The Somerset Trail starts at the Gantry at Mt Mee, just north of Brisbane. I’ve lived close to Mt Mee for years but haven’t ever been bushwalking there. I set off on the trail. The path is littered with leaves and slightly damp from recent rains. But not wet enough to make mud. I know I’m in a good place when I’m noticing the small things along my walk. Water drops sit on leaves. Bark peels from trees reaching for the sky. Bicoloured fern leaves soften the edges of the trail. And palm trees create beautiful silhouettes against the blue sky.
The trail takes me through a variety of landscapes. There’s a patch of rain forest, which is cool and damp. Pine trees grow in places, making me reminisce about my Kumano Kodo pilgrimage in Japan. The open eucalyptus forests are hot and dry. And the heath land is so green it seems impossible, particularly given the lack of rain we’ve had this summer.
Somerset Lookout marks the midway point of the trail. A steep rocky cliff drops down off the escarpment, leaving me with views of the valleys and dams to the west. Grass trees grow in the poor shallow soil between the boulders. These trees always seem to thrive most in the worst soils around. The trees generally grow slowly and are more fragile than their black bodies seem. I stop for lunch and to enjoy the view for a while.
Leaving the views behind I walk back towards the carpark. The walk is undulating but not too challenging. There are many places where I have to cross gravel forestry roads. In one place the markers are missing but I spy the trail about 50m to my left. As I approach the end of the trail I start to notice chop marks in some of the larger tree stumps. These must be the scars left by the timber getters in days gone by. The same timber getters who had need for the gantry that remains up at the Gantry Day Use Area where I’ve left my car. I can’t say that I’m terribly fond of our history of cutting down forests so I can’t get excited by this historic structure. But I guess it tells part of the story of our history.