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Travel: Discovery Bay National Park, Victoria

Saturday, 1 March 2008

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[Photo]
IMG_9584, originally uploaded by [ecpark].
Austalia (Day Seven) — Today we had two of the best hikes of the trip so far, both through Discovery Bay National Park, which runs along the Southern Ocean on the western edge of Victoria.

On our way back from the second, we ran into three billy goats (“gruff” presumably) in the middle of the path. Don’t know where they came from — they weren’t anywhere to be seen on the way out — but they were sure enough there on the way back. Initially, things didn’t look particularly good … the biggest one of the bunch approached slowly, dipped its head, and started pawing the ground.

Perhaps, now is a good time to pause for some back-story:

Last year when the lady sparkler and I were in Tucson, we mis-timed one of our hikes and found ourselves out in the desert after dark. As we were scurrying back, we had not one but two rattlesnakes try and kill us. The second of the two actually rattled across the path between the lady sparkler (who stopped) and myself (who sped up).

Yesterday, we were hiking around Mount Richmond in the middle of the day, when I noticed a large tree branch that was down across the path began to move. We’d find out later that it was actually a copperhead, one of the 14 breeds of snakes in Australia that can kill you. Now, when you think copperhead, you think of a normal-sized snake that just happens to be poisonous. This, however, was the size of the basilisk from that Harry Potter movie. It looked like it had recently eaten a moose. Or an auto.

Anyway, back to the goats. The only thing that kept me from running around like a blithering idiot around the snakes — other than the whole “being paralyzed with fear” thing — was that I keep being told that they are just as scared of us as we are of them. The goats? Not afraid of us, though, this turned out to be a good thing.

Momma goat DID dip her head, and pawed the ground, but was just looking to soften up the dirt before she laid down to completely block the path. Her two chil’en quickly followed suit. We gingerly chose about a 6 inch path between the goats and the 200-foot cliff, and resisted the urge to pet the (now) cute little goats. Didn’t want to open ourselves up to *that* conversation with Customs.

Turns out that not everything in Australia is trying to kill you.