May Update

Category: Ships Log
 

May 2015

It's cooling down and we have been on the road visiting more national parks in our area.

 

May has been another pleasant month for us here in Brisbane. Temperatures are getting a bit cooler at night (in the 50s), but it still warms up to the 70s during the day. The nice thing about the cooler nighttime temperatures is the snakes are going into hibernation (not sure I want to see another carpet python!), so one less thing to worry about when hiking. :) We were hoping to take the boat into Moreton Bay again this month, but unfortunately the weekends we wanted to go out were too windy, so we had to opt for more land explorations. This month we traveled north and south along the coast to visit several national parks.

 

May 0

A map of the region where we live. The blue arrows indicate the parks we visited this month. 

 

Early in the month we visited Kondalilla National Park, renowned for Kondalilla Falls, which drops from a height of 90m (295 ft). Kondalilla is the Aboriginal word for “rushing waters.” We made sure to go a couple days after some drenching rains, so the falls were at their best. We did a lovely circuit hike that went to the base of the falls and across the river drainage through subtropical rainforest. Like our earlier trip to Lamington National Park, the area reminded me a lot of some Oregon hikes. It’s so nice to have lush green forests with waterfalls here!

 

May 1

Kondalilla Falls.

 

May 2

A little monitor lizard hiding in the underbrush by the trail.

 

May 3

A large strangler fig. These trees grow on top of a host tree until they eventually envelop it completely, like this tree has done. Hard to tell there was once a different tree inside that trunk!

 

May 4

A Phallus multicolor, a close relative to bamboo fungus. One of the coolest mushrooms I've ever seen in a forest!

 

May 5

View of Kondalilla Falls from the bottom.

 

May 6

Another mini waterfall and pool at the top of the falls. It looks like a great swimming hole, except for the rather muddy water after all the rain.

 

May 7

An Argiope spider called St. Andrew's Cross (named because of the way it forms a cross with its legs when it sits in its web, as well as for the zig-zag white ribbons it weaves in the center of its web that sometime form a cross). Amazingly, this is one of the few spiders in Australia that won't kill you! :)

 

May 8

A little tree frog that was hanging out near the trailhead.

 

May 9

The drive to Kondalilla NP is beautiful. This is a view of the Glasshouse Mountains (the rocks poking up towards the right) on our drive back from Kondalilla.

 

Later in the month, we got to explore the North coast a bit at Noosa National Park. Our neighbor, Samantha, was swimming in an ocean race there, and we used it as an excuse to check out the area. Noosa Heads is a very touristy beach town, but we could easily see why. They have a gorgeous white sandy beach in the lee of Noosa Head (a large headland) that stretches for over a kilometer. The beach is well protected from south and east winds, making it great for beach swimming and surfing. The town itself is bordered on the north by Noosa National Park (the headland is the national park) and the south by a river, so it is just a beautiful setting. After Sam rocked her ocean swim, she and Dave managed to still find the energy to go on a hike with us around the headland in Noosa National Park. It was a gorgeous day and we even got to see our first koala in the wild!

 

May 10

Hanging out on the main beach at Noosa Heads.

 

May 11

Looking back at the main beach from the headland.

 

May 12

A koala sleeping in a tree near the trail. It was our first wild koala sighting!

 

May 13

A view of the koala from the side. So happy I have a good telephoto lens for my camera!

 

May 14

Enjoying the lovely views of the ocean from the trail with our neighbors Sam and David.

 

May 15

Here's one of the lovely views we were admiring.

 

May 16

Sunset over the main beach (the beach faces north, which is why you can see the sunset over the water here).

 

Finally, at the end of the month, we got out for our first mountain hike with Chris’s lab group. Chris works with a great group of people who also happen to be active and outdoorsy. Many of them go running together several times a week and during one of their runs, they planned this hike up one of the area’s tallest mountains, Mt. Warning at 1,156 m (3,792 ft). Okay, so it’s not a snow-covered alpine mountain, but it’s about the best we can do around here. For my Oregon friends, it’s about the equivalent of hiking up Dog Mtn. in the Columbia Gorge. Not technically difficult, but a great workout! The trail was beautiful, climbing through subtropical rainforest. And the last couple hundred meters we got to scramble up steep boulders to reach the summit for some incredible views. It felt good to go on a real hike again!

 

May 17

The beautiful trail up Mt. Warning. I just love all the fern trees!

 

May 18

Climbing up the steep boulder section close to the top.

 

May 19

 

May 20

One of the views from the top extending to Byron Bay (they actually have viewing platforms 360 degrees around the entire mountain top).

 

May 21

Our hiking group, most of whom work with Chris at the Ecogenomics lab.

 

Anyway, it has been a fun month. We are really enjoying getting to know the native flora and fauna in our area. Next month will be busy for Chris, as he has been invited to give a talk in Bordeaux, France at a single-cell genomics workshop (unfortunately, the workshop wouldn’t pay for spouses to accompany the invited speaker), so I will be on my own for a bit. I still plan on getting out hiking with friends though while Chris is away!

 

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Comments  

0 #1 David and Michelle 2015-06-05 14:31
Yeah, you better get in shape - - you may to carry our packs in August when we go backpacking in Garibaldi!

Pelagia is now on a freighter, heading to/around Cabo San Lucas (oh yeah, so is Hurricane Blanca).
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