boss — and who’s more moral. But, while the modern hipster — freed from faith — may scoff at them now, they now bow to the kind of taboos we once took as a sign of the primitive.’ (Andrew Bolt)



schrodingers cat

17/03/2017: Unbelievable: Turnbull’s ‘thought bubbles’ come crashing down: his ‘pumped hydro’scheme will consume 20% more power than it produces – as well as denying the rivers the water that farmers and ‘the environment’ need. Now there’s a ‘win-win’ idea! Unfortunately, such nonsense is Turnbull all over: 

17/03/2017: Cause and Effect are wonderful: The eruption of the Indonesian island of Tambora in 1816 plunged the world into ‘darkness’ for around a year, causing massive crop failures, the year without a summer, and widespread starvation in Europe for example. It also brought us blood-red sunsets and ‘blue moons’ on account of all the red dust in the sky. Also surprisingly it brought us the wonderful novel ‘Frankenstein’ on account of Mary Wolstencraft (Shelley) having to stay indoors all summer due to the colder than normal weather - and needing something to do

17/03/2017: Meliorism: Some of you may not be familiar with the ‘philosophical’ term Meliorism (Think: ‘ameliorate’); the meliorist insists that something ought to be done (often whilst the rest of us run around in circles crying, ‘The sky is falling!’); the meliorists’ solutions are infrequently any better than ‘Chicken Little’s’! The Left is particularly fraught with meliorists, (hence the ‘nanny state’), but the disease has infected Conservative ranks too – (as you can see from Malcolm’s two bizarre ‘renewable energy thought bubbles this week!). So pressing has the problem of meliorists become, that I am bound to say that something must be done about them!

16/03/2017: Weird and wonderful: the Strandbeest, a new life form: &

beach robot experiment strandbeest

16/03/2017: Being born is no great achievement – whatever glory it might represent for your father and mother! You should have no sense of ‘entitlement’ – how I hate that word - on account of such an apogee of creativity. May I digress? (‘Entitlement’ ie that which goes with the ‘title’ eg such as a peerage, land title, patent, etc or something owned and probably earned and purchased – we seem instead to want to mean by it today a ‘gratuity’ ie something you get ‘for free’) But, to continue: nothing much should come as a gratuity for just being born – certainly not citizenship for example, which should be earned – along with all its responsibilities and any rights which may fall your way. People might value it somewhat more if they had perforce to earn it. A pension for example, might rather devolve to you as a result of a lifetime of contributing to the enhancement and upkeep of your society, (in other words as an emolument) not on account only of having been born on a certain day – though it would be better still (for themselves and their society) if folks endeavoured vigorously and paid their own way! Instead of that we have a culture where every second person at least sincerely wishes to live exclusively by thrusting their hand in others’ pockets and extract therefrom an endless supply of golden eggs.

16/03/2017: On the ineffable virtues of monosyllables and portmanteau words. A risky way to begin this digression…Whitehead had something much like this to critique Wittgenstein with – and rightly so, in my opinion. If something was worth saying, it can be said with simple enough terms for the educated layman to clearly understand – if not, it is probably nonsense, as Wittgenstein mayhap was! I have wondered about an injuction to make such a form of communication compulsory: to limit the English language to nothing more than a few hundred simple Anglo-Saxon roots and portmanteaus constructed from them, so that anyone could immediately inderstand everything another was saying, without incessant recourse to lexicons, thesauruses and the like. You would not make that comment of the aforementioned, but what about this: ‘It is far nicer if every man speaks clearly and simply, only using plain words which every other man knows. Where a new word is needed we would join two simple words together to make it (that is a join-word) so that all knew at once what the new word meant.’ I know it might abolish much of poesy and the allure and spectacle of great literature, but it would also straightaway abolish lawyers and insurance clerks – and many other smart-arses! Maybe myself included.

16/03/2017: A revamped Snowy will probably do little to provide more energy (especially if the rains don’t fall) or if its construction is drowned out by the shrieking of snowflakes, greens etc – but we will need electricity now (in April) , as soon as Hazelwood closes, and for a good many years yet until such a project is completed. What is needed is a new base load coal-fired power station gradually replacing Hazelwood - as one is commissioned, the other is de-commisioned! A boon for fisherfolk too, as the barramundi would survive!

15/03/2017: Canada’s Great Trail: Canada has quietly been linking and constructing walking trails so that now it has a continuous trail that is over 20,000km long! We could so easily employ otherwise indoolent folk on such a worthy national project here in Australia. Much as I have been doing with this: or plan to do with this: See:

15/03/2017: Dover Beach’ by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888). This poem was for many years my favourite. (I do also really like Dylan Thomas’ ‘Fern Hill’ though!) You may be surprised to learn that I (as an atheist) particularly like the penultimate stanza. To be an atheist does not mean that one is without the deeply felt beliefs or moral principles without which a person is scarcely human. I too lament that so many today grow up without having developed any consistent set of ethical values to inform their lives…society suffers immensely for this lack. I look about me and see so many folk (50% now) who either have an addict’s dependency on society, expecting it to be their husband, mother, father, saviour or (often simultaneously) seek to tear it down in a pique of sheer nihilism…

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Some comments & discussion:

Sophocles was maybe alluding to the limits of reason. Reason is all fine and good but it comes down to values, context, wisdom/choice etc. All abstract terms that are the base line of meaning. Materialism has its limit in that it has no meaning.
Love the last stanza too. Especially ‘has neither joy, nor love, nor love.’
Need a decent red.


Ole'. 'Another and another cup to drown the memory of this impertinence'! Or more (or less) 'love'!


Yes, I agree, too much love. I take full responsibility for the typos. Over come by love. I'm sorry it wasn't joy. Maybe next time.


"Yea! In the sea of life en'isled
With echoing straits between us thrown
Dotting the boundless watery wild
We mortal millions live alone"...
Arnold's "To Marguerite" sings much the same song. Despite his desire for constancy in his relationship with his Dover Beach beloved, his isolation and longing is the overriding mood of the closing lines. Misery no longer ebbs and flows as it once did, it is now the inescapable human condition due to humanity's inability to make an abiding commitment to any relationship, religious or human.


Eleanore Rigby picks up the rice in the church where her wedding has been; lives in a dream. Welcome to existential loneliness. We all die alone. No one can do it for us.


Unless we fly Malaysian Airlines - then it becomes quite a social affair. Dying alone sounds nicely private; I don't enjoy vomiting in company, so I expect dying with others would be similarly uncomfortable. Living, on the other hand, always seems jollier with a few friends on the side.😊


Dying with 400 or 40 or on the Titanic, I do not think it matters. Life is infinitely better than any of the other alternatives. Pour me another red. In vino veritas. Life is uncertainty. Go interdependency. Go the courage to be your own person. To be a wise, kind, caring, and as possible a moral person. I go for Kant and Berlin, that nothing straight can be made from humanity.

And some more Arnold: Isolation: To Marguerite

We were apart; yet, day by day,

I bade my heart more constant be.

I bade it keep the world away,

And grow a home for only thee;

Nor fear'd but thy love likewise grew,

Like mine, each day, more tried, more true.


The fault was grave! I might have known,

What far too soon, alas! I learn'd—

The heart can bind itself alone,

And faith may oft be unreturn'd.

Self-sway'd our feelings ebb and swell—

Thou lov'st no more;—Farewell! Farewell!


Farewell!—and thou, thou lonely heart,

Which never yet without remorse

Even for a moment didst depart

From thy remote and spher{e}d course

To haunt the place where passions reign—

Back to thy solitude again!


Back! with the conscious thrill of shame

Which Luna felt, that summer-night,

Flash through her pure immortal frame,

When she forsook the starry height

To hang over Endymion's sleep

Upon the pine-grown Latmian steep.


Yet she, chaste queen, had never proved

How vain a thing is mortal love,

Wandering in Heaven, far removed.

But thou hast long had place to prove

This truth—to prove, and make thine own:

"Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone."


Or, if not quite alone, yet they

Which touch thee are unmating things—

Ocean and clouds and night and day;

Lorn autumns and triumphant springs;

And life, and others' joy and pain,

And love, if love, of happier men.


Of happier men—for they, at least,

Have dream'd two human hearts might blend

In one, and were through faith released

From isolation without end

Prolong'd; nor knew, although not less

Alone than thou, their loneliness.


To Marguerite: Continued

YES! in the sea of life enisl’d,
With echoing straits between us thrown,
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live alone.
The islands feel the enclasping flow,
And then their endless bounds they know.

But when the moon their hollows lights,
And they are swept by balms of spring,
And in their glens, on starry nights,
The nightingales divinely sing;
And lovely notes, from shore to shore,
Across the sounds and channels pour —

Oh! then a longing like despair
Is to their farthest caverns sent;
For surely once, they feel, we were
Parts of a single continent!
Now round us spreads the watery plain —
Oh might our marges meet again!

Who order’d, that their longing’s fire
Should be, as soon as kindled, cool’d?
Who renders vain their deep desire?—
A God, a God their severance rul’d!
And bade betwixt their shores to be
The unplumb’d, salt, estranging sea.

'I came like water, and like wind I go'


Yes... and the words "willy nilly" come to mind, liberally sprinkled about that line somewhere.


Omar Khayyám:


Myself when young did eagerly frequent

Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument

About it and about: but evermore

Came out by the same door where in I went.

With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,

And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;

And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd —

"I came like Water, and like Wind I go"

With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,

And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;

And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd —

"I came like Water, and like Wind I go".

Into this Universe, and Why not knowing

Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;

And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,

I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.’

15/03/2017: All is not lost: I see Pauline won nearly the same percentage of the vote in WA as the Greens  (7.74%/7.86%) – pretty good really starting from nothing a few weeks ago, with a disastrous campaign - and being fatally tainted by an alliance with the Libs: Also some interesting points here: One thing is clear: Australian politics needs a really big shake up!

15/03/2017: Fantasies of our times: ‘Greens claim batteries will back up wind power. But the one promised by Elon Musk would keep South Australia going for just 3.5 minutes. The one that the SA Government promised yesterday - perhaps the biggest in the word, claimed the Premier - is the equivalent of 1500 electric car batteries and would only keep a small town going for just a couple of hours. This is where green dreaming meets engineering, and the carnage starts,’ Andrew Bolt:

14/03/2017: Upper Yarra Track Map: Here is a map showing the whole of the (Extended) Upper Yarra Track from Lilydale all the way to Moe, approximately 250 km and 8-10 days: Australia's oldest and best long distance hiking track. It could be a better map, but it is better than no map. You should be able to zoom in on it if you (Right Click) 'View Image', then Zoom (Control +) a few times. In the Track Instructions you can find suggested maps (and Apps) you should buy for walking the track. I am working on a better map which will be posted on the Track Instructions page in the near future. For further information go to:



14/03/2017: Canoe/ Motorbike Trailer: I modified our ancient 6’ x 4’ ‘box’ trailer to carry our two Old Town Pack Angler canoes and my 225 cc Yamaha Serow motorcycle. I achieved this with three simple ‘drop-in’ welded steel sections which come out/in in a minute when you need the trailer for something else -  such as transporting sheep. It may not be apparent that I have welded four pieces of box section to the corners of the trailer so that the two end steel pieces simply slide in (and hold down the motorcycle track). It is a simple and effective arrangement.


I can tie the second canoe right side up on top of the first one (shown). This arrangement proved perfectly sound even on rough 4WD tracks such as we often frequent. It gives us single car access to sections of river which we want to canoe together. I realise some aspects of it could be done much better (and the whole arrangement could be finished (and painted), but I don’t need to ‘get a life’. I already have one!


It was all done somewhat hastily so we could complete our Wonnangatta canoe trip – whilst there was water. See eg:




14/03/2017: ‘Welcome darkness my good friend

it’s good to meet you once again

Because the power grids are stressing,

that’s the reason for load shedding…’

– Shrish Viyas Hargoon    


14/03/2017: As usual Willis Eschenbach has it all worked out so lucidly. What is wrong with Islam and what should be done about it. Three brilliant essays. Do read them:


13/03/2017: If there is a God, why does s/he allow evil in the world? The book of Job may have the answers (some truly great writing there anyway). A thrilling essay, even for an atheist (like me):


William Blake’s “Behemoth and Leviathan,” creatures of an all-powerful God.

13/03/2017: Killer Bees: Yesterday afternoon we took a drive to Yanakie just doing some research for an idea of mind which I will call ‘The Great Gippsland Circuit’, a hiking trail which ‘circumnavigates Gippsland.

We drove down Red Bluffs Road to the beginning of the Marine & Coastal Park, took the track to the right, parked the car at a turning circle  about 100 metres in.and got out. We were instantly attacked by these vicious black bees which we at first mistook for March flies. They just wanted to sting and sting for no reason at all. We desperately leapt back into the car. If we had been on foot I hate to think what would have happened – we probably wouldn’t be here to tell the tale!

Not a pretty sight (at best)!

My parents were apiarists, so I have had a lot to do with bees, but I have never encountered anything like this before. They just attacked and attacked – even though we were nowhere near their hive. At least it was not in clear sight of the car. It was just like when you knock a paper wasps’ nest down accidentally and they all go for you – but these were not wasps. They were bees. They left black stings in the bites. I did not notice any gold colour to them at all.

I will report this tomorrow to Parks Victoria. If this is some new type of bee, they need to be curtailed before they spread more widely.

 Our bee attack wasn’t quite as bad as this one though: Dangerous Swarms - 'Africanized Bees Attack and Kill Man':

13/03/2017: The Great Gippsland Circuit: A hiking trail which ‘circumnavigates Gippsland. This is an idea I have been turning over in my mind for some time. Much of it is already in place, but someone (me?) needs to ‘join the dots’, work out connection water and resupply points, camping spots, track instructions, times and a map. It will take some time – and may be revised a number of times.

Thurra River Mouth

Gippsland is unquestionable the most beautiful area in Australia (perhaps in the world) and deserves a wider’audience’. This trail will create it. There is an immense amount of work to be done, so it will take me some time (I have not yet finished work on the Upper Yarra Track yet ( – but keep coming back. I will add details over time.

The Alpine Walking Track (Kosciosko to Mt Whitelaw) and Upper Yarra Track (Mt Whitelaw to lilydale) constitute one long leg of the trail. Other ‘bits’ in place include the Bundian Way (Bega to Kosciosko),  the Wilderness Coast Walk (Bemm River to Eden), the Bruthen to Orbost Rail Trail, the Traralgon to Maffra Rail trail, The Grand Strzelecki Track, The Great Southern and Tarra Rail Trail (eg Fish Creek to Yarram), the Old Port Walking Track (Port Albert), various hiking circuits in Wilsons Prom (eg Tidal River to Sealers Cove, Sealers Cove to Five Mile Beach? Five Mile Beach to Johnny Souey to Tin Mine Cove, etc), existing beach walks (eg Waratah Bay, Cape Liptrap to Bear Gully, Point Smyth Reserve (Venus Bay) to Cape Liptrap,  Screw Creek Walk (Inverloch), Inverloch to Cape Paterson,  the Bass Coast Walk (Phillip Island to Wonthaggi), etc.

Clearly the walk will be over 1,000 km long and will take 2-3 months. There will be many resupply points and many (public transport) connection points, so that shorter sections of the track can obviously be undertaken. There will be many places you can find paid accommodation, restaurants etc as well as camping spots. It will take some time to work this all out but you will survive and enjoy even if you just begin tomorrow and carry on following your nose (and a map of Victoria)!

13/03/2017: Astonishing, Ruckelshaus, a name which should live in infamy as the greatest mass murderer in history with 100 million+ deaths to his ‘credit’ advises Trump to move to the left. More appropriately Ruckelshaus should be tried and convicted for his crimes against humanity as a warning to like folk who have proliferated like a plague for far too long:


12/03/2017: Hazelwood makes more power than all the wind farms taken together. It makes it cheaper, more reliably, and without killing a single bird. Without Hazelwood there will be electricity rationing or blackouts for years until a decision is made to replace it with new base load power stations. The decision to close it is economic and social madness. Why don’t we have a single political leader with the sense and courage to undo this monstrous wrong before we are doomed to such misery? The Greens and the Left of the Labor party will take us down the road to ruin:


12/03/2017: One problem proponents of the Welfare State have is they do not believe in the benefits of suffering, but just as it is salutary to have to work hard all day in the hot sun to remind folks where their food comes from (the normal lot of farmers such as I have been these over thirty years anyway!) it is also necessary to remind ‘entitlement’ folks every so often that someone else (who has to do the hard yard for them) is paying their way. Just as Pavlov showed long ago, a little goad now and then can aid learning a whole lot more than continuing to reward bad conduct ever will. The Welfare State was intended as a (small) safety net for those whose suffering could not be condoned (the very elderly, infirm, handicapped, etc). Over the years it has been extended and extended again till it includes over a third of the population (utterly improbable) and is long since totally unaffordable.


There is no way the nation’s finances can afford another generation’s extension of this absurd largesse. It has to be curtailed post haste before it consumes us quite, reverting to its primary role as a safety net for the few – whilst the overwhelming majority support themselves by meaningful work. It should remain a means of averting suffering, not a lifestyle choice: it is obscene and absurd to house welfare recipients (free) in accommodation which a large proportion of the workforce could not afford themselves from their strenuous endeavors – at least partly due to the onerous burden of taxation imposed on them to support the indigent – and like absurd socialist schemes.


Some replies to the above:


Well said! Unfortunately there are now multiple generations who have received such handouts; and will expect them as normal. In systems such as yours and mine those people have a vote. So they will continue to vote for the right to reach into others pockets and take what they feel is their 'right' to take. And we are deemed evil if we complain about such things!


It seems now we have generational welfare recipients, and it seems we are ok with this. Hard work these days is obviously a choice, we have a choice to do whatever. Funny , years ago if you were offered an apprenticeship, you were pushed into it , security and all that , you had no choice, now you are asked" is this something you could find yourself doing?".... sheesh


Government intervention is unsustainable in the long term and it will eventually end in tears. I'm not advocating anarchy. However, money is being frittered away. If there is a problem, then throw money at it. The lack of thought and imagination is not a panacea for finding better sustainable solutions. Money just leads to dependence, and like other addictions in a consumer society leads to soft moral choices, and decline and fall.


Yes X, you are right: it will end in tears, like many similar social experiments. We will end up having been 'cruel to be kind' as for example, when we finally run out of 'other people's money' the 'poor will no longer be with us'; they will needs must simply die. It would be kinder by far to require their active participation in our society (supporting themselves - with all the dignity that brings, no matter how small their means).


12/03/2017: The thing I find astonishing is the ATO's admission that they have been supplying Centrelink with this data for over 20 years yet no attempt was ever made to recover these huge overpayments. This measure recovered $300 million in only the last half year. That's $12 billion of overpayment over the last 20. Australia just does not have that sort of money to waste on people who don't deserve it!


11/03/2017: Might as well sack the BOM & CSIRO if they are just political activists who invent data as they go along, as seems to be the case. Of course, as they are in complete charge of the data, they will be unlikely to be caught out (as they have in the past, as above or in the famous Ruthergen Temps case) in the future, which is why we have been having (what the BOM reported as) ‘the angry summer’ whilst anyone living though it would just have observed it as a pretty ordinary summer, perhaps a little cooler and wetter than usual, in fact. Our grass held on right throughout summer this year, what used to be pretty normal for Gippsland prior to the (not quite finished) ‘millennial drought’:


11/03/2017: Political correctness claims another victim: Bill Leak dies of heart attack at 61: &


11/03/2017: In the US, ‘There are 60,000 pages of federal administrative law’ which undermine their democracy – and the rule of law. How few of us respect such laws. I doubt the situation is any better here, with eg our local Council having by-laws which forbid citizens from building a pergola, playing the radio or riding their bikes on their own land:


10/03/2017: You ‘cannot have both liberty and this type of social justice — under whose aegis one can assert rights to be provided education and health care, not to mention food, housing, etc. Positive rights to receive such things, absent an obligation to earn them, must violate others’ liberty, because a government must take citizens’ resources without their consent to fund them. Providing such government benefits for some forcibly violates others’ rights to themselves and their property.’ Too True:


10/03/2017: Good News Story: Potatoes will grow on Mars:


10/03/2017: There is a way out of our energy mess: I have been railing about the closure of Hazelwood and the fracking ban for years. Finally folks are beginning to wake up. A Donald Trump in the Lodge would make a few phone calls (the first to Engie) and the whole matter would go away. That’s what leadership is about. You would first offer Engie a deal which was too good to refuse. One the one hand the stick that if they close Hazelwood they will find it very difficult to do any business at all in Australia in the future; second the carrot: an offer of help with rebuilding it into the most modern of power stations. I would also be using the external affairs power in the constitution to overturn Victoria’s absurd bans on fracking and even conventional gas exploration - as Hawke did at the very outset of this Green fiasco with his stopping of the Franklin-Gordon dam:


09/03/2017: Political correctness: When will it ever end:


09/03/2017: First it was eco-friendly: now it is eco-evil. Make up your minds Greenies:


09/03/2017: Another Andrews Disaster: Today he announced he will legislate to ban fracking. Yesterday he decided he would penalty tax folk with empty houses. The day before he was closing Hazelwood, cancelling East-West link and throwing away a billion doing it, throwing cash at his union mates, destroying the CFA…no wonder his government is crashing.


08/03/2017: Does Turnbull’s visit to and adoration of Indo strike anyone else as a fatal echo of Neville Cahmberlain’s visit to Munich? These folk are not our friends; they are are our greatest enemy. We fought them in the 60’s when they attempted to conquer Malaysia (and did conquer most of Borneo). We should have fought them when they conquered West Papua (now called ‘West Irian) in 1967. We should have fought them when they conquered Timor in 1972. On all their maps Australia is clearly marked as ‘South Irian’. We should not be handing them $50 billion+ of ‘aid’ per year – which they spend on subs and fighter jets, etc. They are only 100 kilometres away at their nearest. They will land in Darwin one day. And we will need every one of the 100,000 SLRs John Howard gave them after Port Arthur to defeat them – if we can! Every Moslem in Australia is working towards just that ‘Invasion Day’, mark my words.


08/03/2017: Hiking With Dogs #1: I am heading up the bush for a week soon with the two JRs, Spot and Tiny. Tiny is now 17, has slowed down a fair bit  and has failing eyesight and hearing, so that she gets left behind a bit. She still has a good nose, so she is not going to get lost permanently. As she cannot hear me call, she can be a bit hard to find, so I decided I would buy one (actually three – for US$59!) of these: to help me find her.


They work off Bluetooth and are connected via an App to your phone, so that you can make them sound a beep when you are looking for them &/or your phone can also indicate direction/distance. If you are somewhere the phone will actually work, they also have many other useful features too numerous to mention. They can utilize the SMS service, for example. They would also be great for keeping track of small children, motor cars, keys, etc.


At the moment they only have a range of 30-50 metres, but that is better than nothing (especially when I am deaf too!) Soon there will be a new Bluetooth Standard: Bluetooth 5 will have four times the range and twice the speed of Bluetooth 4.2: which will have a working range of 120 metres and a maximum range of 400. This will make such devices really useful.


Of course the dogs have their own Tyvek raincoats (, down beds, groundsheets, ultra light bowls, dehydrated mince, Smackos & etc, etc. So far they have not been called upon to carry any of this gear (They are busy pointing out the deer!), but I could construct little packs for them I suppose. These ;little guys are so small I have to portage them across rivers as they would be swept away. I carry Tiny in an ultralight day pack worn pack to front (, Spot has mastered a trick of riding on my shoulders, like this:





08/03/2017: 11 Excuses to eat More bacon:


07/03/2017: Side Insulation: Gossamer Gear’s Sitlight Pads are just great for this if you cut them in half lengthwise. They can be still used in your pack’s pad sleeve but when it comes time to make your bed, either on the ground or in your hammock, these little fellows will keep your elbows and shoulders toasty warm.


You lay them egg-crate side down to get maximum insulation. The egg-carton shape makes them effectively 2 cm or nearly an inch of foam, and all those little hills and hollows makes them ‘stick’ to your groundsheet or hammock so they don’t move around.


There are three sizes available now. Mine don’t seem to be any of those. Mine are 9 ¾ x 18 ¾ ( 25 x 48 cm) and weigh 34.5 grams. This is a pretty small weight penalty for the comfort they bring – and they still do double duty as a pack frame and a trail seat! Mine are also used as my dog’s mattresses, but you pretty much need to have a JR(as you should) if this is going to work for you.


See also:


07/03/2017: Nothing better to spend our money on, but I hope you are grateful that this awesome inequality will soon be addressed – mind you I would like to see lights which don’t discriminate against other sentient beings: sheep, dogs, camels…


07/03/2017: Welfarism in the Netherlands - how similar would our Australian figures be?



06/03/2017: Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump Mar 2: ‘Since November 8th, Election Day, the Stock Market has posted $3.2 trillion in GAINS and consumer confidence is at a 15 year high. Jobs!’ Amen to that!


06/03/2017: Interesting observation: “From the point of view of physics, it is a miracle that 7 million New Yorkers are fed each day without any control mechanism other than sheer capitalism.” John Holland, scientist, Santa Fe Institute.

06/03/2017: Article 19 from the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." The UN clearly had not heard of 18C!

05/03/2017: Womens Are Great in Bed: You have probably noticed before how much I have extolled the virtues of Thermarest’s wonderful sleeping pads. I particularly adore this one (the Noeair XLite Womens) as it as light as a feather (340 grams), ‘fits’ me perfectly at 20” x 66” (51 x 168 cm) and is superbly comfortable (moreso I think than my own bed) at 2.5” thick (6.3 cm) and warm enough to sleep on a block of ice (I have) with an R-rating of 3.9!

You will probably have glimpsed this little piece of yellow in many of my hiking photos, often folded up into a chair, eg here:

I am about 5’8” so my heels just hang over the edge, and the rest of my body fits its mummy shape just about perfectly – which is what you want to make an inflatable pad super-comfy. I also think the horizontal tubes have an edge comfort wise over longitudinal ones but this may well be a subjective thing.

The first point is the most important one anyway: If you have surplus mat at the ends, sides or corners your weight will drive the air there and you will sink further into the mat. This means that the mat has to be inflated more to support your weight from sinking to the ground (usually your buttocks or hips) at the heaviest point.

To me a tightly inflated mat is less comfortable than one that is less so. I prefer a softer bed. I realise this may not be so for everyone, just most people, but if you are like me you will want to chose a mummy shaped pad and cut it to just 2” shorter than your actual height (as I explain how to do here: so that it is both exquisitely comfortable and the minimum weight!

From Thermarest’s page:

‘Product Details

The women’s NeoAir XLite mattress delivers more warmth and comfort per ounce than any other three-season air mattress available. Cold sleepers will appreciate our Women’s version, featuring an added layer of our reflective ThermaCapture™ technology for added warmth. New softer fabrics bring better next-to-skin comfort and boost in durability with no added weight. For the discerning alpinist, thru-hiker or backcountry minimalist who’s counting every ounce, there is simply no better choice to assure the kind of rest you need to get done what you’ve got planned for tomorrow. Stuff sack and repair kit included.

Ultralight: Advanced fabrics and a tapered design make this the lightest 3-season backpacking air mattresses available, with no peer in its warmth-to-weight ratio.

Warm: Multiple ThermaCapture™ layers trap extra radiant heat for cold sleepers, without the bulk, weight or durability issues of down and synthetic fills.

Comfortable: 2.5” (6 cm)-thickness, soft-touch fabrics and baffled Triangular Core Matrix™ structure provide unrivaled stability and support.

Ultra-Packable: Low-bulk materials make the XLite mattress the most compact NeoAir mattress ever – as packable as a water bottle.’

PS: Repairs: Though they are quite tough you will inevitably manage to puncture your pad. Mine was punctured within a day of my having bought it by a certain puppy (you will have met Spot if you have been here before) grabbing it in his needle teeth and dragging it backwards out the dog door onto the front lawn where he engaged in a full-blown mock battle with it until I intervened. I have found that nothing beats cuben tape ( for patching holes in them, The cure is instantaneous, efficacious and has not had to be repeated (Spot is now four years old). This tape is also excellent for a wide range of other repairs (raincoats, tents etc) and should always be carried!

PPS: Thermarest also have a chair which will do this but I own the Big Agnes Cyclone Chair ( I think slightly lighter) which has served me as furniture for many years in many wild places:

PPPS: Another feature of inflatable mats is that you can get yourself and your pack (dry) across swollen rivers relatively safely with them by using them as a kick board. I have had to do this numerous times. Usually it is winter, so it’s not much fun, but if you need to cross...I usually take all my clothes and my shoes off first and put them inside my pack liner.

PPPPS:The RRP for this pad is US$159.95 if you buy it from the States and use (eg) Shipito ( to get it to Oz (Recommended).

See also:

05/03/2017: Greenpeace is (arguably) the most evil, disreputable organisation on the planet:

05/03/2017: I know I probably shouldn’t like this, but I do: William Wordsworth:

‘The World Is Too Much With Us’

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

05/03/2017: So Trump was right – there really was a lot of vote rigging:

05/03/2017: The Great Barrier Reef is in much greater danger from Global Cooling – as we enter the coming Ice Age, than anything else. During the last (several) ice ages it was all dry land and did not exist:

05/03/2017: Fire Tent:

Steve Hutcheson and myself Wonnangatta-Moroka Winter 2012

Further to my post about being able to light a fire in the rain, ( I have also long toyed with the idea of carrying/constructing a fire rain hat or raincoat so that heavy rain doesn’t put out your fire.

The two occasions when it is really important to be able to light a fire are when it is very wet and cold and when there is a bushfire approaching (so that you can create burned ground as a refuge!) On such occasions if you don’t have a lighter, or can’t light a fire you’re a dead duck. Smokers clearly have an advantage here over more sanctimonious folk, and even though I gave up smoking more than a generation ago (! – there is an interesting method of measuring time) I still always carry a ‘Mini-Bic’).

Above: Steve Hutcheson and myself Wonnangatta-Moroka Winter 2012

See also:

We always camp in a shelter which allows a fire outside. A tent is a cold, creeping thing to have to retreat to when you can sit/stand in a warm open shelter, drink rum, play games, read etc in front of a cheery fire – and with a warm back! If you pitch any rectangular tarp high you can have a (small) fire at one end (though the wind tends to catch the tarp if it isn’t pegged to the ground on at least 2/3 sides).

I think it should be possible to suspend over the fire (eg a 1 metre square) diamond of eg ‘Tyvek’ @ 1.75 ounces /square yard and a melting point of 800C. You need to be careful that the fire can’t ignite its ‘roof’ or use it as a wick to ignite your tent, but this shouldn’t be much of a problem in the rain. Set-up obviously needs to be when furled (a couple of rubber bands should achieve this) so you can pitch it over the fire when it is already lit. Weight should be able to be kept to less than 3 ounces (90 grams) including stakes and guys. Tyvek, with its 800C melting point should make a good material for this ‘rain hat’. It might be better to use the material that fire blankets are made from for this purpose.

A ‘Standard’ Australian Fire Blanket (cost approx A$20 such as has lived in our kitchen for 20+ years) appears to be made of woven fibreglass and measures exactly 1 metre by one metre and weighs 427 grams, so it will (pitched diagonally - like the tyvek shelter in the photo) make an excellent small waterproof shelter for a fire. The fact that it will reflect otherwise wasted heat straight back into your tent will also mean you use much less fuel and can have a much smaller, safer fire. I would use a stainless steel fishing ‘leader’ as the guy on that side of the tent (with a ring at an appropriate point on it to secure the top corner of the blanket) and pitch the fire tent over it and pegged to th ground on the other three sides.

I see now that someone is selling just such an idea, the Fire Defender (They even have an 'ultralight' version):

Above, their 'ultralight' version

You might be interested in buying some flame resistant fabric to make your own. You could look eg here;

Tyvek Fire Tent’: We always camp in an open shelter (something like the one above in he photo) with an open fire out the front. So warm and cozy even on cold,wet days. This shelter is very easy to make. It consists of a square of Tyvek ‘Homewrap’ (available Bunnings in 30 metre rolls for a bit over $150) 8’ x 8’ square. The ‘wings’ consist of another square the same size cut in half. One of these can be cut right off the roll; the other has to be sewn or stuck on (using Tyvek tape). (You end up with an isosceles triangle @ 16' x 23' x 16' on which you pitch like this. You can bring the 'wings' in towards the tree if rain/wind moves around to that direction - which it almost never does!) The tie-outs are tarp holders from Aussie’s.

I have a more compact model (shorter wings) made out of .48oz/yd2 cuben fibre which weighs 200 grams (as seen here:! This is my ‘always’ emergency tent which goes with me everywhere – even on day walks: so often these can turn into an overnight trip

I have spent a night sitting (on a piece of thick bark) in front of a fire in the open on frozen ground, in a light snowstorm wrapped only in one of those mylar ‘space blankets which fit inside your breast pocket (Never be without one!). It wasn’t very comfortable, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep – but I am still here to tell the tale. Expect things like this to happen to you, and be prepared!

Two of those ‘blankets’ can make quite a serviceable tent and a sleeping bag. You will need some dental floss or similar to make tie-outs: simply lasso (& capture with the material) a rolled up ball of earth or a gum nut etc with the floss and you can tie out to trees, rocks  or sticks driven into the ground. I always carry some dental floss/Dyneema fishing line in my first aid kit (and a self-threading needle – old eyes, you see) for making repairs to my clothes, (hounds sometimes!) – or myself! See:

05/03/2017: I think Dick the Butcher had it about right: From Henry VI, part 2, Act 4, Scene 2:
Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows
reformation. There shall be in England seven
halfpenny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hooped
pot; shall have ten hoops and I will make it felony
to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in
common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to
grass: and when I am king, as king I will be,--
God save your majesty!
I thank you, good people: there shall be no money;
all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will
apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree
like brothers and worship me their lord.
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable
thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should
made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled
o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings:
but I say, 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal
once to a thing, and I was never mine own man
since. How now! who's there?’

05/03/2017: Andrew Hastie continues his defence of our freedoms in Parliament – a future Prime Minister there, and the sooner the better:    

04/03/2017: Backcountry Radio:

Most radios on offer will just not cut it at all once you get a few miles from the broadcast tower. This little gem has amazing sensitivity and will pull in stations from all over the world. I have owned this little guy for over 10 years (and it looks like it). It has been everywhere with me, provided me with countless hours of listening pleasure (I’m not sure whether I have ever changed the two Duracell batteries) and kept me in touch with world affairs, weather & etc. it is the Grundig Mini 300 World band Receiver at 127 grams bare and takes two AA batteries.

It has now been replaced by the 400 mini weighing 91 grams using two AAA batteries, a significant weight saving. Here is its Amazon listing: Pricey at US$129.99 but it works, is durable, so it is worth it.

I imagine the new model is just as good as the old, but I have had no trouble picking up lots of short wave stations with it at Supper Cove, Dusky Sound, Fiordland - and other remote places. When I can afford its replacement I will have one with a weight saving overall of around 50 grams or two ounces!


Grundig Mini GM400 Super Compact AM/FM Shortwave Radio with Digital Display (NGM400B)

  • More details: AM/FM-stereo and shortwave bands
  • Analog tuner, with digital display
  • Digital display shows frequency, time, and alarm activation
  • Clock and alarm function

Product Description

The ETON Mini GM400 Super Compact AM/FM shortwave radio features AM/FM-stereo and shortwave bands and an analog tuner with digital display. The digital display shows frequency, time, and alarm activation.Clock and alarm functions are also included. It runs on two AAA batteries (not included). Other features include: 3.5 mm headphone output; telescopic antenna for FM and SW reception; internal ferrite bar antenna for AM reception; DC input (5V). Includes: owner’s manual, warranty card, carrying case, and earphones. Dimensions: 2.75 inches x 4.3 inches x .472 inches.

From the Manufacturer

A powerful shortwave radio with awesome features!

Super compact and light weight, the Mini 400 features AM/FM and shortwave radio frequencies. The analog tuner and easy-to-read digital display completes the simplicity of enjoying shortwave listening. Extend the telescopic antenna for better FM and SW reception and plug in a pair of headphones (included) to get a personal experience. It even has a clock and alarm function.

It's portable and versatile

The Mini 400 is a super compact radio that is perfect for all your adventures. Small enough to slip into a shirt pocket or backpack you can take it on your world travels or your daily hike. It keeps you informed and entertained with Shortwave as well as AM/FM and includes a sleep timer with alarm so you can wake to your favorite radio station. Digital display shows frequency, time and alarm activation. It even includes a telescopic antenna for FM and SW reception.

Anywhere is your playground with the MINI 400

It has an internal ferrite bar antenna for crisp and clear AM reception, anytime, anywhere. It has dual power sources: 2 AAA batteries (not included) and included DC input (5V). So the MINI 400 is the perfect companion for wild adventures or simple use at home.

  • AM/FM-stereo and shortwave bands
  • Analog tuner, with digital display
  • Digital display shows frequency, time, and alarm activation
  • Clock and alarm function
  • 3.5 mm headphone output
  • Telescopic antenna for FM and SW reception
  • Internal ferrite bar antenna for AM reception
  • Power source: 2 AAA batteries (not included)
  • DC input (5V)
  • Includes: owner's manual, warranty card, carrying case, earphones
  • Another offering: 85 grams plus 3 AA batteries.

04/03/2017: A really fascinating conjecture: Could a Single Marine Unit Destroy the Roman Empire?

04/03/2017: Watkin Tench on the First Fleet. Compelling reading. It is one thing to write or invent history and quite another to live it:

04/03/2017: Hard to believe this is a CNN poll: Two thirds of Americans believe this and 78% are positive about him. He really will be a great President:


03/03/2017: The Child Abuse Royal Commission has not found a single case against the three largest abusing ethnicities: eg Aboriginal, Moslem, Indian…where it is well-known to be endemic. The children deserve much better protection from those in authority:


02/03/2017: My Top Five Knives

1. Gerber: 'LST Ultralight'
2. Outdoor Edge:  'Razor Blaze'
3. Deejo: '27g Minimalist 3in'
4. Leatherman:  'Micra'
5. Spyderco 'Honeybee'

I've purchased and tested numerous pocket knives over the years. This is my current top five that I use day to day (as you can see from the photo these aren't brand new and have been used a countless number of times). Each has it's own advantages depending on your need. You can read more about each of these knives on my blog by following the links below. All are modesty priced workaday tools which have served me very well...

1. Gerber: 'LST Ultralight'

2. Outdoor Edge:  'Razor Blaze'…/

3. Deejo: '27g Minimalist 3in'…/

4. Leatherman:  'Micra'…/

5. Spyderco 'Honeybee'…/

03/03/2017: What Menzies believed:  These are the values, as enunciated by Sir Robert Menzies in 1954 when founding the Liberal Party. Though we might express these ideals somewhat differently today, I misdoubt many Australians would take issue with any of them:

We believe in the crown as the enduring embodiment of our national unity and as the symbol of that other unity which exists between all the nations of the Commonwealth.

We believe in australia, her courage, her capacity, her future and her national sovereignty, exercised through Parliaments deriving their authority from the people by free and open elections.

We believe in the individual.  We stand positively for the free man, his initiative, his individuality and acceptance of responsibility.

We believe in the rule of LAW Under it, there is freedom for the nation and for all men and women, Democracy depends upon self-discipline, obedience to the law, the honest administration of the law.

We believe in the spirit of the volunteer,  This does not mean that we reject compulsion in matters in which a uniform obedience is needed by the community.  But it does mean that the greatest community efforts can be made only when voluntary co-operation and self-sacrifice come in aid of, and lend character to the performance of legal duties.

We believe that rights connote DUTIES and that sectional and selfish policies are destructive of good citizenship.

We believe that it is the supreme function of government to assist in the development of personality, that today’s dogma may turn out to be tomorrow’s error and that, in consequence, the interests of all legitimate minorities much be protected.

We believe in liberty, not anarchy, but an individual and social liberty based upon, and limited by a civilised conception of social justice.

We believe the real conflict of our time is between the iron discipline of autocracy – whether communist or fascist – and the self imposed discipline of the free man. The spirit of man must prevail.

We believe that liberalism means flexibility and progress.  Its principles and its spiritual and intellectual approach enable it to meet and deal with new and changing social and economic circumstances.  By elevating the individual, it meets and defeats the terrible doctrine of the all-powerful State: a doctrine at once destructive, reactionary and negative.

We believe that improved living standards depend upon high productivity and efficient SERVICE and that these vital elements can be achieved only by free and competitive enterprise.

We believe that national financial and economic power and policy are to be designed to create a climate in which people may be enabled to work out their own solution in their own way and not to control other people’s lives.

We believe in the great human freedoms: to worship, to think, to speak, to choose, to be ambitious, to be independent, to be industrious, to acquire skill, to seek and earn reward.

We believe in social justice in encouraging the strong and protecting the weak, in widening opportunities for education, in the preservation of family life, in good homes owned by those who live in them.

We believe in religious and racial tolerance among our citizens.

We believe that all forms of industry, primary or secondary of otherwise, depend one upon the other and that their community of interest will be the guarantee of the nation’s growth.

We believe that under the blessing of divine providence, and given the good-will, mutual tolerance and understanding, energy and an individual sense of purpose, there is no task which Australia cannot perform and no difficulty which she cannot overcome.

02/03/2017: Not Fake News: Ask yourself why this is not on the front page in Australia: When do we start deporting these people:


02/03/2017: Halal Scam Busted: Kirralee has a big win, and about time too. When do we start deporting these folk:

02/03/2017: Donald is the best thing since sliced bread: From Maggies Farm today: ‘Is February 28, 2017, 'The Night the Democratic Party Died'?

I'm no longer a Democrat (it's been many years now), and though on the rarest of occasions I worried I'd made a mistake, Tuesday night watching the shell-shocked faces of the Democrats on the floor of Congress while Donald Trump delivered his magnificent speech, I knew I had made no error.  I even wondered what was going on in my head in those isolated moments I doubted myself.

The Democratic Party members watching that speech looked like a party of the living dead.  They didn't know how to react.  They didn't know if they were Americans.  They didn't know who they were.

In Congress speech, Trump stood to unify while Democrats sat to divide:

 ...despite delivering an unquestionably positive message, Democratic members like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi glared, shaking their heads and scowling in apparent anger.  Notable were moments when Trump proposed bipartisan positions like extending treatment opportunities for Americans addicted to drugs.  Despite the uncontroversial nature of these policies, Democrats sat in defiance.

But Trump’s message of one America nevertheless persisted.  Between the bookends of unity, Trump doubled down on his campaign promises to the American people, but he did so in a way that broadened their appeal.  He pierced through the unflattering portrayal of the mainstream media and articulated the well-reasoned impetus behind his proposals.

Democrats Refuse To Applaud America Putting Its Own Citizens First

02/03/2017: Well Done Donald! Our crypto fascists in Councils, Catchment Management Authorities, EPA, water authorities & etc have been up to the same hi-jinks here stealing farmers’ water from their streams, rooftops and dams and forbidding them from digging even the shallowest of wells (no more than 10’ folks) on their land. They have even decreed (via the infamous ‘Drainage Act’ that you have to fence off and (natively) revegetate every drainage line on your property no matter how minor (we are not talking ‘rivers’ here) until you have no land at all left even to put your house – this has actually happened to a friend of mine! This has to stop.


02/03/2017: Toss another polie on the bbq:


02/03/2017: Note to Labor: This is the inevitable consequence of your excessive, obsessive wage demands:


02/03/2017: Deejo Minimalist 3in Folder 27grams

This is the Deejo Minimalist 3 inch Folder weighing 27 grams (as configured). You could probably shave 3-5 grams off that by deleting the pocket clip, but you might also just ruin the knife, so don't. The pocket clip comes in handy anyway as it allows the knife to be worn on the outside of your clothing or pack where it is always ready for immediate use.

There is a bit of a story behind this particular knife. When Della and I traveled to NZ to walk the South Coast Track back in April 2016 (see: and etc: Oh, Wow, It was so good!) when I went through the scanner I had forgotten that I had a credit card knife in my wallet, (one of these: and they picked up on it - something which had not happened the last 2-3 times I had flown!

I always carry a knife - i have been a farmer for 40 years). It is just such a normal part of my life, of course I forget that I am carrying it. I just automatically put it on with my trousers every morning. I probably use a knife over ten times a day! When this has happened to me before (twice) they just let me check in my carry on luggage. This time I encountered the Gestapo. The airport police were called and they decided I had a concealed and prohibited weapon and were going to charge me. They kept me stressed out and on tenterhooks for three months over it despite my pointing out to them that they had mistaken a nearly 70 year old retired farmer for someone else entirely: a young thug or a potential terrorist perhaps. I suspect they are afraid to challenge these types and that I was an easy target.

Anyway, I found myself in NZ in the market for an ultralight knife to replace the wonderful Clive Sinclair Cardsharp (recommended, but maybe not legal!) so I just happened to buy the Deejo, and it has been in my pocket ever since. Its only disadvantage is that it is so small  and light I sometimes have trouble finding it, but it works really well, and holds an edge brilliantly. Get one.

See also:

Some more details:

'Light as a feather with the strength of a pocket sword, the Deejo is wildly efficient in action, in weight, in use and in portability. It's the pleasure of a perfect fit and performance in the service of utility. Select one to suit your specific needs, taste or personality.

The Deejo Naked is the famous ultra-light design in its purest form. Three exclusive weights, 15g, 27g and 37g, in mirror-finished steel or in tinted shades of matte titanium, in three ranges of varying materials. The Deejo Wood comes in 3 species of precious wood with beautiful grain designs. From the deep black of the grenadilla to russet hues of rosewood and the curves of juniper wood, subtly peppery in scent. The Deejo Colors comes in 8 eye-catching hues, one for every style or occasion. Dress the Deejo in bright color and sharp flashes, get it in its minimalist version with the Naked, or it's most luxurious with the Wood.

Ultra-light, ultra-flat, with a 420 stainless steel blade with titanium finish. It has a comfortable Polycarbonate handle, secure liner lock system, belt clip, and ample sized chisel ground blade. Polycarbonate is a thermal-resistant plastic with excellent mechanical properties and able to withstand temperatures of -135° to 135°C. It has a high degree of transparency which filters light better than glass for deep, vibrant colors. Safely slips into any bag or pocket with ease.






01/03/2017: We have reached a point of diminishing returns in our public life. Hardly anything actually needs doing. We may in fact be past that point; not only does nothing much need doing, but we'd benefit if much of what has been done were to be undone.’ John Derbyshire


01/03/2017: So long ago already: the Soviet union ended on Australia Day 1991, 26 years ago – yet (listening to the Labor party, Greens etc banging away in Parliament yesterday I realise so many on the Left still hanker for just the same old class warfare and the same old commie notions that held over half the world in slavery for 70 years!


28/02/2017: Greenies burn more fossil fuel than everyone else! Doesn’t surprise me really. Folks who actively advocate murdering one third of humanity are unlikely to have any good habits:


28/02/2017: Our energy and economic policies are turning us into another Zimbabwe:


28/02/2017: Don’t doubt there is just as much crookedness happening in our own immigration programmes:


27/02/2017: Adventure Unlimited:


27/02/2017: THIS guy was great: Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956): "I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman's club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave." Also see:


27/02/2017: Turnbull is costing $3 million to live in his harbourside mansion. Remember when Tony Abbott bunked in with the troops to save us money? Bring back Tony:

26/02/2017: Inflatable Bathtub Groundsheet: The lack of a bathtub floor is one of the chiefest comparative drawbacks of tarp camping vs tenting. I have been toying with this idea for some time. I used to usually collect some suitably lengthed dead branches and drape the edges of the tarp over them on the appropriate uphill side if rain threatened to inundate the ground.

I played with various means of suspending the edges of the tarp with mitten hooks attached to the tarp. This works but is awkward and slow with my arthritic fingers, then I thought, what if I made an inflatable tube which circumnavigates the tarp? I thought this was a genius idea till I Googled it and found someone else had already been there before me. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I did come up with the idea independently though. Theirs is quite heavy and only really suited to car camping not hiking.

Before I ever looked to see if there was such a thing I was thinking mylar or silnylon (both possibilities still – further experimentation needed), then I hit on the DIY packraft site I posted about here: and realised they could supply the materials for the tube and valve and that I could simply sew this to the edge of my 1.3 oz/yd2 silnylon tarp then seam seal the join.

Unfortunately the lightest heat sealable material (eg from is (I believe) 3 oz/yd2. I would need a tube 22’ long to circle double (7’ x4’) groundsheet. If I wanted the tube to be 2” in diameter, this would mean the tube would be in excess of 11ft2 or 1.3yds x 3 = 4 oz plus the 1.3 oz/yd2 silnylon 3yds x 1.3 = 3.9 Total 7.9oz or approx 240 grams. Good, but too heavy. If I can make the whole thing out of silnylon the first figure will become (1.3 x 1.3) 1.69 oz giving a total of 5.6 oz – or approx 160 grams. Much better.

A silnylon dry bag seems to hold air quite well though it is not designed to, so I suspect that if I glue up a tube of silnylon it will serve quite well, even if I have to add additional silicon as in this post:

Why not try it yourself, and get back to me?

PS: This groundsheet will go very well with this tarp:

I realise this inflatable tube could be added to my Holeless poncho to make it into a better groundsheet: eg for my

PS: As with my other design ideas, feel free to make one yourself but if you want to manufacture them I would appreciate some credit.

26/02/2017: Waterproofing Tent Floors and Ground Sheets: I have mentioned this brilliant idea before but apparently I had not done a post about it. Jim Woods has this great treatment which dramatically increases the waterproofness of silnylon (or other) tent floors or groundsheets. It simply involves mixing some (tube) silicon with odourless turpentine (ratio approx 1:3), painting it on and waiting for it to dry. I have done this myself and it works well. Simple, but highly effective. More details here: A Treatment for Silnylon Floors: as mentioned here:

26/02/2017: The Silverback: This is the new Gossamer Gear 58 litre pack. Total weight (Medium) 1060 grams with removable options, ie bare = 595 grams (ie without lid, hipbelt pad and frame).

This new pack is the ‘Big Daddy’ of