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Mountaintop Moments

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 1 April 2013 | Views [189]

I love the smell of the earth just after it’s rained. You can feel the heat and moisture in the air. The plants glisten with water droplets like stars in the light of day. You can almost feel the circle of life turning as the plants soak up the water and the leaf litter simmers in decomposition. The Australian bush with its sandy soil releases a different scent after a rain than the dark soils of Iowa, where I grew up, and yet I’ve come to associate both scents with the cleansing purity of new life.

I recently climbed to the top of Mount Tempest, which happens to be the tallest sand hill in the world and is located in the center of my island (Moreton Island). It’s 280 meters of pure sand reaching out of the ocean into the sky. Amazingly, plants are actually able to grow in the sand so other than the small white sandy switch back walking track leading to the top, the mountain of sand is covered in vegetation. I regret not having taken a flag to plant at the top so I could call it a giant sand castle and pretend to be a princess while standing on top of the world. I hiked to the top in the morning after a rainy night. As much as I love having company during adventures, I ended up being grateful that I had the opportunity to make this journey alone.  

The air was so warm and damp that the plants felt like they were buzzing with photosynthesis and osmosis. White beaches in the distance create a border between a sea of blue and the golden green forest. The light blues of the sky melted into the dark blues of the ocean with while a sound track of native insects and bird played softly all around. There was a quiet energy in the bush urging me forward, leaving every step to be a memory filled with the scent of the earth.

When I reached the top, the blue sky disappeared beneath a fluffy gray cloud. Huge raindrops slowly fell creating a grey curtain of water, interrupting my view of ocean blues that stretched to the horizon in all directions.  The cool water silenced the songs of the bush and replaced them with the sound of rain droplets rhythmically falling on leaves that are simultaneously being ruffled by the breeze. It was a peaceful natural symphony. 

Tags: moreton island, mount tempest, nature, ocean views, raindrops

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