August Challenge: Eucalyptus camaldulensis

I live about a kilometre from the Murray River – Australia’s most iconic river. Combined with the Darling River, they drain 1/3 of Australia. The Murray-Darling Basin is Australia’s main food bowl and the centre of considerable controversy over its management.

Growing along that iconic river are the river red gums. These trees can grow 30-45 metres high, 1-3 metres wide and can live between 500-1000 years (according to some). They are also highly-prized timber for furniture, flooring and firewood… so not many of the old ones are left. They have the most widespread natural distribution of any eucalypt in Australia. They are also known for dropping large limbs without warning, particularly in hot, still conditions. Don’t camp under them!

There is something spooky but invigorating about riding around in red gum forests. They are usually pretty noisy places, as the old trees often have hollows and many loud birds (i.e. parrots) nesting in them.

For more information, look here. Sorry about the picture quality – I was using my $50 phone and just sliding it in and out of my shorts’ pocket.

Our ride was just a short 20 kms. It was cool but not windy, and I was a bit desperate for a pedal. I’m still not very well, but the guys and I really needed our fix! We explored some tracks along the river we hadn’t ridden before and had lots of fun just pointing the mountain bike at stuff and letting those big tires and front shocks absorb all the impact. I just ride straight over stuff I’d have to pick my way through on the touring bike. So much fun! Here are the pics.

Off into the red gum forest. They often dominate and form single-species forests on the flood plain. These ones aren’t very old – most in this area were felled right up into the 1990s before protections were put in place.
This fallen tree was at least 8 feet wide. You can really get a sense of scale walking around in the old footprint of the tree.
Look at this old lady. She’s lost the main trunk up there, and is missing most of her bark on the left. YET, she has new growth poking out where the trunk fell off. Wait til you see the other side!
Here’s the other side. Most of the tree has fallen next to me. The only thing supporting that new growth is the outer circle of about 1/4 of the trunk. Amazing persistence. I am really trying to be like this tree at the moment – persisting, enduring when it feels like there isn’t much left of me!
Murray River – very low because there is no irrigation demand in winter. Note the river red gum forests lining the banks. It is like this for hundreds of kilometres where not cleared.
Can you see my bike against the tree in the distance. I had to back way up to get that whole, big tree in shot.

I am coming into a very busy period (find a new place to live, move, apply for a new job, hopefully change jobs, get stuck into coursework for a double diploma I just decided I need to do, keep persisting with doctors/dentists/specialists so I can someday feel decent again, and more). So I’m not sure how much I’ll be riding or writing over the next six weeks. I have so little energy, I have to be really, really careful with pacing and how much I do in a day. A full day at work is enough to do me in at the moment – so there isn’t much left for anything fun. Cross your fingers I find a good place to live and get the job I’m hoping for though!

Nerdy chick in Australia who loves to ride and is accompanied by the crew: 'The Commander' Verne and the 'Mental Health Specialist' Kermit.

6 response to "August Challenge: Eucalyptus camaldulensis"

  1. By: Seasidejanet Posted: August 7, 2019

    We will miss you!! How amazing you are taking on all you mentioned and not being in ‘tip top’ condition!! Go slow – one thing at a time and you’ll get there. Take care…….

  2. By: Bill Stone Posted: August 7, 2019

    Hang in there, Em. Sometimes we need to go through a crucible of changes in order to emerge stronger and happier.

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: August 7, 2019

    Good to see the Salsa out in action, and you too!
    All the Best in your future endeavors and hope you get your fire back soon!

  4. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: August 7, 2019

    One of my great joys is to cycle along a road by a river and have an avenue of Red Gums. There’s a majesty about them – but I do worry about collecting a branch on the head!

    Continue to pace yourself well and I wish you all the best for career change and a change of environment. See you in the Autumn.

  5. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: August 9, 2019

    Those River gums are survivors, like you. Hope things improve.

  6. By: NancyG Posted: August 11, 2019

    Randall said it best — your are indeed like the River Gum that continues to hold on and keep going. All my fingers are crossed for you to find what works well for you for a job and a place to live. We will miss you here, so when you have the energy, know we each will love hearing from you.

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