LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY > CRADLE MOUNTAIN – LAKE ST. CLAIR NATIONAL PARK AND THE OVERLAND TRACK – TASMANIA > Scoparia in Pelion Gap (Mt. Ossa, The Overland Track, Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park)
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The Overland Track is a 65 km (40 mi) bushwalking track that traverses through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area within Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park. The Overland Track finishes at Lake St. Clair and takes approximately 5-6 days to complete. It features a variety of different landscapes, including buttongrass moorlands, temperate rainforests and rugged mountain peaks and is home to many precious endemic species, such as Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles and 1000+ year old King Billy pines.
Mt. Ossa, Tasmania’s highest mountain (1617m (5305′)), is the crowning jewel of the Overland Track and is accessed from Pelion Gap. Vast tracts of a common alpine shrub called Richea Scoparia (more commonly called “scoparia”) cover Pelion Gap and the lower sections of Mt. Ossa. The leaves of scoparia are quite sharp, and a bush bash through the scoparia is nothing less than a “Gore-Tex ripping extravaganza”, as one bush blogger put it. However, its wildflowers during summer are stunning, ranging from white to pinks to red and blooming primarily in December and January.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’”
It was Christmas morning, and I was the first one awake at New Pelion Hut on the Overland Track. My Christmas present was a day climbing up Mt. Ossa, Tasmania’s highest mountain (1617m (5305′)), the crowning jewel of the Overland Track. As I raced the early morning light, I thanked God for blessing me with such a stunningly beautiful, clear, calm day in the high mountains.
I reached Pelion Gap and then continued up the Mt. Ossa track, but within ten minutes I could go no further. The scoparia completely stopped me in my tracks. As far as the eye could see, this alpine wildflower (richea scoparia) covered Pelion Gap in brilliant patches of red, pink and white.
My photos hardly do justice to their beauty in real life. Nevertheless, I still give God all the thanks and praise for being able to capture these shots on Christmas morning.
Interestingly, even though I am a follower of Jesus, Christmas Day isn’t much different to me than any other day, for I am always thanking God every day for the gift of his Son.
Why is Jesus a gift to the world?
These days most people have vague notions without actually knowing why.
But I will tell you exactly why:
God loves us, and he created us to be in a loving, personal relationship with him that lasts throughout eternity.
Sadly, however, we have all sinned against God and have thus alienated ourselves from him, for he is perfect in holiness and cannot be in the presence of sin.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..” (Romans 3:23)
Because God is perfect in righteousness and justice, he calls us to account and must punish us for our sins, which is death and hell.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
However, God still deeply loves us and desires a personal relationship with us. For that reason, he sent his Son, Jesus, who is God in the flesh, to come and reconcile us back to himself. Jesus lived the sinlessly perfect life none of us could live. Because he never sinned, he never deserved to be punished. However, out of his great love for us, he took all of our sins upon himself and bore the punishment for them through his death on the cross. He rose from the dead three days later, making reconciliation with God possible.
Jesus died in our place in order to ransom us from our sins.
“…all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 3:23 AMP version (which expounds the original Greek text))
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
In order to be forgiven, reconciled to God and to enter into a loving, personal relationship with him that will last throughout eternity you must:
1) Repent (confess and turn away) from your sins.
2) Receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour by believing that he has paid the punishment for your sins through his atoning death and resurrection.
The bad news is that we are all sinners under the just judgment of God. But the good news of Christmas is that we have a Redeemer, whom God himself gave to save us from our sins and their eternal consequences.
“She [Mary] will give brith to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus [which means: the LORD saves] because he will save his people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’–which means ‘God with us.’”
For more information on how to be forgiven, reconciled to God and to enter into a personal relationship with him, please see Message.
To learn more about Jesus and to investigate frequently asked questions, please see: Is God Real?