Beyond the Pines
The temperature is brisk, the weather bleak as we enter 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 begin our travels through the majestic Blue Mountains.
The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are a region and a mountain range in New South Wales, Australia. The range is a dissected plateau carved in sandstone bedrock that is now a series of ridgelines and dense gorges as deep as 2,490 feet (759 meters). This iconic place is heavily embedded in Aboriginal history and culture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On our first day of adventures, we discover a place beyond the pines: the Newnes State Forest, built for wanderers and wonderers. Grandiose in size, this dense woodland, situated amongst the mountains, requires expeditions off the beaten track. Upon entering the forest, we lose ourselves amongst the towering maze surrounding us. My mind drifts with the olive and gainsboro hues in the forest’s shrubbery as if lost in Britain’s majestic lake district. Sporadic clusters of poisonous fly agarics (amanita muscaria) inject a little whimsy as we walk. Foraging for mushrooms is common practice here, so with wicker basket in hand, we collect saffron milk caps and slippery jacks for a delicious, hearty mushroom risotto we plan 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 postcard, the panoramic sensation of a Blue Mountain lookout is awe-inspiring. Cascading waterfalls dribbling and plunging down the cliff edge, rock formations like sculpted by the ancients, and cloud-clinging skies paint an almost impressionistic portrait of what seems unreal. The intrinsic beauty of each individual landscape bleeds into the next like a Monet watercolor; fluid and prolific. I’m not one for lists, but everyone should experience Govetts 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 sh 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 our thick jackets, Timothy and I set out at the crack of dawn for a long bush walk to remote rivers to catch some lunch. That imbued serenity of sitting alone on a log, thermos of chamomile tea brewing beside you, shing 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.
“For someone who is innately incapable of really relaxing, this comes pretty darn close to it.”
On the water
After the rains from the night before had swollen the rivers coming off the mountains, Timothy and I rent a boat and paddle our way along the rapid tides introducing us to a whole new angle of these beautiful surroundings. From above, I felt as if I were floating amongst the clouds, but the perspective from the gorges below reveal the mountains’ quite imposing presence. The fading blooms of rush lilies and yellow eyes surrounded by that rich emerald tone in coral ferns set the decadent scene whilst we paddle between these friendly giants, as if part of Tolkien's fellowship. Without sounding too indulgent, true wanderlust is lying 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.
"From above, I felt as if I were floating amongst the clouds, but the perspective from the gorges below reveal the mountains’ quite imposing presence.”
In the apple orchard
It is now later in the afternoon and we are both feeling fairly peckish. We decide to wander into Logan Brae apple orchard on the Shipley Plateau 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 whistlers 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 flavor whilst spoiling myself with a slice of homemade, freshly baked apple pie eaten in the orchards.
I’ve found there is an almost sartorial splendor 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 traveling 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 in case, 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 through could be Oscar-nominated gold. △
Pine Forest YELLOW THROW: MRS.LUXE | @MRS.LUXE
JAKE WEISZ | @JAKELING
Based in Sydney, Jake Weisz is an Australian photographer and film director with an affinity for the wild and whimsical. His wondrous style captivates his followers by acquainting them with stories of the marvelous and the majestic. Through his work, Weisz invites us to “go down the rabbit hole” into his fantastical world, taking us on the enchanting journey unfolding beyond the lens. “When entering this world be cautious,” he warns, “as you may not want to leave once you are under its spell.”
TIMOTHY JAMES | @THISISTIMOTHY
Timothy is an architect, designer, and maker, currently living in Sydney, Australia, and working as a model. Working across a mixture of creative fields allows his work to constantly evolve. His approach to style, design, and passion for creative collaborations provides an eclectic mix of content.