After Gai's post in regard to birdsI thought I might add in a section of the flora and fauna of the trail..
Well currently I'm walking through the 'Green Belt' which is a bit of a misnomer because due to the deciduous nature of most of the trees and the fact that it's still early spring a lot of the trees are missing leaves. It is quite easy to see though that once the trees get into full leaf and bloom the area will be ablaze with green (I doubt that was the right adjective but I'm running with it.)
So far theres been a lot of trees that haven't been eucalypts, or acacias, or turkey bush, billy goat plum or pretty much anything that I can identify. I have seen a couple of conifers (pine trees) and some rhotodendrums (which are supposed to flower in a month or so).
I was mildly disappointed when I camped at Black Gum Gap last night that I didnt see any eucalypts which I put down either to false advertising or the fact that a gum tree might mean something totally different here.
The ground is littered with the leaves from last 'fall' and they are large leaves which makes me excited to see how the trees flesh out and look rather than the big sticks with tiny leaves that they currently are. There are lots of herbacious plants on the ground as well and John (no trail name yet) who I camped with a couple of nights ago could identify a sweet onion plant which he dug up and I put in that nights stew.
Thats about it for my botanical knowledge.
My ornothological is much worse I'm sorry Graham and Gai. So far I've seen a small black bird with a white belly fairly regularly. I'm guessing his common name is 'white bellied small black bird'. I've heard a lot of woodpeckers and I see their debris everywhere but I haven't been able to spot one yet.. probably because I usually have my eyes to the ground to make sure I dont trip over those roots and stones that jump out at me.
I know it's turkey season and I've heard gunshots a few times so I'm guessing that I've been close to turkeys on a few occassions.
Fauna wise.. I've seen a lot of squirrels and a couple of chipmonks. My crowning fauna spotting achievement so far was that I got to within 10 metres of a white tailed deer. She was a real cutie, a proper bambi (except different species, I mean age and size wise) and she was grazing on the trail. She looked up at me as I stopped and then went back to grazing. My first thought was "Where is her Mum and Dad" and then I was like, "Oy get off the trail". She wasn't worried about me at all so I had to clap to get her moving but she only moved a few metres off the trail then went back to grazing as I went past.
Bears... I havent seen any but the stories, oh man the stories, so many of them. So far the only direct incident that I have come across was a Pom (I cant remember his name sorry) who had his food stolen a couple of days out of Franklin. The fact that it had happened to the only Pom I've met on the trail so far kind of vindicated my personal theory that you should always take a Pom camping with you because anything bad will always happen to them.
Bears however are real and they are great poachers. If you believe the stories they are one of the few animals that can think along the 'cause and effect' principle (theres probably a good single word such as sentinence for that) and theres lots of stories of how they get into peoples food. The standard way of protecting your food is by hanging on a tree limb a few metres up and out of range of the tree. This isn't infalliable though as bears have been known to swing the wire to get the food swaying so that it is reach of the tree then climbing the tree to get the food.
Me? I dont mind if the bear gets my food, in some way I would be paying back the 'trail magic' I've received. So long as he doesnt eat me, which I'm pretty sure neither of us are interested in.