Friday night, after a day and a half of rain, I received a call from Mum inviting me to go waterfall hunting the next day. Most people who reads this most likely a) know Mum or are Mum or b) know enough about Mum to know that she has a thing for waterfalls. It was lightly raining when Mum picked me up from my house yesterday morning and it continued to rain all the way to Binna Burra/Lamington National Park. As we drove up the range we hit a large bank of low flying clouds which made the place look so mystical. There is not many things as beautiful as watching the sun try to shine through a cloud filled eucalypt forest. The straight, tall trunks of the eucalypt standing tall.
As we drove further up the range to Lamington we came out above the clouds. In the car park whilst we were kitting up, we met a lovely couple from Boulder, Colorado. Louisa and David came up to us in the car park and said to us, you look like experienced bush walkers, how do you remove leeches? After Mum demonstrating how to get leeches off and a little bit of a talk, we invited them along on our waterfall hunt. They were great walking partners as they are both scientists and liked stopping to look at all these strange and wonderful Australian rainforest curiosities.
The curiosities included jelly fungi, what we believe were bio-luminescent fungi (they glow in the dark), walking stick palms, little finch like birds, a Christmas Orchid in full bloom, a cluster of earth stars, a massive puff ball, trees with foam coming out the bark, a perfect land snail shell, lots and lots of strangling fig fruits on the rainforest floor and of course one of the highlights a Lamington Blue Spiny Crayfish.
The falls were incredible, there was soo much water gushing over the lip. Yarrabilgong Falls were just as spectacular, the water was actually spurting over the lip and going out a metre or two before falling. From the Coomera Falls lookout we actually continued up the track to the next creek crossing where we saw a few more waterfalls coming into the creek and the Coomera Creek was just gushing with water.
Mum had a great time exploring more with her camera (she got a Canon G10 about two weeks ago and is loving it :)) and I am looking forward to seeing some of the photos she took. We ended the day with drinks and cake in the tea house before parting and heading back to Brisbane. Louisa and David, fly home today to a very different climate from what they have had the last few weeks.
Leeches of all sizes were out in force yesterday, I lost count of how many I picked off before they started sucking my blood but I did end up with eight of the suckers going undiscovered. I now have an itchy leg that I am doing my best not to rub as I haven’t gone to the chemist yet to pick up some Telfast.
The Friday after Iceland arrived, Mum, Karl, Matthew and I headed off to what used to be our playground (the Girraween area) to do a little bit of a walk. We would be walking into South Bald Rock, where we would camp for two nights and spend the days climbing South Bald Rock, Middle Rock and West Bald Rock. On our way up to Bald Rock, we stopped at The Bramble Patch for some jam tasting, waffle eating and berry picking.
Once we got to the Bald Rock NP car park, we finished packing our packs and headed off up the track, trying to ignore those rain clouds looming above us. We couldn’t ignore those clouds for too long as we ended up with a decent shower as we walked. Though as Mum says she much prefers for it rain when you have already started walking as you keep going but starting to walk when it is raining is another matter. On the walk in, Karl was very lucky and managed to see a Lyre Bird on one of the granite slabs we walked over! After a couple of hours of ups, downs, arounds and over granite slabs (with a food break) we arrived at our camp site. I managed to get a leech attack with in about ohh 30 seconds of arriving at our campsite (more on that later). Mum pretty quickly scrambled up onto South Bald Rock for a play. Matthew, Karl and I started looking at which patch of ground would be the most suitable to camp on. M & K picked their spot on a nice clean leafless piece of grass and put up their fly. Mum eventually came down off the rock and then we cleared leaves away and put up our fly.
By this stage food was pretty high up on our list of wants and that meant it was time to break out the Optimus and cook the spag bol and take some photos.
With storm clouds on the horizon and a mysterious boom noise sounding in a regular pattern, it was time for bed. Thankfully the rain never came and when we woke up in the morning, it was pleasantly cloudy. Once breakfast was had and bags packed for the day walk we marched off down the road and onwards to West Bald Rock.
Along the way we found a birds nest with a little silver dew drop in.
Some Rock Orchids
Two men walking in front of us
A ground orchid
Some wattle, that smelt like heaven
Some very pretty ballet skirt flowers
Lots of cassurinas
an interesting twig
After scrambling up some granite slabs we found ourself on the top of West Bald Rock.
Then it was back down and around the track a little bit to the entry point to Middle Rock. Matthew stayed on the road minding the packs and the rest of us went up. We didn’t get to the top but had a great time as far as we did get.
Looking back at West Bald Rock
Now on Middle.
We then got some water from the nicest creek, the water was soo clear and fresh. Then back up the road to the nice looking rock for lunch.
Matthew at this time discovered he had a Leech on him, that was quickly removed and he set about cremating the Leech….
When we returned to camp, we had a little break before going up South Bald Rock – total peak baggers we are, 1 attempt and 2 mountains in a day. In this little break, I gummed on a yummy piece of Voodooo Mint Rocky Road, mmm and Karl took a series of photos.
Then we started up South Bald Rock, with an email from a friend of Mum’s telling us how to get to the cave. However we didn’t make it to the cave as when we first started we mixed up the directions with what we saw. We did eventually find the entrance to the caves but due to the lighting and thunder on the horizon we thought we better play it safe and save exploring the cave system till next time.
Once we got back down to camp, we had cous cous for dinner and then after the washing up was done, we all crawled into bed.
Shortly before 0200, Mum and I woke to rain drops coming in the top of the end fly, my response was to crawl closer to the middle of the fly and try to go back to sleep. A few minutes later, my feet started to get wet and the bottom half of my therma-rest was floating in about 10cm of water….. We quickly started piling our sleeping bags on the therma-rest in the middle of the fly and stuffing anything that was loose into our packs. We then put our raincoats on and got out to survey the storm. Matthew and Karl were on slightly lower ground and were totally flooded.
Wit raincoats and headlights on we worked to get stuff on to higher ground and in a little bit of shelter. There was then not much else we could do but wait out the storm. We walked up towards the slab and watched the water gushing off South Bald Rock in a flow of white. There was water everywhere. Along the road we found a whole heap of dark red yabbies ranging to about 15cm in length having a ball in all the water. When we first walked along the road, the water was easily 20cm in depth however the water quickly receded and we were left with wet gear, gentle rain and a hour or two before it was light. We took down the flies and rigged Karl and Matthew’s fly up on higher ground to give us space to put the packs and space out of the rain. Mum and Karl repacked the packs and just as the first bit of light appeared we got changed, had breakfast and started the walk out. The rain had brought all sorts of things out of the bush and one of the coolest things was these slugs that we found all over the place.
The bush just looked so green after the rain.
Just as I got near the end of a track a rock wallaby hopped across the track which was pretty cool and then when I got to the car park another wallaby hopped across the road.
When we were all changed and the car was packed with our belongings we started the trip home. We stopped at a few places along the way and the highlight would had to have been the Suttonâ€™s Juice Factory & Cidery, where I picked up Sun Downer Apple juice and Apple and Mandarin Juice – both very yummy. Matthew picked up a bottle of their cider and loved it so much that when Mum was back up in Stanthorpe the week before Christmas we got him a case of it.
The leech bite that I got on the first day managed to get infected and about 12 days later I got very sick, with swelling round the bite, hot and cold fevers, swollen glands and very tender spots in my leg. I went home very sick from work and after a nap, I called Mum who came and picked me up and took me to their house to look after me. I started to get better a day or two later but still had a very swollen gland in the leg that the leech bite had been on and tender spots all up my leg. It was then that I went to the doctor and got a nice course of Amoxicillin Clavulanate to clear the infection. All that is left now is a little bit of a scar!
On Saturday Mum and I went on our first YHA Bushwalkers walk, a pleasant 10km stroll up Mt Mitchell in the Main Range. There were fifteen of us on the walk and was it was meeting some new people and walking in clear weather.
One of my highlights was “feasting” on wild raspberries with my lunch and ringing Grandad in his hospital bed from the top of the mountain.
It is such an easy walk, I almost felt like running back down the track but didn’t instead I ran my hands over the grass trees, each time, delighting in the rush of the leaves over the palm of my hand.
I had forgotten how much I love the view from the gap. Sitting on a rock looking out over the Fassifern Valley it just looks so nice.
When the walk was over we had a little shop in the very nice Aratula Fruit Market before heading back to Brisbane and stopping in for a little while at the hospital to visit Grandad for a while.