The Unplanned Hike : Spontaneous Sauerkraut, Spiders and a Green Addiction at Mt French

“It was tragic how life had sucked her down to the bones, all her spontaneity, her laughter and freedom had vanished. I knew then that I didn’t ever want to be like that. Whatever happened, life was something too precious to give up on so easily.”

– Belinda Jeffrey, One Long Thread

I must acknowledge the role of cheese and potatoes in the writing of this post. What do these foods have to do with a hike? Well, as soon as the chilly nights arrive my body which was naturally reed-like in my 20s suddenly craves potatoes and cheese in vast quantities. If I waited until I could find a walking partner available to fit in with my odd schedule, by springtime I’d have to be lifted out of my house with a crane. Death by lack of exercise is riskier than death by murder in my case. Having now defended solo hiking let’s get down to what actually happened on what I have dubbed The Unplanned Hike.

Being mildly extreme, I decided after my carefully thought out Mt Maroon walk to make my next trip completely spontaneous. I planned not to plan. Hmm…does that mean I did make a plan though, so it’s not unplanned after all? This is a hiking blog not a philosophy class so let’s not get too pedantic here. For my purposes it’s a spontaneous adventure.

A free Saturday morning dawned and after wrestling with that gnawing feeling of guilt that as a woman I shouldn’t hike alone, I threw my hiking bags in the car and headed off to brave the axe murderers.

Which direction to take? That’s an easy decision as I have a city traffic phobia so I headed inland towards Boonah, a picturesque farming area, south-west of Brisbane. I let my daughter know which road I was taking and planned to text her at various locations. (I mention this to avoid consternation from other hikers.)

Along the way, I spied the sign to Flinders Plum Picnic Area and remembered it was an alternative route to tackle Flinders Peak. After hitting a gravel road I was met with these impressive signs.

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flinders 3

Having lived in the outback and dealt with some crazy roads I wasn’t too fazed but my little green sedan shuddered so I promised her I would be careful and turn back if it looked treacherous. Not long after, I came to a fork in the road and a choice between these two small puddles.

Flinders Peak road 1

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Neither were deep  but since the road was narrowing I thought it best to head back while I could. Without a 4WD I’d get bogged turning around if the edges were muddy.

A native flower and a tree in the centre of the road stopped me briefly before I continued along back to Boonah Road.

flinders peak

flinders peak2

Hunger pulled me over to a creek at the tiny township of Peak Crossing. Out came the healthy crunchy fresh apple,  roasted chick pea snacks (high in protein and calcium) and the water bottle. Nearby, a post-soccer game family group were barbecuing. As I chewed my dry crunchy chick peas carefully, I tried to ignore the tantalising wafts of barbecuing steak and onions. I also regretted not bringing a thermos for a cuppa. Hot drinks are my other must do winter activity. To take my mind off the teasing smells of their highly planned meal, I found something to photograph.

peak spider

Peak Crossing kookaburras

Peak Crossing cocoon

Peak Crossing creek view

peak Crossing mud cracks

Peak Crossing pine on water

I came across fossilised wood under the bridge as well as empty freshwater mussel shells.

Peak Crossing fossilised wood

Peak Crossing wood in rock

Peak Crossing mussels

Peak Crossing white trunks

Still salivating, I got back in the car to escape their cruelty. Next, I spied Milbong Lutheran Cemetery. Regular readers will know I am fascinated by old graveyards. The sky started out bright blue and turned ominous within minutes. I took the hint and continued along.

cemetery 3

cemetery 1

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On the outskirts of Boonah I spied a sign that got me all a flutter. A World Environment Day Festival was being held. That meant coffee and tea! Of course I was also curious to see what was on display. I didn’t just go because of my gustatory desires. There just happened to be hot baked potatoes and pumpkin soup on offer so being the generous supporter I am of community projects I consumed a reasonable portion before checking out the displays.

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I have some German heritage but have never actually eaten proper sauerkraut. I learnt all about the health benefits of this food during a display and also how to make enormous jars of it. It’s important to really play with the stuff and jam it in the jars to break it down properly. Strangely, my kids are not as enthusiastic as me about mega-size jars of fermented cabbage…

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I felt less guilty about buying  Montville organically grown coffee from this ECO van that runs on solar power.

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The knitting nanas were very welcoming and willing to chat about their cause. They also showed me how they make bags from empty dog, cattle and chicken food bags.

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Later on I found a whole stall devoted to selling products made from recycled packaging. Note the guitar bags made from cement powder bags.

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As I left I took note of this very eco-friendly source of transport. What an amazing invention. I think someone should inform the authorities.

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Filled with potatoes, soup and warm fuzzy feelings of good will, I decided to drive on to nearby  Mt French to see how my beloved grass trees, Xanthorrhoea, were faring after a Phytophthora attack last year. I featured this remarkable plant in my Grass Tree Romance post where you will find some unusual variations.

It’s a glorious drive out that way and the sky was no longer threatening. Overhead, helicopters  buzzed. Later, I found out they were doing aerial surveys of the introduced pest, fire ants.

helicopter

Mt French hut

Arriving at Mt French I discovered that many of the very old grass trees had succumbed to Phytophthora infection I was relieved to see a forest of babies though. Since they only grow a few centimetres each year it will take a couple of hundred years before Mt French looks how it used to.

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grass new

grass trees 6

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grass tree old trunks 5

grass tree burnt trunks

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grass tree seeds Mt French

grass tree flower 1

I was curious about the naming of Mt French. In 1827, Captain Patrick Logan named the area Mount Dumaresq after Governor Darling’s son-in-law, however, unbeknownst to him, the explorer Cunningham had also named another peak the same name. Logan renamed it Mt French after Dumaresq’s country of origin. I often ponder the European naming of our land features.  When you look at Indigenous Australian names they tend to relate to the feature of the place or a story behind it which seems far more interesting to me. For example, Mt French is actually part of Moogerah Peaks and Moogerah means “thunder” or “rumbling” which could have referred to the impressive thunderstorms in the area or even ancient volcanic activity which formed the peaks.

Mt French has two peaks, ‘Punchagin,’ the southern peak and ‘Mee-bor-rum,’ the northern peak. It has two main graded walks. The class 1, North Cliff Track leading to Logan Lookout is a 720m wheelchair accessible path which offers spectacular views of the Fassifern Valley and Main Range. Along the path I came across a juvenile golden whistler,  an orb weaver spider and native flowers.

Mt French juvenile golden whistler

spider a

flowers 3

Mt French Logan lookout 3

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Mt French Logan Lookout 6

There is also a dirt track that branches off to the left and is used by climbers. The white rhyolite vertical columns formed by volcanic activity make Mt French a popular rock climbing destination and Frog Buttress is internationally known for its “crack climbing.” While I was there one day I stalked a couple of climbers. There are warning signs of course and the path is steep and slippery. The rock cliffs are magnificent though. I would only recommend these paths to experienced bushwalkers.

Mt French climb trail 1

Mt French columns 3

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Mt French columns

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mt french column clmber at top

The class 3, 840m Mee-bor-rum circuit takes you out into completely different terrain – open heathland replaces the gums and grass trees. A seat set in a stone platform lets you rest and enjoy the numerous birds. On that day I saw or heard rainbow bee eaters, golden whistlers, robins, wrens, spangled drongos and even a wedge-tailed eagle.

heather and gorse path Mt French

heather and gorse view at Mt French

heather and stone steps Mt French

heather and rock pile Mt French

heather and grass tree path Mt French

 Apparently Mt French has two species of endangered lichen that have only been found at this location. From my James Bond post you would know how much I enjoy lichen and moss so of course I took many pictures, hoping that one of them might include the endangered species.

Lichen at Mt French

Lichen at Mt French 2

Lichen at Mt French 3

Lichen at Mt French 1

Lichen at Mt French 7

Lichen at Mt French 4

lichen and moss at Mt French

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l moss at Mt French

A few wildflowers caught my attention as well.

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flower 8

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Another impressive golden orb weaver called me over.

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And a delicate green spider.

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Camping is allowed again at Mt French and  they’ve built the most luxurious toilets I have ever seen in a national park! They aren’t long drop pit toilets or composting ones. They actually flush. I don’t know what will happen when the water tank runs dry though.  All camping needs to be pre-booked online, by phone or in person at an office and camping tags need to be attached to tents. I’m heading there for an overnighter as soon as possible so I can view a sunset and sunrise over the mountains.  I’m refusing to acknowledge that my aging joints don’t like cold hard ground at this point.

The Unplanned Hike turned out to be one my best days out. No expectations led to plenty of surprises. I must plan another unplanned trip soon before the cheese and potatoes render me immobile. Or perhaps I could just develop some self-control when it comes to my belly cravings…

grass tree view a

87 thoughts on “The Unplanned Hike : Spontaneous Sauerkraut, Spiders and a Green Addiction at Mt French

  1. Well that was a post packed with interest. I loved the young grass trees and am glad that they are bringing fresh life to the area. You had a splendid gum tree picture and lots of lovely views as well as those striking rock formations. Do another Unplanned Hike soon.

    • Thanks, Susan. I’m pleased you found it interesting. I was relieved to see all the young fresh growth at Mt French. The whole place looked so alive again. It was rather concerning to see the damage occurring on my visit last year. Yes, I will do another unplanned hike soon. They are usually the most fun! 🙂

  2. Thanks for this interesting post, nice storytelling and pictures, as always, Jane. I find particularly lovely the picture of the road branching around the tree. Very graphic, and a good example. Best, H.

    • Thank you, Hernan. I appreciate the encouraging feedback. I also found the road branching around the tree very striking. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen that. Wouldn’t it be lovely if cars had less priority than nature, pedestrians and bicycles instead of the other way around. Have a lovely week. 🙂

  3. Hey Jane thanks for another entertaining and beautiful post. I had potato and leek soup today for lunch with cheese on toast mmmmmmmmmm. Also saw an eastern spinebill feeding on a red-flowered pea plant just like the one in your photo at the top of Mt Greville the other day (another Moogerah Peak as you no doubt know). I think it might have the imaginative name of ‘Red-flowered bush pea’ Bossiaea rupicola. Cheers, Paula

    • Hi Paula,
      Thanks for the identification of the red pea. I would have liked to have seen an eastern spinebill feeding on one. Potato and leek soup and cheese on toast?! It’s a good thing I have just eaten dinner otherwise I’d be heading off to the kitchen after reading that. Yes, I know Mt Greville well. I’ve been there three times but haven’t been right to the top yet. I must head back now that it’s cooler. I had troubles with my ankles last time. I’ve seen a lot of birds down in Waterfall Gorge. My post about bushfires features my attempts at Mt Greville. Thanks for the kind comments, Paula. 🙂

  4. Wow, that was a day full of fun. Great photos, I love the nature and the landscape views. Well done for photographing all the spiders. And yes, sauerkraut is good for you and you just get me salivating!

    • Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the shots, even the spider ones. Not everyone likes those. In fact, I may have scared people off by having spiders in the title. I was very interested to hear about the benefits of sauerkraut and also the variations you can make. I intend giving it a go now. Great to hear from you. 🙂

  5. What a fabulous unplanned adventure. Another wonderful journey around your very special part of the world. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and now have a cheese and potato craving!

    • Heheh…sorry about giving you a potato and cheese craving. I’m sure you deserve it though and will offset it by wandering about in search of fascinating invertebrates! Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  6. The metaphysical question that this post raised in the mind of a fellow lover of potatoes, cheese, and sauerkraut is whether Moogerah toast and Moogerah fries would taste as good as French toast and French fries.

    • Hmm…I doubt that Moogerah toast could compete with traditional French toast but when it comes to fries (which we call chips) I think the Moogerah variety would win out – chunky, golden and crispy on the outside and melt in the mouth on the inside. I was about to go to bed, Steve, but now I’m hungry again! Thank you! Enjoy your potatoes, cheese and sauerkraut. You need to keep your strength up for flower photography. Texas is a big place! 🙂

    • Hahah…thanks, Tom. Any encouragement to keep eating my potatoes and cheese is appreciated, although I never need much of an excuse. Have a lovely Sunday. 🙂

  7. Another interesting hike you took us on… whether planned or unplanned, it turned out well and that’s the main thing. Homemade sauerkraut is the very best and it’s so easy, too!

    • Thanks, Gunta. I’ve found myself getting a bit caught up with routine and planning lately so I appreciated having a day with no real plan. Ah, yes, I’d been told that homemade sauerkraut is delicious but hadn’t had a chance to try it despite having a couple of grandparents who were German. I fully intend to give making it a go now that I know how simple and cheap it is. Have a lovely week and keep enjoying those beautiful beach walks. 🙂

  8. You certainly did well on an un-planned trip! Sometimes those turn out to be the best ones though.
    I also wonder why the “civilized” people who have moved into areas insist on re-naming them to suit themselves, when the old names were already there and had historical significance. Civilization isn’t all that civilized, is it!

    The come-back of that forest is fascinating to see. We should never under estimate the power of nature!

    • Thanks, Terry. Yes, I’ve pondered the renaming of places by Europeans in Australia. It sometimes seems like it’s a stamp of ownership when they label these places. There is often prestige associated with naming a geographical feature. Ignoring the name it has been called for 1000s of years seems a little absurd and somewhat arrogant. I would actually be happy if we reverted back to many of the original Indigenous names as it would be recognition that this country was not empty when colonised by Europeans. It was a country filled with many Aboriginal nations who spoke many different languages.
      Yes, it is comforting and amazing to see a forest regenerate. It gives me hope for the future. Like in my past post about the castle falling, civilisations come and go and nature has managed to hang on in many places. It will be interesting to see how it survives after the damage done to it in the last 50 years though.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Terry. Happy hiking in your part of the world. It sure looks beautiful in your blog. 🙂

  9. You’ve captured some wonderful patterns in this collection of photographs Jane. They’re so beautiful!
    I quite enjoy sauerkraut… might have something to do with my Northern European genes too 🙂
    Planning not to plan works very well I think – there’s some direction but plenty of room for the good fortune of serendipity!

    • Thank you, Gail. I thought I overdid it with the photos a bit. I tend to be very indecisive when choosing these days. I’m glad you enjoyed the bombardment!
      I didn’t realise how many people like sauerkraut until I wrote this post. Blogs can be fun ways to find out information about others. 🙂
      Yes, I am fond of planning not to plan much. I quite like the surprises that can come with allowing “room” as you say for serendipity.
      Have a beautiful week, Gail. 🙂

    • Yes, cheese and potatoes are excellent hiking “fuel” I think! 🙂 I will certainly let you know if I make it to the ACT. I have little idea of what is on offer in that area. I would love to meet up for a walk if you happen to be home again or know others in the area. Thanks for reading and commenting. Keep enjoying your wonderful travels and I will keep enjoying your blogs about them. 🙂

  10. Whether it was spontaneous or not, it was a terrific day, and I assume that you weren’t killed by any ax murderers along the way. 😉

    I wouldn’t know where to begin picking a favorite genre of photos, let alone a favorite photo overall, they’re all great! You’ve included so much in this post that it’s hard to keep track of it all, that’s not a criticism by the way, just an observation on what a wonderful day it must have been for you to see so much. But, that’s a good thing, it reminds us how much there is to see in nature if we pay attention, thanks for taking us along with you.

    • Thanks, Jerry, and you are right, I am still alive and kicking and just as annoying as ever. No limbs missing from axe murderers yet. 😉 I joke about it a lot but I do still feel a little guilty being out there on my own. I often get odd looks from groups or couples. I rarely come across lone walkers and they are usually not women. But one must weigh up the risks. I usually hurt myself more inside the house (in the kitchen) than I ever do on a walk. It’s nice to know that you understand how it feels to need time out in nature by yourself. Your blog title “Quiet Solo Pursuits” says it all! 🙂
      Thank you for your encouraging comments about my photographs. It is nice to receive kind support from someone who has much more knowledge than me about photography and far superior skills. I am learning a lot of tips from your posts and always enjoy seeing the beauty of Michigan that you share. 🙂

  11. Jane, your photographs are fantastic! I smile through each of these posts of yours. You see things much as I do – we are drawn to the unusual and uncommon. I love that you snag your readers attention in the first paragraph, then continue to delight us and teach us along the way. I found the grass trees most unusual. And I marvel at the spiders there! We don’t have so many large specimens as you do! 🙂

    • Lori, you always write such lovely things that I am sometimes at a loss to know how to respond! You are such an encouraging soul and always so giving to others. You’re one of those writers who is not afraid to support other people. Thanks for being such a kind person in a world which can sometimes be very competitive! You are such a giver. The orb weaver spiders can be very large but the crab spider was only as big as a fingernail. That’s why it was a little blurry. I just couldn’t get close and still enough to capture it sharply. The green spider was also quite small. I don’t have anything in the picture that gives you any scale. Next time I may put my hand behind them. Although we have a few venomous spiders here, many are harmless and I am truly fascinated by them. Grass trees will always be a favourite of mine. I look forward to another wonderful installment from the Farm Girl! 🙂

  12. Hmmm I love sauerkraut, but only during winter. It’s not my favourite during summer. Making them can be very tedious. But so yummy 🙂

    I have mix feeling about wandering alone, especially if the person injure him/herself. That would concern me more than murderers 😉

    • Yes, I certainly agree on the injuries danger of hiking. That’s why I always tell people where I am and make sure I am in mobile phone range. I probably wouldn’t go to an extremely isolated wilderness area on my own. Most of the places I go usually have some other hikers on the trail. I never venture very far away. Having said that, I’ve lived on large properties (70 000 hectares) in the outback and as part of daily life or work you often have to go to many places on your own to check fences, stock animals, water troughs etc. For many people it’s part of their work. There is always some risk. I know that nearly every day I have to avoid a traffic accident in the region I live due to careless drivers. It’s crazy on the roads sometimes. 🙂
      Yes, after watching a lady prepare the sauerkraut I learnt the process is very hands on. I’ll give making it a go, but I am not a great cook so it may be amusing to see if it turns out edible! Thanks for reading and commenting. Always lovely to hear from you. 🙂

      • That’s very safe I think, I would do that as well.

        Oh wow, 70 000 hectares !! Difficult for me to imagine how big it could be !!!

        How come it’s so dangerous on the roads ? People are crazy and drive really fast or the road itself is dangerous ?

        • Well on the largest property there were places that the owners had never even been before even though they’d lived there for 60 years! 🙂 Yes, they are huge!
          The roads here in my suburb are not dangerous. It’s more so the aggressive, impatient and reckless attitude of some drivers. It’s rush, rush, rush. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing? That’s why I don’t cycle much in my suburb. It’s too dangerous. Perhaps if there was more public transport options available and better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure that would help solve the congestion and reduce frustration. Many people would like to cycle but we don’t have enough separated cycling lanes and the car-centric culture can mean that they feel afraid of traffic. I share my roads with heavy vehicles – enormous trucks. It’s not like that everywhere of course. Just more so in my particular area. Things are changing, but slowly. 🙂

          • Without a separated cycling lane I think it’s reckless. I understand. We always can hope for a better change 🙂

            In Denmark and Holland, they have traffic lights for cyclist and separate lanes everywhere. It feels so safe.

    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed them. I am not very good at choosing which ones to put in which means my reader friends get bombarded. I just hope their Internet connection can handle it. Thanks for dropping by and giving me kind feedback. 🙂

    • Thank you! I would have liked to have shared pictures of the birds but they were too active or hidden for me to get shots with my old camera. The juvenile golden whistler shot and the kookaburras were the only shots that weren’t blurry. It was a delight to just sit back and watch the rainbow bee eaters zooming about. The wedge-tailed eagle appeared briefly and then flew down into the scrub. I suspect it may have been feeding on a carcass but I didn’t want to venture off the track to check. It’s not recommended at Mt French as it can spread the Phytophthora fungus. I spent a very tranquil hour just sitting. 🙂

    • Thanks, Kevin! I love it too. Some of my best memories have resulted from unexpected pleasures. Just enjoyed your South Australian post. Fantastic colours of the ochre hills. 🙂

    • Thanks, Brad. I found your comment when I checked my spam folder. It must have gone there because you added a link! I am not very good at the technical/editing side of photography. I find it all a bit confusing. I’m learning slowly…very slowly! Heheh. Thanks very much for the link. I’ve had a quick look and I can see how useful it will be for those panorama shots! I’ll have a play with it. Have a wonderful week. 🙂

  13. I am breathless Jane. Your spider photos are so good as are the grass trees. Certainly glad you didn’t have a misadventure while out and about. I have been told to take my phone with me while I am in the bush at my place especially if I am using the chainsaw.
    You write so well, I was along with you all the way 🙂

    • Thanks, Brian, you are kind. Seeing the nature photographs in your blog was one of the things that encouraged me to take more pictures and get more practice, even though I still don’t understand this camera well and get frustrated. Your passion for all the little things you see on your walks inspires me. Ahhh! Chainsaws make me shiver as I know some relatives and friends who’ve had accidents with them – one while up a tree. I can’t watch! Yes, take your phone, but make sure you have hands left to hold it up to your ear! Just joking. I am sure you are very experienced and safe with it! 🙂

      • I am quite safe with my chainsaw. Never up a tree or anywhere that isn’t safe. I am trying to sort out the photos and yes Jane, there may be some small stuff in there as well 🙂

        • Good to know! I nearly saw a man cut himself in half when he slipped while chainsawing a tree. Looking forward to all the small stuff, Brian. 🙂

  14. The quote by Belinda Jeffrey is worth remembering, Jane. Thank you for that.
    I’m glad you got out of your house before you needed heavy assistive 🙂 I am always surprised by the nature, the birds and the insects you photograph. It seems very Indiana Jones-like 🙂 I think I had turned my car too, with the prospect of getting bogged down. If you are stuck in the middle of nowhere, you don’t need axe men 🙂
    All the best,
    Hanna

    • Thanks, Hanna! You made me smile with the Indiana Jones comment. If only I had the bravery and physical fitness to do that kind of thing! I am happy not to have rats run all over me in a water-filled tunnel though… 🙂 I enjoyed those movies when I was younger. Lots of fun.
      I’ve been bogged badly on two occasions when I had a baby and two little kids with me. Both times were in the middle of summer in the outback but fortunately I had a UHF radio in the car to call for assistance. We didn’t have mobile phone coverage back then. The roads were very bad out there. Actually getting bogged or getting a hole in the radiator or sump were probably my biggest fears on trips. Thanks for reading and for your lovely comments. Have a great week. 🙂

      • Thank you Jane for the adventurous and exciting answers. It is rare we see something similar in Denmark. It mostly occurs when the snow is pouring down and overrides the usual infrastructure.
        It happened a few years back. It’s adventurous too but only for a day or two if you are safe at home 🙂 🙂
        All the best,
        Hanna

  15. I feel I keep repeating myself, but again you photos are stunning as usual! The close ups you present are always so clear and colourful. Love seeing them.

    And great job getting out there despite a light traffic phobia. I am guilty of often postponing my trips until I have someone to go wit, which there is absolutely no reason for! Well…expect from having someone to fight off those spiders I guess. I am ok with traffic but have a light version of arachnophobia instead (my husband would laugh if he read this, yesterday he had to rescue me from a spider so small he couldn’t see it before I pointed out where it was sitting, small as a pea…).

    Have a great week!

    • Thank you! Repeats of kind comments like that are always welcome. I struggle with the technical aspects of using a camera so encouragement like yours keeps me persevering with it. I tend to give up too quickly.
      Considering your arachnophobia, I think you are brave to read my posts these days as I usually throw one close-up of a spider in there! 🙂 I never used to have problems with mice and would smile at people who squealed if one was in their room. That was until I lived in a farm house that had a horrible mouse plague. Those furry critters got into everything and chewed through just about anything. I couldn’t walk outside at night sometimes without stepping on one as large numbers scurried about. It was like a horror film. Once I opened a pantry door and one got scared, jumped on me and ran down the front of my shirt. Ever since then I’ve developed a bit of a phobia about mice and me in confined spaces! 🙂 You have a great week, too. Thanks!

      • You definitely have some good close ups of spiders:) I can appreciate their beauty, as long as they are on a safe distance! 🙂

        I have never had phobia towards mice, but on the other hand I have never experiences so many in one location that you couldn’t avoid stepping on them. That might be a bit too much:)

  16. Sounds like you had a very interesting and fun-filled day Jane! Your spontaneity obviously paid big dividends. Grass Trees are a fascination for me also, and I recently learned that the Aboriginals would pull out the very centre strands of the foliage and grind the whitish part into a paste to eat as a source of carbohydrate. I tried it once on one of my walks, by just chewing on the white stem, and it had a mild nutty flavour which was not at all unpleasant. I think it’s good to know what you can eat from nature in case you ever get stuck somewhere with no food. Love the photos of the rock faces of Mount French, and I could see why they would draw enthusiastic climbers. Another great post Jane, but too many spiders for me. Lol 🙂 Leah

    • Oh yeah, sorry about the spiders, Leah! 🙂 Thanks for the great tip about chewing on the white stem. That’s something I had not heard of before. If you’ve read my grass tree romance post you’ll see I included a lot about the Indigenous uses of grass trees, but not that one! I didn’t come across it in all the work I read. That’s particularly handy for me to know if for some reason I get stuck somewhere in the Moogerah Peaks area. I have problems with low blood sugar so have to eat regularly. I usually take plenty of extra snacks but you never know when something drastic will happen. I must give it a go. Mild and nutty flavoured sounds ok to me.
      Yeah, Mt French is very well known among climbers. I watched some people and really I can’t bring myself to try it at this stage although I am sure there is a lot of thrill involved! Thanks for reading and adding your own thoughts and knowledge, Leah. Much appreciated. 🙂

  17. What a fabulous and spontaneous day out! I agree, sometimes its best to plan not to have a plan! That way you can’t be disappointed. I have to say you are braver than me Jane in regards to walking on your own. I had a bit of a scary encounter when I was walking through forest around a lake in Ireland with a strange man and I haven’t been game to hike somewhere with no other people around since. Once again, a very enjoyable read 🙂

    • Thanks, Amanda! I don’t know about being braver than you. I’m sure that you’ve done more adventurous solo stuff than me when you were younger. I haven’t even been overseas! There are many things I don’t do because I am nervous about it. I had a particularly scary encounter but I was actually with my daughter. We’d never really felt unsafe walking together. We sort of assumed that we’d be fine. That is until a situation with a group of men at a city reserve freaked us out. We were ok in the end but we think it was because our shared intuition about the situation – a danger vibe – made us seek a way out in time. We were lucky. As I drove off, one man had already reached the side of the car. That’s why I avoid walking in city reserves. They are the kind of places people who aren’t hikers, lurk. If I walk on weekends then most places I go have plenty of people on the track (less wildlife though of course.) One of those frustrating things is having to do a risk assessment as a woman. We shouldn’t have to just because of our gender. I’ve had another dodgy experience on my own in a city parkland. Just walking in my own suburb to the park is a bit risky here though – there was an attempted rape of a woman just two streets away when her car broke down! I had a scary guy at my door a few weeks ago who seemed to just be seeing if anyone was at home. I can totally understand why you don’t want to go alone now. I think if I still had young children to depend on me and I didn’t need the mental therapy so much I would avoid the solo thing more. Thanks so much for reading and adding your own thoughts, Amanda. I will have to brave my traffic fears and head back to the coast for a walk with you soon. 🙂

  18. Hiking alone is the best. Good for you to risk it. Even though it’s mid-summer here, you’ve got me craving cheesy potatoes. Thanks for taking me along– I guess that means you were not alone after all.

    • Heheh… Now that’s a thought. By writing the blog about the walk I guess I have taken readers with me. 😉 Thank you for reading and for your supportive words. I appreciate the kindness. Sorry to give you a cheesy potato craving…they are very addictive aren’t they. Excellent fuel for hiking. That’s my excuse anyway. Have a beautiful week. 🙂

  19. Gorgeous pictures as always Jane. I particularly love the pink flowers and the cracked mud and lichens. You’ve got some lovely bird pics too. Looks like a fabulous day out. I sometimes have those “am I crazy for going out on my own?” thoughts just before setting off for a solo paddle, but I reckon you’re a long time dead!! Statistically I think as a woman you’re safer out of the house!! And the fungi and lichens are better (usually anyway!). Thanks for an enjoyable read as always.

    • Thank you! I didn’t mention the statistics of women being safer out of their home but I should have. It’s a reality for many women isn’t it? I know that when I was growing up, home was one of the least safe places to be! Hiking in a national park and solo paddling are not so dangerous but the perception in the community is there and of course when something goes wrong the victim seems to be targeted for doing something wrong rather than focusing on the wrongdoing of the perpetrator. “Why was she walking alone?” There is never a question about a guy walking alone. I see men hiking alone often. My daughter got a message not to go anywhere alone at Uni because of “recent incidents”. So she is expected to always take someone to the toilet, between classes etc with her? Anyway, I do tend to rant about it when given permission. Heheh. Thanks for reading and being supportive. I am glad you enjoyed it. I always look forward to your wonderful posts full of interesting thoughts, entertaining writing and beautiful pictures. 🙂

  20. Great post, Jane! Your winter certainly looks different from ours 🙂
    I really liked the pictures of the grass and the spiders, and the views are breathtaking!
    I have been contemplating a solo hike for quiet some time now and you just provided me with additional inspiration!

    • Thank you! Yes, our winter here in the Brisbane area is often warmer than many countries are in summer. It’s usually when we get mostly sunny skies. Summer tends to bring many storms and heavy rain. Winter is my favourite time of the year here.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the pics from my walk. It’s a really lovely area to visit. One of my favourites.
      I hope you have a wonderful solo hike! It is lovely to take some time out for solitude in nature. 🙂

  21. How do you get so many photos of bugs and birds? I might have to refine my walking method, as I think my Godzilla approach is scaring them away. I find it hard to get any bird shots, as I just can’t get close enough. You must be stealthy!

    • Haha…I don’t know about calling my approach stealthy. Drunken-snail or arthritic turtle is probably closer to the truth. But thank you though for the kind words! 🙂 Being a short-legged shrimp probably helps my cause too. I am not much bigger than a critter so sometimes they probably just think I’m a rock! My old camera is good at macro-shots so lately I’ve been depending on that for my blog. I particularly envy your beautiful landscape, night-time and building pics, Greg, and I can’t compete with your humour! I also envy your skycraper height. Three steps from me probably equal one of yours! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate the encouragement. 🙂

    • Yes, it often amuses me to think that I go to great lengths sometimes to plan for an unplanned trip! 😉 Some surprises can be wonderful that’s for sure. Thanks for reading, Rob, and commenting. I hope you get a chance for more hiking soon. 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the pics. I wrote about the location of Mt French in my post “My Grass Tree Romance – Hiking in Mt French – Moogerah Peaks National Park.” I had a link to the text but didn’t make it clear enough I think. There is also a link to the camping location down in the text in the last two paragraphs. I’ll fix the post up so it’s clearer. Mt French is in the Moogerah Peaks National Park area, about 100km SW of Brisbane in the state of Queensland. Usually I add these details. Sorry. Thanks for letting me know. Like the walk, the writing up of the post was a bit unplanned. 😉

      • It’s okay to do things unplanned, the result is always a surprised. Brisbane could be in our future trips so this is a good preview. We had our honeymoon in Sydney and visited my friend in Melbourne. We like Australia and my friend suggested Brisbane for a future trip.

        • Nearly all of my walks are done in the Brisbane region. There are plenty of rainforest walks such as Lamington National Park, D’Aguilar National Park and Springbrook. Main Range and Moogerah Peaks have a diverse range of terrains but it’s where I see a lot of grass trees. The Glasshouse Mountains are also special and of course there is the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. There are very beautiful beaches on the northern New South Wales coast (below the Queensland border) – I wrote a post about Byron Bay. I hope you get a chance to visit! Let me know if you do. 🙂

  22. Wonderful post Jane – spontaneity has a lot to recommend it. I love the photo of the road divided around the tree!
    I’ve finally bought a book on lichens… I’d been hesitating for so long over this one because it’s only got black and white photos in it. The mosses & lichens book co-authored by Bruce Fuhrer is out of print and no-one seems to be selling even a second-hand copy! Very frustrating. Once I learn how to use it, maybe I can point you in the right direction to identifying the fungi you find, too. 🙂

    • Thanks again, Dayna! Yep, I think that divided road is pretty special. I find it hard to believe that they didn’t just remove the tree. I must research it. I wonder if it has special significance to anyone in the area. I always stop when I come to that part of the road and just smile that “progress” has had to bend around the tree.
      Great to hear you have a book on lichens! Feel free to go back over my posts and practice identification on them! I think they will be quite tricky, but it will be rewarding to understand them more and be able to use terms to describe them. I know one term at least – rosettes! They appear on many lichens I’ve been seeing out in the Scenic Rim area. Have fun! 🙂

  23. Beautiful pictures. But I was also reading the other comments here. You don’t really have to buy specialized software for panorama pictures, you know. If you wished to try it out just send them to me and I can do it for you. (In fact, the reason I am blogging is because I cannot do much else anymore, hahaha. But I bet I can still use my VFX experience and my compositing skills and get you a panorama in no time at all. After all, I used to do that sort of stuff all the while for the last so many years). Don’t hesitate to send me anything you need with video/film/images/sfx/vfx and it would be a pleasure to help out. The only thing I am not, is a good photographer, but the rest I can handle 😀

    • Thank you for the kind words and the offer of help. I have some family and friends here who I can ask though if I need help. I’m actually not too bothered by it really. I just enjoy nature and taking some shots to share with others. If people still enjoy my blog posts then I am happy. I try to keep things simple. I do appreciate your generous offer though. Best wishes! 🙂

      • No problem, just an offer 🙂 and it is not really a big deal any time you need computer help or graphics or any other kind of help. I might not be able to do much now, but this is the least I could do for friends 🙂 (I know, I know, rather presumptuous of me to label you in that category. But, really, who cares? It is the cyber world. Here everything goes. But that does not mean I was frivolous or boastful or pompous with my offer. 🙂 Yep, I get what you mean. Not really important, either..)

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