One to Grow On

February 11, 2010

Advance, Australia Fair

Filed under: animals, Australia, children, travel — midway2go @ 10:04 pm

Walking around the giant tingle trees and the karris I had lots of time to think .   Thoughts like, What kind of a name is tingle?  And, How far can I get Nora to hike without a popsicle or chocolate as a bribe?  But then I saw the sign about burls, and that got me thinking along different lines.  So, these trees suffer some kind of trauma, maybe minor like a bug infestation or something more major, like an axe hacking partially through it.  Then, it makes this special coating around the injury, healing itself and making this big knob.  And (this is the really good part), that scar tissue, when see from the inside, is beautiful. 

Maybe people are that way.   Except, hopefully we’re not singled out and hacked down in our prime for our distinctive personalities.

So we kept on going (even without chocolate), and these tingle trees got better and better.  They’re huge.  THey can live 400 years, grow to be almost 300 feet tall and (get this) 85 feet in diameter.  That’s a big tree.  But that’s not the best part.  They have very fragile root systems, which sounds really weak, right?  But it makes them perfectly suited for this little corner of Australia.  They can survive forest fires, pests, and almost anything except humans walking around their roots.  They can be eaten by bugs from the inside out, torched in a bushfire, and as long as there is a continuous living link between root and bark and leaves, they will live on.  Isn’t that incredibly hopeful?  I’ll tell you, to a woman missing her husband and family and friends and wondering if she had the resources to keep nurturing two kids, these trees were a Godsend. 

So these Tingle trees grow only in one swath of land within the Walpole-Nornalup National Park.   In order to make these trees accessible to the public while sparing the root systems (and providing a great tourist attraction in one fell swoop) the park built a tree top walk.  It was stunning.  And nauseating.   THe walkway is like (gulp) a suspension bridge through the tree tops, running from one platform to another over what they call “spans.”  Ugh.  At its highest point it’s 131 feet above the forest floor (that’s high) and the whole thing sways with the wind.  Rory and Nora, charming and inquisitive children that they are, quickly figured out that by working as a team they could rock the “spans” from side to side, enough to make me freeze up and scuttle quickly at the same time.  Cute kids.

Thanks for listening to the Sermon on the Tingles.  I’ll try to finish up with some photos of Walpole’s Australia Day celebration and some beach photos.  Yet another beautiful, dangerous beach.   And that’s Australia as we knew it.



  1. WOW! is all I can say about those tree photos!

    Comment by Shelly — February 12, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  2. Also- proud of you for braving that b-r-i-d-g-e!

    Comment by Shelly — February 26, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

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