Dave’s Creek Circuit, Lamington National Park – Grand Plans

I had such grand plans. I always do. You’d think by now I’d be a little more realistic. But what is life without a dream or two…

If you read my last blog post, you’ll be expecting me to reveal the gory details of the Great Finger Debacle of 2016.  So what did happen to the poor digit?  Was it bitten off by the giant rogue eel inhabiting  Gwongoorool Pool at Binna Burra? Or was it torn off by a freak abseiling rope accident on Mt Ngungun? Is it possible I severed it while carving  my own canoe?

The good news is it that the finger has recovered reasonably well apart from now being slightly crooked, a little shorter and permanently numb on the tip. For those of you bursting with curiosity, the bad news is the cause of this injury is far less exciting than the previous scenarios.

Some of you may know that my older two children have flown the coop, leaving me with only my poor suffering daughter, Tough Cookie, to nag. During her mid-year university holiday in July, I planned a mother-daughter hiking trip at Lamington National Park.

Since it may have been one of our last opportunities to go camping together, I wasn’t going to give up a chance to inflict some serious outdoor torture on the baby of the family. Walks totalling 55km over three days and two chilly mid-winter nights spent reminiscing around a campfire in the mountains sounded like a perfect way to strengthen the familial bond.  Surprisingly, Tough Cookie wasn’t convinced.  For some strange reason she felt I was being a tad unrealistic so a compromise was reached. We’d still do the mileage but spend two nights in the comfort of one of the old Binna Burra Lodge rooms.

Loaded down with enough gear for a disaster of tsunami proportions, the little green alien groaned and creaked up the winding mountain road. After checking in and dumping our disaster packs in the room, we launched into our first walk, Dave’s Creek Circuit, one of the most botanically diverse half day tracks at Binna Burra.

Only a few weeks earlier I’d completed this walk solo and experienced two “firsts” in my modest bushwalking career. It was the first time I have ever been cold enough on a Queensland walk to need mittens and the first time I’ve completed a track in the dark.

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Since it is only a 12km, class 4 walk, estimated to take 4 hours, I hadn’t expected to need my headlamp, but after a morning straight out of Fawlty Towers followed by a humorous and uplifting conversation with a friend who hoisted me out of a pit of depression, I arrived late. The wet, blustery conditions had also turned the hard clay cliff path surface into a skating rink. It was inevitable really that I’d roll my ankle and it took me seven hours to finally complete it.

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The experience taught me that walking by headlamp gives limited depth vision. Slippery tree roots criss-crossing the last few kilometres of the path threatened to send me flying again.  Despite the slippery conditions, I loved this walk and couldn’t wait to show my daughter.

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On this occasion I was confident Tough Cookie and I would complete the walk in much less time as the conditions were warm and dry and I‘d already collected an album of shots so my camera wouldn’t be slowing us down.

The first few kilometres passed through warm and cool sub-tropical rainforest along the Border Track, a path also shared by the Ship’s Stern Circuit and Coomera Circuit, walks I’ve written about before.

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At the entrance I commented that if we were lucky we might see an Albert’s Lyrebird. The words were barely out of my mouth when we caught a glimpse of one on the path ahead of us. I’m still a novice lyrebird-whisperer, so this poor shot is all I can offer you.

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Not long after, we stopped to admire these impressive tree fungi. When my daughter illuminated the fungi with torchlight so I could take a shot, a cloud of spores was released into my gaping mouth. I’m still alive so I suppose they weren’t deadly, although it’s possible my impaired cognitive functioning could be due to fungi on the brain.

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We came across a few fallen trees over the path, and this huge old specimen was a reminder of the damage that they can do.

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Taking the anticlockwise route, we passed through distinct vegetation types, warm temperate rainforest, wet schlerophyll forest, mallee woodland and heathlands.

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With such diversity it’s easy to see why Dave’s Creek Circuit is regarded as one of the most interesting walks at Binna Burra. As in previous Lamington walks, piccabeen palms, tree ferns, strangler figs, giant New England ash and Antarctic beech provided interest.

Many scenes along the path reminded us of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, in particular, Hansel and Gretel.

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Flowering banksias were popular with eastern spinebills.

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And carnivorous sundews grew on the exposed eastern banks.

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To my surprise the hard clay cliff paths were once again very slippery due to recent showers and slowed us down to a drunken snail pace. I’m not sure Tough Cookie appreciated the crash course in ice skating.

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There were views to be enjoyed though when we unpeeled our eyes from the track.

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Molongolee Cave on the cliff edge is small but the effect of water trickling down through the rocks was attractive. I imagine after heavy rain it would be more impressive.

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We continued on to Numinbah Lookout which gives expansive views of distant ranges.

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As we approached, a movement at a tree base grabbed our attention. What was this adorable furry critter? A rare Australian mammal that only we were lucky enough to spot?  Might we become famous for our observations?

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Instead of fleeing, the critter appeared unconcerned by our presence and kept nosing about in the ground litter for food.

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After photographing the unknown, possibly rare species from different angles, we noticed damage to its ears. Upon viewing it on the computer screen we were disgusted to see its face was home to ticks. We pondered whether the tick infestation affected the creature’s senses which may explain why it didn’t fear us.

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After returning home and seeking opinions of friends and social media experts, the conclusion about our furry creature is that it’s a rat, most probably a common introduced black rat but also possibly a native bush rat. Australia does have over 50 native species of rodents. Experts reading are welcome to join in the identification process. I must admit I was more than a little disappointed to find out it might be a common feral black rat, not only because I was embarrassed by my initial excitement but also because an introduced rat species in Binna Burra is a risk to native wildlife. The experience did give us pleasure though. UPDATE:  Caz and Chrissy from the  Australian hiking blog ,  awildland, have suggested it looks very much like the common native species, the fawn-footed melomy. One  stole a head torch from beside them while they were sleeping.

On a branch nearby, a grey shrike-thrush was eyeing us closely and seemed to be waiting for something to happen. I came across another report which mentioned walkers feeding a tame species at the same lookout. It’s a popular spot for hikers to eat lunch and it appears the wildlife are becoming accustomed to scraps.

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Further along we enjoyed more views at Surprise Rock, a remnant volcanic dyke. Many people comment that it’s an easy scramble to the top, but our legs were feeling  jelly-like after the slippery cliff paths so we passed up the thrill. From all accounts it’s definitely worth it if you don’t mind heights.

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The last part of the trail took us back through changing vegetation again and light was dwindling fast. We were still talking about the adorable furry unidentified creature when we reached the lodge and prepared for a three course buffet meal in the dining room. We’d eaten all our backpack snacks by this stage and were ravenous but wanted to have enough room for dessert so held off eating anything else. It’s very rare that Tough Cookie and I eat in a restaurant. She’s a poor uni student and my income is nothing to boast about so we were excited by the luxury of such a lavish meal we didn’t have to cook or clean up after.

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It was at this point that the great finger debacle of 2016 occurred. No, the injury did not take place on our walk, but at our accommodation. I had gone outside the room to put on my shoes while my daughter finished changing. As I bent down, I lost balance and rested my hand up against the wall to steady myself. At the same time my daughter was inside, pushing the thick wooden door shut. Instead of being against the wall, I’d accidentally placed my fingers in the door frame, on the hinged side of the open door. I didn’t realise this until I felt the end of my middle finger being crushed and sliced as it closed.

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I couldn’t speak from the pain but knocked wildly on the door. My daughter, unaware of what was going on looked at my white face in puzzlement until she saw me clutching my bleeding hand. The searing pain was now gone and replaced by complete numbness. Despite the obvious damage, I no longer felt discomfort. We suspected the nerves had been severed or crushed.

The first step was to reduce swelling and blood flow which we did with soft cold packs from the bar fridge of our room. I kept my hand higher than my heart as well. Due to a genetic condition I have reduced clotting factor which was slightly concerning. It seemed to take forever before the blood flow ceased.

Now, I’m not usually the kind of person who feels queasy about gaping wounds and blood, but my low blood sugar level combined with my naturally low blood pressure brought on mild shock. I spent ½ hour cocooned in warm blankets being fed sugary tea by my daughter while I waited and hoped for the feeling to come back into my finger. Fortunately, the tip wasn’t crushed for long enough to sever the nerves completely and after ½ hour the pain returned.

Looking at the mess of the tip I decided that there was nothing that could be successfully stitched and nothing that time wouldn’t probably heal eventually. Had it been higher up my finger I would have made a different decision. As it was I couldn’t hold the steering wheel and my daughter was only a learner so driving down the range in the dark only to wait at a crowded emergency centre for a few hours seemed like a bad choice. Besides, we had a three course meal to eat, so an hour later we made it to the dining room with my finger impressively bandaged.

Drugged up on pain killers, I don’t even remember the meal but my daughter says I uncharacteristically chatted non-stop to anyone around me who asked about my injury. I’m not sure it was the best dinner table story really and by dessert, blood was seeping through the bandages again.

After a restless night trying not to bump my hand and bleed over the bed, I woke with a migraine and we adjusted our plans. Now if I was a suspicious soul I may have wondered if the whole incident was part of my daughter’s own grand plan to escape  a 20 km walk. The cheeky girl even suggested the idea.

I must confess that I wasn’t disappointed to convert our physically challenging trip to one of relaxation. The Dave’s Creek Circuit had given us plenty to talk about already and lazing about the lodge eating a huge cooked buffet breakfast,  a cheese platter at sunset and then another three course meal for dinner, interspersed with reading, chatting and short wanders was not too difficult to endure really.

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We did manage to do the 5 km, class 4, Caves’ Circuit walk which I’ve done on previous occasions. It’s an interesting wander through rainforest and open eucalypt forest with views of the Coomera Valley but the main points of interest for me are Kweebani Cave and the archway and steps cut out of the volcanic rock mountain side.

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My daughter volunteered to give a sense of scale to Kweebani Cave. High on the roof, what seemed to be strange red fungi caught our attention. You can see it in this shot.

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It wasn’t until we returned home and enlarged the image that we realised it was definitely not fungi.  After once again consulting learned friends and social media, the consensus is that they are  wasps’ nests or feral bee hives. I haven’t been able to move beyond that ID.

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So the mystery has been revealed. Most injuries I incur are not on walks but in “safe” buildings. While friends and family may sometimes express concern about my walking adventures, given my history, I am probably safer out in nature than in my home or driving a car. Once again my grand plans needed major modifications, but the result was far from disappointing. Who doesn’t need a little luxury sometimes and I have a numb, slightly deformed finger to remind me forever of a very special trip spent with my youngest child.

I almost forgot. Even though it was mid-winter, we managed to transport a few ticks home with us. It wouldn’t be a mildly extreme walk without them these days. I still have a few itchy spots on my head despite it being months since our holiday.

For more information about Dave’s Creek Circuit and other walks at Binna Burra in Lamington National Park,  check the Queensland National Parks website.

Thanks for reading and for your patience. 🙂

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100 thoughts on “Dave’s Creek Circuit, Lamington National Park – Grand Plans

  1. So sorry to read about your poor finger though glad it wasn’t worse. I had a lovely time scrolling through your photographs of the walks you did which were very well worth looking at, thank you for taking the trouble to share them with us.

    • Thanks very much for your kind comments, Susan. Yes, the finger is much better now. It could have been far worse and in the end I was glad it happened as the rest of the trip was very relaxing and we both still laugh about the great finger debacle. It made the trip very memorable actually and it’s possible the finger incident could have even prevented us from some other serious injury on the long walks. Lazing about reading and chatting and enjoying the delights of the lodge with my daughter was wonderful really. I hope you have a lovely Sunday, Susan. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Haha…thanks very much, Marina. You are too kind. I appreciate your lovely comments and hope you are very well at the moment. I am in awe of your fitness routine and energy levels and really enjoyed the trips you made that I commented on. Your pictures were beautiful! Best wishes. 🙂

  2. Ouch… I love your writing but they are so visual I quickly skim through the descriptive part on how you injured your fingers, must be painful! Hope you feel better.
    May I know what camera model do you use on your hikes?

    • Thanks very much for your kind words. They are much appreciated. I’m so sorry if the accident description was too vivid. Someone wanted me to share photos of the finger. My daughter did actually take a lot of pictures for medical reasons but I really felt they were far too gory to share, especially if people were reading this post while eating a meal! 🙂
      The camera I now use is a Canon Powershot SX60. It’s not a DSLR but has very similar abilities. It has a fantastic zoom lens. I am yet to work out how to use all its features as I am not technically savvy. I also use my phone camera. In most of my early posts I used an old Fujicolour bridging camera that belongs to my son and a tiny Olympus pocket camera. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Your pictures are as good and vivid as your writing. I have a Canon Powershot SX50 and wondering if that would be too bulky to bring on hikes. After looking at your blog, I might give it a try.

        • I actually wanted to buy the SX50 originally as I’ve seen some wonderful nature shots taken with it. However, by the time I went shopping for a new camera only the SX60 was available. I’ve heard that some people feel quite disappointed in some of the changes but I love the wonderful zoom. The Canon has made taking bird shots so much easier. My SX60 is very light but probably less bulky than many DSLRs. I keep it in a camera bag around my neck. The top unzips very easily, so the camera is sitting in a good position ready to pull out and shoot with. When it gets a bit heavy for my neck, I attach the camera bag to my backpack chest straps. Having said that, it can be awkward when rock scrambling is needed. I worry it will break. Many people take fantastic shots with their expensive phone cameras these days. I’ve only got a cheap $40 phone though so the zoom is pathetic, but even so, there are days when I just don’t want the hassle of carrying a big camera with me, particularly in the heat of summer. Happy hiking. 🙂

  3. While I felt the horror of the finger incident, you had me rolling in laughter once again with the line, “and by dessert, blood was seeping through the bandages again.” What a visual that made! Jane I swear you bring out the worst of my morbid sense of humor! Aside from that, I am glad that your injury wasn’t worse, and that you ended up having a great hike with Tough Cookie and and acquired some interesting photos. The feral rat was highly interesting as was the red wasp nests. There is never a dull moment on your hikes, Jane. I look forward to the day we hike together. But I have to admit, with your record, I think I ought to prepare myself for anything to happen! 😀

    • Haha…you always bring a smile to my face with your appreciative and humorous comments, Lori. We share a morbid sense of humour. I was planning to be a little more garish in my description but didn’t want to make anyone feel sick. One of my readers wrote, “Jane, you almost amputate a finger by using a door frame as a guillotine…” I wish I had thought to describe it that way. It sounds so much more dramatic and succinct than my three paragraph description! 🙂 Actually, regarding the feral rat, one of my Australian readers has now suggested it is actually a native species called fawn-footed melomy. I hope it is. That sounds so much sweeter than feral black rat!! I’ve probably killed plenty of black rats on the farm in the past. I think because it was a national park, we were entranced by this critter as we thought it must be a native species! I really do hope we are able to walk together somehow one day. Just bring an army sized first aid kit and you’ll be right. Thanks for your wonderful comments over the past two years, Lori. You are always so encouraging to me. Have a great week, my friend. 🙂

    • That was my first lyrebird! I hope it’s not my last. I’d love to actually see the males displaying their beautiful tail feathers. It ran away before I could get close enough to take a good shot. We heard their calls often on our walk but they seemed fairly timid. The finger is not too bad now. It gave us a good excuse to enjoy a bit of luxury anyway. I do find it hard to sit still and relax sometimes. A bit of a guilt complex I think! Enforced rest can be a good thing. Thanks for reading and commenting. Best wishes. 🙂

  4. Always enjoy reading your adventures Jane. I feel your pain with the finger. Mine also happened in a safe building. Enjoy your week

    • John, it is always so lovely to see your comment each post. I can’t believe I am still going after 2 years. I’m sure I would have stopped a long time ago if it wasn’t for people like you who encouraged me right from the start. I’m sorry to read that you also had a finger/hand injury? My most dangerous room has always been the kitchen…cuts, burns etc. And they say hiking is dangerous. 🙂 I hope you are well and are having a good week so far. Best wishes. 🙂

  5. Jane, you almost amputate a finger by using a door frame as a guillotine, then go on to eat dinner and still get on with your trekking holiday?

    I’m not one for Americanisms, but this is badass! I’m mighty impressed, if ever a Mr Crocodile Dundee seal of approval existed I’d have recommended to give it to you in a ceremony with a brass band.

    • Haha. You did make me laugh with those hilarious comments. I wish I’d thought to use such expressive language in my post to describe the situation. Your description sounds much more dramatic, Fabrizio! I think you should write my blog posts for me. They’d be way more entertaining then. 🙂

      Well, that’s the first time anyone has called me “badass”. I will bask in the compliment as I doubt I will ever hear it again! Sadly for my audience, most of my activities are quite mild. I’m not sure my overwhelming desire for food counts as bravery or toughness, but I really appreciate the kind words. Thank you and have a lovely week! 🙂

      • Frankly Jane, I know a lot of people who’d have just curled up on the sofa and sort of died, had their been in your position. You kept on going trekking! That’s impressive. Have a great week as well, and I hope the finger gets better soon 🙂

        • Thanks, Fabrizio. I do appreciate your encouragement. I don’t often think of myself as tough/strong. I think I grew up with the whole “girls are weak” thing which makes me doubt myself. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Hi Matthew,
      Yes, this walk is now my favourite at Binna Burra as I love how the vegetation changes so much along the way. It’s always nice to go from dark rainforest out to more open country and see distant ranges and blue sky. I hadn’t seen sundews since I was a child so that was pretty special to me. Another reader has suggested that the rat may be a fawn-footed melomy which is a native species. I’m hoping it is! I couldn’t believe it when we saw the lyrebird. It was just after the beginning of the border track. We didn’t see another but heard plenty of calls. Thanks very much for reading and commenting, Matthew. I’m hoping to get over to the Mt Gravatt trails again soon. It’s time I checked it out again. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Isabel. It’s a fantastic 1/2 day walk and one I’ll do again I hope. It makes writing a blog post so much easier when the walk was interesting and fun. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Hi,
      Yes, if anyone is planning to visit the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park, I would certainly recommend this as being one of the best value 1/2 day walks. It really does show the diversity in vegetation and offers some fantastic views. You never know what kind of wildlife will pop up either. Thanks for reading and commenting. Best wishes. 🙂

  6. I hope your finger gets well soon, Jane. I hope it wasn’t your camera-shooting digit? I don’t mean to alarm you about fungal spores, but have you heard about Cordyceps? There are some videos of them online.

    • Hi Neil,

      It’s the middle finger on my left hand so fortunately my handwriting and camera focusing is not too affected. The outer two fingers on each of my hands have been pretty pathetic due to past injury, joint deterioration and sensory loss so I had come to rely on my pointer and middle fingers for many activities (such as typing), so it was a bit awkward for a while when the middle finger couldn’t be used. I’ve made a lot of amusing typing errors these last few months, I can tell you.
      Hmm…I’m a tad nervous about googling Cordyceps! I’m not sure I want to know what may be living in my brain, lungs or whatever now. Haha. Actually, I’ve heard of their parasitic behaviour in insects, but not the specifics when it comes to humans. I guess I should pluck up the courage and check out the videos. I am usually quite careful about fungal spores. Thanks very much for reading and commenting, and for the suggestion about Cordyceps. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much for your most kind comments, Tom. I hope I didn’t increase your blood pressure too much with the suspense! 😉 I do apologise for being so tardy with my blogging of late. It was a wonderful walk which I would happily do again and again. It’s so pleasant to see the scenery change regularly. I’m sure if I return I will see something new again. It’s easy to miss things on these Lamington National Park walks because so much is going on. I have another completely different walk to share with you. It involved gale force winds and a steep cliff face. Not my cup of tea at all, but it may be interesting for some. Best wishes to you and Mrs T. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Marylou. Yes, I was a little concerned about infection which is another reason we chose not to do the 20km walk. I didn’t want to get it sweaty and dirty. There is plenty of dirt and microbes in a rainforest. There were some symptoms of infection as it was healing but I think the fact that I had just had a shower before it happened and it bled out so much, meant the wound was pretty clean. Best wishes. 🙂

  7. Well Jane, I had money on the finger being jammed in a car door, so I can claim the percentage prize of door. A lovely walk and more fab photos. Of course I loved the fungi photos.
    B x

    • Hi Brian,
      Haha…trust you to guess my secret! Well, not a lot of really exciting things happen on my walks so I need to find something to try to spice it up a little. Thanks for your lovely words. Yes, I thought you would appreciate the fungi. There were colonies growing all up the trunk! It was very impressive. What would you like as your prize for guessing so close to the truth? How about a postcard? I hope all is well down Grafton way. I will get there eventually. I just spent a small fortune keeping the old car on the road again. Best wishes. x

      • Hi Jane,
        All is OK. I have a sinus thing which will get better as I went to the Dr today and got some pills and sprays
        Cars can be expensive but necessary. Anytime you can do so is fine as long as our calendars line up.
        Catch ya x

        • Hi Brian,
          I hope you get better from the sinus thing soon. Sinus infections can be very painful and tiring. After November I’ll have more free time so I hope to catch up then. x

          • I didn’t see this comment Jane sorry. Now my sinus are good. Had to go to the Dr which was worth the cost of the medication. That sounds good. Hope to see you then x

  8. I feel sorry for your finger accident, but enjoyed your post and photos very much. You go to some beautiful and interesting places and your photos are always great.!

    • Hi Terry,
      The finger was not so bad really. I was more upset and annoyed with myself at the time for messing up our walking plans but it seems my daughter was quite happy to turn it into a “real” holiday. Haha. I think she was relieved and I certainly enjoyed the lodge environment. Thanks very much for your kind feedback as always. I hope all is well in beautiful Montana. Best wishes. 🙂

  9. A suitably bloody and ghoulish post to be reading on this Halloween. 😀 Glad all is quite well now. In NZ we have an Accident Compensation scheme. The latest figures show there were 1.8 million accident claims for 2014/15, and of that number there 1,139,339 for injuries in the home and community. So as with the somewhat misleading ‘stranger danger’ we actually need to be more careful in supposedly safe places than in the wide wild world. 🙂

    • Thank you! I hadn’t planned to make it coincide with Halloween, but I guess it does fit. 🙂 I haven’t noticed much trick or treating going on here. I hope no-one knocks on my door tonight as I’ve eaten anything remotely yummy in the house. All I can offer is gluten free bread and vegetables!
      I’ve had so many accidents in my home – slipping in the bathroom, burning and cutting myself in the kitchen, falling down the stairs and don’t get me started on the gardening! When it comes to sexual assault, we are more in danger from people we know as well. I agree. We need to be aware of common every day dangers at home and at work. I think I am more careful when I am hiking just because of the perceived danger. At home I tend to be more careless! Best wishes. 🙂

  10. Hey, hey, another extreme adventure…excellent! Well done Jane you really captured the essence of the Dave’s Creek Circuit I think, its a great walk and your brilliant writing did it justice I think. Glad you had some quality mother daughter time. Gee you must of been keen to head to dinner with a finger like that….I reckon I’d be back in the room curled up in a foetal position sucking my thumb! Cheers Kevin

    • Thanks very much, Kevin. Not much stands in the way of my stomach and a three course meal! I wasn’t going to miss dessert that’s for sure. Besides, I couldn’t disappoint my daughter or starve her. Unlike me, she’s not got a bountiful fat reserve to fall back on. I’d be a good candidate for behavioural therapy. Just offer me food rewards.
      Dave’s Creek Circuit is officially my favourite 1/2 day Binna Burra walk. I love the variation in vegetation. I miss the sky when I don’t see it for a few hours so being able to get out in the open regularly and see a few distance views is a bonus.
      Tough Cookie really enjoyed the trip and we still laugh about the “rare” rat and the guillotine door. It will certainly be a fond memory to look back on in the future.
      Thanks again for your enthusiastic feedback, Kevin. It’s always encouraging to hear that others enjoy my waffle. Best wishes! 🙂

  11. Your poor finger, Jane. Have been through similar jams & deep cuts necessitating an E.R. visit (so slow I returned home after 3 hours & visited my GP next morning who phoned a plastic surgeon immediately) I can well imagine the pain. You don’t realise how much you need your fingers when one is damaged, although over-zealous plastering after a broken elbow beat a finger injury. Basic hygiene is virtually impossible wth your whole arm plastered at right angles.
    I hope your finger recovers 100% as time goes by.
    I thoroughly enjoyed your walk and photos with that last shot being a real stunner (with the gold light on the ground as well as the sky).

    • Thanks very much, Vicki. I’ve had pretty bad experiences with Emergency waiting rooms. They are often understaffed and rushed off their feet. Often they are sleep-deprived and sometimes less experienced young interns. I usually find a trip to the GP is faster for less serious stuff. I was very lucky that the crush/cut wasn’t higher up the finger. My outer two fingers on each hand are pretty useless due to previous damage so I’ve come to rely on my pointer finger, middle finger and thumbs. I really noticed it when I couldn’t use the middle finger to type or grip. Fingers are so precious aren’t they. My son was wrongly plastered when he broke his wrist. A rural doctor gave him a heavy plaster cast right up past his elbow and half way up his upper arm. Fortunately my son was a bit naughty and when his skin felt itchy he poked a pencil under the plaster to reach the spot. He accidentally lost the pencil under the plaster so I had to take him to another doctor to cut it off. The doctor was appalled at the way it had been plastered. It could have resulted in his arm not being able to grow as long as the other one because he was going through a growth spurt. Yes, toileting, showering, dressing etc would be very awkward with a plastered arm like you had!
      I’m hopeful that given time, perhaps more sensation will return. Another finger was sliced through the knuckle during a farm butchering accident and finally after two years the sensation returned. It does amaze me how the body can heal sometimes after we treat it so badly.
      Thanks for your kind thoughts and encouraging words about my photos. I liked the last shot as well but didn’t know if others would so I’m pleased you enjoyed it. It was a sunrise shot near the lodge.
      I hope you are well and settling in to your new location. I haven’t caught up properly since your move. Best wishes. 🙂

      • After the cut is truly healed, try some gentle massage (towards the heart direction) and some finger exercises. I’ve found them helpful on/off over the years.

        • Thanks, Vicki. The cut has healed well, so I will give that a go. I seem to naturally want to rub the area as it feels weird to have a partially numb finger. 🙂

          • I have 3 numb toes – nerve damage from L4/5 lumbar surgery, but the weirdest thing is that sometimes they’re excruciatingly painful like bolts of electricity are going through them. How one can have numb sometimes and severe pain (mainly in bed) beats me.

            • Yeah, it always seems pretty weird that both can occur. An anatomy lecturer gave me an analogy about this once to explain how nerve damage can do this. He said imagine the nerve is a hose. If you completely cover the end of a hose, you get no water out of it at all (numbness). If you partially cover the hose and vary where you put your finger, you get sharp unpredictable jets of highly concentrated streams (sudden bursts of pain). If the nerves vary in their compression during the day then the toe will be both numb and have sharp bursts of pain.When lying down, perhaps the compression of the nerves changes slightly as the vertebra move apart, allowing sudden bursts of sensation to make it through. Our general feelings of pressure, heat etc share the same neural pathways as pain in the brain. The timing of the sensations can be altered by compression which can then possibly be perceived as pain. Our body is amazing when it is working well, not so great with damage! I sometimes get neuralgia (electric shock pain in my face) due to compression of the trigeminal nerve. The sudden pain is quite unpredictable and feels like electrical shocks too. Very weird! 🙂

              • Thanks for the explanation, Jane. I can’t sleep on my back and now, can’t sleep on my left side due to pain, but I dread the day when I can’t sleep on my right side either.
                I guess I’ll have to sleep somehow upright, but then my oxygen levels drop alarmingly (confirmed by o/night visits to the local E. R. for various reasons), which initiated the actual overnight Sleep Study at the hospital’s research unit a few years ago.

                Sorry to hear about the neuralgia in your face. I can well imagine what that’s like.

                I always say pain is a good thing in that its our body’s way of telling us about a problem, but when it strikes so suddenly and out of the blue, it really is no fun at all 🙂

                • Your poor body, Vicki. I do feel for you with all the pain and discomfort and reduced mobility and energy levels from your conditions. I do hope you’ll be able to keep sleeping on your right side without pain. I would find it very difficult to stay on one side all night! I’m making a trip to Melbourne in a few weeks, staying a week. I don’t know how well you will feel, but if our schedules coincide perhaps we could meet up? I know how unpredictable your health is though. It must be so very frustrating. Take care. x

  12. You took some beautiful photos on your hike Jane. Congratulations on your first Lyre Bird! I read this post last night and was going to comment about your ‘rat’ then but I began to come down with a migraine. I was going to say it didn’t really look like a rat to me and now I see that it is probably a melomy so that’s okay! I love the photo of the corkscrew branch, the enormous fungus, the lichen with its fruiting bodies, the flowers and sunsets. The lookouts on your hikes are fantastic – just the place to sit and have a rest and something to eat and drink. I am glad your finger is improving; what bad luck to trap it in the door! The restful holiday with your daughter sounds wonderful! Take care! Clare xx

    • Hi Clare,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comments. Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply. I kept getting interrupted and wanted to wait for a time when my head was right. I hope you don’t get migraines frequently. They can be very draining. I used to get them a lot but rarely these days thankfully as the haloes in front of the eyes make me unable to see the computer screen or drive and of course then there is the pain and tiredness to deal with.
      Yes, the furry creature is still somewhat of a mystery. As I wrote in the update it may be a melomy but with small mammals and marsupials it can be difficult to tell. My next commenter, Aussiebirder, talks about identifying native from European rats by number of teats on the female. As with counting the anal scales on snakes, it is not easy to tell from a distance!
      I should have got my daughter to put her hand up to the corkscrew branch as the photo doesn’t really show the scale. It’s amazingly thick! The fungi were impressive and look so much bigger in real life. They also seemed to unfurl as the minutes passed, a response to the light I expect. There are many lookouts along the walks at Binna Burra which give me added pleasure. It’s always nice to enjoy a great view and it gives me an excuse to take a breather. 😉
      It really was a wonderful trip with my daughter and in hindsight probably made better because of the finger incident! Take good care of yourself too, dear Clare. xx

      • Thank-you Jane. I really appreciate the time you take when you respond to comments. Recently the only time I have for blogging and reading blogs is late at night when I’m too tired to think straight or write intelligibly!
        I have had migraines for about 30 years but recently they have been coming more frequently – about once every six weeks which is tiresome. I had hoped they would disappear by the time I was my age (58), but no!
        Have a good weekend Jane xx
        Clare 🙂

        • That’s terrible about the migraines coming more frequently. I do hope the frequency slows down soon! Sometimes people don’t take it seriously when someone has to cancel plans because of a migraine, but they aren’t like normal headaches. They can be very incapacitating and leave you exhausted. I’m getting close to a half-century so I hope I don’t get a resurgence! Kind wishes. xx

  13. Wow! Wow! my intrepid friend Jane! what an amazing story. There is too much to comment on. Your photos are beautiful and highlight the stuff most of us will never see in the wild. Thanks for going out there and taking us along with us. Wonderful that you and your daughter had that time together, often babies miss out on attention, and it is not until the older siblings leave that they get their one on one chance. The finger story had me quivering, and the little rat was interesting. I have heard that the way you tell the difference between native (marsupial) and European rats is the number of teets on the female. The native rats only have a couple not many, as they have less babies.I have not checked this, but you did not see underneath so it leaves a question. Love your pics of fungi, carnivorous plant and of course what a plus to see the rarely seen Lyrebird in the wild. I was blessed seeing some at O’Reilly’s. Have a restful week my friend, and may your finger recover soon:-)

    • Thanks very much, Ashley. Your enthusiastic reply made me smile. 🙂 I must say that the two separate walks along Dave’s Creek gave me different but equally enjoyable experiences really. The first time was more of a physical challenge due to the weather and the sore ankle and I never knew what was around the next corner. Having the company of my daughter on the second trip was wonderful. I was really looking forward to showing her the place as she’d never been to Binna Burra before and her keen eyesight meant she pointed out many creatures and points of interest that I didn’t notice the first time around. You’re right about the baby of the family sometimes missing out. My three kids were born very close together and I was very busy with outdoor work, teaching the eldest distance education and chasing after her 2 1/2 year old escape-artist brother when she was born. She had to be quite independent. For a couple of years now she has been the only offspring at home and we’ve enjoyed the extra time alone together.
      Thanks for the info about the rat teats. I’d not heard that before. It would be nice to receive a definitive ID. It’s a bit like counting the anal scales on snakes for sex identification…difficult to do from a distance, hey?
      Thanks again for your encouraging reply. I hope you are well and wish you a restful week also. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks, Curt. Yes, it is a wonderful area to explore. I’ll be back again to do some longer walks in the cooler months. The ticks and the heat and humidity cause me problems in the summer. Looking back the finger incident was rather amusing really and still gives us a laugh. My daughter is great company and gives cheek when appropriate on these adventures. She’s great company. I will miss her when she leaves the nest completely. Best wishes 🙂

      • Cheek is good!
        Peggy and I have been ’empty nest’ for quite some time. Once you get used to it, it’s not bad. Besides, who says you can’t go camping and hiking with the kids when they are gone. We’ve done it a lot. 🙂 –Curt

  14. Ouch! What a tale. You had me squirming with the finger disaster Jane. I hope it all heals as best as possible. Such a relief to know that creature is most likely a native rat and probably attributes its tameness. Hiking Hinchinbrook Island, I encountered many cheeky native rats and they had no concern about hanging around humans and causing havoc for campers. I’m a fan of Daves Creek Circuit too. And a very big fan of the feast put on at the Binna Burra lodge. Hearty and welcomed after hiking. Thanks for a great Jane. Have a top week 🙂 Gail

    • Thanks, Gail. Wow, how interesting about the native rats on Hitchinbrook Island. How funny about them causing havoc for campers. I’d not thought about what might happen if they chewed through my food containers or stole something vitally important. I do remember a goanna causing issues while camping once though. At least we don’t have bears here! I’d love to hike through wilderness areas of Canada and the US, but I wonder about bears. 🙂
      While I heard the odd person complaining about some aspects of service at Binna Burra Lodge, the staff were wonderful to us. I have a gluten and lactose intolerance and they knew all about those problems and catered accordingly. The nights we were there they were run off their feet due to so many late dinner bookings and a firefighters’ convention (those guys were having enormous servings) but at all times they were pleasant and helpful. It’s a great retreat, maybe not suited to people who like glamour and posh restaurant meals but we were definitely satisfied with the hearty feast they served us and the beautiful surroundings. Thanks for reading, Gail, and for sharing the native rat story. I’d always thought they were very timid! I hope you are well and have a great week as well. Best wishes. 🙂

      • About that havoc… it meant keeping all food out of our tents and hanging our backpacks with our supplies on rope strung between two trees. The rope had to be threaded with empty plastic bottles because the native rats had learnt to walk rope but not on the unpredictable plastic bottles – strange but true. Some campsites had tin trunks for storing food. Despite all this, Hinchinbrook is one of my favourite hiking memories. Thanks for your well wishes and have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

        • Thanks for sharing that story! It’s humorous for me to read about it from my chair here but I can imagine I might be tempted to call the little creatures some unsavoury names if I was having to deal with their cunning ways… 😉

  15. Fungus spores, ticks, lyre-birds, and finger-crushing doors–a life of high adventure. My favorite find, however, was the wild bee honeycombs. Wow. As for the rat, wild or not, I’m not fond of them, especially when tick-encrusted. The stuff of nightmares, to me.

    • Thanks, Brenda. On the farm I didn’t like rats at all. On the walk it was a bit of a treat to see a furry critter. Without my glasses I couldn’t see the ticks very well, but blown up on the computer screen they were gruesome. We spent some time sitting there watching it and suspect that is where we picked up the ticks on our own bodies. I seem to be a real tick magnet these days anyway! I was very surprised to get them in winter but it was warmer and wetter than usual which made the conditions perfect. My tick phobia has been fed very well the last 12 months! Thanks for mentioning the honeycombs. I’ve never seen anything like it. There were hundreds of them and the golden red colour really stood out. I seriously thought it was fungus and got a real surprise when I blew up the picture on the computer screen. I wish I could have got a clearer shot but my zoom and shaky hands struggled. I’d like to have a species ID. I hope you’re well. Once again I am slack with reading other blogs so I apologise. After November, life will be calmer I hope. Best wishes. 🙂

  16. Hi Jane, I was enjoying your post, particularly the rat (doesn’t look like a Black rat to me), the fungi, and the Sundew. But then the finger happened. Very sorry to read about that unpleasant incident. I noticed that my toes were screwed tightly in my socks from just reading about it, so I can only imagine how much pain you must have been in. We know where your daughter gets her tough cookieness from! 🙂

    • Hi David,
      I do apologise for the gory details. 🙂 I was contemplating sharing some pics of the wound but decided it was too unpleasant. They even made me feel a bit ill! Yes, I do wonder about the ID of the furry critter. I should send some pics off to the Queensland Museum. The trouble is the damage done to the ears and face from the ticks may affect how easy it is to identify. Another commenter mentioned he’d heard that native and feral rats can be distinguished according to number of teats in the female. Unfortunately I didn’t get quite that close. Sundews remind me of my childhood. For a short time my father played golf and one day took my brothers and I to the course, where I was excited to see sundews for the first time. Haha…I will tell Tough Cookie what you said. Thanks very much for reading and commenting. I hope all is well in New York. We’ve had a lot of media coverage about the US elections… Best wishes. 🙂

  17. “… and the first time I’ve completed a track in the dark.”

    For a skeptical and scientific mind it is strange to see the great amount of nonsense and superstition that people fear: witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts… It is easy to think that none of them exists from the sofa at home with the living room lights on, but the first time you walk alone in the woods along a sinuous path in the middle of the dark… you think that everything is possible!

    • Hi Daniel,
      Great to hear from you and thanks for your thoughtful reply.
      You make a good point there. Yes, it is interesting how the absence of light suddenly changes our perceptions of danger! When I was a child I remember being quite nervous of the dark after reading ghost stories or seeing scary movies. When darkness falls those little sounds in the forest are magnified and even those with the most scientific of minds can have their imagination run wild. In this case though, I was more afraid of highly venomous nocturnal tree funnel web spiders or snakes rather than creatures of the imagination. My painful ankle also helped me focus more on just getting the track finished without slipping. It is usually at night in my local suburb where my imagination tends to run wild… I think I feel safer in the forest than on the streets. Mind you, we don’t have bears and wolves here! I hope you are well? Stay safe from the vampires, werewolves and ghosts… Best wishes. 🙂

  18. On our just-finished trip we spent about 10 days in California. The state has so many eucalyptus trees that if people just started driving on the left side of the road California could become a province of Australia.

    • Hi Steve,
      I’m glad you are safely back from your trip. The US elections have certainly given us a lot to talk about here. Yes, I’ve heard that California has perfect conditions for many native Australian trees and that paperbark trees may now be a bit of a pest in swampy areas? I’m not sure how true that is as I can’t remember where I got that information from. Sometimes I feel strangely disappointed to see Australian native plants grown in large numbers in other parts of the world maybe because I like to feel that we have something unique here. It’s a silly thought really as plants from other parts of the world are now widely spread. Half my garden contains exotic plants. It’s probably good that there are populations of eucalypts safely growing outside of Australia as there is still a ridiculous amount of tree clearing going on here! Also, I am glad that people in other parts of the world can enjoy what we have here without having to travel all the way to Australia. Imagine if I could only ever enjoy a rose from pictures? Lovely to hear from you again, Steve. 🙂

      • I hadn’t heard the term “paperbark trees” but it fits what I saw. I’m afraid I don’t know how to tell one eucalypt from another. I didn’t visit any swampy areas in California, but I saw Australian trees from north of San Francisco all the way down to the Los Angeles area. I may have told you that during my visit to Australia in 2005 I spent a few hours in Wollongong. I went for a walk there and was amazed to find some Texas lantana growing along a path, apparently spontaneously. Invasions do indeed go in all directions.

        On Election Day we traveled from Tucson (Arizona) to El Paso (at the western end of Texas) and watched the surprising preliminary results that night. When we awoke on Wednesday morning the election had been decided. I hope things work out for the best.

        • Ah yes, lantana has spread extensively throughout Australia. While it chokes out other plants, many of our native birds feed on its berries and insects and nest in its thick protective “hedges.” Many of the birds I saw at Ravensbourne were around the large areas of lantana. It has very pretty flowers so I can see why people used it for hedges here. It thrives in Australia as I would expect many Texan plants would. I wish your country well in regards to the future. The election result has been extremely painful for many. Best wishes. 🙂

  19. Hi Jane, it is wonderful reading about your adventures again. I think you handled the finger crisis very well – I am sure I would have thought I had a life threatening injury. I am glad you got to enjoy some luxury on the trip especially as it was winter. Staying in a cabin instead of shivering in a tent was a good idea despite the unintended consequences.

    • Thanks very much, Margaret. Yes, I think it was a good idea to stay in the cabins, even though the door got me. My back is not as young as it used to to be and I suspect after a day of long walking and a night sleeping on the cold ground, I probably wouldn’t have been able to stand up straight the next day. We certainly appreciated the luxury of not having to cook and clean up that’s for sure. It rarely happens. Binna Burra is a lovely setting to relax and unwind. I hope you are well. Lovely to hear from you again. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Haha…thanks, Rob! The finger is all healed up now and apart from being slightly crooked and the nail not growing right, you wouldn’t know much had happened to it. We laugh about it now and in a way it added to our experience. I loved Dave’s Creek Circuit. So much variation. Still not sure exactly what the furry critter is though! Best wishes. 🙂

  20. Oh, ouchie!!!! Do appreciate your sacrifice so that we can see such beautiful images.
    Just running by to wrap up the holidays with ….
    Waiting for sunset on Christmas Eve is like standing toes-over-the-edge on a high diving board.
    Every year we’d cruise casually by the window to keep an eye on the sun’s progress until it was officially evening.
    Then the shout “Christmas Eve Gift!” would ring out.
    You see, the traditions says that the first person to voice that phrase on Christmas Eve to another would be graced with good fortune and joy all the next year.
    (And of course, whomever was first won. Everything was a contest…)
    It’s more difficult to be first now with caller ID.
    As all those who have become my friends in blogland are spread widely across time zones, I’d like to wish you all “Christmas Eve Gift” now.
    And as I already feel so fortunate to have such wonderful readers and writers in this neighborhood, I wish to share any phrase acquired good fortune and joy with you in thanks.
    No matter where you are or what you are guided by, hope you have a very merry Christmas and a new year full of adventure and joy.
    Peace on earth and goodwill towards all creatures great and small.

    • Dear Philopsher,
      Thank you so much for your very lovely “Christmas Eve Gift” message and I do apologise for being late to reply and wish you the same. I was travelling and phone reception and Internet are very poor in those areas. I am back home now and catching up on mail. The last month has been so very busy. I have neglected my blogging friends and my blog.
      Thank you for explaining the delightful Christmas tradition you have. I do hope you will be graced with good fortune and joy because of it in 2017. 🙂
      Thank you sincerely for following my blog and for sharing your most interesting thoughts in your own blog. I also feel very blessed to have had the support of so many lovely readers whom I have come to think of as friends. I just wish I had more time lately to make contact with them. My life is currently in a transitional stage and certain things have been placed on hold during this process.
      I hope 2017 brings you many wonderful memories, good health and happiness. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you for the kind Christmas wishes, Steve. I’ve just got back from a trip inland to visit relatives. The phone reception is poor, let alone Internet. I meant to write a Christmas message and blog post in December but it has been filled with travelling and family gatherings. I hope that I can manage to come up with something in January. It feels like a very long time since I’ve taken part in the blogging world. So much has been happening here at home. I hope your Christmas was also peaceful and fulfilling and the new year brings you many special moments to cherish. Thank you so much for remembering me, Steve. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you very much. I appreciate the continued support even though I’ve been absent from the blogging world. I hope to return soon. Best wishes. 🙂

  21. Hey Jane, just dropping you a note to send you well wishes. I, like many others, am missing taking a walk in the bush with you. Keep smiling, keep walking and stay well! Cheers!

    • Hi David, it’s great to hear from you and I do apologise for taking so long to reply! This comment got lost among other notifications.Thanks very much for your kind words. I’ve had a rather interesting few months that have kept me on my toes. There should be another blog post soon to finish my Melbourne trip. I hope you and your family are well and you’ve been able to find some time to enjoy the pleasures of the outdoors. It’s been an eventful time in your part of the world also and I guess you are just coming out of winter. Here we’ve been sweltering in a typical Queensland summer. Best wishes to you and thanks for thinking of me and staying in touch, David. 🙂

    • Thank you, Agness. It is a very special place. It has some unique flora and fauna as well as interesting geological features. I do hope you’ll be able to make it there one day. Thanks for reading and commenting. Best wishes. 🙂

  22. When I think of Australia, The first thoughts are always that it wants to kill you. We hear of Snakes and Spiders stuffed full of venom, koalas that rip your face off if you stop to coo at them, and kangaroos that punch your lights out for fun. I dare not even mention the horror conjured up at the thought of shark infested waters. Now you tell me that hotel doors bite too!
    Seriously though, I woke this morning and followed your link from twitter to this blog, I love it! Very different landscape to my walks, exotic and romantic (yours not mine) I will think of you battling the Mangroves as I cross Kinder Scout next weekend, especially if it snows again.

    • Hi Andy,
      Haha. I think Australia gets a bad rap in the media sometimes with regards to our stinging, biting dangers. There are many safe areas to walk and live. Having said that, it is true we can have killers in our house yards. Highly venomous brown snakes live in my garden and I do get red-back spiders in my house and on pot plants outside. I’ve never been bitten by either in my almost 50 years of living in Australia though and I’ve taken plenty of risks. I feel much more danger driving on the roads. There are some crazy speedsters and aggressive drivers about! I used to love cycling but after a few close calls have had to decrease my peddling.
      Not only do hotel doors bite here, but in my experience car and house doors and windows can inflict painful bites as well! I am rather clumsy.
      I’d never heard of the “Kinder Scout” before but after Googling it, I’d have to say those rugged hills look beautiful. While growing up in dry brown outback locations I read a lot of UK novels and children’s books and often fantasised about such green landscapes. I think many people would describe walking such scenery as equally romantic to the beach landscapes I’ve wandered.
      Thanks very much for your kind and enthusiastic words about my blog. I hope you enjoy your Kinder Scout Crossing next week, with or without snow. Best wishes. 🙂

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