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Horseshoe Falls is located within Mt. Field National Park, about an hour northwest of Hobart. The much larger and more popular Russell Falls is located about 100 m (330′) downstream. The easy walk to Russell Falls is approximately 30 minutes round trip and is wheelchair accessible. The track winds its way through verdant rainforest, towering man ferns and mossy giant fallen trees.
Along with Russell Falls and Horseshoe Falls, Lady Barron Falls is the third waterfall of the 2-3 hour long “Three Falls Circuit”. A small adjoining loop, the “Tall Trees Walk”, takes walkers past the Eucalyptus Regnans, the tallest trees in the world aside from the California Redwoods.
“The LORD will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8)
When I shot this photo of Horseshoe Falls I was still shaking from a startling yet fairly comical event down at Russell Falls:
It was a weekday evening in winter. I had Mt. Field National Park to myself, so I used the opportunity to photograph Russell Falls. I crouched down near a quiet eddy off to the side, balancing precariously on a mossy, wet rock.
As I was looking through the view finder on my camera, setting up a shot, all of a sudden a giant Tasmanian water python erupted through the calm water just inches away from my feet and prepared to strike (or so I thought).
Before I could even think, adrenalin shot through me and I sprang backwards!
As I slipped on the mossy, wet rocks and fell in slow motion (as you do), the following four options went through my head:
A) Stay where I am and get eaten by the giant Tasmanian water python.
B) Baptise myself by full immersion, then abandon my photography trip and go home because I had no change of clothes.
C) Crack my camera on the rocks behind me, then baptise both my camera and myself by full immersion.
D) Break a bone on the rocks to save the camera.
Like a true photographer, I chose option D.
Thankfully God must have sent his angels to catch me because none of the above happened. Somehow I managed to fall perfectly and landed quite comfortably on the rocks behind me instead of in the water. Miraculously, I didn’t break anything or even hurt myself, nor did I baptise anything except 1 cm of my backside. Most importantly, my camera was in tact.
As I laid there on my back, spread eagled and totally freaked out, I looked between my feet and there was a platypus sticking his head out of the water, staring straight at me, chewing some mud. (Aussies do love a good practical joke, especially when it’s on a Yank).
My mind was racing, still trying to catch up on everything that had just happened, so I didn’t know what else to do except just stare back at him, my heart still pounding with adrenalin. After he’d had a good, long laugh at me he went back under to sift beneath the rock I had formerly been perching upon. He stayed near me for at least 30 more seconds before slowly making his way back toward Russell Falls.
He was quite a bold little guy because even as I stood back up with knocking knees to get a photo of him, he hung around so close I could have reached out and touched him. Though he wasn’t as deadly as my imaginary Tasmanian water python, the males still have venomous spurs on their hind feet, so I decided to keep my hands to myself.
I thank and praise God that I didn’t strike my foot (and especially my camera) against a stone, because if I had, you wouldn’t be looking at this photograph of Horseshoe Falls.