September 21, 2012
What a great week! For not much of a hiker, the hikes were entertaining and not strenuous and i found that I truly enjoyed my time here. The natural setting was a nice change of pace from my summer and Brisbane.
We had days filled of hiking and terrestrial ecology lectures in the field. I learned about and saw all sorts of new plants and animals. We had activities to do in our field book including sketching, calculations, practical applications, and haikus (see end). We saw lots of diverse plants and animals: strangler fig trees, eukalyptus trees, casurina trees, as well as pademelons, trap door spiders, glow worms, and scrub turkeys.
I wrote about the first day. The second day, September 19, was our free choice day. I chose to to the caves walk. Our tutor, Joise, led the hike pointing things out along the way. We also had meaningful conversations about life after college, travel, festivals, and Aboriginals. Since it was a short hike, we returned back to camp for lunch and a bit of studying. Melissa and I returned back to the forest for another hike. It was fun doing one alone without supervision. After other hikers in our group returned, we unwound after with some ‘goon.’. Not enough to go to the valley (Phil did inform me that a cab there would be $540). So instead we looked at the stars and chased pademelons on the hill by camp. I felt such disconnect from the world. I’m the furthest away from home without contact for a week and I could only life in the moment, like a child. It was a great refreshment and a feeling that I’ll try to always hold onto.
Then Thursday, September 20 we did a 12K waterfall hike with the whole alpha group. We did activities along the way to the waterfall. We stopped at the falls for a while before backtracking. After dinner we all gathered in the camp’s lodge for a Bush dance. It consisted of partner dancing much like square dancing. It was hysterical watching and dancing with our professors. It also significantly wound us up so when we returned to our campsite we made a fire and sat by it. A few of us wanted to sleep outside so we moved our sleeping bags out. As everyone sat around the fire John Hall told us story and I began to fade. It was really special spending the night under the Australian stars with friends and waking to the sunrise… and turkeys poking around my bed.
Grows tall in Lamington Park
Watch out for the fire
Have to break in my new boots
Or get bad blisters
Ticks, leeches, spiders
Are dangerous animals
Just waiting to bite
Again, not being much of a hiker it was good to experience something new. I think I grew from a few aspects of the experience: I gained new terrestrial knowledge in the field, pushed my strength, connected with new people, and understood more of my future path.
Now we’re heading out and stopping at a Burleigh Beach. Then the bus will take us back home and then off to the valley! #yolophil