What do you do when you can’t really do any through-hikes? Or when summer is coming in too fast, and spring is an all too brief a moment?
And you realise that it is October and you haven’t hiked or travelled for a whole year.
No point crying – what I did was pack up family and head into a nearly mountain that hid an underground waterfall – and all we had in hand was bottles of drinking water and a couple of “nutritional needs” for the six year old. For me, of the long planning, and preparedness, this was a revolutionary step. Changing up your routine and way of doing things is a great way to jerk you out of the winter of your discontent.
And so, this is a short post about a purely family picnic, a long drive, an underground hike, followed by splashing about in a river untrammelled by railings, rules and rear view mirrors.
Sometimes going outside takes you inside yourself, and this walk was as much about an internal journey that reminded me of what is really precious in this world, waterfalls, water and wind in the trees in a forest. Yes, that too, but really, it was family, fear (the conquering of) and the joy of faraway places that are quite near you.
The walk to the waterfall
The waterfall is in a steep and narrow valley hidden in a pocket of rainforest nestling in the border ranges between Queensland and New South Wales. Yes, the borders are still closed, but the river flows untrammelled. The walk down is a circuit, with steep stairs and a bit of a scramble, or a gently graded longer path meandering along the sides of rainforest loud with birds and the sound of rushing wind…but wait, a snake.
Yes there was a serpent in paradise. at the last stretch of the path, between towering trees, a green and yellow snake languidly lounged across the path, stopping foot traffic on both sides, as we watched it ooze into the forest, and curl itself under a sunny moss covered rock in an endless curl of shivering coils.
The Enchanted Wood and the Magic Faraway Tree
We are reading that Enid Blyton book, and this little picnic made that book seem to come alive.
Was this huge tree, that we could not see the top of, the “real” magic faraway tree?
Was this the hidden doorway to the fairy house?
The rainforest is both endangered and eternal, in reality it is fragile and can be so easily destroyed, symbolically, it has lasted for since the dinosaurs, and the Garden of Eden, and like the latter, there was a snake in it.
The waterfall is called Natural Bridge, for a reason, there is a bridge of rock under which nestles a cave filled with a darkness and a blinding light – paradoxical, but so true, you can see the waterfall in the video above, there is like a dark hole filled with the rushing or splashing water, and then you are nearly blinded by the brilliance of the water tumbling down in sheer sheets of light and liquid.
And so your journey outside to the waterfall is complete, and allow it for a moment to symbolise your inner journey – you need to reach down into your own darkness places and find something to illuminate them, and out of them create works of art – the purpose of our inner journeys is to create works to share with the world. and we create them from both the darkest places, and the most brilliant splashes of light and water.
Coming back up the steep climb, there is little bridge over the stream, and a notice that tells us about Elves..
Elves? I glance around to see if I’m in fact transported in time and space to a magic realm, but alas, I misread it.
Elvers…the spawn of eels that have completed an epic journey, from the Coral Sea, down to Tasmania and then back up the coast to get to this riverlet tucked deep inland.
If that’s not magic, I’m not sure what is. go create your own magic!
And then because we could not swim with the elvers, we went a few kms down the road to splash in the river, and leap frog over rocks..well, the six year old and her Dad did, I sat with my feet in the water, and did the grandmotherly thing, I guarded their shoes and clothes, just in case, in this magical place, they leapt up like the elvers and wandered off.