Granite, Chocolate and Cubans

Easter, that glorious four day weekend. It’s no longer Summer and the air is getting slightly colder. Hot Cross Buns, Easter Eggs and all other goodies. I was speaking to Mum on Wednesday night and she mentioned that she was going with NPAQ to a place near Tenterfield for the weekend. A few minutes later, I too had plans for the long weekend. Less than 24hrs later I joined all other holidaying cars on the highway and was heading south west. Unlike the rest of the camp, I had tickets for Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club on Sunday night and of course had to work on Monday so it was sort of more like a regular three day long weekend for me. However, it was in granite country and that is a weekend in a good place.

Growing up, we spent a lot of camping time in Girraween and the granite country surrounding it. Granite is by no means a kind rock; it rips your skin to shreds, you get granite impressions in your skin from where you have sat/leant against the rock, when it is worn by water over the years it becomes insanely slippery. It’s a rock of many personas. Some people have pants with knee patches, or cardigans with elbow patches, as children my younger brother and I had shorts with bottom patches made out of canvas. Shorts perfect for playing on granite.

Anyway back to this weekend just passed. As I was leaving a day early, we went down in two cars. Mum and another lady, Fiona in one and myself in the other. We stopped at a servo in Warwick for dinner. I had a tropical burger, it was such a large burger that I had to eat the patty separately!

mmmm burger

You see that skewer through the burger? Yep, that is holding the thing together!

Quite a little while later, we pulled off the Mt Lindesay Highway a little south of the “Historical Village of Boonoo Boonoo” to our camp site for the weekend. The tent was quickly put up and bodies tucked themselves into sleeping bags after a long day.

Friday was to be a gentle day. A drive to Basket Swamp, walking round the top of the falls, then walking down to the bottom of the falls and going “Cripes, these are some falls and that is a lot of water over those falls”. The last section of the road in is 4wd only. I was the only female driver and the youngest driver by … well to put it one way, the other drivers are in all the range to be older enough to be my father or grandfather. That was an interesting experience…. Messages over the radio advising of approaching cars, passing cars, holes, cattle and everything else.

At the top of the falls, someone discovered these cool water pipes. These are pipes/tunnels/holes that spurt water out of the rock.

Basket Swamp Falls

Looking down the Basket Swamp gully from the top of the falls.
Basket Swamp Falls

and this is Basket Swamp Falls.
Basket Swamp Falls, 258/365

Then it was time for lunch, some pulled out the chairs and enjoyed their spread at the turning circle at the end of the 4wd track, others such as myself went back out to the top of the falls to enjoy lunch there.

On the drive out we stopped to look at an old mining site and took a walk up to the Timbarra Trig Point. The ladder up to the actual trig point has been taken down due to well founded safety concerns so no 360° view to share but still there were plenty of sights to see.

Timbarra Trig Point
Timbarra Trig Point
Timbarra Trig Point
Timbarra Trig Point

And that was Friday. Back at camp of course there was happy hour and then half a dinner since we had all eaten too much at happy hour. I made pikelets with caramel Top’N’Fill for dessert and snacks for Saturday.

Saturday, the day I was looking most forward too. South Bald Rock and most importantly the chance to go through the cave in the daylight. When Iceland came to visit December 2008, Mum and us three “kids” went to South Bald Rock but the inclement weather stopped our cave attempt. We left camp nice and early to give us plenty of time to go through the cave system.

On the way in I “found” an Easter Egg on a cairn ….. I left it though for the party that was following us ….

Easter on the Cairn

We had a very quick walk in, came across the rangers so had a chat to them. Then it was up the granite.

20100403_26772

Walking on the slab

The Shark Fin and the Dougongs

The Dugongs

After a break for morning tea, we headed to the entrance of the cave. A few people upon seeing the entrance decided not to continue on so a party of 9 headed in.

We wiggled, moved and twisted our bodies in a hundred different ways to squeeze through holes.

We came across this glow worm cave which was pretty cool. There were about five or six worms active and lots of threads. This is a photo that Mum took, you can see the threads hanging off the “ceiling”. Click the photo to view larger.

Glow worms

Another space in the cave
Inside the Cave on South Bald Rock

Inside a large space in the cave

Inside the Cave on South Bald Rock

A photo that Mum took just after I popped out of the opening which put us in the space in the above photos.
Helen in cave

Mum has more photos here – South Bald Rock

Some photos of people coming through that squeeze.
Alex in the cave Len in the cave John in the cave

With only a few more squeezes to go, Mum broke out a bag of Easter Eggs here to share round.

The last squeeze was quite a challenge, it involved getting one knee up behind your backside and the other in front of your chest and then turning your body 90 odd degrees and reaching for a hand hole and then just hauling yourself up and out…. Fun times.

Then it was time to bag the summit, take some video which I will upload later. Back down to the flatish part of the slab where we had morning tea to now have lunch, more exploring of granite and discussion with other walkers of other caves. Then it was time to head through the bush and down off the rock and to walk out.

We had a fairly quick walk out which was really good. I was quite tempted to trail run the last 3km but decided to be a good girl and stay with the group. Some of us took a little detour up and over a slab which was beside the trail at one point. It was a glorious slab.

Coming up the detour slab
The gang in a holding pattern

Coming over the top. Granite mmmm.
Taking the scenic route
mmm more granite
granite

Pretty things

pretty flowers

pretty leaves

Granite, Gums and Clouds, 259/365.
Granite, Gums and Clouds, 259/365

When we got back on the real track we passed the border sign.
Sunshine on the border

Then well a little while later we were back at the cars. Then it was back to camp to wash, relax, eat and most importantly make Chocolate Mousse for dessert.
Chocolate Mousse

A pack of UHT cream, a pack of instant chocolate mousse mix and a little bit extra milk made up on powder and then start whisking with a fork. A little while later you get the picture above, let it sit in the coolest spot you can find whilst you have tea. Then enjoy that sweet glorious chocolate.

That was Saturday…. Tomorrow would see me heading back to Brisbane.
Sunday morning, I packed up, had breakfast and collected Easter Eggs as various people went round camp handing out eggs.

Camp Scenes Camp Scenes Camp Scenes Camp Scenes

Went round the camp site saying my farewells and then at just about exactly 0830 I drove out. I decided to take the scenic route home via the Mt Lindesay road and quite enjoyed it, especially because I found this beauty.

Woodenbong Public Hall, 260/365. Oh that design.
Woodenbong Public Hall, 260/365

I arrived home a little while after 1pm, had a bite to eat, unpacked and then conked out for a few hours sleep before the magic that would be Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. The Concert Hall was fullish but by no means sold out. I had bought my tickets the day they were released; I was smack bang in the middle six rows back. It was pretty much what I had expected but by no means would I say it was amazing. Featuring two of the members from the 1997 album, the rest of the Orquesta is a collection of it seems rotating musicians who are to a degree cashing in on that famous name. Whilst I enjoyed just about every moment of the concert, it did seem quite often that the musicians were just going through the paces and quite possibly would have liked to have been elsewhere. Typically a live performance is 100 times better than listening to the album as very rarely does that “special buzz” make it through to the recording. I had expected a lot more of a buzz in the live music.

The gig had good parts and parts that could have been better. Part of the problem I think is the venue for the concert. Whilst the Concert Hall is a nice venue, it was not a wise venue choice for a bunch of musicians making music that is designed for dancing. The Hi-Fi, The Tivoli or The Zoo would all have been much, much, much better venue choices as people could have danced and as a result of that I think the musicians would have been able to put more buzz and excitement into the sound. Also there was absolutely no merchandise…. ????? I thought for sure there would have at least been the flogging of some t-shirts and the original Buena Vista Social Club album and movie. It seems I was not the only person who felt like this either.

Monday was work in the morning, visiting a number of grocery stores picking up half price Easter chocolate for a project and making a big batch pumpkin and red lentil dahl in the afternoon.

Red Lentil and Pumpkin Dahl, 261/365
Red Lentil and Pumpkin Dahl, 261/365

ahh long weekends.

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