Feathers, Flowers and Tomfoolery at Toohey’s Forest and Mt Gravatt Reserve

I am writing this post in a slightly sleep deprived state due to the antics of my furry friends, the nocturnal brushtail possums, Trichosurus vulpecula, which have been thundering across my roof more than usual lately.  I’m not sure what has caused this increase in activity but I’m hoping they take a possum chill-pill soon and allow me a little more uninterrupted sleep.   One of them likes to snooze on top of my open garage tilt-a-door, but during a gusty day recently, when the door started to flap, it was in danger of  becoming a possum pancake  so I had to encourage it out onto a tree. Continue reading

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

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

– Belinda Jeffrey, One Long Thread

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

Great Expectations – The Mount Maroon Version

Mt Maroon and Stinking Roger

Whenever my hikes don’t run to plan, I’m reminded of the words, “The best-laid schemes of mice and men,” from a Robert Burns’ poem. This in turn brings to mind a couple of grim scenes from John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men. I doubt that the English teacher who chose this book for my class envisaged that 30 years later one of her students would still be having flashbacks. My recent hike at Mt Maroon involved another visit from the now controversial Steinbeck classic.  Continue reading

Fabulous Fungi and Other Treats at Denmark Hill, Ipswich

If we collect moments rather than things, these are ours to keep. ”

– Ann Brasco

While pondering this blog post the word “change” sprang to mind. Change can happen gradually, rapidly or not seem to happen at all.

Denmark Hill in Ipswich, near Brisbane has an interesting history. For thousands of years Indigenous people inhabited and cared for the area and the local landscape remained relatively unchanged. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Tortoises: Greenes Falls Rainforest Track – Mt Glorious


I contemplated calling this post, “The Slowest Hike in the World” as it took 4 ½ hours to cover a mere 4.3 km. New readers might be thinking it must have been an arduous hike involving rugged terrain, steep climbs or waist-deep mud. Older followers know me better than that. There’s a  reason why I am called mildly extreme rather than plain  extreme. Continue reading

Hiking to Heal – The Beginning


A rare photo of me with my brothers as children. 1979

As it says on my header, this blog is about “Survival stories of a directionally-challenged hiking hermit.” Although it comes rather late in the piece, this is actually my very first tale of survival. It is the one that began my life-long passion for the outdoors.

There are many reasons why I enjoy hiking. I often write about it being my escape from city living. This is not the complete picture though. The natural world is like an addiction for me. It’s been that way since I was a young child. Continue reading

Tibrogargan and Beerburrum: Glass House Mountains Part II

Tibrogargan-Jack Ferris Lookout

“Spontaneity is a meticulously prepared art” – Oscar Wilde

Several months ago I wrote Ngungun: Glass House Mountains – Part I. Today’s post continues  my memories of this special area with a walk at Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Beerburrum. New followers or those old followers wishing to remind themselves of the geography and history of the region can read Part I here. Or if you prefer, check out the National Parks Site for more information. Mildly Extreme Jane is not feeling very well this week so she can’t guarantee any of this will make sense. I’ve lost some writing mojo, but as they say, “The blog must go on.” Perhaps grab a cup of coffee or something stronger before you start…

 I faced my nemesis while visiting Mt Tibrogargan.  Continue reading

My Grass Tree Romance – Hiking Mt French – Moogerah Peaks National Park

Dried flower spikes

 In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.

– Alice Walker

Christmas trees feature prominently at this time of year but since I’m writing about my visit to Mt French in Moogerah Peaks, I’m going to risk boring you with my continuing romance with the Australian native, Xanthorrhoea, commonly called Grass Tree.  In some ways the humble grass tree is quite symbolic of the Christmas season, when some cultures and religions focus on gift giving, as it is a species which has given  much to the  traditional Indigenous owners as well as the early European settlers. Grass trees are a common sight on my walks at Main Range National Park and Moogerah Peaks and I’m including a few photographs from these walks  to illustrate aspects of  one of my favourite trees. Continue reading

Dust to Snow: From the Outback to the New England Tablelands.

Sky at Roma

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”
― J.B Priestley

2013 was looking like being becoming the Year of the Scan. By May, I had decided to rebel against looming health problems and the shadow of death and turn it into The Year of the Snow instead. Continue reading

Feeding the Phobia – Hiking Warrie Circuit – Springbrook National Park


“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” I’ve heard this quote many times but my recent experience challenges  the universality of this adage. While walking the 17 km Warrie Circuit at Springbrook National Park, south of Brisbane, my daughter and I managed to feel both “awesome and incredibly stupid” (her words). How is that possible? If you survive my preliminary ramblings, all will be revealed! Continue reading

Bushfires and Hiking Don’t Mix: Mt Greville – Moogerah Peaks


“It leapt across the flowing streams

And raced the pastures through;

It climbed the trees, and lit the boughs,

And fierce and fiercer grew.”

Henry Lawson – The Fire at Ross’s Farm

Mt Greville teased me for years. Many times I gazed at the deeply fissured monolith from across Lake Moogerah and wondered what it was called and how I could access it. However, upon returning home  I would forget about it until once again I was back at the lake conversing with this cheeky kookaburra. Continue reading

Guest Post for Bushwalking Blog: Mt Cordeaux Track – Main Range National Park

View from Mt Cordeaux

Recently Neil from Bushwalking Blog kindly invited me to contribute my first guest post. Neil is an enthusiastic,  friendly guy who is very supportive of other adventure bloggers out there. His site contains a wealth of information about Australian bush walking as well as overseas adventures.  For handy information about trips, competitions and gear reviews take a look at his comprehensive site.

To  read my guest trip report about Mt Cordeaux, a beautiful place I’d go back to again and again, click: Falling in Love with Mt Cordeaux – Main Range National Park -QLD .

Mt Cordeaux has spectacular views of the Fassifern Valley and is part of Main Range National Park, included in the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests Region. My post A Tale of Ticks and Other Terrors describes the Mt Mitchell walk which is just over the road from Mt Cordeaux. The views from that walk are a good example of what Cordeaux has to offer. But don’t worry, the paths at Cordeaux are free of weeds so you won’t have to do the dreaded “tick dance” to escape them. It’s one of those walks that for little effort gives you a big reward, unlike some of the suffer-fests I have sweated through! Main Range National Park has many great walks to offer and is a great place for experienced hikers and families. It’s not as well known as some other tourist destinations in Queensland but definitely has a lot to offer those seeking some nature therapy.

Since starting my blog just a short time ago I’ve been surprised and delighted at the encouragement  given to me by the blogging community. Thanks Neil and all those other supportive bloggers out there. And thank you to the lovely readers  who  have given me such kind feedback and some fascinating blog statistics to ponder. I think this is the first time that statistics has interested me! I may be a hiking hermit but I do enjoy the online interactions with so many interesting people from across the globe and within my own country.


Shrouded in Mist – Bliss at Twin Falls Circuit – Springbrook National Park


Alone with myself
The trees bend to caress me
The shade hugs my heart
Candy Polgar

Back in January,  I made my first trip to Springbrook National Park, part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests Region,  100km south of Brisbane.  Springbrook is a fantastic escape with a variety of walks ranging from a short 300m circuit right up to a challenging 54 km hike. Temperate and subtropical rainforest as well as montane heath and open eucalyptus bushland make up the diversity of this region. Continue reading

Butterflies and Thistles – Goolman Lookout via Rocky Knoll Circuit

Monarch on thistle

“Butterflies are self-propelled flowers.” – Robert A. Heinlein

Why didn’t I ask Carol?  Although she may seem like a quiet, conservative, middle-aged grocery store check-out operator, don’t be fooled. Carol is a hard-core weekend adventurer. Whenever she serves me we always manage to squeeze in a conversation about our latest hikes. When I told her about my Goolman Lookout walk, she chastised me. “You did that in summer! It’s much too hot. There’s not much to see anyway. It’s all dry scrub.”   As I said before, why didn’t I ask Carol first? She always seems to know the most up-to date information about walks. I’d been waiting for Mt Cordeaux to open for months and was checking the website regularly, but it was Carol who first informed me it had reopened.   She needs to set up her own hiking guru website or maybe “Carol’s  Hiking Hotline”? Continue reading

Ngungun – Glass House Mountains Part I

Top of Ngungun looking towards highest end.

“Today is your day ! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way.”    — Dr. Seuss

I think my vitamin pills may have been spiked last weekend! Some of you may have gathered by now that I am a bit of an introvert. For me, a quiet walk in the wilderness is a way to replenish my emotional energy. For this reason I try to avoid popular hiking spots and school holidays. However, last weekend I actually enjoyed the noisy crowd on top of Mt Ngungun. What has happened to Jane’s mind? Was it heatstroke? Have I finally achieved, dare I say it…“normality”? More about this strange phenomenon later… Continue reading

The Shortest Hike in the World


“Among the myrtles the mantids moved, lightly, carefully, swaying slightly, the quintessence of evil. They were lank and green, with chinless faces and monstrous globular eyes, frosty gold, with an expression of intense, predatory madness in them. The crooked arms, with their fringes of sharp teeth, would be raised in mock supplication to the insect world, so humble, so fervent, trembling slightly when a butterfly flew too close.” – Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals.

It’s past midnight and the party is still going strong. It happens every night and I’m never invited. Instead, I lie tossing and turning, listening to their high-jinks, romantic interludes and  occasional fighting. That’s what happens when your backyard is a jungle in a street of manicured lawns and trimmed hedges. The possums move in! Continue reading

Karawatha Forest – A Refuge From the City.


“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

Mist and Magic – Moogerah Peaks National Park

Lake Moogerah - blue

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – John Lubbock, The Use of Life

A change of pace for this post. After writing about a hot, dry hike and burnt bushland last week I thought it was time for some lake relief. About 100km SW of Brisbane, Lake Moogerah is part of the Moogerah Peaks National Park and one of my favourite escapes. I usually make day trips but on one very memorable occasion I camped with my daughter in autumn and  we were treated to a mysterious mist. Continue reading