The rain stings my face as I ride my motorbike down the freeway. The sun hasn’t yet come up and everything around me is grey. I try not to let the cold wet weather affect my mood but it still takes all my inner strength to force myself to keep riding. I know that if I turn around I’ll be disappointed. I don’t want to go back to where I was a year ago in a time when I would find any tiny excuse to stay inside playing Second Life on my computer instead of actually living this life. So I keep riding because what’s the worst that can happen? I get a bit wet? This is the subtropics where the weather is usually warm enough to safely explore the bush without too much preparation (okay, it’s often too hot to be safe if you are unprepared in summer but you know what I mean).
By the time I find two geocaches up at Beechmont I see that there are spots of blue sky to my south, where Binna Burra sits atop the cliffs. That’s where I’m headed; to the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park where I’ll walk the Daves Creek Circuit and up to Tullawallal. Both caches are in beautiful scenic locations where there are usually superb views of the Border Ranges. While there are too many clouds to enjoy the views, I still enjoy being up on the range where the air is cool.
I swap my motorbike gear for shorts, technical T and joggers then set out along the track. The rainforest is alive with bird song. Whip birds call for mates as the song of the bell birds rings through the trees. Paddymelons and small wallabies bounce loudly through the undergrowth; crashing through the vines and wait-a-while. There was plenty of fungal life too. It’s colours and shapes add highlights to the otherwise green canvas.
I walk and run my way along the Border Track, keeping my heart rate between 65% and 75% of my maximum heart rate. I find my heart beats too slowly when I am walking for aerobic benefit (52% – 58% MHR) so I run some of the track to keep my heart rate up. After about 3.5km of running along the muddy rainforest track I reach the Daves Creek Circuit. The forest opens up almost immediately as I cross onto the south-eastern side of the range. Where a few metres earlier I was walking through ancient Antarctic Beech trees I am now walking through grass trees and eucalyptus. This walk usually offers amazing views over to the Springbrook Plateau but today the clouds were rushing up the mountain instead, making me feel quite exposed. The exposure feels more intense when I clamber up Surprise Rock to collect my third cache for the day.
After completing the Daves Creek Circuit the track winds back into the rain forest, rejoining the Border Track about three kilometres from Binna Burra. Instead of heading back I aim to collect my fourth cache of the day up at Tullawallal. This is another place I’ve never been before. While I’ve done all the day walks on the Lamington Plateau, I’ve not done all the short walks so this is the first time I’ve been to Tullawallal. It’s a beautiful little grove of Antarctic Beech trees and moss-covered rocks at the top of a small hill. I was successful in finding the fourth cache and enjoyed the experience of being in the Tullawallal.
I am glad I decided to go up to the mountains today. Even the long 1.5 hour motorbike ride home in driving rain didn’t reduce my pleasure.
Total: 12km bushwalk / trail run and 4 geocaches