Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday's Adventure

Saturday we decided that Sunday would be a slow day. We'd just hang out and get some organizing done. Sunday morning it seems like we could drive to Crow's Nest and just sit in the car and look at the scenery and maybe a few birds.

If you've read E's entry already, you know it was more than this.

We did indeed drive north of Toowoomba to a small town called Crow's Nest. It is the entry to the Crow's Nest National Park. We took the short drive out from town into the park and and easily found a place to park Ms. Poppins (we've named the truck). We start what seemed to be a nice stroll out to the waterfall. Then it got harder.

There are the "stairs" down to the Bottlebrush pool. Just wanted you to know how are we are working to bring you these photos. Of course, once at the bottom of the hill, we were greeted with a pleasant pool of water.

Naturally, this wasn't the only climb of the day.

We eventually did get to the Crow's Nest Fall to examine the resplendent awesomeness.

Do you see the waterfall? If you look very carefully, you can see some wet rock just behind the bush in the middle and possibly, just maybe, a little bit of white water in amongst the leaves. That's it. We walked two km round trip, up and down steep hills (well, steep for us) to see this little off-season trickle. Enjoy.

Once we got back to the car park and put all our stuff back in the car, it was clear that we were a bit wobbly in the legs. Time for lunch! Also it was a three-hour "stroll" and it was now about 2:00 PM.

After a cider and some crisps in the local pub, we decided to take the longer way back and see Perseverance Dam. Who knows, we might see a couple more birds. By this time, the sun was out a bit and things were looking more hopeful. Then we turned east.

And saw the dark clouds.

When we arrived a the dam, it was again all cloudy again.

We did see an interesting tree growing along side the road.

As we drove along, we were partly following a map E found in an old newspaper and the GPS. Of course, the GPS wanted to us go a different way and gave us lots of directions we chose to ignore.

So we ignored them.

Soon we are out on a dirt road by the bottom gate. Shortly after this, we reached the top of a hill that had a sign that said "Dry Weather Road". Since it had only been raining for about a week, this should be OK to drive on, right? So off we go.

I don't have photos from the rest of the trip. Perhaps the knots in our stomachs and the rush of adrenaline made thinking of grabbing the camera difficult. Perhaps when your life is flashing before your eyes, it is difficult to focus on anything else. Perhaps we were just stupid and didn't want to document it.

We started down this long hill. Fortunately for us, it was down hill. Going up would have been impossible. E was driving, and we came upon a section of the road that was wet clay that was slick as owl shit. The only way to go was in the existing ruts downhill. E fought the good fight and managed with grace and brute strength to stay between the raised sides of the road on each side.

We eventually came to a small ledge on a dryer spot of the road and stopped to reassess. It was clear that we could not go up the hill backwards and trying to turn around would have been a disaster. I'm pretty sure that going back up hill forward, backward or sideways was simply not possible. The only way was forward. As Churchill noted, "When you are going through hell, keep moving."

I could tell from E's state that she was not happy driving and I asked if she'd prefer that I drive. She agreed.  I pointed out that there were fresh tracks in the road suggesting that someone has navigated the road recently and since there were no bodies, they must have made it. Walking around the truck showed tires completely caked in clay. No wonder were we sliding all over the place. It was by now about 4:00 PM and it gets dark by 5:00 or 5:30. Hoping the road isn't much longer.

We'd been in 4wd for a while. Being sure that we were in 4wd lo and putting Ms. Poppins in the lowest gear, we started again. More sliding and squirming down the hill and near the bottom were large ruts that guided us around the gentle curve. A bit more slick road and then it subsided.

We soon found ourselves on a stretch of sandier, dryer road and the going was easier. I shifted out of the lowest gear and then from 4wd lo to 4wd hi. Then finally, into 2wd. We were picking up speed. The paper map was clearly useless and the GPS questionable. Nevertheless, we turned on the GPS and tried to believe that it was telling us something that resembled reality.

We came across a couple intersections that GPS didn't seem to know about, but at every stage the dirt roads got wider and smoother. Finally, at the bottom of a hill we came to a single lane bridge where the road was paved on the other side. We were finally back on the tarred road and increasingly hopeful that we'd find civilization again.

With greater frequency, we passed houses that looked more like normal people lived there rather than folks who collect old cars and dump trucks for amusement. The GPS started making more sense. It led us to the Warrego Highway, the main road between Brisbane and Toowoomba. Now we are safe.

Since our wobbly legs from the hike and the nausea from the adrenaline rush of fear meant were going to actually cook dinner, we set the GPS for Coles to get a pizza to toss in the oven. When we got the parking lot at the shopping center were Coles is located, it gave us directions even in the lot. This prompted E to remark, "Now you can give directions, bitch?!".

Home safe at last. Ms. Poppins is very dirty and not allowed in the clean garage. Sadly, her reward for bring us home safely is to sleep out in the elements.