Our weather has not improved. In fact the temperature, winds, smoke haze and fire incidences rose rapidly during the past week. Thankfully Saturday brought slightly cooler temperatures.
Having enjoyed our bayside sunrise the previous week, we cajoled the rest of our group to rise early this week. We met in the Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens Carpark at 4.15am. Alarms had woken us at 3am, but yet again it ws definitely worth the effort.
One car remained in the carpark, with two taking the short drive up to Mt Cootha Lookout. We just had time to organise our early morning repaste, before a smokey sun broke the skyline.
Looking to the left of the previous photo.
It is quite amazing how rapidly the sky lights up.
Jayne and Joc busy organising our champagne breakfast.
Yes, I have been telling you how hot it has been, but thankfully the last of the night air was quite chilly on our arrival. Sadly the coolness didn't last long.
5am saw us heading down the Slaughter Falls trail, back to the carpark - approx 4 km.
The clear sky in the west didn't last long.
'Total Fire Ban' signs spotted often.
Once the cars had been retrieved from the lookout, we then set off on part 2 of our hiking. The extensive and oldest cemetery in Brisbane is opposite the gardens. Both Laurel and Margot have Great Grandparents buried here. We've not had success finding their graves previously and felt we had come better prepared, but to no avail.
A carpet of seedpods from an unknown species of tree.
The busy Western Freeway was nervously negotiated as we left Toowong Cemetery and commenced our hike through Anzac Park to Inooroopilly shoppong Centre. This was our chosen destination to view this year's Christmas displays.
A certain young lady just can't resist a good flying fox ride and was also joined by Laurel.
Shady trees and lovely old homes, helped us to forget just how steep the streets are in this area.
Finally, hot sweaty and dying for a coffee, we arrived at the shopping centre at 8am. The decorations were exactly the same as last year so we were initially disappointed after our hot hike, but we soon found our Christmas spirit and enjoyed the moment.
Bus 999 took only 20 minutes to return us to our parked cars. We were going to explore some of the garden trails but the temperature was already 33C at 10am so we found a shady picnic table and relaxed with a cuppa and Joc's delicious strawberry bread with ricotta cheese.
Behind us was a very sad looking, almost empty lagoon. Before us was a vista of green grass and flowering natives. Such a joy to the eyes in these dry times.
An early start, a smokey sunrise, missing graves, steep hills, same decorations but as always it was fun and rewarding to be out and about with the Hungry Hikers. Given the conditons, we were rather proud of our 14 kilometres.
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