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Four days on skis (Norway)

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Day one involved cross country skiing. This is not a thing we do well. We got better.

 

At least there were waffles and beer! Though I think that home brew knocked my internals out of whack.

Our skiing all happened somewhere around here

Day two was also cross country.

 

 

On the third day, we arose from the dead and did some downhill.

Then it was back on the grindstone for more cross country.

This guy had better skis than we did

Fin

Cheers!

After skiing, there is always bubbly!

The Blue Mountains: Katoomba, Australia

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A two hour train ride outside of Sydney, you can find the tourist hamlet of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Tourists have been coming here since the turn of the century (1900). Katoomba itself reminds me of West Virginia in its old coal town turned bust turned tourist vibe. You can now find hipsters and artists in residence.

We took the train out in the morning and spent several hours walking from the train station to a trailhead, down the cliff face, and back up again.

Highlights on the mountain visit include the three sisters, the giant stairway (976 steps!), waterfalls, and the steepest railroad in Australia.

We started our morning at Sydney central

The two hour train ride is a little long. The tourist center by the train station is well worth a visit. That is where we finalized our plan.

8things cafe. Great food and super service

Cassiopia coffee (recommended)

We walked from the station to Echo point (2.3 km).

The Echo Point visitors center

This is where we first caught sight of the famed three sisters. Which we saw many times throughout the day.

Three sisters from Echo Point visitor center

Three sisters from the echo point trail

Three sisters from the trail

Three sisters from just above

Honeycomb cave (at the three sisters)

Three sisters from below on the Federal trail

Three sisters from Scenic World gondola

Here’s what happened in between. After honeycomb cave, we entered the giant stairway. Lots of stairs down (976 in fact). Amy did not do them all.

This is an alternative way to get down the stairs (not recommended by our attorney)

Not here

Here

Flowers and bromiliads

Amy

AMY

A tiny fiddlehead against the mountains

Down

Flowers on the mountain

Looking down 500 feet

The blue mountains

Amy contemplates

Cliff hangers

Amy takes the stairs with a monk

Cliff hangers and rare species

Eventually, we entered the rain forrest at the bottom of the cliff.

The giant stairway is well named. It has been there a while.

Rainforest ecology

Amy rounds the bend

Ferns and trail. The rainforest shift is striking

A very big tree indeed

Katoomba Creek falls

After the falls, we were back in what passes as civilization. Scenic world was first contemplated by coal miners. Just take the train thingy up.

And, why not? Try the cable car too.

We walked back from scenic world (another 2.5km). All told we may have hiked around 5 miles. We deserved a beer.

After a long day hiking, it was high time for a beer!

The 2 hour train ride back to Sydney was slightly too long.

Mountain Cabin: The Fuck All Ya’ll House

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Lil cabin in the woods

Just bought a cabin on the Blue Ridge for the Bitter Liberals. It’s a little thing with a hilarious story available only in person. Suffice it to say that we’ll be calling it the “fuck all ya’ll” house. That’s meant only in the kindest way, of course.

Once the stuff is gone, the band will go here

fireplace side, and yoga too no doubt

kitchenette

Here are some more views of the outside. All of the decks need to be replaced, and we’ll put in two skylights for the upstairs rooms.

Back deck

front deck

The house sits on just over 6 acres of woodland with a creek as one of the borders.