As a kind of part two to my earlier post about our stay in the blue mountains, here are some favourite photos from the trails around Holywell. They were much too interesting not be awarded a post of their own, and it was a great excuse to use my macro lens.
Many of the Holywell trails are steep and up and down paths that cut through the hillside. Either side of you are jungle, shady nooks and mossy banks, which make the hikes pleasantly cool.
The minute we entered on to the cabin grounds, we were approached by a salesman selling raspberries. I had heard they grew up here and was planning on picking some myself, but when I saw how I would have to scramble down steep trail banks to get them it certainly seemed worth buying them rather than getting a broken ankle. This went against my hunter-gatherer instinct but it was probably a smart decision. When I told the sales guy that picking them looked a bit risky, he said, “I know what you mean. That’s why I have my own plants at my house!”
January felt like a kind of Spring here, with baby fern shoots everywhere. I wonder if you can eat them like fiddlehead fern soup?…
…in fact ferns cover most of the jungle floor. I loved how they made cooling, shady umbrellas.
And you know when you’ve reached a certain elevation…there they are: pine trees.
A typical view across from the trail. I want to go and visit that house!
What looks like some kind of bearded moss parasite draped trees everywhere on the mountainside. It added a spooky air, but it did make me worry about the health of the trees?
One of the Holywell cabins is called “hotlips” and of course my mind went to Major Hoolihan from Mash. In fact, the cabin wasn’t named after what might go on inside, the name hotlips actually comes from a local plant whose flower looks like a pair of lipsticked lips. See the resemblance?
We first discovered Holywell Recreational Park on an exploratory weekend drive in the mountains above Kingston. It takes somewhere between 1-1.5hrs to drive the narrow, windy and treacherous road up the mountain. Timing sort of depends on what you get stuck behind, or who’s behind you threatening to overtake uphill on a curve. Drivers here can be crazy that way! Along the road’s edge are plenty of vehicles that tell the story of what can go wrong on blind bends, frighteningly many actually. Or perhaps these were under-maintained vehicles that just gave up the ghost trying to make it up the steep ascents. Most have been stripped of details like hub caps, tires, or wing mirrors and are now just sitting there rusting. It can be hard to see what fell off and what was taken…but I digress…
Holywell was a wonderful discovery. Its a park open to groups for nature tours or individuals that just want to get outside and find some fresh mountain air. It has well marked trails that aren’t too difficult, great views, as well as places to camp. When we spotted the cabins for rent we planned on coming back to stay for a couple of nights, which is exactly what we did after the Christmas holidays.
Perched on a ridge overlooking Kingston below and the Blue Mountains behind, the cabins feel wonderfully secluded.
Inside the cabin is a wood burning fireplace, a bathroom with solar-powered hot water, a kitchen with an electric oven, refrigerator and basic cooking utensils. The furniture was a bit run down and spartan but the deck and the fabulous views made up for that. It was plenty comfy for a couple of nights…certainly better than a tent.
Best of all, the cabin had a large, covered deck with sweeping views across the mountains and down to the port of Kingston and the sea. It was a great place to read or catch a movie, and watch the ever changing sky roll by before us. We will go back.
Robert enjoying the view!