Te Waihou Walkway, Blue Spring, Wairere Falls and Te Aroha Museum (Waikato, New Zealand)

 photo IMG_20170409_070131_071_zpsceoayhyb.jpg

We wake on our first morning in New Zealand to the most glorious sunrise from our bedroom window at my cousin’s home. I jump up and run outside in bare feet on cool wet grass to take a photo (or ten) of the magical moment. It’s our first glimpse of the landscape without the over of darkness. And what a glimpse it is.

 photo 20170409_101558_zps6lswj9ej.jpg

 photo IMG_20170409_162327_321_zpswgkkowdb.jpg

Our first stop for the day is the Te Waihou Walkway and Blue Spring. It’s about 45 minutes drive from our home for the night. The short walk is immediately beautiful! There’s dairy cattle grazing in a paddock and a few hundred metres further we see the blue waters of the creek that leads to Blue Spring for the first time. The waters are impossibly clear. It looks shallow but is actually deep. The green plants look like tall trees that sway in the currents below the water. It’s mesmerising. At a constant 11’C it would make an incredible place to cool down in summer (though swimming is prohibited at the actual Blue Spring).
 photo IMG_20170409_163358_493_zps0tdrmfxv.jpg

 photo IMG_20170409_163216_539_zpsmqbjhm1s.jpg

From Blue Spring we drive to Wairere Falls. Former Cyclone Debbie dumped so much water here that the falls are visible from miles away. My cousin tells us about a track to view the falls. It’s 45 minutes each way and has some steep sections. Sounds perfect so we turn off the road to take a short hike. The walk is pretty. The creek is flowing quickly and full of water. Each bridge across the raging torrents brings stunning views. Small rainbows form in a whisper of water slipping down a wall in long thin fingers.

 photo IMG_20170409_162955_045_zps8hicwolv.jpg

But the real majesty is waiting for us at the lower lookout. The waterfall is plunging down the cliff ahead of us. Words can’t do it justice. We eat lunch in awe of the view before the much easier walk back down.

 photo 20170409_150011_zpscaejvyzr.jpg

All I knew about Te Aroha was that my aunt lives there. She wasn’t home for a spontaneous visit but the nearby museum was open. For $NZ5 it’s a good value museum. Te Aroha was established for the purpose of being a bath town because of the natural thermal springs there. The first European bath was made in the muddy ground by burying a piano box. After that a number of huts were built around the various springs. Unfortunately, this affected the rights of Maori people who no longer had access at their traditional waters. At their height, the Te Aroha baths were a major tourist attraction for health and healing. After science disproved the curative properties of thermal baths the baths fell into disrepair until 1990 when restoration works began. Now there are two thermal baths, a foot bath and a public swimming pool.

We end the day at the Top Pub in Morrinsville where we take my cousin for dinner. It’s quiet but then there are  only 4.5 million people living in New Zealand and this is a particularly rural part of the country. The food is tasty and the atmosphere relaxed even though we have the place to ourselves. It’s been a brilliant first day.

Double Island hike day 1: Rainbow Beach to Freshwater via Poona Lake (Queensland, Australia)

So here I am, sleeping on a bench in a bathroom grateful for the one pair of undies that stayed dry tonight. I wonder what the other blokes in camp will think when they find me here tomorrow morning. Two bad choices led me here: taking a bivy instead of a tent during the wet season and trying to be a hero when the storm came over. But I am not down on myself.  I know from experience that I always remember the nights I’ve slept in toilet blocks clearly for many years. 

But I should really start this story from the beginning.  For it’s not a sad tale at all. 

For days 16 and 17 if my challenge to walk 12km each day during March to raise money for the Australian Red Cross, I decided to go on an overnight hike. With the Cooloola Great Walk closed between Freshwater Lake and Harry’s Hut, and a nomadic friend being in Gympie I decided to walk the Double Island Point loop from Rainbow Beach. By camping at Freshwater Lake the distances would be a challenging 18km and 24km. Freshwater camp has drinking water so that made it a logical camp.  

After a 2.5 hour drive I park midway between the Rainbow Beach surf club and Carlo Sandblow. This allows me to get the steep urban walk out if the way today. Something I’ll surely be grateful for tomorrow.  
 photo 20170316_092808_zpsxmu2lv8e.jpg
Carlo Sandblow is an iconic Rainbow Beach destination in its own right.  I remember playing here on family holidays during my childhood. Back then it was still possible to climb down the cliff face to the beach. But it was always scary and dangerous. Today it is forbidden and with good reason because the cliff has changed and we probably caused some terrible erosion back then.
 photo IMG_20170316_152737_425_zpsjmhbafwr.jpg

 photo IMG_20170316_152354_928_zpsklemkma4.jpg

 photo IMG_20170316_152047_911_zpsscd9ftv7.jpg
Crossing Carlo takes me into a fairly lush rainforest for such a sandy place. I will spend my day meandering past brightly coloured mushrooms and twisted vines. The buttress rooted trees and strangler figs so familiar from my years of bushwalking in South East Queensland are plentiful here too.  
 photo 20170316_115241_zps0gc9tevt.jpg

 photo IMG_20170316_152150_137_zpspo5xawxf.jpg
8km after entering the bush I come to Poona Lake. I was here last year when I ran a trail half marathon but this time I can stop to enjoy white sands of the ti tree stained water. The sand granules are sticky and cling to my sweaty body and clothes. I sit a while in the water. It’s refreshing on this disgustingly hot and humid day. 
 photo 20170316_121028_zpso6g7lubo.jpg
I hear the three young backpackers for twenty minutes before they arrive. Carrying only swimmers and towels they’re on a different mission to me so I leave them to their fun and continue my walk.
 photo 20170316_132717_zps7ayebumx.jpg

 photo 20170316_132317_zpsjhu4qobd.jpg
I am hot and bothered by the time Freshwater Lake comes into view. The humidity is stifling and reminds me why I hate March – that sneaky hot rainy month right when you think the long hot summer might be over. The lake is pretty but I don’t stay long. I want to go to camp and have also forgotten to pack bug spray to protect me from the mozzies. 

Freshwater camp is quiet and pretty.  There are only two other tents here.  Both have 4WDs parked out the front so I must be the only walker.  We used to come here by 4WD when I was young too.  Cooloola is amazing and one of the best and most accessible 4WD areas around. 
 photo 20170316_154635_zps9j28hulg.jpg
I lay on my bivy bag  squashing horse flies. A butcher bird flies over to catch and eat the flies that I throw away.  It also spies a native cockroach and makes short work of that. I eat my own dinner and drink strong sweet tea Javanese style with lots of condensed milk. And that’s where the sensible part of my day ends.
 photo 20170316_170757_zpsrijopyhj.jpg
For some reason I get it in my head to walk to the beach. I discover that it’s much cooler there due to a breeze. I also spot a storm coming quickly north. What I do next is so dumb. I am surprised at myself. Instead of hanging at camp amd waiting for the storm to pass, I decide to shift to the beach because it’s cooler and I might not sweat as much in my bivy. The real mistake was relying on a bivy during the storm season and not carrying a tent.  That aside, I should not have moved camp because the beach is the worst place to be in a storm.  There’s limited protection from lightning and the rain has nothing to temper its ferocity.  
 photo 20170316_185906_zps0eejzux4.jpg
Half an hour later everything is wet and I’m running back to camp in my now saturated sleeping clothes. And that’s how this episode of “Andrew sleeps in a toilet block” comes about. 

Lessons learned: pack mozzie spray, bivy bags are a three season shelter so use a tent in summer and stay in camp when it storms. 

Distance: 18.3km plus 3km to and from beach a couple of times

Cumulative distance for challenge:216.9km

If you would like to support me in my challenge to walk 12km each day during March to raise awareness for people walking to flee war and to raise miney for the Australian Red Cross, please donate through my profile on the Red Cross challenge page: http://challenge.redcross.org.au/andrewgills 

Walking for Refugees Day 9 – Bunya Mountains east walk (Queensland, Australia)

 photo 20170309_055659_zpsvaarcspu.jpg
Wallabies hop outside our tent. It makes it easy to get up for my walk. I feel so blessed to be waking up like this. It makes it easy to put on my shoes, grab my hiking poles and set off into the bush. It’s about 200m to the start of the Eastern Tracks where I will walk today.
 photo 20170309_061745_zpsqvbrkqy2.jpg
Setting off into the rainforest I am struck by the number of bunya nut seeds that litter the trail. Bunya nuts are massive seeds that fall from the bunya trees. The nuts can be up to 10kg in weight – large enough to cause some serious damage if a person is hit by them. The bunya trees produce nuts every year but every three years there’s a bumper crop. For thousands of years before European colonisation, the Traditional Owners would come to the Bunya Mountains every three years to celebrate this bumper crop. Aboriginal men and women from all over northern New South Wales and South East Queensland would walk to the mountains for the festival. It often involved months of community activities. Unfortunately, the last of these gatherings was held in about 1880 after which time the European invaders started to force Aboriginal people to live on missions.
 photo 20170309_073633_zpscbhrd9gk.jpg

 photo 20170309_070152_zpscixkt92a.jpg
I spend my morning walking through nature. There’s mushrooms, butterflies, scrub turkeys and bower birds. It’s glorious.
 photo IMG_20170309_084252_356_zpshgearpmi.jpg

 photo 20170309_074829_zpsmml7uvmk.jpg
There’s tall old trees with buttressed roots and gnarled strangler fig vines. It feels wonderful to be out here.
 photo IMG_20170309_084555_882_zps6s4ohipq.jpg
While the western trails have expansive views over the flat farming lands to the west, the eastern trails have a few lookouts. The views are of the less steep eastern sides of the Bunya Mountains, the rolling hills to the east and the Tarong power station’s towers. Today wispy clouds roll up the hills as I stand taking in one of the view points.
 photo IMG_20170309_084438_071_zpsuzhkvfyi.jpg

 photo IMG_20170308_211318_120_zpsft9d6okf.jpg
The other contrast between the western and eastern sides of the Bunya Mountains is that yesterday’s walk was through largely dry country while today’s walk includes some lovely cool creeks and waterfalls. Even on a dry day like today, there is water in the little falls and in other small falls I pass. Sure, it’s not a roaring thunder like it could be after heavy rains. But it’s still quite a contrast from the western side of the mountains.

Twelve kilometres later I am back at camp. Paul gets up and we cook a BBQ breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches on the camp BBQs. Unlike most public BBQs in Australia, these cost 20c each and are unclean. It’s my only criticism of the Bunya Mountains. While local councils all over Australia are providing free clean electric BBQs, the state government has failed to do it here. Breakfast is still tasty and we try to leave the BBQ in a better state than we found it.

Distance: 12.2km
Cumulative distance: 122.6km

If you would like to support me in this challenge, please donate to the Australian Red Cross through this link: https://challenge.redcross.org.au/andrewgills

Walking for Refuges day 8 – Bunya Mountains west walk (Queensland, Australia)

The Bunya Mountains rise high from the flat South Burnett cattle country. It’s a place steeped in history, both happy and sad. A history intricately linked with the natural beauty of the bushland that covers this range. A history I will try to share in this and my next post.

We’ve come to the Bunyas for an overnight camping trip. And so that I can complete walks eight and nine of my challenge to raise money for the Australian Red Cross. Of the three campgrounds we choose Dandabah camping area because it has hot showers and electric BBQs. This is my compromise to Paul who doesn’t like camping and does it because I do. The electric BBQs are a treat because it saves us lighting a wood fired BBQ when we arrive at camp in the dark after my walk.

We left home late so don’t arrive at Cherry Plain to start my walk until 4pm. I’ve chosen this start point so Paul can walk the first 6.2km with me as a loop to Westcott picnic area. I can then walk from Cherry Plain to Burtons Well while he drives there to pick me up.

 photo 20170308_154946_zpsymiucfzw.jpg
We set off onto the trail. It’s cool here at 1,100m above sea level. Much cooler than at our home by the sea. It’s perfect for walking. The path is wide and well marked with green timber national park signs. It’s not like walking in Europe where you follow a colour coded system of markings on trees and posts. It’s far more primitive in a way because if there’s a fire or storm the rangers need to come up here to replace the signs. But the nice thing is that the signs usually show place names and distance.

 photo 20170308_161851_zpstud7qnh8.jpg
The forest here is fairly young. There are some massive old buttressed trees along the path. But these are the exception, not the norm. This is where some of the sad history of the Bunyas comes into play. Not sad for all but I consider it sad. The timber getters worked hard here in the mountains, chopping down trees to build houses, railways and fences so that we Europeans could colonise the lands. While not all timber harvesting is bad, it was done in a greedy unsustainable way by people who probably didn’t yet know the environmental impact of their activities. Today, old trees with impressively huge buttresses are less common than they would have been.

 photo 20170308_163313_zpstnemu3tn.jpg
We wander along the trail, enjoying the flowers and landscape that nature offers. Some flowers and native while others are weeds. We don’t discriminate in our photography because sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. We get some good glimpses of views to the west as we walk. It makes us talk about the trip we took out here last Easter when we drove through the mountains and flat lands for three days. It’s funny how it’s taken until my late thirties to start to appreciate and explore these places close to home.

 photo 20170308_165032_zpsgufgnayl.jpg
We reach Westcott picnic area. It’s a small grassy area for picnics and tent camping. There are some composting toilets, picnic tables and wood fired BBQs. But the real treat are the wallabies that call this area home. With good grasses it’s no surprise they come here to dine.

 photo 20170308_171836_zpsvznirc0t.jpg
After our 1.8km walk back down the road to Cherry Plain I say good bye to Paul and set off back onto the trail alone. It’s now 5:20pm so I’m glad I’ve packed a headlamp. The first 1.1km of the trail is old ground. I walked here at the beginning of today’s hike so cover the ground quickly now.

 photo 20170308_173058_zpsnykyc26t.jpg
I had hoped for some spectacular sunset photos off the lookouts here to the west. However, it is overcast so the light isn’t as bright as I had hoped. The Cherry Plains Lookout gives a good impression of the landscape. It’s almost like taking a drone shot of the topography.

 photo 20170308_173254_zpszne09phk.jpg

 photo 20170308_173434_zpsbgcwz2bf.jpg

I walk through open eucalyptus forest where snow gums reign. I love these white barked gums. They occur at high places where the weather gets cold. I think back to a trip I took seven years ago riding my motorcycle through the Australian Alps and Snowy Mountains where these trees are even more prolific. It gives me a sense of peace and calm. They are probably my favourite Australian flora. My second favourite probably has to be the grass tree. I walk through some areas where grass trees grow crazy.

 photo 20170308_180428_zpsexzmdjeb.jpg
As I continue northwards the escarpment opens up and glimpses turn into views. The sun starts to set and some colours finally appear on the horizon. I stop to enjoy the views. Probably for a little bit too long – because stopping now will mean I complete my walk in the dark. Sunsets here in the sub tropics signal the coming of darkness, not the start of twilight as is the case in some other geographic zones.

 photo IMG_20170308_211109_383_zpswhintuko.jpg
Of course there are benefits to walking at the end of the day when the world of men grows quiet and nature takes over. Benefits like seeing an echidna in the wild. I think I’ve only seen three in the wild in my life. These shy animals generally prefer to avoid contact with humans but today I am in luck. Unlike the porcupine there’s no danger of an echidna throwing its quills so I can safely take a photo then move on to allow it to continue it’s search for a meal in peace.

A headlamp lights my path for the final 2km of my hike. Paul is waiting patiently at Burtons Well and we drive together back to Dandabah to set camp. Our tent is pitched and bed is made within ten minutes. All that’s left to do is BBQ the amazing sausages we bought at the butcher in Kilcoy and relish the fact that they are made with real meat, not a load of horrible fillers. The night grows cool and we retire to bed to fall asleep listening to the nocturnal wildlife going about their business outside.

Distance walked: 12.2km
Cumulative distance: 110.4km

If you would like to support me in my challenge to raise money for the Australian Red Cross check out my profile at http://challenge.redcross.org.au/andrewgills

Walking for refugees – Day 3 – Sunshine Coast Great Walk Thilba Thalba to Delicia Road via Gheerulla Valley (Queensland, Australia)

 photo IMG_2923_zpsvwi3zxwn.jpg
I wake to the sound of birds and the wind through the trees above me. I’m at Thilba Thalba walkers camp on the Sunshine Coast Great Walk. I’m happy to be eating my breakfast as the sun rises through the trees. Some cheeky birds are stalking my baked beans but I guard the food from them. My pack will be much lighter today given I’ve eaten most of my food and only have to carry water for one day.
 photo IMG_2976_zpspxyb8zav.jpg
I also feel lighter metaphysically. My mind is more alert and at ease in the bush after spending the night out here. I think about one of my happiest times – when I hiked the Great North Walk some years ago. This 12km a day for 31 days challenge might just bring me back to that place through my planned overnight hikes during my weekends.
 photo IMG_2977_zps8jgqvrv3.jpg
The views from Thilba Thalba Viewpoint 1.5km down the trail are spectacular. I can see where I walked from and where I’m headed. I walked from the top of a ridge on the left lit up by the sun. I walked down into the valley and then climbed up behind the spur in the mid-right of the photo before walking along the mountain on the right. Today I will descend again into the valley before walking up back up the mountain from which I began this delightful adventure.
 photo IMG_2932_zpsqcjojr4c.jpg
Rangers are repairing the track at Gheerulla Bluff. I chat with them a while. The repair work is being completed from funding out of the 2011 flood relief funds but has only recently been approved. The wheels of government move like snails.
 photo IMG_2978_zpspsq77ojs.jpg
I take on the views north towards Kenilworth. I’ve never seen this view before. It’s incredible. I have a new appreciation for the landscapes that Paul and I have been driving through these past few weeks on our outings. I never realised there were so many mountains up there.
 photo IMG_2979_zpsqvygz3ui.jpg

 photo IMG_2980_zpsdyn0po30.jpg

 photo IMG_2981_zpsdwxsttpy.jpg
I drop down into Gheerulla Creek. Saying it like that makes it sound like an easy walk but it is steep with some slippery sections. Tall grass trees grow with their higgeldy piggeldy trunks poking out at all angles. It feels good to be in the bush at home. The creek is mostly dry with some pockets of water where the rocks are deepest. But it’s obvious that this can be a roaring watercourse after heavy rains. I wouldn’t like to be here when that happens, though it would be spectacular.
 photo IMG_2975_zpsipnnhrmp.jpg
I stop a while to enjoy the landscape but decide against swimming because I don’t feel like walking wet.
 photo IMG_2993_zpsvdvj5lxo.jpg
I come to a rare flat section and savour it. Having walked the other sections of the Sunshine Coast Great Walk as day walks over the past twelve months I know that flat sections are rare on this walk. It is mostly an up and down affair that traverses a few ranges.

I reach the 12km mark just after I start the climb back up to Ubajee Walkers Camp. It’s a long 1.8km climb. It takes me about 40 minutes of steady walking followed by a lovely 40 minutes lazing in the shade eating lunch and reading my book.
 photo IMG_2995_zpsm8e4fkoq.jpg

 photo IMG_2994_zpsdrrm3mwo.jpg
I retrace my steps the way I came yesterday. I walk beneath the tall trees and through the rainforest to my car.

Distance 18.6km
Duration: 5 hours 23 mins
Cumulative distance 49.7km.

If you would like to support me in my challenge to raise money for The Australian Red Cross check out my profile at http://challenge.redcross.org.au/andrewgills

Walking for refugees -Day 2 – Sunshine Coast Great Walk Delicia to Thilba Thalba walkers camp (Queensland, Australia)

I have two consecutive days off work. I’ve been protecting these days from the extra shifts I get asked to take on. These days are ear marked for a night in the outdoors.

I am late arriving at the Delicia Road (M4) entrance to the Sunshine Coast Great Walk. Mostly because I was talking with Paul but also because I hadn’t packed last night. I’ve realised on my drive up that I don’t have a torch. But I have an iPhone so that will do the same trick. And I could do with an early night, which a lack of light will ensure.

It’s been a long time since I did any hiking with a full pack. Maybe it was as long ago as 2014. I’ve done some hikes since but I don’t think I carried much for those. It feels good to be back in the swing and my body remembers the weight of a pack easily.

Rainforest surrounds me as I hit the trail. Birds sing. Humidity shrouds me thanks largely to the dense forest blocking any breeze. Everything is lush and green despite the lack of rain.

After about 2.5km I find myself on a wide multi use trail with cleared undergrowth. Tall gums rise above me. I feel like I am a million miles from my daily life.

I reach Ubajee Walkers Camp and the nearby view point. From here I can see the valley into which I will descend and the high range where my campsite is waiting for me. It always looks daunting to see mountains rising from deep narrow valleys when I know I need to climb them. But I also know that I just need to put one for in front of the other.

The descent into Gheerulla Creek is a steeps switch back path. It’s narrow again after the wide multi use trails. I push the realisation out of my mind: tomorrow I will return this way. Instead I focus on the freedom of being out here hiking. The luxury of living in a place where bombs are not dropping and the economy is not totally destroyed. Not so fortunate are those for whom I am undertaking this challenge.

Gheerulla Creek and falls are dry but for some small water holes. It must be spectacular after a good solid wet season. I fear we may have missed our’s this year.

The climb is as long and arduous as I feared. Not many have come this way yet since last season and grass covers the trail with reckless abandon. Palm trees grow in the reentrant to my right while drier shrubs dominate to higher left side. I focus on getting up the mountain.

Once up I can relax. My late departure had left me with a time crunch. But with just 6.5km left to walk and 5 hours of daylight I feel more secure now. I once again start to stop to take in the landscape around me. Particularly the smaller things.

I pass the 12km mark. Lucky for me there’s a sign.

Not far from the sign is the Gheerulla Valley Viewpoint. It’s magnificent to look out over the lands north where I will walk tomorrow. But I hear thunder rumbling on the western side of the ridge. Dark clouds have rolled in. I press on the final 2.6km to camp.

Naturally these are also the longest 2.6km of the walk. How better to pass the time than to take some photos. I am feeling my general lack of endurance fitness. Sure, I’ve been doing lots of Creek walks but these have been short.

Thilba Thalba walkers camp sits at the edge of an escarpment looking north east. There’s a small viewpoint where I hope to watch the sunrise tomorrow. If I wake on time, that is. For I have no intention of setting an alarm. I pitch my tent for the first time since my cycle tour of Japan in May 2015 and settle in for the afternoon. I have a good book, a cup of tea and patchy wifi service. A fresh breeze is blowing, birds are twittering, the dark clouds have stayed to the west of the ridge so far though I anticipate overnight rain. What more could a man want? Well, I do have an inflatable pillow and sleeping mat that have failed. But given the nature of my challenge, those are luxury problems.

If you would like to support me in my challenge to raise money for The Australian Red Cross check out my profile at http://challenge.redcross.org.au/andrewgills

Walking for Refugees day 1 – Somerset Trail, Mt Mee (Queensland, Australia)

 photo IMG_2807_zpsymaeduka.jpg
I’m excited and nervous all at once as I leave work around 8:30am to drive up to Mount Mee. It’s only an hour away and the 13km Somerset Trail looks like a great way to start my challenge to walk 12km a day to raise awareness and money so the Australian Red Cross can continue helping refugees who are fleeing war. I don’t have to be back at work until 4pm so this is a perfect way to start.
 photo IMG_2809_zpsp9m8sfwu.jpg
I set off on the trail. These are the first steps of my 372km+ walk. The path is littered with leaves and slightly damp from recent rains. But not wet enough to make mud. I start to unwind almost immediately.
 photo IMG_2857_zps6iosoflx.jpg

 photo IMG_2820_zps0z5aroi1.jpg

 photo IMG_2855_zpsgebgt7da.jpg

 photo IMG_2810_zpslkmnnmmx.jpg
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.
 photo IMG_2811_zpsdtiwt7kf.jpg
The trail is well signed. And, yes, I ignore this graffiti warning.
 photo IMG_2856_zpsjsq8rekj.jpg

 photo IMG_2841_zpsou5ouat2.jpg
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.
 photo IMG_2854_zpss7rlelyx.jpg
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. This is living.
 photo IMG_2853_zps1i8pmlv7.jpg

 photo IMG_2852_zpsvhkxnfna.jpg
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.
Distance walked: 13km

Total distance for challenge so far: 13km

I am walking to raise awareness and money to help people who are walking to flee war. For more information, check out my profile on the Australian Red Cross website.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible and you’ll receive a receipt from the Australian Red Cross. Will you help me change the world? Donate here.