Sunday, 17 March 2019

A Bit of This and That

The weather

I have commented numerous times of the drought like conditions so many areas of Australia are suffering from. On the drive to my Paddy's Peak hike and a week later, across the border to a family reunion, I was stunned at how desolate the land was looking, so close to home.

Earlier in the year, cyclone Oma passed through but brought no relief to here. While she was doing her damage in the north, there were bushfires, damaging thunderstorms and snow occurring in other parts of the country.

I had collected a few images to share at some stage ie now.

In the north of the state, that tale changed very rapidly when Cyclone Oma struck viciously.
20,000 houses inundated in Townsville and to the west, the rainfall came so quickly graziers weren't able to get their stock to high ground. 300, 000 head of cattle lost.
The first raindrops in several years had brought joy. The last ones only heartache.

Birdsville is a tiny isolated town in the far, far west of Queensland. A good 1000 km from the rain source, but flooded several weeks after the rain event in the north. An example of how vast and flat central Australia is.

The view of Birdsville I took from google maps. I might add that in Jan, they had 9 days in a row, of temps above 45 C.

While the above event was unfurling, other areas of Australia were being devastated by uncontrollable bushfires, summer snow and in Sydney, damaging thunderstorms.

We have also been experiencing above average temperatures. Here in Brisbane a record 30 days were above 30 C. This is a weather map for temps across Australia, recently.

I am pleased to report that Friday night [15 March] brought thunderstorms on a wide scale, bringing relief to many areas. And yes another cyclone is forming in the far, far north. 
Here at No 16 we have recorded 6 inches over 3 days, The golf ponds are full again and the course is  a carpet of green. So thankful.

On Facebook, I belong to a page called, "Who got the Rain". It was created to support farmers doing it tough. It thrills me to see the reports of longed for rain on their properties illustrated by their photographs. I would love to share some here but it would be inappropriate. 

I took this screenshot to share.

Birds spotted.

We were excited that these Kookaburras flew in to observe our picnic. However, it would seem they have developed the nasty pastime of unexpectedly diving down and snatching food, not just from the table, but as it is being lifted to the mouth. 

Kookaburra nest carved out of an old termite mound.

Torresian Crow.

Purple Swamp Hen

Darter - related to the cormorant.

Drying his feathers that are not water proof.

A Great Egret, all hunched up on the edge of our golf pond.

Creative or poor photography. 

You can decide for yourself.

Reflections from under the bridge.

Birdlife under the bridge.


Water Dragons

Early morning light

Sunset and Rainbows

Billowy clouds greeted me across the golf course as the sun began to fade.

Then a rainbow arched across the sky but I could only record this much of it.

In the opposite direction.

And as I write, a visitor.
Sadly we don't see many green frogs anymore. Great excitement when we saw this large fellow trying to scale our sliding door.  Then sadness as we think he was suffering from a disease.

He should be much greener.

Life is full of highs and lows, but if one looks for the beauty in nature, spirits will always lift.

I would love to read your comment.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Paddy's Peak - Scenic Rim

27 February

I woke to this sunrise greeting my day with such great promise. The promise was fulfilled!

The Scenic Rim has some challenging peaks, Mt Barney being number one. Several of my Gaiter Girls would love to climb them. I would too, but unfortunately I know that my body would tell me otherwise, once we reached the open scrambling sections. We are also not that great at map reading, so had often discussed paying someone to lead us on any ascent made.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a site for 'Horizon Guides' based at Boonah, just over an hour from my home. Teresa owns 'Far Out Doors', a camping and hiking store but offers day and overnight  hikes a number of times each month. The hikes offered beckoned and the cost was quite reasonable. Unfortunately neither Rachel, Mary or Janice were in a position at this time to book anything, but I chose to go by myself on the Paddy's Peak hike, a lower ridge nestled between Mt Barney and Mt Maroon.

This is Teresa's web page header, showing the peaks and ranges of the Scenic Rim.

The meeting point for the day was Boonah State School carpark at 7.45am. Keith, Gail and Melina were to be my fellow hiking companions. Teresa drove us to the trail head just over an hour away. The drive through farming countryside was quite depressing. Rain hasn't fallen here in a long time and the land in many areas, was horribly drought stricken.

Mt Maroon.
Paddy's Peak is immediately behind Maroon.

An old cabin, seen from where we parked, at the entrance to the trail head in Mt Barney National Park.

The hike is underway, initially along fire trail.

Almost immediately we crossed the trickle of Mt Barney Creek. 

Eucalypt forest and leaf litter contrasted with the vibrant green of the Grass Trees, all day. These grow only a centimetre a year.

After about a kilometre, we left the fire trail at a very dry Paddy's Creek, turning left to commence 'bush bashing' the ridge to Paddy's Peak. 

The dry creek bed.

Teresa's trail took us down to the creek here, for some rock scrambling.

The green of these staghorns was heartening, as so many we saw were browning off in the dry conditions.

A breather before the ascent of a steep, volcanic slab.

The slab ended but we weren't on top of the ridge.

Thankfully we veered to the right of this outcrop.

Rest stop here, with our first view of Mt Barney, after reaching the ridgeline to Paddy's Peak.

In hiding is the 'Wedding Cake, or Mt Lindsey',  a very special peak for me. 
I have wonderful childhood memories, of every winter, driving the winding dirt road around Mt Lindsey, which was often cloaked with cloud, on our trek north for a beach holiday.

Continuing on, the hiking was quite straight forward, and often with lovely views across to Mt Lindsey, Barney and the valley below.

Mt Barney - 1359 m.

Summit reached, 560 m with 180 degree views north.

We then backtracked a short distance to take a spur leading to the top of a huge rock waterfall slab, our lunch stop.

Mt Maroon - 996 m, seen to the left of where I was sitting.

The arrow points to a rocky knoll we headed to after lunch.

The back of the knoll.

About to scramble to its top.

Melina, a German backpacker working on a local farm, was thrilled to make it.

The view back to our rocky lunch spot and Mt Barney in the distance.

Leaving the knoll.

A short walk down through open forest brought us back to the fire trail and  to the top of Paddy's waterless waterfall, a 40 m drop over a rhyolite cliff.

Leaving the waterfall we had one more ruggard section to manouvre, allowing us to drop down to the original fire trail and the last few hundred metres back to Mt Barney Creek and the car.

Looking back to where we had descended.

A casual stroll back to the car.

Wow, what a marvelous day! The conditions were dry but it made for easy hiking and less chance of stumbling on a snake. None seen. The scenery was so typically Aussie bush and although filled with so much brown, it was still infused with so much beauty. To have someone else leading the group was sheer bliss for me. The views to Mt Barney were amazing but unfortuanately, confirmed that I won't be climbing her peak. I might add that the Gaiter Girls have hiked below Mt Barney, through its lower portals.

We will return and explore further.  Hopefully I will now be up to the challenge of leading them up to Paddy's Peak.

I would love to read your comment.