Unease, frost, 697 steps and intercutting

I awake feeling oddly out of place in a warm hotel room in Burnie. It’s even quieter than being in the shack. I’m uneasy so quickly pack and get out of there. I’m back on the road, bright and early driving towards Ulverstone and the turnoff to Leven Canyon, but first breakfast somewhere in Burnie. The CBD appears to be in lockdown. Nothing is open but I finally find a busy bakery on the road out of town before hitting the highway again. Once off the main road I come across much ice on the road, but the drive is easy and there’s no one else on the road.

The car park at Leven Canyon is frost covered, and looks rather eerie in its empty state. It’s a short walk to Cruickshanks Lookout and a view straight across the bold and dramatic canyon cut into a tree lined rocky landscape. Below the river meanders its way downward. I’m blessed again by another blue-sky day. Down the 697 steps to Edge Lookout. Light filters through the tree tops, from this lookout Leven Canyon is viewed half up and half down and river looks more like its crashing its way through the canyon rather than meandering. A short walk back to the carpark before a quick 1km drive down to a further short walk which takes me down to the bottom of the canyon. At this section of the landscape, down deep in the depths of the valley, the most fascinating aspect is the dark rocks either side of the river as they have a thick layer of white ice on them. Its quite beautiful, and tonal contrast overload. There is a small bridge crossing the river and onto the Penguin / Cradle track. Once on the other side a sign warns of a very difficult track, for experienced walkers only. I don’t particularly want to risk being out here 40 km from the coast with no one around climbing over wet and icy rocks along a path I’m not sure even where it goes? Easy decision for me really and I head back to the car.

Ghost rocks at the bottom of Leven Canyon The perils of Leven Canyon Sulphur Creek 'Oh you crazy moon, you broke my heart'

I take the long way back to the coast in the car, stopping first at Preston Falls for a quick look, particularly the rock formations either side of the falls, before driving through the picturesque but oddly named Gunns Plains, through Riana and back onto the coast at the town of Sulphur Creek, which just happens to be my next planned stop.

There’s 2 destinations I’m looking for and I’m soon rock hopping around one of them, Sulphur Creek headland, a geological hotspot where the Burnie Formation is pushing underneath and raising Moina Sandstone into a uniquely formed headland containing all sorts of different types of contorted rocks. It’s only a small area of headland but its visually stunning.

I’m back in the car before stopping again just down the road at Sulphur Creek boat ramp. Here again are many more wildly contorted shaped rocks piercing the surface of the earth on the liminal zone of the landscape, in all sorts of violent and crazy looking formations. I spend quite a bit of time wandering around taking it all in. No one is around, except for at the take away shop across the road. The sun is starting its long set so I hit the road again for the 50 odd kilometre drive back to Rocky Cape.

Back at the shack I make some dinner before sitting down to watch a little more of The Story of Film. More movies that I must see are added to the list including, ‘The Spiders Strategem’ and ‘The Conformist’ by Bernardo Bertolucci, the weirdly hallucinogenic ‘The Holy Mountain’, and Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s beautifully poetic looking ‘Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors’. Then there’s ‘The Insect Woman’, from Japan. Then I hear a quote from the narrator, ‘the person making the film is the very subject of the film, this is the very definition of modernism in filmmaking’, it is followed by a beautiful sequence in ‘Easy Rider’ where Dennis Hopper uses a wild and fast intercutting sequence between scenes. I go to bed thinking how I can explore this notion of intercutting as a visual artist and a read through a short passage that I wrote night before about escapism and my search for a ‘soul’ in a sense of place – my soul and an essence of place - and how in a way this is somewhat a little like what this residency feels like and what I am doing. I am the person making this residency therefore am I the very subject of this residency? I go to bed feeling a little uneasy again.