Mar 3, 2015

Rock-Hopping Mini-Adventure Tuesday

With Lyra now in nursery on Tuesdays, it was my hope that I would have a protracted day to enjoy little adventures, as last year Eloise was picked up from school and taken straight to dancing.

This year's logistics have rather scotched that... although now Orchestra has started Eloise starts school at 7.45am, I can have Lyra off at Childcare by 8.00, and this gives me seven hours before I have to be back at school again, to take Her Ladyship off to jump up and down gracefully in time to music.

For a few weeks I have been meaning to get out on a Tuesday, but the weather has not been on my side, what with inconvenient ex-cyclones and all, but this week I collected my effluvia and made a break for the bush.

I should have known that taking an expensive camera would be a bad idea and was bound to lead to misfortune. But I had a backpack and resolved to keep it in there at all times, along with the nut bar and packets of crisps. I also took a juice popper, just to be conventional. I should probably have packed some water too, but my destination was a rainforest creek and I sort of figured that if I got too thirsty I could always take my chances with the cool soil-filtered rain water.

Cedar Creek used to have a very pretty little waterhole right by the car park, with a little cascade gushing into it, but the 2011 rains did for that, smashing the rocky ledge that bounded the pool and depositing gravel and sediment from upstream all over the place. The whole course of the stream was changed, becoming a wider, flatter course, strewn with dead trees and stony sediments.

I was interested to see if the recent rain would have changed it further or washed some of the detritus away, but the same landscape lay there, still beautiful in its own way but not the picturesque creek of yesteryear,

Further uphill, where the flows had been less and the flood smaller, the creek is much as ever it was. It flows down from the D'Aguilar Mountains so as you climb up it it becomes steeper and the cascades more impressive. There are swimming holes and huge boulders that the water works its way around, bordered by rainforest giving way to wet eucalypt.

The general score was then to pick my way along the banks, crossing where necessary when they became impassable, climbing over the large trunks that had become wedged between the rocks, and looking for natural stepping stones; constantly with an eye for the likely path to get up the stream before the next obstacle.

I came across a slanting rocky bank where the creek was quite wide and debated backtracking to cross the creek to walk along the ledges on the other side. It looked safe enough but a bit smooth for a few metres. I scratched my chin for a little while before deciding to risk it (biscuit) in a what-could-possibly-go-wrong kind of way.

You might be aware of that feeling when you're on a slippery slope when you shoes start to slide and you try to hold on but your hands slide so you put your body flat to get the maximum friction but your whole body slides and you look down at the water and you think some four-letter words that roughly translate to "this isn't good is it" before raising your expensive camera into the air so at least you can save that then remembering the phone in your pocket on which you're listening to whatever it was and thinking how that's not going to work really well after being submerged in water.

I'm certainly aware of that feeling.

Luckily (and I'm looking on the bright side) my relentless slide stopped with me submerged to only just above my knees, the bottom couple of inches of my debonair non-hiking shorts soaked but my pockets intact.

Chastened, I revisited my what-could-possibly-go-wrong strategy and proceeded with wildly enhanced caution. I explored another bright side, which was that only my feet were soaking wet, and as I squidged my way along, leaving damp footprints in my wake, that there appeared to be no leeches,

I picked my way uphill for a couple of hours, until I finally met an obstacle I couldn't surmount, or at least that I didn't trust myself to get down again. The creek flowed around a large rocky outcrop, the channels blocked by flotsam, and some semi-rock-climbing would have been required; it was steep! I surveyed it with my new what-could-possibly-go-wrong-probably-will attitude for a while.

Some bloody teenagers came up (not actually covered in blood) and of course the boys were showing off to the girls and so up they hopped like bloody gazelles. Bastards.

I turned around and began my careful descent, starting to notice how sore my legs were actually, and how hot it was, come to think of it, and how sweaty I had mysteriously become, and how thirsty I was. Though I wasn't yet tempted by that soil-filtered rainwater.


  1. There are many old hikers,
    There are many bold hikers,
    But there few old, bold hikers :)
    Play it safe - live to hike again.
    I love the photos, btw.

    1. Who are you calling bold?!