Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Our Unique Aussie Bush

27 August

In August 2015, my friend Jocelyn and I hiked the Somerset Trail at Mt Mee. We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the bloom of the Wallum Gold Pea Bush. Every August a return visit was put on the agenda to share this glorious colour with the the others in our hiking group. At this point, it seems the Hungry Hikers will miss out again this year but I was thrilled to return with the Gaiter Girls on Tuesday.

Rain was forecast and we were wishing it for the farmers. A walk in the rain would be fun too. This area north of Brisbane was dry but thankfully drought has not yet taken hold.

Nearing our destination, looking over the Glasshouse Mountains to the coast.

The trail initially passes through beautiful rainforest of towering trees, palms and ferns and continues through open scrub to a man made pine forest before opening out into open bushland and magnificent gums. At about 2 km from the carpark, it returns to rainforest.

As I am time poor at the moment, I will let the photos tell the story in the order in which they were taken, over this wondrously beautiful, 15 km hike. Mary and Rachel set a fast pace. I would stop and take a photo and they would disappear. I would jog to catch up. In the end I just took my time and marvelled at the beauty of the grey gums reaching for the sky, enjoyed the song of the birds flitting through the bushes and loving the sea of gold with a sense of peace and tranquility.

Leaving the rainforest.

Entering 'Aussie bush'.

The mauve ground orchid wass en-masse in this area but the camera didn't capture just how many there were.

Hard to believe that this seed grows from this tiny white flower.

A rest was taken at the viewpoint over the Brisbane Valey to Somerset Dam. The wattle was glorious.

Rachel has major back issues and took time to stretch. She convinced Mary and I that the view improved looking at it from this angle. Much laughter ensued!

My favorite waterhole didn't disappoint with its wonderful reflection.

Yes, the view was definitely better from this angle. Well, that was what we said to convince a lone, tad gorgeous, male hiker, who happened upon us at this point. Poor lad, we even convinced him to try the pose.

Scars of a past age of tree felling rather than preserving.

A date has been set for a return visit in 2020.

I would love to read your comment.

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.

I would love to read your comment.