Yaddamun Trail, White Rock – The Pollyanna Principle

Yaddamun Track Sunset

“I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.”  When I first sat down to write about the Yaddamun Trail, an exposed, hot, dry, hilly, 19 kilometre walk at White Rock Conservation Estate near Ipswich, I recalled my mother singing these words many years ago. The Lynn Anderson hit continues, “Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain some time.”  In the case of the Yaddamun Trail, more rain and far less sunshine  would have been a relief.  It would also have been better for you visually if I’d used my Canon to take pictures instead of my cheap $40 emergency phone.

Yaddamun Trail White Rock

I grew up in rural Australia and like most residents my parents were country music fans.  I may have missed out on Mozart and Beethoven, but I’ve got the lyrics of Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and Tammy Wynette forever branded on my tiny brain whether I like it or not. Sometimes I still exhibit side effects of a country music upbringing when I break out in uncontrollable bursts of Harper Valley PTA. While some younger family members have described this in a less flattering way, I prefer to call it my very minor super power. How many people can remember all the intricate lyrics to such classics as “I Don’t Wanna Play House” ?  You’ve never heard of it? Don’t you feel deprived?

That’s enough boasting about my superior musical background. Let’s get down to the details of the actual walk. Well, perhaps not just yet.  I need to explain how the Pollyanna Principle is derived. I was first exposed to a much shortened version of the children’s novel, Pollyanna, in the Little Golden Book series when I was 4 years old.  Pollyanna used to play the Glad Game in which she would always try to find something to be glad about even in the darkest hour. For example, instead of getting a much desired doll in a charity bin at Christmas, there was only a pair of crutches left, so Pollyanna’s response was to be glad she didn’t need to use crutches. Yes, Pollyanna was an extraordinarily optimistic, thankful child. The Pollyanna Principle refers to the subconscious bias towards the positive.

Sometimes I wonder if our much maligned real estate agents and car sales people  are just unappreciated proponents of the Pollyanna Principle. In saying a termite ridden, crumbling house is a renovator’s delight surely they are just being optimistic and pointing out its potential?

Lately I think I’ve been a little too negative in my description of some walking destinations and in an attempt to rectify this I’m going to employ the Pollyanna Principle to the somewhat challenging 19 kilometre Yaddamun Trail.  This is the longest marked trail at White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate in Ipswich, Queensland. Most locals prefer the more scenic 6.5 kilometre White Rock Multi-user Trail and other shorter trails which I have shared multiple posts about.

Last year I began to appreciate the solitude and training opportunities of the lesser known Yaddamun Trail as a way to prepare for  my fantasy multi-day walks: the Great Ocean Walk, the Overland Track and the Larapinta Trail.  Looking back, it’s possible I may have  been in the mood for some hiking self-flagellation or was experiencing  temporary insanity as during one hot week I did this walk 3 times.  Now, let’s apply the Pollyanna Principle.

The Yaddamun Trail promises an invigorating escape from the modern, claustrophobic climate-controlled working office. The predominantly unshaded 19 kilometre return walk guarantees many hours to obtain  bone strengthening vitamin D from the Queensland sun.

Yaddamun view

This trail is also a veritable time travel machine, taking you back to those more exciting days before mobile phone reception, when we had to drag our broken, bleeding or snake bitten limbs back to civilisation by ourselves because we were unable to phone emergency services. Yes, there is some phone reception but it is unreliable so for those desiring an escape from tiresome work messages the Yaddamun Trail is designed for you.

With wide fire trails there is no annoying scrub to battle through, and by following the high voltage electricity towers, even a directionally-challenged hiking hermit like me is unlikely to get lost.

High Voltage

The abstract beauty of these modern steel architectural forms is best appreciated on a clear day when their surfaces reflect sunlight for kilometres, resembling giant shimmering futuristic scarecrows. As you walk under them, the constant crackling of electromagnetic radiation  adds a certain ambience. If you close your eyes you can almost imagine yourself lying in front of a raging fire in a romantic alpine cabin.

Yaddamun Track Power Line

The undulating hills ensure a healthy cardiac workout, and who needs an expensive sauna when this trail promises bucket-loads of detoxifying perspiration.

Why pay to attend a retreat when the monotonous rhythmic plodding of the Yaddamun Trail sends you into a meditative zone envied by Zen masters the world over. With no pesky awe-inspiring views and much less wildlife than other White Rock walks you won’t be distracted from your meditative state.

Yaddamun Grass Tree

Anaemic, pale-skinned walkers like me will finish with a free Bahamian tan, as red dust clings to every sweaty surface and fills every crevice.

Yaddamun Track Hill

Now if you’ve ever contemplated an army training run or what it feels like to parent a baby who is an atrocious sleeper, the Yaddamun Trail can satisfy those urges. It goes on and on and on and on.

Yaddamun Trail

This walk also helps heighten your snake-like senses. Feeling the vibrations of approaching mountain bikers through your hiking boots is useful in avoiding around the bend collisions.

Yaddamun Trail through bushland

Now here comes the icing on the cake.  When you reach the end of the first half of the walk where you need to turn back, there is no jaw-dropping view. There is nothing to tell you that you have reached the “climax” except for a sign that states 9.5 km. In fact, there is nothing to tell you that you now need to turn around, so this is where you get to practise those long dormant maths skills by multiplying 9.5 km by 2 and (hopefully) obtaining 19 km.

If you want to keep going instead of turning back, I have no idea how far you can continue before the road stops or where it even leads to. Why is this lack of rewarding endpoint a positive aspect, I hear you ask? I think that the hiking blogger, Suzie, who I strongly suspect to be a Pollyanna fan also, explains this best. As she says, if you believe that life’s about the journey and not the destination then this is definitely the walk for you.

You will also have that inner sense of comfort that results from the predictability of knowing that you get to cover exactly the same territory on the way back. No nasty surprises like you may find on circuit walks! By now, the glorious Queensland sun has moved across the sky, doubling your total day’s Vitamin D producing exposure to your retinas as you face it on your return.

When you finally arrive at your car, you’ll have the intense satisfaction of knowing you’ve survived one of the hottest walks in the district. What better way to rediscover your gratitude for cold running water, shade and a comfortable tick and midge-free environment? Oh and I almost forgot, if you’ve neglected to carry enough water you may experience the cheap delights of drug-free hallucinations brought on by heat exhaustion.

White Rock Sunset

I hope in Children’s Fiction Land, little Pollyanna is proud of my efforts to play the Glad Game. I’m feeling so much more positive about this walk now that I may even do it again in 5 years when the memory loss kicks in.

Seriously though, I feel privileged to live so close to such a long walk which offers hours of solitude and a litter free environment.  It’s hard to believe such an opportunity exists only 10 minutes drive from a major shopping centre and schools.

If you’re interested in the White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate you’ll find more information in previous posts, Lured by the Big Dog, The Art of Hiking and Seeking Solitude at White Rock .  More details can also be found on the Ipswich City Council website or you can print out this pdf guide to the walking trails.

Thank you kindly for reading, and thanks to Pollyanna for the positive inspiration.

44 thoughts on “Yaddamun Trail, White Rock – The Pollyanna Principle

  1. L. O. L. That was great. Best Pollyanna/Realtor re-enactment I’ve seen. Thanks for the giggle before bed. (And you know I perversely want to see this walk all the more now, something about the dramatic under-sell ensures the reader that they couldn’t be disappointed) xxx

    • Thank you. 🙂 I picked up a bug at my son’s wedding and I think the fever has made me a little sillier than usual, hence the exaggeration. That’s my excuse anyway. This is probably a great walk if you just want exercise and aren’t photosensitive like me. I took three litres of water and still found it really wasn’t enough for my needs. Starting out early in mid-winter is the most pleasant time. It is a shared trail with horses and bikes and I think more suited to those activities. I actually found large wild pig tracks around the one and only puddle on the track but the phone shot was blurry. I’m not sure how much your brood would enjoy this walk but if you really want to give it a try, I could pick you up from Springfield or Goodna Train Station one day! Company probably makes the kms go much faster. 😉

  2. How well you write, you make a very amusing story out of what must be a real slog in the heat. Loved the pictures too, there is something appealing about pylons.

    • Thank you, Susan. 🙂 I was in a bit of a strange mood when I wrote this. Humour is not my forte usually. The photos I had were rather poor though so I added a little nonsense to try to make up for it. Done in the middle of winter this walk is probably more pleasant. I’m photo and heat-sensitive so I do struggle with the lack of shade. It is a great training ground for longer walks though. I’ve had dreams of doing the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia so initially I did this walk to gauge if I might be at all capable of attempting it one day. Given my current state, it will be a long time before I am ready, if ever! One can always hope though. Yes, I agree, there is a strange appeal to those glittering towers. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Hi John! Haha. Thanks for the smiles and encouraging words. I suspect Pollyanna would find something positive to say about every kind of music. She was that kind of gal, wasn’t she? 🙂 Sadly, I’m not able to live up to her high standards. You’ve given me an idea now. Next time I break out into a country tune, I’ll try the “I Don’t Wanna Play Hike” version and see if my adult kids are more appreciative. They may even adopt it themselves as a response to my less than appealing hiking propositions. 😉

    • Thanks, Michael. Heheh… I think that a delusional state brought on by dehydration does help the mind to find beauty in those massive steel towers! Or perhaps the constant crackling electrical field is what transforms the thought processes? I’m not sure. There is a certain comfort in knowing that you’ll be able to depend on them to get you back home again though. I must admit that for me there is a strange appeal to their steel solidity. I’ve always been one to seek out comfort in a steady “rock” of some kind though. Obviously a forest of tall beautiful shimmering white gums is preferable. Hopefully, in the future, the popularity of alternative energy sources will mean a reduction in land clearing to build such high voltage power lines. I think I have about 20 pictures of that lone grass tree! While taking the shots I managed to pick up a few ticks, so the rest of the walk was quite itchy. Best wishes. 🙂

  3. Amazing Jane! intrepid as usual. You have explore blood I’m sure. You could have discovered many of our landmarks if you came on the First Fleet. Not my kind of walk, I prefer a few more trees and shade, but interesting enough, as you say, for those seeking solitude. Thanks again Jane, hope things are going well for you this year. Enjoy the weekend!

    • Thanks, Ashley. 🙂 I’m not sure about explorer’s blood but I come from a long line of restless ancestors. We always joked about my father and grandmother’s gypsy tendencies. They tended to move every couple of years. One of my ancestors was a spy novelist (based on some of his own war experiences) and also wrote one of the first photographic books about North Queensland travel so he liked a bit of adventure. I’m not sure he’d be impressed by my meagre offerings. The scenery of the Yaddamun Trail is definitely not my usual cup of tea. I am very sun and heat sensitive so it’s a challenge, but I would like to attempt some much longer walks one day so it is good training, or at least may cure me eventually of such fanciful dreams. Life hasn’t really gone to plan this year but when does it ever? There have been some highs and lows but as always, I am sure it is part of the grand plan in some way. I hope you have a beautiful weekend as well. 🙂

    • Haha…thanks, Tom! 🙂 It is probably guaranteed that as I age, the suffering on these walks will intensify. The mental faculties will continue to deteriorate which will increase the written nonsense as I attempt to make-up interesting “facts” to fill in the memory gaps. I must admit I do enjoy a good suffer-fest and a follow up whinge session. As Pollyanna would say, I am glad that I still have the choice to suffer. Despite being almost winter, our days here are warm with 27 C expected today. My married son is waiting to hear if the grant for his job at Bath University is accepted. If it is, I will probably be enjoying the cooler temperatures of England and Scotland within a couple of years to visit him. I hope so. Best wishes! 🙂

    • Thanks, Annette! 🙂 Unfortunately, I fall very short of Pollyanna’s standards of thankfulness in my daily life. Her story did help me cope with some rough patches as a kid even though as an adult I now whinge far too much. Haha. We all do our best, I guess. I am pleased you enjoyed the post and appreciate your encouraging comment. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Best wishes. 🙂

  4. Hi Jane, Perhaps the Great Ocean Walk is more achievable than the Larapinta Trail. At least you would have cool ocean breezes and, perhaps, the opportunity for a swim.
    I am impressed you are prepared to suffer in your pursuit of hiking Nirvana.

    • Hi Margaret,
      Yes, I agree. The Great Ocean Walk is probably the more realistic option. I’d hoped to have a go at it this year with a friend from Victoria but it’s not looking like happening now. One day. 🙂
      Larapinta has been a bit of a dream for a few years now but given my poor heat tolerance and the organisation involved it may never happen. I had considered doing it as part of a special cause with a group of people so that it has more meaning. I have one organisation in particular which is very close to my heart.
      I had a sudden burst of motivation last year to prepare myself for a challenge in 2017 however other things have been happening. 2018 is probably more realistic.
      I’m certainly enjoying the cooler autumn weather up here, although 27C probably doesn’t sound like autumn to my southern friends. We’ve had glorious weather with blue skies. Thanks very much for reading and commenting, Margaret. I do hope you are well and not shivering much yet. I noticed early snow falls south this year. Very best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Marina. 🙂 Knowing how hot, sweaty and dusty I would get, I decided to leave the good camera at home and take extra drinking water instead. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those nice expensive camera phones but really there was not a lot to photograph anyway. The more sensible creatures were hiding away in the shade which is what I should have been doing really! Haha. It’s a great walk to get the heart pumping and to work out the leg muscles on those undulating hills. I usually prefer to see more wildlife though. I can imagine you would get it done much more quickly than me. You are so incredibly fit. I always appreciate your comments. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Gunta. It is so lovely to hear from you. So sorry I haven’t got to your blog (or other people’s) for a long time. I hope you are doing well? I’ve done this walk quite a few times but not since last year so I have certainly recovered from its sunny delights now…I think. 😉 I remember being rather Pollyanna-ish as a child but as an adult tend to struggle to follow her example. Oh well.
      Yes, I have recovered from the recent bug and have also settled down after my son’s wedding. It’s quite amazing how much our children’s milestones can bring back memories of our own lives.
      Thanks very much for reading and commenting. I really hope everything is going well for you this year. Best wishes. 🙂

  5. Hi Jane. Great to be able to check out another of your quality offerings. I’m betting the Yaddamun Trail has never has so much love heaped on it as you have done in this post:) I’m going to look at those high voltage lines in a completely new light now, imagining myself in front of a crackling fire in the mountains! You’ve got plenty of time to achieve your hiking dreams, you’re only a pup in hiking years I reckon, if you can walk the Yaddamun Trail in the Queensland heat then the Larapinta shouldn’t be a problem for you, although the Western Macs don’t have the same kind of quality industrial scenery that you featured today, oh well….. Cheers Kevin

    • Thanks Kevin. 🙂 I haven’t really found much online about the Yaddamun Trail in the past. The blogger, Suzie, who I mentioned wrote quite a positive post about it. Unlike me, she has a big smile in her pictures! I have some pics of me glowing red with sweat-soaked hair and half-closed eyes. I was considering including them but didn’t want to frighten anyone. Actually, Suzie did the right thing. She took someone with her. It’s actually a great walk if you feel like chatting continuously. There is little wildlife to scare away with conversation and it makes it feel less monotonous. The much shorter White Rock Multi-user walk is fantastic for spotting birds if you go early in the morning and after rain. I might end up doing a post about it again as I want to show how many creatures inhabit it. Housing developments are encroaching upon it and I would like some sort of record of what native fauna live there just in case it is also threatened with development.
      Haha…a crackling fire in the mountains appealed to me when I was doing this walk . It struck me that if I had my eyes closed and pretended I was somewhere else like in front of my fantasy fire in a mountain cabin, would I find the heat as intolerable?
      A “pup”? I wish I had the energy of a pup, but thanks for the compliment. There aren’t any big voltage towers in the Western Macs? How disappointing. 😉 Yes, perhaps one day I will make it there. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you, MaryLou. There is not a lot of wildlife to see on this particular walk as it is hot and exposed but the exercise itself can be calming. I’m certainly always very tired at the end of it which helps me sleep better. We definitely have an abundance of blue skies in this part of Australia for those who appreciate sunshine. Best wishes. 🙂

  6. This certainly wasn’t your usual type of walk, Jane! Your commentary did make me laugh and I am full of admiration that you managed to do it all in such heat! I see from the comments above that your son is now married. I hope all went well at the wedding and you are completely recovered from the bug you caught.
    When I moved here to East Anglia shortly after my first marriage ended I was amazed at how popular Country music was. The local radio stations played it a lot and most of the villages had Country and Western nights as regular entertainment. Nowadays, East Anglia isn’t quite so cut off from the rest of the country and has become a place where Londoners come to retire so I don’t hear Country music very much at all now. I also know all the words to Lynn Anderson’s ‘Rose Garden’ and a few other Country gems from the 60’s and 70’s!

    • Hi Clare,
      No, it certainly wasn’t the usual type of walk I choose to share! This one is close to where I live though so it’s good for saving fuel when I want exercise. I debated whether to share it or not because I really didn’t have any nice pictures. It’s rarely written about though and since many of my reader friends are Australian walkers in Brisbane I wanted to give them some information (or warning!!!) I guarantee that my next one will have some prettier pictures. It did give me an excuse to reminisce about my childhood a little and have some fun with the writing.
      It’s interesting to read that you’ve had experience living in an area which had such a strong country and western music following. For some reason I never associated any of the UK with that kind of music. Obviously I was wrong! 🙂 I think I know the lyrics to many more old country songs than I do anything modern (to my family’s dismay.) I was young though and had a better memory for learning things back then. My father was also a big Elvis fan and had a similar singing voice. Apparently he taught me to “dance like Elvis” as entertainment for his working mates at “smoko” (morning and afternoon tea time) which he had outside my Nana’s house when I was a little thing. As for classical music, my only exposure was during music lessons at primary school. I think “Peter and the Wolf” was the first one I heard. Of course, when I was a teen I listened to popular music on the radio and taped the songs from the countdown with my cassette recorder (very high tech!)
      Yes, my son is married now and may be heading over to Bath next year. It was a happy day for them but after all the organisation involved I am sure they are now really enjoying more time to relax. They are both busy tutoring and doing research.It certainly brought back memories of my uni student days when I first married.
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Clare. It is always so lovely to hear from you. I hope you are well. Best wishes! 🙂

      • I’m very well thank-you Jane though I haven’t had much time for blogging recently. My husband tells me when he first started working in power stations in the 70’s his break times were also called ‘smoko’! He said he hadn’t heard the expression for years until I mentioned it.
        Best wishes to you too xx 🙂

        • Stopping for “smoko” is still something I hear in Australia, but probably more so in rural areas or among tradespeople. It was certainly used commonly in my childhood. I haven’t Googled its origin but I assume it came from the habit of stopping to roll a cigarette (a smoke) or boiling the billy tin over a fire to make a mug of tea. I’m pleased it brought back a memory for your husband. I’m very glad to read that you are well, Clare. Thank you. x

  7. I grew up with the same exposure to country music. I still enjoy it. And I was all smiles when I saw so many transmission structures in your images. As I child, I marveled at how monster big and tall they were. They looked like muscle men flexing their pectoral muscles! Now, my husband works in the power generation field and my fascination has grown even more. I find myself photographing various structure designs and applications.
    That last image in “pink” is stunning. As usual, you had me in stitches. I always get excited when I see you’ve been writing. I thoroughly enjoyed it!! I hope you are feeling better by now.

    • Hi Lori!
      I’m glad you understand the strange appreciation a person can have for the giant transmission structures! I know they do look quite stark and ugly jutting out from the natural environment, but like you and my other reader, Susan, I am somehow a little fascinated by them as well. I think you described them better than me. Now that I look at them they really do remind me of muscle men flexing their pecs! Maybe that’s the subconscious hidden appeal, Lori, although I’ve never been a fan of body building really! Haha. I really enjoy photographing the underside of large bridge structures as well so I guess there is some similarity in that. Unfortunately I didn’t have my good camera to try and make these towers more artsy looking. I also wasn’t in the mood for doing any photography really. What with my glowing red face, rivers of sweat and the annoying March flies and midges, I was focused on getting the walk over and done with. Sometimes these kind of walks are a great way to deal with frustrations. By the end of them you are tired and just glad to have the comforts of home life.
      Thank you so much for your continued encouragement and support. You’re a treasure. I’m also glad you understand a country and western music upbringing too. While I may joke about it, the lyrics of many of these songs are deceptively simple. Take “I Don’t Wanna Play House” for example. Simple, but very meaningful to those who have experienced it. I bet there are a few people who’ve have “Harper Valley PTA” experiences as well. 😉 Best wishes! 🙂

    • Haha…thanks very much, Brenda! You’ve made my day. “Out-Pollyanna’d Pollyanna” If I die now I’ll be content with having achieved that. I may even request it for my epitaph! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that would be possible. Now to just transfer the ability to do that in a blog post to every day life! 😉 Thanks for reading and giving me a smile with your comment. It’s much appreciated. Best wishes. 🙂

        • Hi Steve,
          I must admit I checked I was using epitaph correctly. Lately, I seem to be regularly making mistakes like the one you mention people in the US are doing. I’m even mixing metaphors and using antonyms instead of synonyms. I’d like to blame a combination of too much Internet exposure and a lack of book reading lately, but I suspect it has more to do with chronic insomnia and having reached a certain age. 😉 I’m always pleased these days when I get something right. Thanks, Steve. I hope you are well. Best wishes. 🙂

  8. Math skills long dormant? Oh, heaven forfend! Surely Pollyanna would never envision such a thing.

    Given that May is near the end of your autumn, I have to wonder how barbarous the trail must be in the heat of your summer.

    • I can’t remember the last time I read or heard the word forfend. I briefly thought you’d erred but that would be extremely rare so you had me checking its meaning. Of course, it is a word. Obviously I am not reading enough quality literature lately or having enough intellectual conversations! Thanks for the reminder, Steve. 🙂
      I can imagine you shuddering at the thought of long dormant maths skills. I was shocked recently while shopping when I went to do a maths calculation in my head and briefly had a mental blank for a simple multiplication fact. I need to practise!
      I’ve only used the Yaddamun Trail for exercise purposes but I really have to question my sanity when I do it in summer. Even in mid-winter I consume at least 3 litres of water. I think that will be the first and only Pollyanna inspired blog post about the Yaddamun Trail.
      It’s lovely to hear from you, Steve. Your wit always puts a smile on my face. Forgive me if I use any words incorrectly though. As I said in my other reply about epitaph, I seem to be making mistakes on a regular basis these days. 🙂

  9. Hello Jane,
    I have only just found your intriguing description of the Yaddamun Trail ambulation and, taking your advice, I will wait for cooler months before undertaking it with my walking group. If you do spend time in and around Bath (I spent one year there at the university) be sure to try at least part of The Ridgeway Path that runs from Avebury in the west to Ivinghoe Beacon in the east.

    • Hi Andrew,
      Yes, I think the Yaddamun Trail is appreciated more early on a frosty morning. I am very sun and heat sensitive though and I am sure others might appreciate open blue sky more than I did. It is a handy spot for me to train for long walks, although nowadays I tend to just do a few repetitions of the White Rock Trail (or White Rock Ridge Trail) rather than do the 19 km Yaddamun slog. More shade, more birds, and there is always the magnificent sandstone feature to enjoy on those walks. The undulating gravel roads of the Yaddamun Trail do help with cardio fitness more so than the other trails and because it’s not a popular walk, you are more likely to have it to yourself. Watch out for mountain bikers around bends though! Thanks for the information about Bath. Sadly, my UK trip has been delayed for a while but I will get there eventually, I hope. Thanks for your comment. I’ve been busy lately with other things but I will get back to writing more posts at some stage. Best wishes. 🙂

Leave a Reply to Jane Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s