The sun shines brightly in a clear blue sky. It’s a perfect day for walking.
I hoist my backpack onto my shoulders and set off down the Lower Bellbird Circuit at Binna Burra. It’s a 12km track along and down the northeastern escarpment on the Lamington Plateau. I leave the upper carpark and enter the rainforest. The ground beneath my feet is muddy, staining my white running shoes brown. All the rocks and logs are covered in green moss. It looks homogenous but isn’t; there are different varieties.
I stop at each of the three lookouts over the Numinbah Valley. It stretches all the way to the ocean, way off in the east. Egg rock juts out awkwardly, a huge rock dwarfed by the surrounding mountains. At about 750m above sea level the mountains are barely hills compared with the mountains enjoyed in other parts of the world but here they are a tall range in an otherwise flat land.
The track takes me through a mix of rainforest, dry open forest and a short section of old grazing land. The rainforest is wet and fed by waterfalls that run the length of the cliff-faces. They don’t carry heavy flows and aren’t spectacular but they are long. The dry forest contains a magnificent mix of grasses and flowering wattles. The grazing land is being repaired by the rangers who are planting new trees for future generations.
The bush is alive today. Whip birds call their mates, who respond by whistling twice. Bell birds toll; their name obvious when you hear their song ringing through the trees. I startle a goanna sunning itself on the track, which runs hastily up a tree. No doubt it will find more eggs in the trees anyway. Fortunately I don’t see any snakes today because I’m not in the mood for panic stations.
Most of the walk is unchallenging and relaxing. But the last 2.5km are a tough uphill grind as I climb from 450m back up to 780m in altitude. This is when I start to really feel the 6kg of water I’m carrying in my backpack. That’s the weight my training plan required me to carry on this walk as I train to develop the strength necessary to carry both Mum and my gear for a 5 day hike in late July.
Total: Glorious 12km hike + 2 geocaches