Kasey Rae's Adventure Down Under 2006
It feels so good to be back in Byron and read at the beach. Don't get me wrong, I loved Brisbane and camping in Lamington National Park, but it was such a long, packed trip that I'm exhausted. Plus, I feel myself getting sick. No fun! On Wednesday we took the bus to Brisbane, which I told you all about last time. Friday morning we meet up with Ralph, Mark, Pru, and Gary (our instructors) at the Coolangatta airport and drove to Lamington. The scenary was beatiful. Eucalypt trees lined the street (alas no kolas to be seen though) and we wound our way around a mountain. If you looked over teh edge of the street it was a steep fall down. Very cool. Weird to be on such a narrow road while driving on the left side. On the way to the campsite, Gary identified trees and told us about the geologic history of the area. For instance, strangling figs grow down from the top and "strangle" a tree beneath. Over thousands of years (yes thousands) the tree below is engulfed by the fig and eventually hollows out. It tooks kind of like the tree in ferngully that kills Hexus. Tara should know what I'm talking about. Anyway, the flora in the area is nothng like I've seen before. I personally feel that we didn't do "real" camping because right up the road there was a pub and a resort. Both days we made it for happy hour (half off mixed drinks) and one day we had dinner there. It was really cool there, like 50-60 at night. I wasn't expecting that and I didn't bring a sweatshirt or anything, but I survived. All over the place we say padymelon's (which are small wallaby's) and once we saw one with the joey popping out of the pouch. Parrots were all over and at night you can hear the dingos howling. Sweet! The first day we set up camp (Carlee, Deidra, and I shared a tent). Next we did the canopy walk and got to climb this really tall ladder on a tree that was 30m high! Scary but amazing. The view was spectacular and the climb was exhilirating. Poor Alden was too afraid of heights to do that part. Then we went to the clubhouse thing and then that night we took a night walk with Gary. He's a little odd and I think he was drunk when he took us out, but he's very knowledgable. He's a bushman. He told us before we started the walk all these stories about the Yawy, which is basically the bigfoot of australia. Scared the crap out of us right before we were to walk in the pitchblackness of the rainforest. We walked a bit and then climbd this tower to the top where he continued to scare us with his stories. Then we hiked through the forest to see glowworms. They aren't worms at all, they're maggots that burn off what they eat in their stomachs and glow because of the gas they excrete. They like moist cliff areas and when we turn our torches (aka flashlights) off it looks like stars. They purposelly look like this so they confuse insects so they'll get caught in their webs. the insects think they're flying towards the night sky, but instead it's a deadly trap. Absolutely beautiful. Up close the webs look like really tiny mardigras beads that twinkle. Gary told us they were the best he's seen in years. The next day we hiked 11km which took us about six hours. We swam in waterfalls (or at least four of us did, the others wimped out cuz it was cold and slippery, and the water was coming down hard, but we did it). We IDed more plants, saw more streams, saw a tree that was 1500 years old (a brushbox tree), Got leaches on us, and ate some rainforest berries called walking stck tree fruit. Fantastic. Oh, the first night we made grilled cheese and soup outside our tents and an australian possum ( much cuter than a n. american opposum) stole our bread and was harrassing us. He had a tug of war with Alden and then scratched Peter (but in all fairness Peter provoked him by putting his hand by his claw) and the whole night the possum hung around our food and would occasionally jump down to try to swipe something. The next morning the same thing happened with the bush turkeys. They got one of our crumpets. Grr. lol On Sunday on our way back we stopped at a place in the forest to swim in a waterfall area and a cave. You walk through this rainforest down to the creek which leads to a pool and a cave with a waterfall. Small bats were all over the place, but that did not deter us. What an amazing swim. I took my goggles and explored below the water, but there wasn't much down there. I'm thinking beccausd of the lack of light and pressure of the waterfall. We weren't able to hike Mount Warning due to torrential rain when we got there so we're going to have to do that on a Friday when we have no class. This week we have a garden day, snorkeling at the Julian Rocks (where I dove last time), and a nature photography workshop. Next week we have a mid-term so I'll be studying for that. I'll update soon. Bye Kasey Ps. Last week the waves at the beach were massive. I lost my goggles, but it was so worth it. This week the Quicksilver/Roxy pro starts so all the pros were out practicing.