Walking in nature is one of life’s simple pleasures, but when you do it in one of the world’s most spectacular and biodiverse landscapes accompanied by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, it takes the experience to another level.
It’s a cool and overcast day and an occasional shower drifts in over the Ravensthorpe Range when I meet a happy group of walkers at Archer’s Lookout. They are on a five-day walking tour around the area with Edgewalkers, a company that specialises in walking adventures and retreats that aims to bring people closer to nature and realise their creative potential.
The company is the brainchild of educator and adventurer Dr Erika Jacobson who has a PhD in transformative learning, and a love of nature.
The weather hasn’t dampened the spirits of the group. They have already spent a few days together, so they are well acquainted and immediately make me feel welcome.
Today we’re also joined by renowned naturalist, orchid hunter and photographer Terry Dunham, who Erika has asked along to share some of his vast knowledge about the trail’s wildflowers.
The bushland in the Ravensthorpe Range is classed as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and walking along the roads here, it’s obvious that it’s a special place. There are more than 1800 rare species of flowering plants and many of them are out.
Terry, Erika and her assistant Kirra DiConza all have an amazing knowledge of the flowers along the track. There are frequent stops and plenty of opportunities to learn about and photograph the flowers. Most of our 10km walk follows gravel roads along the ridge of the range and offers spectacular glimpses of the surrounding rural landscape.
Erika admits that before she began her business she didn’t know much about nature. “I didn’t know anything,” she says. “I didn’t really know what was what. “Wattle, acacia — I didn’t know they were the same thing. I would walk around ... yellow orb, red bell, blue fan, white star ... I didn’t know what anything was called but I have slowly been building a lexicon of knowledge.”
Erika is clearly in her element. She believes being in nature and coming together gives rise to a feeling of wellbeing.
Read the full story here.
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