Monday, 24 March 2008

Easter 2008 - Gladstone - Mt Jacob Goldmine

On Good Friday we spent the morning getting ready, packing up the Hilux, etc. We grabbed some lunch and then drove to Gladstone, (through 100s of yellow butterflies), to see Eileen and George. They both seem to be relatively well, although George looked a bit green in the gills – he had plastered his face with some green clay he is using to treat his sunspots! Kerry arrived and we all had a good chat. In the evening Eileen,

Darryl and I went to the Gladstone Harbour Festival.
Kerry came down and met us there and we enjoyed the 'Rolling Stones Tribute Show'. It was amazing how much the lead singer looked and acted like Mick Jagger. Of course they played all the great hits and we sang and clapped along.

Saturday dawned, and I woke realising that I had enjoyed one of the best sleeps in some time. Although the rest of the household was up, I languished in bed until just after 7, and eventually headed out for bacon and eggs.
Our trip took us through Calliope and we were pleasantly surprised to find the new IGA supermarket open at 8am (they actually opened at 7.30). I was able to buy some tomatoes cheaper than Rocky, and get some butter – which I had forgotten to bring.
On our drive down to Boyne Valley we were concerned to be overtaken by approx 4 cars towing trailers with off-road bikes- only because we were worried that perhaps they were heading in our direction, and might spoil the tranquility.
Spur to Boyne River

At Builyan township we took the road up to the new National Park, and arrived at the spot we hoped to be, around 10am. Darryl took the car off the track and we headed down the ridge towards what we hoped to be Mt Jacob Gold mine. The walk down the ridge was very slow – on my behalf.

I am still quite sick, and also I have to be very careful walking downhill, to protect my dodgy knees.

 Butterflies were everywhere! There were a few different varieties of cycads, both the low variety with the bright orange and green fruit lying on the ground, and the type which have round hanging fruits.
I am not sure if they are the same, but there were some extraordinarily tall ones -easily over 7 foot tall. I was tempted to call the ridge 'Sarsparilla Ridge' due to the massive carpets of False Sarsparilla. I can only imagine what a beautiful sight you would see when they are in flower, with masses of dark purple pea flowers. I have never seen such carpets of it. Other notable flora were Batwing coral trees, Native hops (which I haven't seen since on our farm), Broom, native wandering jew, and, in places lush long grasses.

Chris beside the Boyne River
After a scramble down a section which had particularly loose rock, (I slipped over and skinned my left wrist on a sharp one), we reached the upper sections of the Boyne River. It had taken us 2 ¼ hours, which wasn't bad considering how slowly we had to go. There was water flowing, and we rested and had a bite to eat. At this point the GPS indicated that we were probably about 2km from the abandoned gold mines, and we would have had to walk along the river around a bend to get there. Darryl was very happy to find such a beautiful spot, and felt that, at this stage, it was unnecessary to go on – certainly it was as far as I could cope with. Heading back up the ridge was quite hard, but we made it back to the car in 1 ½ hours as I could travel considerably faster going uphill. Darryl said he was quite proud of how well I was able to walk, despite my illness and my knee, although I did have to stop quite a few times. On the way up we saw a beautiful little blue centipede, with a red head and tail, and a blue triangle butterfly found the blue cap of Darryl's waterbottle irresistible to follow.

Back at the car I had a very enjoyable cup of coffee, and even though it was after 2 pm we decided to wait for lunch until we had found a campsite. On the way, we checked out a few side roads, and found the area which must still be forestry, and they seem to be harvesting timber from it. When we got near the old forestry camping area, we were surprised to see 2 new roads had been dozed, one of which went past the spot we wanted to camp. Being a long weekend, we still felt that it would be quiet enough, and pulled up at a lovely spot amongst the pine trees. We barely got the back up when a few spots of rain fell and we rushed to get up the tarpaulin as the shower came pelting down. We enjoyed a simple, if somewhat late, lunch, and while Darryl took off to check out the fate of the dam, I lay down and rested. It was lovely dozing off during the showers of rain, and being warm and dry in bed. Darryl returned and tried to start a fire in the rock fireplace, but the rain had ensured all wood was far too damp, so he organised a lovely warm shower, and we enjoyed happy-hour in the twilight, and then dinner in the dark. Light showers continued through the night, but nothing to spoil the peace and solitude, apart from some poor bloke driving a panel van towing motorbikes, who was obviously lost in the dark and drive past us about 6 times.

We planned to go at dawn to a small nearby dam, but on waking at six went then. The area was shrouded in cloud, and nothing was happening at the dam at all, so we headed back to the campsite for breakfast and Easter Eggs, before packing up and doing some investigation of side roads. A couple of times Darryl parked and continued on foot while I stayed at the car reading and resting, and once, when the road was blocked he got an upper body workout using the axe to clear fallen trees.

On the longest of his walks he saw 3 red-belly black snakes and a large carpet snake. The showers started again, and, as we felt we had achieved what we set out to do, decided to call it a day, and headed back to Gladstone to Darryl's parent's place. Karen, his sister, came over for a chat, and we drove back to Rockhampton on dusk.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Don Mclean Concert

Taken with my mobile phone - so the sound and video is not the greatest.....

Monday 10 March 2008 - Rockhampton

I have been pretty busy lately. At work I am acting team leader, but am still doing some of the work from the previous job I was on. It is challenging but, of course I am enjoying it.

For the past 4 Saturdays I have been co-presenter for the Beginner's Family History Course we have been running at our local association. All those who attended enjoyed it, and many of them joined up, which was lovely.

On Saturday night Darryl and I went to see Don Mclean in concert at The Great Western Hotel. It was fantastic, and if you can stand the poor sound, and poor vision from my mobile phone, have a look at the video I have uploaded. I had a delicious steak, for which The Great Western is renown, and Darryl enjoyed a fisherman's basket.

Shane has just left for Brisbane. He is starting a 3 month contract with Tech Assurance (still with Health), and will spend the first month traveling down on Monday and back on Friday. Hopefully then he will be able to work mostly from Rocky. He and a crew from work went to see the Screaming Jets on Friday night..also starring at The Great Western Hotel. By all accounts they all enjoyed themselves.

Unfortunately, I have been ill for 3 weeks. It started out as a head cold, and I have been coughing and coughing...finally today I went to the doc, and have been told to stay home from work for 2 days, get a chest xray, and take anti-biotics and a puffer (never had one of these before!). Hopefully the couple of days rest will assist, along with the coming weekend, where we have absolutely no plans!