Sunday, November 23, 2014

Yankee Hat

A few weeks ago I was introduced to Yankee Hat by our neighbour Phil who took me and the kids for a day trip there. It’s an area of the nearby Namadji National Park with a large hill that looks (unsurprisingly I guess), like a Yankee hat.

I took a day off work yesterday and allowed the kids a day off school and together with Dan (my nephew) and Anja (his girlfriend) who are visiting us in Canberra at the moment, we headed off to explore the Namadji.

The Gudgenby Valley which Yankee Hat forms part of is beautiful – rolling countryside segmented by a couple of streams and populated by hundreds or maybe thousands of kangaroos who sit and scratch themselves while watching you nonchalantly from under the shade of trees as you walk past.

Sadly since we visited a few weeks ago the flies had also multiplied and so they numbered vastly more than the kangaroos and provided a constant hum in the air and meant that you were regularly flicking them away from your face.

It’s a nice and tranquil place though. After a 3km walk in a complex of boulders is a small copse containing a small area of aboriginal paintings. Some of the paint making up the pictures have been carbon dated to 3,700 years but it is thought that some of the earlier paint there could be much older.

The Ngunnawal people are thought to have been the most prevalent in the Canberra region, but it was also a significant meeting place for other clans, including the Ngarigo, Wolgalu, Gundungurra, Yuin and Wiradjuri people. Ceremonies, trading and inter-marriages took place during gatherings.

The kids walked at their own pace (slowly) and on our return leg Dan and Anja went in a fruitless search of a waterfall which a local guide informed us was nearby. Nevertheless (and despite the flies who buzzed around us all afternoon) we had a really enjoyable time. The kids took their time over the walk but didn’t really complain about the distance or terrain. It helps that the return trip is mostly downhill.

When we got home I chatted with Eli. We’ve now been to Yankee Hat twice together and enjoyed it both times. I said that it was a shame that we never went there with his Mum (we ‘discovered’ Yankee Hat a week or two after Amy’s death).

He told me that his Mum had walked alongside us for the whole day. His words brought tears to my eyes, but thinking about it I am sure he was right.

Perspective does funny things sometimes!

Rock art

The slow walk back to the car


crazy cousins

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