Once the rain cleared yesterday morning, Tilly the blackdog and I headed out for a longer walk. She deserved it, and I needed it too. We drove over to Narrabundah Hill, at the top of Duffy, an old haunt from the days of blackdog version 1.0.
When we walked there, way back in the early 1990s, it was a pine forest, dense and dark with hidden corners and large puddles. Entering from the Mount Stromlo end of the forest, we would walk along the flat path, past the wild blackberries and the cattle grazing in the paddocks over the fence. Once we’d rounded the corner, been blasted by the wind coming up from the south, and taken in the vista of the Tidbinbillas , Whitby (version 1.0) would take off – she was an excellent off-lead dog, who rarely went anywhere too far away … unless there was a puddle to loll about in. And that was where she always headed. Straight down the hill and splash, flat out on her tummy, drinking the muddy water.
All that was well and good, unless she had the kong in her mouth at the same time.
Because kongs have a hole in their top and bottom, and guess what? They don’t float. So if she landed in the middle of the puddle, well, finding the kong again was a job for “super partner” and the rake. The next day. Early, the next day. Ah, the memories.
But these days, we head into the forest from the south, near the water tower. The vegetation is slowly recovering, although it’s no longer a working pine forest after the devestation the 2003 bushfires caused. But it is still well loved by walkers, with or without dogs, and like us, people were making the most of the sunshine returning.
The wind was up, whipping my face, and we did a good hour, heading south and then west in a loop up to the trig station.
Once up there, I realise it’s been several years since I was there last, and the view has opened up with all the pine trees gone.
The new suburbs of the Molonglo development fall away in the distance, and there are new buildings up at the astronomy observatory on Mount Stromlo.
But at the base of the trig station tower is a little box, bearing the name Jessie, and the message “You were truly man’s best friend”, with a collar inside. Evidence that it’s a special place to many.
I give Tilly the blackdog a special pat – she’s a bit annoyed at all this camera-ing and wants to head off . But I pause to take in the whole view again before we head back down the hill.