“It should be a nice easy 4.6km walk along Amamoor Creek.” That’s how I described Paul and my first bushwalk to him. It’s honestly what I thought, based on images I saw on Google Images and the National Parks website. The walk turns out to be anything but an easy creek walk.
It’s a 1.5 hour drive from our house to Amamoor State Forest. The last section after we leave the highway is lovely and takes us along quiet country roads. We park at the Cedar Grove camping ground and set of on the trail.
We start by crossing Amamoor Creek. This would make a gorgeous swimming hole during the long hot Queensland summer. It’s not summer yet so satisfy ourselves with enjoying the way the creek looks. There’s a little rock dam where leaves are collecting. The colours are bright and cheerful.
The trail starts in open forest that used to be farmland. There’s still some cattle wandering around ruining the earth with their heavy hoofs. Some of the damage looks like it might be caused by wild pigs rooting around in the dirt and mud.
But soon we have climbed high enough that the land is too steep for cattle, pigs and farmers of days before this became a national park. Instead of cattle hoofs the trail is marked by the sprawling tree roots and leaf litter. The path is steep and we are both breathing heavily. It goes up and up and up for over an hour. The rain forest is pretty but it can be difficult to see when you are puffed from the effort. I feel bad for Paul because it’s the first bushwalk I’ve taken him on and the terrain is tough.
We reach the top of the climb and more than an hour has passed since we left the car. Usually this would mean we are almost finished a 4.6km (3 1/4 mile) hike but not today. There’s a sign that says we still have 3.6km (2 miles) to go. At least the trail is starting to drop downhill now. Steeply, but down.
The rainforest here is pretty though. It’s dense and vines grow everywhere. Tarzan would have been right at home. There’s moss and mushrooms and the constant sound of whip birds calling to each other through the trees. We can’t see the birds but their song is familiar. I found this video on YouTube so that you can hear what the whip bird sounds like.
At the half-way point we come to an old fire trail that we have to follow. The forest is open now and big grey gum trees dominate the grasslands. The sky is grey today too; making the gums even more beautiful. They are such a structural plant.
Nearing the car park we walk back along Amamoor Creek for about 500m (1/4 mile). I didn’t notice the tall lush green palms on the way out because I was too busy noticing the cow that was grazing in the ferns. But it’s gone now and my eye is taken by the canopy above us. If it were raining the fronds would probably protect us from being soaked. But today they provide a lovely spot of shade.
Back at the creek crossing near the carpark we notice some bees taking nectar from bottle brush blooms. It is happily going about its business seemingly untroubled by our presence. It is alone, humming around the shrub taking what it wants from the many red flowers.
And then we are back at the car. The 5.5km (3.4 mile) hike was challenging and took us over two hours. It was also a pretty walk. Not what we had anticipated but pretty all the same. I ask Paul whether I have put him off hiking with my first choice of trail and he tells me that we will go together again when I return from Turkey. Maybe to Kondalilla Falls near Montville on the Sunshine Coast. I sure hope so. Because I love a good hike.