Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Duck Creek to O'Reillys

Tuesday, 6 August.

I have travelled the winding, mountain road to O'Reilly's many times over the years, either to hike or picnic in its beautiful rainforest. About 3 km from the resort is a sign to a dirt road to Duck Creek, 4-wheel drives only. 

I often wondered where the road would descend to. Gail is a new member to our Gaiter Girl group and lives in Beaudesert, a 40 min drive to the starting point for this hike up to O'Reillys. The road has been closed since March 2017, when Cyclone Debbie dropped 16 inches of rain in 24 hours, causing devastating flooding and erosion. There are plans to re-open it as a hiking trail, but as always council funds are limited. Gail being a local, was able to gain permission for us to drive through private properties to our starting point.

The drive in was very sobering. Drought is on our doorstep, with no end in sight. 

Rachel and Mary managed to open and shut a very heavy, tricky, farm gate.

Over-enthusiasm, before we start the steep climb.

In the past, maintenence of the road was supported by local family donations, which were recognised by a variety of signage.

Eventually the continuous climbing gave us distant views to The Great Dividing Range and its main peak, Mt Barney.

I was a Cullen before my marriage.

Five kilometres done, we took a rest at the Shepherd's Lookout and the stone monument recording the opening of the "Do It -Yourself - Road" in 1988.

Rachel capturing my favourite view of Mt Lindsey.

It was a beautiful winter's day. 10C when we set off but reaching 22C by midday. This view is so typically Australian.

Re-energised, we were eager to complete the next 5 kms. 

We were relieved when we realised the worst of the climb was over. The road  flattened out considerably and soon entered a rainforest of towering trees.

As we stood and admired this new vista, we fell into conversation with an English couple on holiday from the UK.  They were resting in the field, listening to our birds and were thrilled by the panorama in front of them. They were from the Wye Valley where I had been hiking a few weeks previously. It is a small world.

We totally agreed with their viewpoint and the decision was made to make this our turnaround point. 

Lunch eaten, it was difficult to tear ourselves away to hike back down to our vehicle.

Walking back through the rainforest we took time to photograph our 'Little People.' Our amazing friend Janice is unable to hike with us at present as she is undergoing chemo for breast cancer. This was our attempt to include Janice's little person.

Our knees were rather tired after making the descent.  A quick cuppa and a few nibbles revived us for the drive home, after agreeing that 20 kms could be written in the log book for today's effort. It was a strenuous but very enjoyable hike and just lovely to find a lengthier trail.

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Sunday, 11 August 2019

Goodrich - Wye Valley, Herefordshire

15 - 20 July

The quaint village of Goodrich was our base for a few days hiking in the Wye Valley. The village grew up next to Goodrich Castle, situated "on a high spur of land commanding a strategic position, above an ancient crossing point of the Wye River."

Alas, we didn't visit the castle and because of it being surrounded by lovely forest on the village side, we only managed glimpses of it, when driving in the valley.

My husband came up trumps again with our accommodation. Our cosy cottage, in this pretty village, was the perfect base for our explorations of the Wye Valley on foot.


Jolly's of Goodrich, once the local shop, now converted to comfortable accommodation.

The garden of our landlord.

One always has to take a photo of a red letterbox!

One hundred metres from Jollies was the Hostelrie of Goodrich. As many locals as visitors were frequenting here, making for interesting eavesdropping. One farmer was most upset by hikers walking through his barley. I don't blame him.

A lovely English pub with the special of the night, Thai Chicken Curry!

On the first morning and each evening, I strolled the narrow lanes in total bliss. Instead of reading someone's blog, I was actually able to smell the roses, wonder at the height of the hedgerows, walk through the churchyard, spot the squirrel, hear the chirping birds, step aside for the tractor carrying hay, be in wonder at the age of buildings, catch glimpses of the green and gold patchwork of farms in the valley and enjoy, first hand, the colour and beauty of the 'wildflowers' in the fields, verges and cottage gardens. Yes, this was my dream come true. Be warned the camera button worked overtime.

Morning walk - 7am

Sweet peas to smell, imediately outside the gate.

Continuing on, my first narrow lane.

A garden gate in a hedge with the view on the right.

Continuing on, the lanes are sightly wider. Tennis courts are behind the hedge on the right.

Across the lane from the barn.

The farmhouse.

First view of patchwork fields.

I opted to go left, rather than down this road.

Magnificent foxgloves.

Spot the 'Public Footpath' through the field of cabbages.

First evening walk, approx 8pm, after a delicious meal in our lovely courtyard.

Second evening walk - 8.30pm.
View down to the 'ancient crossing point' of the Wye River.

'The Inn on the Wye', close to the lovely arched bridge.

Looking further left.

Dying sun

Third evening walk - 9pm.
A breathtaking sky greeted me as I set forth on this late ramble.

This dying light was a fitting end to my wonderful evening walkabouts. The following day and evening was overcast, wet and cold. Yes, this is England! If it didn't rain, its beauty wouldn't have unfolded before me.

In the words of blogger, 'Lady Fi', "Oh, I do love the English countryside."

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