Barry and Rhonda joined us the second day of our visit to Sydney. We boarded the train for a ride west to the Blue Mountains town of Katoomba and a walk out to the Three Sisters. Robin had rhapsodized about the Blue Mountains long before we came to Australia. Michelle and Mim (who grew up there and makes frequent trips to visit family) had piqued my interest even more. So when Barry presented a number of options for the day, I jumped at the chance to see at least a corner of the mountainous area.
In spite of cloud cover and intermittent rain, the Blue Mountains proved as beautiful as their advance press. As we climbed higher, the forest thickened, the hills taking on the blue that gives them their name. This range is more like the Appalachians than the Rockies, its rugged landscape covered with trees. Here they are mostly species of Australia’s ubiquitous gum trees. Barry pointed out the tea trees, whose oil is so prized for its medicinal and cleansing properties. Seeing the tiny needles along its stems, I couldn’t help wondering who first thought of crushing them for their oil.
We stopped along the trail to see the Katoomba Cascades. Coming from a land with plentiful water, I had to work hard to be impressed by the lower end, which falls in a narrow spray to the valley below. The photo here is from the upper end, where the gentler slope gives the swiftly flowing stream more room to play and make water music. On this old continent, where drought is common, a waterfall of any kind is an oasis, a feast for ears and eyes.
The day’s overcast skies and occasional drizzle couldn’t dim our appreciation for the misty Blue Mountains, the craggy Three Sisters, and our wonderful hosts.