Captured & created for Alpine Modern Magazine [@Alpinemodern], this editorial was an incredible opportunity for me and my best-mate Tim [@thisistimothy] to pack-up a car full of winter, and go exploring the Blue Mountains. For this particular post, I thought I best include the article I wrote that featured alongside the imagery in the magazine. It really captures the experience and memories we created..
The temperature is brisk and bleak as we entered between the pines. A forest of giants lurking over us, swaying with the flurry of winds as if inquisitively observing our every move. Boots tied, coats fastened, and a well-weathered knit in tow, Timothy James and I began our travels through the majestic Blue Mountains.
The Blue Mountains is a mountainous region and mountain range situated in the state of New South Wales in Australia. The range is a dissected plateau carved in sandstone bedrock that is now a series of ridge lines and dense gorges up to 2,490ft deep. A region heavily embedded in Aboriginal history and culture, this iconic World Heritage listed site should be added to your bucket list immediately.
On our first day of adventures, we discovered a place beyond the pines. The Newness State Forest was built for wanderers and wonderers. Grandiose in size, this dense woodland, situated amongst the mountains, required expeditions off the beaten track. Upon entry to the forest, suspend disbelief, and get lost amongst the towering maze surrounding you. My mind drifted with the olive and gainsboro hues in the forest’s shrubbery as if lost in Britain’s majestic lake district, with the sporadic growing of poisonous fly agarics (or Amanita Muscaria) to inject a little whimsy as we walked. Foraging for mushrooms is common practice here, so with wicker basket in hand, we collected Saffron Milk Caps and Slippery Jacks for a delicious hearty mushroom risotto we were almost destined to cook for a perfect autumnal meal later that night.
Following our navigation through the forest we set to explore the mountain’s higher ground. Envied by a post-card, the panoramic sensationalism experienced upon a Blue Mountain’s lookout is awe-inspiring. Cascading waterfalls dribbling and dragging down the cliff edge, rock formations almost sculpted by the ancients, and cloud-clinging skies paint an almost impressionistic portrait of what can’t be real, but in fact, is right in front of us. The intrinsic beauty of each individual landscape bleeds into the next like a Monet watercolour; fluid and prolific. I’m not one for lists, but be sure to experience the following; Govett’s Leap, the Bridal Veil Falls, Evans Lookout, The Shipley Plateau in Blackheath, Olympian Rock, The Lost City, Mount Hay, And the Valley of the Waters.
The Blue Mountains and Central Tablelands rise westward from the Nepean River and are home to many native species of fish including the Australian Bass and Mullet in the east and the Murray Cod, Golden Perch and Silver Perch in the west. Strapping on our polished Timberland boots, and zipping up a thick jacket, Timothy and I woke at the crack of dawn for a long bush walk to some of the more remote rivers to catch some lunch. That imbued serenity of sitting alone on a log, thermos of chamomile tea brewing beside you, fishing line out, and hunting for some lunch whilst listening to Angus and Julia Stone’s latest album is indescribably idyllic. For someone who is innately incapable of really relaxing; this comes pretty darn close to it.
After the rains from the night before had swollen the rivers coming off the mountains, Timothy and I rented out a boat and paddled our way along the rapid tides; introducing us to a whole new angle of these beautiful surroundings. From above I felt as if I was floating amongst the clouds, but the perspective from the gorges below, reveal the mountains’ quite imposing presence; theres really nothing like it. The fading blooms of Rush Lilies and Yellow Eyes surrounded by that rich emerald tone in Coral Ferns set the almost decadent scene whilst you paddle between these friendly giants, as if part of Tolkein’s fellowship. Without sounding too indulgent, true wanderlust is laying on your back in an old tin dingy with your best mate, looking up at a beautiful pale blue and creamy cloud sky, listening to the trickling waters around you, and exhaling slowly. I recommend this to all.
It became later in the afternoon and we were both feeling fairly peckish. We decided to wander into Logan Brae apple orchard on the Shipley Plataeu about five minutes from Blackheath. Imagine long lines of crooked apple trees as far as the eye can see growing amongst the surrounding mountains and dating back to 1919 when they were originally planted.The history of this place is like a scent in the wind, along with Gouldian Finches, Crimson Rosellas, Rainbow Lorikeets and Golden Whilsters flying past in kaleidoscopic flocks. Selecting, picking and then munching down on a juicy Logan Brae red is a memory I won’t forget. Then later reminiscing on that apple’s favour whilst spoiling myself with a slice of home-made, freshly baked apple pie eaten in the orchards. It cannot and will not be matched.
I’ve found there is an almost sartorial splendour amidst the mountainous region. Wanderers from afar clad in chunky merino knits, and worn, tethered denim. Hues of autumnal trees and earthy tones fill each lookout and travelling collective. The perfect collaboration of style and function as if taken straight out of a burberry campaign shot by Tim Walker in Northern Scotland. If you find yourself itching for a road trip to the mountains; my advice to you is make sure to pack a comfortable boot, clothing for almost any climate, an extra knit just incase, a wide-brim fedora, and a well thought-out playlist of easy-listening songs. The perfect score can elevate an iconic setting into ground-breaking cinema, and what Timothy and I ventured thru could be Oscar-nominated gold.