Thursday 21 July
Listed as 16.6 kms with steep descent and many river crossings, we left early and were hiking by 8 am. Our descent began about 100 metres below the Ranger's Station and Informatiion Centre, which is a kilometre before Binna Burra Lodge. We chose to hike in an anticlockwise direction and were glad of this choice. Perhaps because of the creek crossings, this trail is not well used and needs a lot of maintenance. We found it a marvellous adventure and on completion, it left us feeling well satisfied with our achievemnet.
Birdsong, especially of the whip birds, towering red cedars and gums, moss laden fallen giants, piccabeen palms, ferns, fungi and epiphytes all added to the peaceful beauty of the trail.
Our descent was immediate via a small portion of the 180 steps to be climbed at the end of the day. After about 10 mins, our circuit veered right and we spent the next 8 k's contouring along the side of the ridge, as we slowly made our descent to the Coomera River.
It was not long before we were halted by our 1st and worst blow down. It took quite a bit of bush bashing to relocate the trail.
A wondrous sight, oft repeated during the day.
Yet another challenge.
How amazing is this most unusual, coral like fungi?
In making our descent, we crossed many dry rocky gullies.
What a brutal end for this giant.
We were able to hear the tumbling Coomera long before we sighted its rocky stream. It was however, quite some time before we reached its bank for our first crossing.
Before it was declared a national park, this area was heavily logged for its red cedars. This one fell from natural causes. It wasn't left by loggers. As we passed between its trunk and stump, we spotted the river ahead.
Can you spot the orange triangle across the stream? It was often a hidden guide to the continuing trail.
By this time my feet were begging me to submerge them in the icey cold water. Rachel, meanwhile, managed to cross without taking her boots off, for which she was very grateful 12 crossings later!
Our estimation is that we spent over 2 hours in total, taking off and putting on our boots. The stream was not deep and there were well placed rocks for stepping across, BUT they were just toooo slippery to use. Even barefoot, we were slipping on the submerged ones.
Second crossing. The distance between each crossing was relatively short. We would just get into our stride and then have to, off with our boots. When we do it again, we will carry a light sneaker to wear for the duration of the crossings.
This part of the forest floor was heavily littered with giant piccabeen fronds.
A red cedar, that would have been just a sapling in the logging era.
This crossing caused quite a delay. Initially we couldn't find a low drop off the bank and then the orange triangle was elusive. Eventually well spotted by Rachel, as it was hidden amidst the tangle of lantana.
After the descent of the morning, it was pleasant even walking, between the crossings.
There were several mini streams whose crossing, confused our total count. We were excited to not have to take our boots off.
Finally no 13! With great care, we avoided the boot routine.
The track now zig zagged uphill for 400 metres to a junction. Continuing on, we would have just 2.5 kms of uphill to complete the circuit, or turning right, a 400 metre side trail, to the Gwongoorool Pool.
So glad we made this choice. Supposedly the haunt of several tame eels, it was a picture of perfect tranquility.
That tranquility didn't last long. Rachel slipped and fell, hurting her wrists. In so doing, she gave a slimey leech the perfect opportunity to visit her arm. I am still not sure why I was the one who had to remove it!
Yet again the engineers have done a fine job of creating a trail up, requiring minimum effort on this steep terrain, except for the 180 steps.