29 April 2008

The Big River Ride

Every year my dad organizes a big '4 day ride', a time for all the 'men' in our family to ride our bicycle across a new and unexplored aspect of Mother Earth.

My first big ride was 2 years ago, an amazing journey through the Sacred Wollumbin Caldera...

Ever since experiencing the joy and magic of cycling across the Land, I've been hooked on the idea of riding my bike far and wide around the world ~

The Plan was originally to leave for North Queensland by mid April, but alas the departure date has changed (mid-may)..

... and so the opportunity arose to go on one of my dads bush cycling adventures.

Although they are challenging, both mentally and physically, I just couldn't resist ~

Day 1

Beginning just outside of Glenn Innes (1200m+ above sea level), at lovely Maureens Cottage, we made our way over the edge of the New England tablelands ~ down into "Big River Country"

The whole trip was apart of the Clarence Catchment, One of Australia's biggest river systems.

Our destination was Nymboida, 120km downstream, and our path was "The Old Grafton Road" which was the original passage from the coast to the tablelands. It is now an old dirt back-road.

The tunnel below was made by convicts

Absolutely gorgeous country, and a pure feeling of bliss traveling all the way down
to 230m above sea level, from high in the tablelands...

Day 2

From Nymboida we headed south-west for Ebor Falls (1300m+ above sea level)

This was hard day, with many big hills, but the ever-changing landscape was worth every sweet drop of sweat.

Going from River flat country, through Wet sclerophyll and Rainforest, and up into the high country with grassy woodlands.

For almost 10km, a massive flock of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos followed (up to 100 birds) Flew overhead and went crazy with their screeching calls.

They were feeding on plantation pines (Pinus radiata) were once stood a mighty forest teaming with diversity

After lunch the blue sky gave way to the coldest rain I've ever felt in my entire life.

My cousin correy and I were leading the pack, when we stopped to chat with a man selling local organic apples, we had no money on us (as it was in the support vehicle) but he still filled our pockets with the most delicious apples I've ever tasted!

He spent his youth cycling through Africa and Europe, and so understood we needed good food to fuel the Journey.

After telling us a story of a time when his hands went numb and he crashed his bicycle, we took off for Ebor

and so it was, that in the last 5km my fingers and toes began to go numb, I couldn't help but think of the story of our apple growing friend.

It must have been the only time in my life I've felt such a joy to walk into a pub, where we warmed up to the fire .... which felt so unbelievably good !

Just on Sunset, My cousin Joel and I made our way to the Ebor Falls.

These waterfalls are beautiful, so much power in them, especially after the rain.

Last year, during the big July frost, they totally froze over !!!! they had photo's in the Ebor pub~

Day 3

we awoke to a beautiful, blue, crispy cold morning

After another visit to the falls, with all the lads, we took off for the highest township on the tablelands, at
1320m above sea level !

This Day was entirely on the Highway, with a clear blue sky, we flew like eagles along the undulating highland country.

overlooking Guy Fawkes National Park

Day 4

On the last day of the ride, we rode along the highway for a short while, and by mid-morning we were back onto the dirt roads towards Glenn Innes.

The wind was hitting us head-on, and it made for some dry lips and difficult riding

This country looks dry, but it is a actually the natural colour of this highland species of grass, especially after a few frosts.

When my cousin Joel and I came across the headwaters of the "The Mann River" we knew it was a unique opportunity to swim in one of the highest catchment areas on the East coast of Australia

despite the extreme cold, it was an incredibly refreshing experience, and seemed to have a positive impact on our muscles.

After 4 days and nearly 400km riding from 1200m above sea level down to around 200m, and then back up to 1320m ... this ride was a big one !

thanks to my humble dad, Greg, for organizing such a great a bicycle trip.


check out more photo's on my gallery page


19 April 2008

Stillness In Action

Before leaving my little home town of Kyogle, to head north on this once in a lifetime cycling journey up into the wet-tropics, I wanted to spend some time grounding myself and reconnecting with the Path, the Way and the Earth.

A Vipassana retreat had been organized for the 20th of April ...

10 days of silence and meditation.

Although I found my first Vipassana retreat incredibly centering and grounding (and yet challenging), I just felt that spending months on my own, cycling up and down QLD, would give me ample opportunity to practice introspective present moment awareness, with an abundance of silence.

I was looking for something that was more interactive and community oriented, and if possible, Earth centered.

Through a Permaculture email list, I found out about a retreat called "Stillness In Action" that was being held up at "Wild Mountains" (A world-class Environmental/Earth/Ecological education center on the QLD side of the Border Ranges).

what a blessing ~ so on the 5th to the 12th of April ~ an incredibly diverse group of human beings came together to practice the ancient art of meditation, engage in group sharing workshohps, cultivate deep ecological awareness and reconnect with the spaciousness within and around all life.

the whole experience was a breath of fresh air, a true gift to have the opportunity of gathering collectively in silence within such a biologically diverse and ecologically significant environment.

To share openly feelings of all colours, shapes, tones and depth, is like shining a light into yourself, opening up all the hidden aspects and coming back to life, to what is real and to what is worth living for.

from the website;

‘Stillness in Action’ develops wisdom, calmness, courage and clarity to sustain a life of freedom and integrity in troubled times.

Over the week, we had the opportunity to:

  • Learn a simple meditation to still the confusions of the mind - creating spaciousness for wisdom and compassion to arise - freeing your intellectual, emotional & creative intelligence.

  • Renew your spirit for restoring a sustainable environment, for building a just and equitable society, for participating in healthy and creative communities, for personal and social healing.

  • Strengthen confidence, kindness and joy - and your power to make a difference - through processes of deep ecology, systems science and ancient earth wisdom

  • Use practical tools to clarify your values and intentions and move them into action.

  • Learn ways to build sustaining communities of friendship.
  • Nurture and refresh body and mind through conscious movement and silent contemplation of the beauty of nature.

Mornings of quiet reflection teach the sacred art of presence. Each afternoon, creative group work reveals fresh paths to personal and social change. Evenings sharing stories, poetry and music, enliven and deepen community.

Thankyou Bobbi, Simon and Joan for facilitating a journey of such depth and colour.

I truly feel your work is casting ripples in the global pond of consciousness.

to the whole SIA community, thank you all for sharing, opening, connecting and for simply being

lets stay connected and be a reminder to each other what is true and real in this polarized world.


John Wigham / Akuppa akuppa@mac.com

Firmly establish your intention to live your life for the healing of the world. Be conscious of it, honour it, nurture it every day.

Be fully present in our time. Find the courage to breathe in the suffering of the world. Allow peace and healing to breathe out through you in return.

Do not meet power on its own terms. See through to its real nature - mind and heart made. Lead your response from that level.

Simplify. Clear away the dead wood in your life. Look for the heartwood and give it the first call on your time, the best of your energy.

Put down the leaden burden of saving the world alone. Join with others of like mind. Align yourself with the forces of resolution.

Hold in a single vision, in the same thought, the transformation of yourself and the transformation of the world. Live your life around that edge, always keeping it in sight.

As a bird flies on two wings, balance outer activity with inner sustenance.

Following your heart, realise your gifts. Cultivate them with diligence to offer knowledge and skill to the world.

Train in non-violence of body, speech and mind. With great patience to yourself, learn to make beautiful each action, word and thought.

In the crucible of meditation, bring forth day by day into your own heart the treasury of compassion, wisdom and courage for which the world longs.

Sit with hatred until you feel the fear beneath it. Sit with fear until you feel the compassion beneath that.
Do not set your heart on particular results. Enjoy positive action for its own sake and rest confident that it will bear fruit.

When you see violence, greed and narrow-mindedness in the fullness of its power, walk straight into the heart of it, remaining open to the sky and in touch with the earth.

Staying open, staying grounded, remember that you are the inheritor of the strengths of thousands of generations of life.

Staying open, staying grounded, recall that the thankful prayers of future generations are silently with you.

Staying open, staying grounded, be confident in the magic and power that arise when people come together in a great cause.

Staying open, staying grounded, know that the deep forces of Nature will emerge to the aid of those who defend the Earth.

Staying open, staying grounded, have faith that the higher forces of wisdom and compassion will manifest through our actions for the healing of the world.

When you see weapons of hate, disarm them with love.
When you see armies of greed, meet them in the spirit of sharing.
When you see fortresses of narrow-mindedness, breach them with truth.
When you find yourself enshrouded in dark clouds of dread, dispel them with fearlessness.
When forces of power seek to isolate us from each other, reach out with joy.

In it all and through it all,

holding to your intention,

let go into the music of life.