A couple of months back, before it got too hot for all but deranged masochists to hike anywhere, my friend Chris Lynch borrowed his mother’s car, I downed a couple of Kwells to head off the inevitable car sickness, and we drove south a few hours to O’Reilly’s, the famous “rainforest retreat” set in the midst of mountainous Lamington National Park.
It was a last-minute escape plan, and we only came up with a rudimentary course while poring over a tourist map minutes before leaving my place: two nights in the Green Mountains section, at unimproved bush campsites (read: no running water or toilets), with lots of rainforest walking and waterfalls in between.
The pills worked, I arrived mildly stoned but nausea-free, and we left the car at the resort to set off down one of the numerous tracks that intersect, start or finish there. It was a fantastic trip — sometimes the hastily prepared ones are the best ones.
Early on, as I apologised for stopping for yet another shot, Chris remarked, “Take your time. This trip is all about photography. I’m going to be writing poems, so there’s no hurry.” I should mention that he’s a poet, and his notebook and pen were a lot more portable and lightweight than my electronic encumbrances.
Over that afternoon, following day and final long morning of walking, Chris was happy to pause and scribble while I clambered about trying to take decent shots without disrupting our momentum — hard enough by yourself but doubly tricky when hiking in company. It all worked out well, though dealing with bright sunshine spearing down into a shadowy understory is always a photographic challenge.
We camped at Bithongabel (“Bith-ON-guh-buhl”) the first night and Echo Point the second. When we finished I had a few hundred pictures and Chris nine finished haiku, some of which I’ve included here; I’ve added a note after each one for some context. This post stretches to nightfall on the second day. A follow-up post will cover the final day’s walking and the remaining hike-oo.
Hope you like this little foray into multi-disciplinary blogging!
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1. Rainforest fig
Mainlines the waterfall
I assume Chris is referring here to the lack of phone signal. He was evidently outraged that he couldn’t upload a selfie to FaceBook from deep within a rainforest ravine.
Hot chocolate at our foggy camp beneath the beeches would have made for a really lame haiku.
3. Morning sun
Hits my face
The call of the Eastern whipbird is, along with those of the magpie, butcher bird, crow and kookaburra, one of the classic sounds of the Australian outdoors. If you’ve hiked in wet forest along the east coast of Australia, you’ve heard this amazing call — the male produces the prolonged tone and whip-crack, the female the short answering notes.
Here’s a sample:
4. In the deep
Pool the dead
Much of the walk on our second day shadowed the Albert River — really a creek in our section — which descends via countless beautiful pools and cascades. So many cascades, in fact, that I can’t place a name to a single one. I was like one of those dead leaves, just spinning along on my way downstream.
5. In the sedge
A reference to the lens (actually just an adaptor I use over a 16mm pancake lens) that really came into its own on this trip — it would be very hard, I think, to capture the immense space and depth of the rainforest environment without a wide lens.
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A few more haiku and a bunch of pictures from the final day (including a sensational dawn) are coming in the next post…
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote