Yass, Wee Jasper, Berrima
Prior to Easter I took off on a two-day road trip down to Yass, situated at the westbound edge of the Great Dividing Range. Yass is just over three hours drive from Sydney. No-one goes to Yass for the sake of it. Yass is a pretty, though pleasantly downbeat town of about 5,000 people and it's very much a passerby, truck-stop sort of town. It's generally a wool centre, but for me I was attracted to rolling hills, space, sheep, cows, and I happily encountered all of these. I also wanted to be far enough from Sydney to avoid vestiges of cosmopolitanism that tend to creep in up in satellite villages surrounding the city, without having to drive too far. Here, in Yass, the cafes and shopfronts were delightfully ordinary, and I reveled in the peaceful feeling you find in a small town away from the big city.
Monday Morning in Yass is slow and sanguine. The big city, even in its quietest moments, can in no way compare. Below is a photo of a local park with the big trees set behind the playground swings.
Yass is about 600-700 metres above sea level. This moderate elevation enhances seasonal contrasts and attracts lovely, fresh air all year around.
Venturing out to where I needed to be...
Here's a rock with an animated face that looks something like a prehistoric lizard.
Wee Jasper is a tiny settlement about an hour's drive south of Yass. It was only 52 kilometres south but the drive was often windy and even treacherous so it took me longer than an hour to reach this destination. I wasn't about to risk anything in my old beaten-up Hyundai!
Here's a cobblestone church set amidst Wee Jasper Australiana fauna. Wee Jasper is in a valley and is settled on a lake.
I came to Wee Jasper as it's a focal point of the long Hume-Hovell walk that takes days to do. The Hume-Hovell walk commences at Yass and travels all the way down to Albury on the Victorian border. I only did a small stretch of it in the one day I had, but it was a most marvelous walk, probably the loveliest bushwalk I've ever done!
This was my final stop before turning back. I stayed close to an hour at this spot. It was all up about a 300 metre climb to reach.
It was utterly glorious. The air was so delicate and so fresh, full of subtle fragrance and purity, untainted by nought. I was the only person hiking. It felt timeless to be where I was. It could have been Woodstock 1969 or California - the sense of time and place disintegrated into something altogether more joyous and timeless. I was elated, so happy!!! My pledge, when I finally turned away, was to keep as much of this energy in my body as I could, particularly when I was to be back in the city with its grinding, oppressive ways.
Purity, love, bliss.
Saw quite a few cows and sheep. Loved them!!
Loved driving through all these moo-cows! Loved the sounds they made, "moo" "moo" "moo". They were very sweet and gentle even though some of them were quite huge. I couldn't help but notice, being a city boy, that these cows didn't use toilet paper. Each cow had a shiny amber rear-region. At least it was grass they'd been eating. Cow-pat don't smell so bad..
Murrumbidgee river on the way back to Yass. Sublime countryside.
It's no accident that in my blog profile I list "tiny towns and abandoned railway stations" as one of my likes. It's tiny towns and abandoned railway stations where I find my inner bliss and peace, a sense that all things pass but remain, in some joyous and spirited way, eternal.
Prettiness by the Hume river, Yass. This was my second day. No city hustle-and-bustle here.
By now, on my way back to Sydney, I passed by Berrima which is situated in the Southern Highlands. It's an exceedingly pretty town and is about 650 metres above sea level.
And here am I in a winery near Yass. I'm not really into wine at all but I visited a couple of wineries so I could imitate Paul Giamatti in Sideways which is one of my very favourite films. I told the winery guy that I was doing a Sideways caricature. He was a very nice man, probably thought I was a bit kooky though, but it's fun playing out your favourite role for a visit to a cellar door!
There it is. Something is calling me deep inside. That purity I discovered on the rolling hills of Wee Jasper is a reflection of a purity within. I wish to keep that channel of awareness open, particularly as I tend to get bogged down by city living and its stresses and negativities. It takes an enormous amount of power, or lift-off, to contain the energy needed to be free of negativities when surrounded by noise and distraction. But, at least, I had glimpsed externally the most pure reflection of the natural internal state that is possible. The summit of the walk in Wee Jasper was probably the most glorious place I've ever encountered.