Karawatha Forest – A Refuge From the City.

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“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.” – Dave Pelzer, A Child Called ‘It”

I’ve been planning to write about my visit to the Glasshouse Mountains, but last weekend my brother took me for a wander through Karawatha Forest and while it’s still fresh in my marshmallow brain, I should share all the gory details. Actually, I’m going to disappoint fans of blood and gore as other than mild heatstroke this walk was more about having fun than any real suffering. Hiking with my brother usually involves some hilarity and detours are compulsory. There was an element of déjà vu on this walk for me though as we passed a water-filled quarry, mountain bikers, burnt bushland and paperbark swamps. Readers of How to Torture a Hiking Partner may recall that these elements featured strongly in that tale. On this occasion, however, my hiking partner had already experienced the terrain and was eager to show me its highlights. This time there was the potential for me to be the “tortured” hiking partner! My brother is an avid mountain biker but he also appreciates the slower pace of walking as it enables him to see more details than when he is flying down slopes and around corners on two wheels. This wasn’t an extreme adventure far from home, but an introduction to a nature escape right on our doorstep. Continue reading

How to Torture a Hiking Partner – Daisy Hill and Venman Bushland National Park

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“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” – Aaron Siskind

With a  rare Saturday morning free, I decided to stretch my legs at Daisy Hill Regional Park and Venman Bushland National Park,  25 km south-east of Brisbane.

I’ve had a few different hiking partners and on this walk the unlucky victim was Lycra Man. He is more of a cyclist than a walker and I can’t say I’ve ever witnessed him choose to do anything slowly apart from drinking giant mugs of coffee, strong enough to give a herd of elephants insomnia. Considering his need for speed and my preference for a relaxed tortoise pace, I probably should have anticipated the tensions that bushwalking with me could induce. However, I think my desperation for outdoor therapy after two weeks of inactivity impacted my judgement on this occasion. After an unnerving encounter while walking solo recently, family and friends now prefer me to drag them along. Lycra Man innocently volunteered. Why on earth I thought Lycra Man would enjoy this particular destination I have no idea really. I suppose I had such fond memories of walking it with my daughter and brother in the wetter months that I wasn’t thinking rationally. This is how it looked back then. It was green… Continue reading

A Tale of Ticks and Other Terrors – Hiking Mt Mitchell in Spring

“Just do it!” was the command from my long-suffering adult daughter. After discussing  my planned blog with her for an eternity, she was understandably a little frustrated by my procrastination.  To partly appease her and partly conquer my fear of public writing, I  finally put my two pointer fingers to the keyboard to compose my first blog post. Since my memory is on a permanent sabbatical these days, it is best I begin with the most recent hike I did in September. My dear daughter, who people mistakenly perceive as a fragile flower, accompanied me and will be referred to as the Tough Cookie that she really is.

Before I launch into my first long-winded tale, I must mention one of my favourite words, waldeinsamkeit. It’s German and means “solitude in the forest,” but not in a negative, lonely way. To an introvert like me, the feeling of being alone with my own thoughts in nature is pure bliss. I also like the Japanese practice of Shinrinyoku, which means “forest bathing”. It basically means spending time in nature to reduce stress, relax and promote a healthy immune system.

Back to the walk now. I’ve actually  completed this track twice but the first time was in cold weather and fairly uneventful. The second walk with my daughter was certainly more memorable mainly due to it being spring. I’ve used a few pics of the flora and fauna from my first walk to add to this post though.

Mt Mitchell is actually a twin-peaked volcanic mountain with an elevation of 1175m and is about 100km west of Brisbane, south of Cunningham’s Gap in Queensland. The class 4 (Australian Standard) 10.2km return walk ends at the eastern peak,  known as Cooyinnirra by the Indigenous Yugarabul people.  It’s a perilous knife-edge ridge above a sheer cliff, and the almost 360 degree views are spectacular. If you are super fit and like getting from A – B as fast as possible, you could possibly do it in 2 hours. I like to take pics and I’m a day-dreamy nature lover who enjoys her food, so I usually take longer than the estimated time. National Parks recommend  3- 3 ½ hours as a general  guide for walkers.

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