20 March 2004
My first visit to the Valley of the Giants was in 1977, at age ten. Back then, gravel roads took you right up to each of the towering beauties, and it was expected that you park your car inside the big Tingle tree. Most Perth people have a photo somewhere of a car that they once owned parked inside one of these giants. At the very least, they have a friend... you get the picture! These days, things have changed. All that vehicle garaging was impacting on the delicate roots of the Tingles. Boardwalks have been constructed so that the experience of these marvels isn't their destruction.
But I need to take a step back, perhaps. What's with the Tingle trees? They're a unique species whose living matter is contained within the outermost layer of their trunk. The inevitable bushfires burn out their dead interiors leaving the living skin as their only support. It's an amazing experience to stand inside one of these beauties. The silence is complete. Where outside, the wind rustles leaves and branches and birds compose their latest chart topping hits, the silence inside makes you tingle. Sorry for the bad pun, but it's true!
Quite apart from protecting the Tingles though, another recent innovation has been to take the viewer from the forest floor into the canopy via the Treetop Walk. Suspended steel tensile structures were helicoptered into position in the mid nineties so as not to disturb the pristine environment below. Apart from four or five column bases and some steel cable stays, nothing was touched in the construction of this bouncing promenade. I say bouncing because, being tensile steel, it does move. Considerably. Especially when I'm up there, 40 metres above the ground!
Of my half dozen or so visits though, each experience has been different. I love to watch the goings on within the canopy, as a bird flits from branch to branch then back to its nest.
The images you see here are an amalgam of those taken last June with James, and just last week when Steven, over from New South Wales came south with me. I hope you enjoy; I'm sure Todd, in particular, will!
Tree top James
James in a Tingle
Don't look down!
In Memory of Arthur John Perrott
A tactile experience
Trunk and stick vista
The paddocks beyond