Bear's Woods


We knew of Bear through mutual friends, and when he found out we were coming to Australia, he invited us to his place to visit. Bear has lived on this land for 20 years, during which time he has built a number of structures, including a gym, an art workshop, and the main house.

"The drive out to Bear's was quite interesting. We quickly got out of Cairns and were soon driving country roads, including maybe 150 km of beautiful, twisty mountain roads with fairly narrow roads (keep in mind this is a genuine, wide wheelbase vehicle). As twilight approached, we turned off of the paved road onto the rutted dirt road that leads about 7.5 km back into the bush to Bear's place. Getting a serious 4WD was a good idea. Though I once drove a worse road in Hawaii with a regular rental car, the Prado was the right vehicle for the job.

"We finally arrived at Bear's well after dark, having only taken one wrong turn amongst the labyrinthine unmarked dirt tracks (and even then finding a way to turn around, thus avoiding having to back down the track to where we'd made the wrong turn). Bear walked out to meet us and he and his wife Sheila welcomed us in. We brought our stuff to their main living room/kitchen building, which is made out of corrugated metal, with the living room open to the bush." - Larry the O mlog

The House

Bear House
Bear living room
Bear's house
Bear's living room
Bear's living room

The Accommodations

"We talked the night away on subjects ranging from audio to his long history with the very early Grateful Dead to his many and vociferous theories and opinions on virtually any other subject, then retreated to the guest tents to sleep, while Bear and Sheila retired to the master tent. The tents were set up beautifully, with carpets, furniture, oil lamps, and a bed." - Larry the O mlog

At left is Bear and Sheila's "master" tent, and at right, the guest tent where I (Steve O) stayed.

Bear and Sheila's tent
Steve O's tent at Bear's

The Forest

"In the morning, Bear made us some of his coffee, that is, coffee he grew, roasted, and brewed himself. Then he took us on a tour of the grounds. The guy has got the place wired to the gills: solar and wind energy so efficient he has to cool the batteries, running water drawn from a pond created by a dam he made (remember, he's way back in the bush), a building with a full gymnasium, a rainwater collection system, a professional sound system, and so forth. He also has your run-of-the-mill Australian bush wonders, like the Black Boy trees which are actually grasses that grow from 6 to 15 feet high, which is not so impressive as when you find out that they grow about 1 cm per year."
- Larry the O mlog

Here are an assortment of forest scenes in Bear's Woods. Top row, middle is the path from my guest tent to the house. I can't identify any of the plants in the bottom row; if you can identify any of them, please email me.

Bear's forest
path through Bear's woods
Bear's forest
unidentified plant, Bear's woods
unidentified flower in Bear's woods
unidentified plant, Bear's woods

As noted earlier, Bear grows his own coffee (left). At right is one of the most legendary toolboxes in rock 'n' roll, which Bear used when doing sound for countless Grateful Dead concerts. The famous lightning logo is the original drawing from which the logo derives.

coffee plant
Bear's famous toolbox with original Grateful Dead lightning logo

Bear and Sheila have a male border collie named Shadow (left) who, like most of his breed, is a sociable, friendly fellow. At right, Shadow shows us the planned site of their new cottage. Eventually, Bear hopes to build a larger house on higher ground, located behind us.

Shadow the Border Collie
site of Bear's future cottage

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