Bare Rock, Gap Creek Falls, and Mt Cordeaux – Inside Outside

In The Living Mountain, Scottish walker, Nan Shepherd, wrote, “The thing to be known grows with the knowing.” She was referring to how much larger the mountain felt after she explored it slowly and observed it through all her senses. How can a setting grow after exploring it thoroughly? Surely once you are familiar with it, a place should feel smaller – be less of a mystery?

Mt Cordeaux from Western side

Perhaps this is true of a human construction like a home. When I moved from a tiny cottage into an enormous five bedroom, two bathroom homestead with a huge kitchen, three living areas, and long hallways, the building felt cavernous.  In the early days, I was often disorientated, but over time its proportions shrunk. The same could be said when I moved to my first city. I thought I would never learn the crazy maze of streets in the central business district of Brisbane, but as I explored, eventually they too diminished in size.

View from Bare Rock

When it comes to a forest, this is not always so, at least in my experience.  At first glance I only see a path, trees, rocks and streams.

Rainforest trees

With continued exploration I notice the life abounding in a single tree – in its bark, leaves, hollows, and root system. Instead of viewing it as one habitat, I discover worlds within worlds. Worlds under rocks and leaves. Worlds on, under, and inside logs.  And of course, there is the microscopic world.

Fungi on log Mt Cordeaux

I begin to notice the changes that daily weather fluctuations produce, the changes of the seasons, and the long term changes of climatic events such as prolonged droughts.

Grass tree stalks bending

Populations change as creatures migrate with the seasons. A forest is not contained like a building structure. It is bursting with life and increases with size as we understand it more deeply.  How do we measure its sky and the depths of the earth below?

View at Mt Cordeaux

In the winter and early spring of 2017, I walked the trails to Mt Cordeaux, Bare Rock and Gap Creek Falls in Main Range National Park, Queensland, again and again, with no intention but to observe and record as much wildlife as I could. Sometimes, I spent hours in one five metre section recording the birdlife that visited a single flowering grass tree stalk.

Silver Eye and Scarlet Honeyeater

I had not read Nan Shepherd’s book back then, but after my experience I tend to agree with her. I thought I knew the trails of Mt Cordeaux, but I realise now how much bigger they really are. The more time I spend there, the more I realise how much more there is to discover. The trails have stretched. The proportions have ballooned. The mountain has indeed grown, and I will never know it completely as it is always changing.

Mt Cordeaux with grass trees flowering

We often comment how much bigger things seem as a child and attribute this just to being comparatively smaller than our surroundings, but I wonder if there is an additional reason. As children, we experience time and the senses in a different way. We may marvel at the way light flickers across a wall, the rough texture of tree bark, the patterns of clouds, or our changing shadows.

bark texture

We may notice an ant crawling across a path or the crackle of dried leaves under our feet. Summer days are endless. We explore and experiment. In our wonderment, the world seems enormous.

Leaf

Perhaps as we age, become slaves to the clock, and are burdened with responsibility, our eyes become blinkered, or develop filters that blind us to the small details. In the rush of an adult life, we miss much. Some things indeed seem smaller. Life is now about schedules and commitments and there is never enough time. Exercise is about average speed, distance, and calories lost. It’s no longer about climbing a tree, counting petals, or pausing to lift a rock.

As we lose the eyes of a child maybe we start to live life more from the outside.  As Nan Shepherd wrote, to live a full life perhaps we need to go back deep inside ourselves and we achieve this by venturing outside to explore the world with all our senses. John Muir, naturalist and advocate for wilderness areas in the United States, had a similar thought when he wrote these well-known words:

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, I was really going in.”

In this blog post I wanted to show how big Mt Cordeaux really is by sharing a few images of my  wanders from last year. From hour to hour, day to day, through the seasons and the years, the mountain is in flux.

Flowers Bare Rock Track Mt Cordeaux

Flowering Xanthorrhoea (grass tree) stalks attract numerous species of birds including scarlet honeyeaters, Lewins honeyeater, yellow-cheeked honeyeater, white-naped honeyeater, silver eyes, and eastern spinebills.

Scarlet Honeyeater

Yellow faced honey-eater Main Range

Silver Eye

Grass trees are one of my favourite native Australian genus. You can read more about them in an earlier blog post here. 

Flowers Grass Tree Mt Cordeaux

Grass trees along track

A spotted pardalote couple building a nest in a ground burrow eyed me suspiciously. Usually, they dig tunnels in banks.

Spotted Pardalote Main Range National Park

Parrots such as crimson rosellas gave the solid green canopy a splash of colour.

And hyperactive thornbills tested my reactions.

Brown thornbill

A male satin bower bird caught a snack while I rested at a lookout.

Satin bower bird

I stalked Albert’s lyrebirds for hours and only produced a few blurry shots even though their territorial mating calls  rang out almost continuously in August.

Alberts Lyrebird

Mt Cordeaux is a mycologist’s delight. During winter, I noticed over thirty fungi species.

In late winter and early spring, massive rosettes of flowering giant spear lilies, Doryanthes palmeri, draped the walking trails at the top of Mt Cordeaux where the cliff face is covered in them.

Mt Cordeaux Giant Spear Lilies

Mt Cordeaux Giant Spear Lilies

These may grow to three metres tall and four metres wide and are xerophtyes, meaning they require little water.  While they have become popular in gardens, weed invasion, frequent fires and illegal seed harvesting have reduced their numbers in the wild.

Mt Cordeaux Giant Spear Lilies Seed pod

It may take over thirteen years for them to flower, and I wonder at the age of the specimens on Mt Cordeaux. Indigenous Australians roasted the flower spikes and mashed the roots into a pulp to make cakes.

Mt Cordeaux Giant Spear Lilies

Obviously, they also provide a food source for many birds and insects.

Mt Cordeaux Giant Spear Lily Bird

King orchids, Dentrobium tarberi, grow in my garden, but to see them flowering in the wild on the rocky cliffs of Mt Cordeaux felt more special.

Mt Cordeaux King Orchids

Mt Cordeaux King Orchids

Many small details of life can also be discovered on the mountain if we are patient and take the time to look.

Mt Cordeaux caterpillar

Spider webs

The subtropical rainforest of Mt Cordeaux is fringed with fire-tolerant eucalypt forest which  provides a buffer for the rainforest’s edges.  The sharp contrast between the rainforest and surrounding vegetation means a great variety of plant communities can be found, supporting many species of fauna. It also means a more interesting walking experience. Cool, dark rainforest can turn abruptly into  bright open woodland.

sub-tropical rainforest Mt Cordeaux

Mt Cordeaux vegetation

We can describe Mt Cordeaux in terms of its geographical physical dimensions but to describe the life it contains, from the tiniest of microscopic creatures to the tallest of trees would take a library.  And there is also its ancient geology and the human cultures it sustained for thousands of years. The mountain is indeed growing, in life forms and history.  At each lookout, Mt Cordeaux walkers can view many other mountains, all of which are growing too, and are much larger than we may think at first glance.

Mr Courdeaux view

I wish  to  thank all my valued reader friends for your continued interest and support over the last four years. I hope your holiday season and new year celebrations were joyful and I wish you all a fulfilling and peaceful 2018.

Mt Cordeaux view of Mt Mitchell

75 thoughts on “Bare Rock, Gap Creek Falls, and Mt Cordeaux – Inside Outside

    • Thanks, Annette. Yes, please do visit if possible. I drove across Cunningham’s Gap for years, never knowing what wonderful walking trails existed there. The best time to go is late winter, early spring so you can see the flowering grass trees and giant spear lilies. The car park fills very quickly on weekends so you need to get there very early or make a trip on a week day. I saw my first scarlet honeyeater on these walks. They are such beautiful birds. Best wishes. 🙂

  1. Jane, what an amazing place to explore! Your post showcases some of Australia’s most beautiful natural wonders, and you have done it so well as always, a great narrative. Love your bird and fungi photos, especially on the flowering grass trees, they do attract many birds. The Scarlet Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote, Silvereye and Lewins Honeyeater all love this nectar. How wonderful to actually see a Albert’s Lyrebird! The king orchids were beautiful. Wow Jane, you really enjoy some amazing places. Thanks for sharing, it is good to hear from you again. Keep cool, and enjoy your week.

    • Thanks, Ashley. I spent so many happy hours at Main Range National Park last winter. I’d never seen the giant spear lilies flowering before and was determined to see them this time. What I didn’t expect to see was a scarlet honeyeater for the first time and to be able to watch a spotted pardalote couple build a nest. The mountain was so pretty covered in different flower stalks from the grass trees, lilies and orchids. Just goes to show we should try and revisit a place in different seasons as the flora and fauna can vary a great deal. The region is one of my favourites. My very first blog post was about Mt Mitchell just across the road. The only negatives are the ticks and the busy carpark on weekends. I actually saw a few Albert’s lyrebirds together in the bracken ferns. They were making all sorts of hilarious noises but I only managed pictures of the tops of their tail feathers. The calls were continuous in August and seemed to surround me. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Thanks Jane for the extra sharing, you certainly got a golden blessing seeing all that you did. I am interested by what you said in regard to the pardalotes nesting, as they normally nest in a tunnel they dig in an embankment, please tell me more detail 😊

        • Hi Ashley,
          Given that I’ve only ever seen them coming out of tunnels in banks also, I was very surprised to find the spotted pardalotes nesting in a tunnel they’d dug out on a relatively flat area (although it was on the “side” of the mountain). I watched them for about an hour to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. When I lived in Roma, the striated pardalotes made use of the small ventilation holes in our farmhouse eaves for their nests. They would fill the holes with nesting material. I have a few pictures of them doing this. So even though they have a preferred area to make a burrow (tunnel) in, this does seem to vary on occasion. I wasn’t very confident of the success of the ground burrow nest though, although it did have some shelter in the form of rocks. It seemed vulnerable to flooding and ant attack. I hope that detail helps in the explanation? 🙂

        • The picture next to the pardalote holding grass shows the burrow/tunnel they had made which they entered with nesting material to line it with. It probably doesn’t show it clearly, but the area was fairly flat. They seemed to make use of the large rock for added shelter. 🙂

  2. “The thing to be known grows with the knowing.” How true this is. Thank you for these lovely photos. I’m sure I saw many of these things 46 years ago when I walked up Mt Cordeaux but at 10 years old and in August I was only worried about keeping warm and not getting left behind. So although I may have seen them, I didn’t “see” them. Perhaps I’ll get back there one day. And then I’ll know more than I do now.

    • Thanks, Jenny. Yes, Nan Shepherd’s words probably apply to many areas of life, I think. Mt Cordeaux can get pretty chilly sometimes so I can understand your 10 year old self just wanting to stay warm. I can also understand the fear of being left behind when you are with a big group. When I walk solo, I often go at an incredibly slow pace when I am looking for wildlife. It’s one of the reasons I walk alone. Not many people have the patience to hang back with me. Groups tend to scare away wildlife as well so your much younger self probably didn’t have much of a chance to see things anyway. I hope you get the opportunity to return one day. As an adult you have more choice about how to conduct your walks and you’ll be prepared this time with three jumpers… 😉 Best wishes.

    • Thanks, Greg. I thought the ones at Mt Cordeaux were tall but on my recent camping trip at the Bunya Mountains I saw some real giants! I never get sick of them. Their unusual features are just so appealing. According to Wikipedia there are about 28 species of them. For years I thought they were all the same until I saw the ones in some of your blog posts which look a little different. It’s about time I included a quote that you like and haven’t used, as I’ve coveted plenty on your blog over the years. 🙂 Best wishes.

    • Thanks, Gunta. It’s not hard to take good shots when the area has so much natural beauty. I was so excited by the scarlet honeyeaters and spent hours watching them. My images don’t show how tiny they actually are. I never get sick of the trails there. It’s always a delight to sit down and enjoy the view from Mt Cordeaux. For a brief time I feel like I am standing on top of the world. For a short person, that’s a little novel! 😉 Best wishes.

    • Hi Tracey, it is, indeed, a wonderful world. Seeing injustice in the world and some of the horrible things reported in the news can be pretty depressing sometimes but I am glad I have access to the beauty of nature to lift my spirits and remind me of the good things. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks, Marina. It’s taken me a long time to finally share these images. I think I needed to relive the memories myself. News events can get pretty disheartening sometimes. It’s an interesting and beautiful spot to walk and as I’ve written, changes considerably with the weather and the seasons. I am sure you would love to walk the trails! I imagine it is quite chilly in your part of the world right now. Best wishes. 🙂

  3. Your photographs take my breath away, I look at them again and again. I am delighted to have Mt Cordeaux brought into my home with all the interesting facets you have discovered to its being, wonderful and thank you.

    • Thanks, Susan. I’m so pleased you enjoyed pictures of what is a favourite area of mine to walk. I had intended to share this blog post for Christmas as the colours of the scarlet honeyeater and flowers are rather festive but I’m afraid time got the better of me. I do hope you had a lovely Christmas and 2018 brings you good health and many more interesting outings. Thanks for your kind feedback over the years. I’ve enjoyed sharing my part of the world with you. Best wishes. 🙂

  4. Hi Jane, I wish I could bring nature to life like you can with your camera. Those bird shots… and the grass trees, just wow! I still think a night bivied up at Bare Rock might be in my future, just don’t tell anyone, hey 😉 Cheers Kevin

    • Thanks, Kevin. The scenery was gorgeous in late winter/early spring. I had thought about spending the night sitting at Bare Rock and watching the sun rise. I’ve read blogs where people do that and they’ve produced beautiful misty dawn shots. I’m not sure I’d be game to fall asleep though. I tend to roll around in my sleep and it’s a very long way down! I’ve also seen enormous carpet pythons up there that might cuddle me to death if I nod off too. I think it would be a lovely idea if a few friends sat up talking and saw the first rays of the new year. A steaming hot thermos cuppa on a freezing winter’s morning would be a nice accompaniment to a glorious sunrise from there too. Best wishes. 🙂

  5. This has to be one of the (if not THE) best nature posts I’ve ever read. Jane, you truly have a way with words and your images continue to inspire and uplift me. You bird images are so beautiful too.

    • Thanks very much, Vikki. You are too kind in your feedback to me. If only I could have shared this walk with you in person as I can imagine your delight at the birds and flowers, but at least I can share some of the special things I saw via the blog. What a wonderful invention the camera is! I know your own blog pictures have inspired and uplifted me and many others, Vikki, so thank you very much in return. Best wishes. 🙂

  6. I am so happy to see your post this morning, Jane. As Forrest and I took the electric buggy for a spin around the property yesterday, I commented on how when we first moved to the ten acres that I found our immediate woodlands to be this vast area of amazement and treasure. Eleven years later we have added the pecan orchard area and the old river channel, and I still find myself venturing to the west, beyond the beautiful Washita river, and I realize that I have not even begun to note all of the mystery and treasure to behold – just a mile from my home. I love the detail in your photographs, as these are the same little things I treasure finding, and think to myself what an amazing world we live in.

    You are such a gifted writer and talented photographer. Your words and images are a delight to the senses. I wish you happiness and good times in 2018, my friend.

    • Hi Lori! It’s so lovely to hear from you. Thanks as always for the encouraging words. How I would have liked to share my winter walks here with you! What a coincidence that you were discussing a similar thought about your surroundings with Forrest. It doesn’t surprise me though. From what I’ve read in your blog posts over the years, you are a great lover and observer of the natural world. Your joy and appreciation for the mystery of life is obvious. I’m still making discoveries in my small 1/2 acre back yard here. Just this morning, a slender green tree snake popped its head out to drink the droplets on the king orchids I was spraying with water. Just when I think I have seen everything, along comes a surprise! I also wish you much happiness and fulfillment during this new year. Thank you for the wonderful writing and beautiful photographs you share with the world, Lori. They are a delight, my friend. 🙂

    • Thanks, Mikki. I think you would have really enjoyed this walk. There always seems to be a surprise for me when I visit Main Range. No venomous snake sightings yet though, just impressive carpet pythons! Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you, Mary Lou. It’s a pleasure to share pictures with people who enjoy nature as much as I do. The Internet may be problematic in some ways, but it is wonderful for connecting with like minded people from across the world. Best wishes. 🙂

  7. Hi Jane,

    I think Muir’s words are incredibly apt, and I really liked how even a relatively ‘domestic’ hike can yield so much to discover. I loved the bit where you said you spent an inordinate amount of time in 5 meters, checking the birds out! By the way, do you know all those names by heart, or are you carrying all 26 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica with you?

    Speaking of eucalyptus, you mention they are fire-resistant. I recall discussing with a Portuguese colleague, earlier in the summer, about the wildfires and how they’d gotten bad, over there, due to the habit of locals of planting eucalyptus and not local species of trees, and how eucalyptus is good at ‘exploding’ with fire… Was she telling porkies? I’m puzzled!

    all the best for a great 2018

    Fabrizio

    • Thanks, Fabrizio! I’m afraid I’m very poor at identifying and remembering the names of flora and fauna. I am especially poor at identifying the hundreds of eucalypt tree species in Australia! Yes, even a walk to the park or in our gardens can result in many discoveries. I love Muir’s words about going outside actually being about going “inside”.
      On the topic of eucalyptus trees and wildfires, I’m not an expert on the subject, however I can tell you that the intensity of a fire can depend heavily on how much fuel there is in the way of undergrowth. I was recently reading about how lyrebird species may help reduce wildfires by up to about 25% because they scratch around so much on the ground, which reduces the growth of certain plants. Forests have different layers and when some medium layers are dense, this allows the flames to climb up to the more volatile eucalyptus canopy. From what I have read, when the fire reaches the canopy it then spreads much more rapidly to other tree tops and with ferocious intensity. I think I used the word “fire-tolerant” which means that the trees and shrubs tend to survive a fire (in fact many native plant species need the heat of certain intensity bushfires to germinate.) So to answer your question, yes, the oils in eucalypt trees can certainly help with combustion but the type and rate of fires is also dependent on the “fuel” that is growing beneath them. I don’t know anything about the kinds of trees they have in Portugal, but I assume that your friend is right to compare the less combustible native species with the volatility of eucalypts. Here in Australia, “controlled burning” is conducted to reduce the growth of fuel in forests to decrease the chance of intense wild fires. National Parks Rangers regulary “burn off” the undergrowth in tall eucalypt forest that borders rainforest as a way to protect the more vulnerable species in the rainforest that aren’t as fire-tolerant. Many rainforest species are fragile and a wildfire could wipe out species in the area. These controlled “burn offs” are to control the lower level plants such as long grass. If done regularly, the fuel never becomes high enough for the fire to reach the canopy. The burn offs travel through the lower region of the eucalyptus forest without causing much damage. I hope that helps explain it a bit better. Indigenous Australians regularly practised controlled burning for thousands of years and still conduct it in certain areas of Australia today. It probably sounds strange that we purposely light fires in Australia, but it’s to help make protective fire breaks and also to reduce the chance of extremely intense wild fires. If you want to start a campfire, using a bunch of dry eucalypt leaves works very well, so no, your friend is not telling porkies. So to conclude, it’s not a straight forward matter and one of my national parks friends is probably more qualified to answer than me. 🙂

      Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Curt. I spent many happy hours up at Mt Cordeaux. Yes, I am sure you have a deep appreciation and love for nature.I hope this year brings you many wonderful close encounters with the wild. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Brian. It’s a great spot for walking and observing birds and fungi, and in winter/late spring the flowers are magnificent. I really enjoyed sharing one of my favourite places with everyone. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Coral. It’s a beautiful place and well worth visiting. From your blog I see you also do a lot of solo travelling. I had to smile at your blog “about” section where you describe your thermos and esky in your little hatchback. That’s what my trips are like nowadays. I love my thermos cuppas on trips. 🙂

    • Thank you for those lovely words, John. I’ve been very blessed to have so many opportunities to enjoy the natural world and it’s a pleasure to share it with you. I hope you are well. Peace to you. 🙂

  8. Hi Jane! You’ve done it again. Another fantastic post! You have presented some gorgeous photographs, and I’ve learned something new about birds. I didn’t realise that the beautiful Pardalote nests in a burrow. You write of being slaves to the clock, and responsibility in our adult lives, leading to a narrowing view. Switch off alarm clock, burn mouth on tea, fit blinkers, stick head in smart phone, run, run, run. Work, procrastinate, work, run out the door, head in smart phone, cook, eat, wash-up, bed. Our world shrinks around us. I try to force myself to look around, stretch a little. I’ve found that photography and blogging has helped to expand my environment, at least a little. I now own a macro photography lens that has got me peering at bugs and the worlds that they inhabit. We can make our shrinking world grow just by looking deeper, being inquisitive and slowing down from time to time. You are a wonderful guide to many for this approach. 🙂

    • Thanks, David! I was delighted to have the chance to watch the spotted pardalotes line their burrow. When I lived in an old farmhouse at Roma in western Queensland, there were striated pardalotes making nests in the ventilation holes of our house eaves, so some pardalotes take advantage of human-made structures. We enjoyed watching them hanging upside down out of the holes. They were quite the gymnasts! They are one of my favourite tiny Australian bird species.
      Yes, it’s such a shame there is that thing we need to earn called money. Modern inventions were in part meant to make our lives easier or give us more leisure time but when people receive 100s of work emails a day that the senders expect to be answered immediately, the hours don’t necessarily get shortened! And how many of us spend hours each day commuting in polluting transport? Mind you, I would hate to have lived in my grandma’s time without all the domestic appliances and medical treatments. The physical hardship and the monotony probably would have broken me. (Of course, I am speaking from a privileged standpoint here. There are still many people in the world who need to work in hard physical labour for long hours for a pittance, just to keep from starving.) For those of us with a choice, I guess the key is balance – being able to find some time in our schedule for those simple and beautiful things (like nature, music, literature, photography, art, physical activity, spending time with friends and family) that give us pleasure and help to remove the blinkers so that we don’t live life in a tunnel.
      I’m pleased that you now own a macro photography lens. My current camera doesn’t allow for me to change the lenses, and the in-built macro setting is limited but one day I would like to get into that more. Macro photography opens up whole new worlds that we can’t see easily with the naked eye – the scales on a butterfly’s wings, the hairs on an insect’s legs etc. I am sure you will get many hours of enjoyment from your purchase. Happy snapping! Best wishes. 🙂

      • Wow Jane, pardalotes in the house is quite something. They are real gems!
        It is true that our grandparents had a totally different way of life, and that way of life was arguably harder and less safe. The great thing though is that they didn’t know it! They probably complained a little but overall were happy that they didn’t live the hardships of their grandparents. 🙂 We certainly need to find balance. I think about that for my 5 year-old all the time. Many people find out about balance in their 30s when we are already off balance! 🙂

        • Yes, that’s certainly true about our grandparents. I do look back at their old sepia photographs and see that they spent regular time outside doing things like fishing, horseriding, cycling, playing tennis, gardening, and having family picnics in the bush. I wrote a blog post called Hiking through History including some of these shots. I don’t envy the hardships but I do sometimes envy the simplicity of a world that wasn’t ruled by computer screens, where children spent a lot of time outside just playing. Yes, I can attest to 30 year olds (and in my case much older people) finding out they’ve been off balance for years. Haha. All the best and thanks again for your encouragement, David. 🙂

  9. You have written such a beautiful post here, Jane! Your photographs are wonderful and show the exquisite beauty of the flora and fauna you observed on your visits to Mount Cordeaux and its surroundings. Nan Shepherd’s book is on my to-be-read list which is getting longer and longer day by day! I have been trying to spend more time reading which has meant less time blogging; something has to give and blogging has suffered as has gardening while I spend more time with my mother! I love walking alone as I don’t feel guilty at holding others up or feel annoyed at having to rush past objects I’d love to spend time observing.
    Thank-you for your kind wishes for 2018 which I send back to you, with love 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Clare. The Living Mountain is quite a small book, but is packed full of nature observations and reflections and probably best read slowly so you can picture what she is seeing and savour the words. Reading books is a favourite past-time of mine and especially good at helping me to relax. I love to escape to other worlds that the authors so skilfully create. They are also very portable – you can take them anywhere! I really sympathise with you having the responsibilities of caring for an elderly parent, especially when you have so many other family duties and physically are not feeling the best either. I know it must be very draining. It often seems to fall on a daughter to care for her mother. I certainly know what you mean about walking alone removing the guilt of slowing others down. I usually see more wildlife, fungi and flowers on my own. Thank you for your kind wishes and I do hope that somehow you have more time for relaxation this year. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Thanks very much, Jane. Robert Macfarlane mentions Nan Shepherd a lot in his writings so I’ve had her book in mind for some time – I just haven’t got around to reading her book yet; I’m so glad you can recommend her! Actually, I’ve had some good news regarding my health. I went to see my rheumatology specialist last week and was told that as I have been in remission for some time due to my methotrexate injections I have been told to stop taking one of my other tablets. It is one that has severe side-effects so I am really pleased. If all goes well, I may be able to start reducing my methotrexate dose next year! I have been told to increase the exercises for the muscles in the front of my thighs to reduce the strain on my arthritic knees. I think I can do that! Best wishes 🙂

        • That’s great news about you being in remission and being able to go off one of your tablets. I do hope you are able to reduce the methotrexate as well as I know it causes side effects too. In regards to the knee arthritis, I’ve been surprised how much strengthening the thigh muscles and regular stretching helped my right knee when it was really bad. I thought it was beyond repair. My daughter has problems with dislocating joints due to EDS and gentle pilates exercises have really helped to reduce the problem, especially in her shoulders. I’m a big fan of physiotherapy techniques that’s for sure. I hope you stay in remission. I know stress doesn’t exactly help RA. All the best. 🙂

  10. Those grass trees look like something out of one of Dr. Seuss’s books–very cool. Interesting that there was a honey bee on the flowering stalks, along with the birds. And what is that little hairy thing with suction cups (?) in your “small details” photos? A dead caterpillar of some sort?

    • Hi Brenda,
      Now I’m wondering if that’s why I have such a fondness for grass trees! I didn’t read many Dr Seuss books as a child, but read them all to my children over and over, so it’s a fond memory for me. It’s a pity it was a honeybee rather than one of our native species. I’ve seen plenty of native species of pollinators on them in the past, but unfortunately I mainly saw the introduced species on my wanders last winter. I’m not sure what kind of dead caterpillar it is. It was very hairy that’s for sure. I’m assuming it was a moth larva. I should try and find out what it is for you and not be so lazy. It was partially squashed when I saw it and I rolled it over with a stick to get a shot of the underside. I’d been sitting on these photos for so many months that I decided I should just publish a blog post before I gave it up completely. Thanks very much for your comment. You’ve motivated me to dig out some old Dr Seuss books in storage to compare the trees. I wonder if he ever visited Australia. Best wishes. 🙂

  11. Fantastic – those images of birds on the grass trees are just breath-taking. Thanks for your highly-enjoyable posts in 2017, a kaleidoscope of enthralling story-telling and inspired imagery.

    • Thanks very much, Robert, not only for those kind comments, but also for all the helpful advice and support you’ve given over the years. It’s been a great education for me in many areas. Also, thanks very much for the great work you do in your Queensland National Parks and Wildlife position. It’s often a thankless job but I certainly appreciate all your efforts to help preserve species and give information to the public about the regions they walk. Best wishes. 🙂

  12. I saw a reference to Robert MacFarlane on your blog, so I took his book Landmarks out of the library. Chapter 3 is about Nan Shepherd. I’d not heard of either person, nor of most of the others profiled in the book. In contrast, chapter 10 is about John Muir, who is understandably well-known in the United States. In 2016 we visited his home, which is now a historic site, in Martinez, California. Several things in that part of California are named after him, the most popular probably being Muir Woods: https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2016/12/24/forest-green/

    You did well in getting so many close pictures of birds. Your appealing account of Mt Cordeaux makes me want to visit it.

    • Hi Steve,
      It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve discovered landscape writers like Robert McFarlane and Nan Shepherd. I haven’t read Landmarks yet but plan to, more so now that you’ve told me it contains many chapters about people you’d not heard of. It is only recently that I realised just how few women nature writers have been promoted in the past. Finding Nan Shepherd was certainly a surprise. As a young person, I was very much aware of the popular male nature enthusiasts such as Muir, Attenborough and Durrell. It is strange how young girls can be influenced by lack of female role models. Instead of aspiring to be an adventurer/naturalist myself, I assumed I couldn’t but it would be nice to marry one and accompany them on their journeys! There is an anthology called Women on Nature being put together by Katharine Norbury. I expect it will be an interesting read.
      https://unbound.com/books/women-on-nature/
      She writes, “I will sift though the pages of women’s fiction, poetry, household planners, gardening diaries and recipe books to show the multitude of ways in which women have observed and recorded the natural world about them, from the fourteenth century writing of the anchorite nun Julian of Norwich, to the seventeenth century travel journal of Celia Fiennes; through the keen observations of Emily Brontë of Haworth Moor in Yorkshire, to the brilliant new voices throughout the archipelago writing today.

      Thanks for those encouraging words about my pictures and writing, Steve. Late winter and early spring would keep your camera clicking that’s for sure. The trails are not steep as the paths are a series of switchbacks zig-zagging up and around the mountain, making it very accessible. I hope you and Eve are well and this year sees you continuing your travels and photography. I’ve certainly slowed down with trips and blogging but I hope I can still share some places occasionally. Best wishes. 🙂

      • If it’s women nature writers you’re after, here’s one you can read online:

        https://tinyurl.com/y74x6sjn

        While American wildflowers may not be a prime interest of yours, Neltje (Nellie) Blanchan’s commentaries on the various species are often delightful. Regarding the sunflower, for example, she quoted Irish poet Thomas Moore’s famous quatrain:

        “No, the heart that has truly lov’d never forgets,
        But as truly loves on to the close,
        As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets,
        The same look which she turn’d when he rose.”

        Then she added, in a triumph of understatement, that the sunflower’s supposed tracking of the sun “lacks only truth to make it fact.”

        • I’m interested in all wildflowers, Steve, and I also appreciate beautiful descriptions and poetry so I am sure I will enjoy reading her commentaries. Thomas Moore’s quatrain is particularly appealing. Thank you for sharing her work. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Hi there! Thank you for reading and making such kind comments. I’m not on here very much these days but I always appreciate receiving encouraging feedback. You have a lovely blog and I admire your creativity, imagination and enthusiasm. While I may not be writing much these days, I hope you continue to share your thoughts and stories with the world. My three children were educated at home too, and while it is doesn’t suit everyone, it is a wonderful option for many. Best wishes! 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your kind nomination. I do appreciate that you thought of my blog and feel honoured, however when I started blogging, I decided not to accept WordPress Awards and since I have always declined them in the past, I’m afraid I can’t accept the nomination. Thank you so much for nominating my blog though. I do appreciate the encouraging gesture and wish you all the best in the future. 🙂

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