Sunday, June 20, 2010

Beechmont - Binna Burra - Mt Warning

For almost thirty years, we have been visiting a house in Beechmont owned by friends and we really love the views from this place.

Since the house is high on a hill, the view is constantly changing as the clouds roll in.

A couple of visitors, no, actually they are local residents. Later we saw that one of them had a joey in the pouch.

A crumpet for breakfast. These come in packs of 6 and you toast them, slather them with butter and possibly honey or jam. The butter melts into the little holes and the crumpet becomes this hot lushous eating delight. An excellent alternative to toast.

The path into the rain forest at Binna Burra. It's quite well maintained most of the way and relatively easy walking though it can be hilly in parts.

Some of the trees have been surrounded by vines and creepers.

The photos don't really show how dark it is. Shadows in Australia are really deep.

There are quite a number of trails available, varying from the quite short to over 20 kilometers. This particular trail, Dave's Creek is about 12 kilometers (8 miles) long. While most of the trail is within the rain forest, at various points there are good views.

This is known as the Numinbah Valley.

At times it can get quite windy up there as the wind whistles up the valley.

An interesting rock wall.

The following day, we went to Springbrook which is the mountain on the other side of the Numinbah Valley. One of it's main tourist sights is the Purlingbrook Falls. At the bottom of the falls you can see a pathway which actually goes behind the falls.

Your hero inside an old tree. Numerous fires have been lit within the shell. Notice that although it is winter, I am wearing only a very light jacket.

Thed trunk of an Anarctic Beech tree, a few of which grow in the area. The seed that started this tree was 2000 years ago.

A view towards Mount Warning. Read the link, it's interesting.

Northern New South Wales from the same vantage point as the last photo. This is very lush countryside by Aussie standards. Dairy cattle and sugar cane are the main crops.

I've been thinking about doing the rim to rim walk at the Grand Canyon, Arizona in October this year. This three day walk would be very difficult and I have been doing a lot of walking to prepare myself. The test to see if I could even contemplate doing this walk was to climb Mount Warning again. I first climbed it when I was about twenty and again seven years ago. It's not easy.

The start of the climb which is over 3000 feet. For an interesting description of the climb, click here.

For the first half mile or so, there are lots of stairs. The climb is quite steep so it is a good idea to stop often and rest, particularly at the top of a flight of these stairs.

Further up the mountain, the trail becomes very rocky and difficult to walk on. In wet weather, it can be very treacherous.

The trail goes up the mountainside in a series of switchbacks. At the start of most switchbacks, they have installed railings to stop people taking shortcuts. These railings are wonderful to rest against as you regain your breath as you take a break.

A rough section.

You cannot believe you are just half way. Surely you were just about at the top. The whole return trip is 8.8 kilometers (5.5 miles) and the top half is much more difficult than the bottom half.

There were some teams of workmen close to the top of the mountain, creating some new lookouts. They climb up there every day and then walk down and I suspect they are now very fit.

Each work group had a shelter from possible rain. The aboriginal name for the mountain is 'cloud catcher' and it really does rain here a lot.

The final section has a chain to help you climb up it. I decided not to do that section because it really is exhausting going up and it is very difficult to come down.

The views are really good.

I actually went up the chain for about 50 yards and then decided it was not a good idea. It is very rugged.

So then comes the really hard part, the walk down the mountain. The constant descent is very hard on your knees and ankles and three days later, my ankles still hurt. It took me a bit less than two hours to go up and about an hour and a quarter to go down. I was pleased with that and the climb did not seem as difficult as seven years ago.

After these walks in the mountains, we have a tradition of going to one of the local beaches and paddling in the ocean. Although the water is a little cold, it feels absolutely wonderful on your aching feet. It feels like they are in champagne.

Further down the beach.

The handy dandy washer to clean your feet of sand. Note the elegant pointing of the toes.

Back at the house it was time for the evening show. There is often a cloud or two and the sunsets can be fabulous. Here is the start of the sunset. Enjoy.

Finally, the moon and what I presume was Venus. The sky is dark enough that the milky way is clearly visible.

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