Please note: you can find a more up to date version of this blog at http://blog.neilennis.com

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ewen Maddock Dam

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Rainforest, Lakes, Mud, Flooded Trails, Railway Tunnels and angry Goannas – just some of the fun things I discovered with Tim today as we explored Ewen Maddock Dam and Dularcha National Park.


Mono through the Mud

Even though most of the trails were pretty soggy from all the recent rain, they were still fun to ride.


Dularcha Railway Tunnel

The Dularcha Railway Tunnel was built in 1890 as part of the original Brisbane – Cairns railway line. A newer, flatter route was built in 1931, when this particular section of the line was abandoned. It’s now part of the Dularcha National Park which contains beautiful rainforest.

Dularcha Railway Tunnel


GoannaGoanna

At the end of the ride we met a beautiful goanna who let us get pretty close to take photos, but started hissing loudly at us to let us know he didn’t like us crowding him too much.



View Larger Map


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mount Samson Summit

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If you ever drive into the Pine Rivers district and look west, the chances are you’ll see a pyramid-shaped mountain on the horizon. You can’t miss it. The 18th century English navigators didn’t miss it – they drew it on their sketches of the area. And the chances are if you read this blog you’ve already seen it in some of my photos:

Mount Samson, D'Aguilar RangesLake Samsonvale and Mount Samson


A week or so ago I decided I’d like to climb it, but I wanted to take my bike as far as I could up the mountain. It’s a tough climb for hikers, so when I told my plans to my dear long-suffering wife, she gave me a look which gave no doubts that I should ask some friends to come as well in case anything went wrong.


So I asked on the excellent local mountain biking website MTBDirt.com for some riding buddies. “You have to be crazy to do this ride”, I said. “I’ve never done it before, I don’t know if it’s rideable, it will be wet and muddy. If you’ve got any doubts, don’t come”. So seven other guys turned up this morning for the ride. I was stoked :)


We had permission from the local land owner who let us ride through their property up to the national park. (Thanks Gab & Shirley – we love you!). But when we got there, we took a wrong turn and ended up bashing through a few hundred metres of lantana before we’d even really started:

Climbing Mt Samson on a bike


Eventually, we found the fire trail, and half-rode, half dragged our bikes up the hill:

Climbing Mt Samson on a bikeClimbing Mt Samson on a bikeClimbing Mt Samson on a bike


We eventually made it to the 500m line which marks a saddle between the lesser peak to the north, and the imposing pyramid of Mount Samson. It’s at this point that Hang Gliders used to jump off and glide into the valley below. The views, even at this point, were spectacular – despite all the clouds and rain in the area:

Climbing Mt Samson on a bikeClimbing Mt Samson on a bikeClimbing Mt Samson on a bike

Climbing Mt Samson on a bike

We pushed on and eventually reached a thick bunch of lantana that was impenetrable. There was no way we could drag the bikes any further, and as we tried to push through it, the horrible weed cut us and made any further progress impossible.


So we did what any fun-loving mountain bikers would do, turned the bikes around, and rolled down the hill. What a ride! About 450m of descent in 3 or 4 km. I crashed a couple of times as did others – but there was so much undergrowth that it was like landing on pillows. Also, while riding down we discovered the route we should have used coming up. It would have saved us some crazy hiking at the start and maybe saved us half an hour.


But it was a great ride with some really fun, fit, and slightly crazy guys. I’d love to try it again once I have a better idea of where to go when we reach the saddle at the top.


MtSamsonProfile



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fun at the Spillway

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I thought I’d take the boys for a ride around some of the locally flooded creeks.


Here’s some photos of them having fun.


Brothers getting up to mischiefWalking on WaterHow do I turn this thing off?



Monday, December 27, 2010

Sheep Station Creek

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Sheep Station Creek is a 231 hectare environmental reserve about 6km south-west of Caboolture.


The dense eucalyptus forest is very popular with horse riders, but today I explored it on the MTB with a couple of friends.


With all the rain we’ve been experiencing, it’s very difficult to find off-road places that are rideable. The gravel trails here hold up well in the wet – but we still managed to get covered in mud.


Historically, Sheep Station Creek is important because it contains many scarred trees which may be of Aboriginal origin, and it contains the remnants of the original road between Brisbane and Gympie that Tom Petrie helped blaze in the mid 19th century.


Looking at the dense forest and muddy trails, I am stumped as to how anyone would have driven a horse and cart through there!


This is definitely a place I’d like to explore more in drier weather!


Many thanks to friends Tim and Michael for introducing me to this lovely place!




In her book “Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland”, Constance Campbell Petrie says:


“When Davis (or ” Duramboi “) was asked to mark a road

to Gympie, he sought my father’s assistance for the first part

of the way, saying he would know where he was all right

when he got to the Glass House Mountains, as he had been

there before when living with the blacks. So Father took

him to the other side of Caboolture and put him and party

on his (” Tom ” Petrie’s) marked tree line to Petrie’s Creek,

on the Maroochy River. Then when the Kne to Gympie

was marked, he went with Cobb and Co. to help them pick

out stopping places for the changing of horses. . The road

was just frightful at that time ; we in these days could not

recognize it for the same.”





It’s pretty “frightful” today – but that’s the way we like it :)


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bearded Dragon

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This little fellow and his friends visit our place regularly. Sometimes before I can drive up the driveway, I have to get out of the car and shoo them out of the way.


This afternoon he was checking us out, so I snuck up on him with Liz’s camera and took a few shots.


Liz’s camera is much easier to take good photos with than my mobile phone!

Beared Dragon

Beared Dragon


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Following the North Pine River

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Several weeks ago I rode out to the source of the North Pine River in the D’Aguilar Ranges. Today I thought I’d have a look at the other end of this beautiful river, near where it meets the South Pine River, and the sea.


Part of the trip was through John Oxley Reserve, where Oxley first set foot in our region in 1823. There are some well kept trails through the reserve which lead down to the river, and then eventually further downstream to Acacia Park.


Acacia Park, Murrumba Downs

There’s a small amount of single trail in Acacia Park and great views of the river.


River Junction

The confluence of the North Pine and South Pine Rivers as seen from Acacia Park, Murrumba Downs


Dohles Rocks

Dohle’s Rocks is near the mouth of the river. It’s quiet because the only way out is the way you came in – so it’s a cul-de-sac. The area is named after the Dohle family who first settled there, and whose kids used to row across the river most mornings to get to school. As you can see it’s quite idyllic late in the afternoon.


It’s rides like this that remind me how fortunate our family is to live where we do!


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sideling Creek

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The excessive rain around here means that there aren’t many dirt trails we can ride at the moment without getting bogged in mud.

Sideling Creek in Flood


Harrison and I had a look at some of the flooded creeks in the area, but were particularly impressed with all the flood water in Sideling Creek.

Water over the Spillway

I normally ride the bike across a few rocks over Sideling Creek below the Dam that forms lake Kurwongbah. But today, there was no chance of riding across this creek.

Sideling Creek in Flood

It was once the physical western boundary of Tom Petrie’s “Murrumba” property after he purchased if from the Griffins in 1858. It was definitely a physical boundary today!

Dam Wall - Kurwongbah


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Coonowrin

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Coonowrin

One of the Glasshouse Mountains. The rain stopped for a few seconds, and I thought I’d grab the chance while I could, despite the pesky power lines :)


The legend of Coonowrin is as old as humanity. In the Dream-time, Tibrogargan needed to rescue his wife, Beerwah from a flooded creek. He asked his son, Coonowrin for help, but Coonowrin was cowardly and didn’t help his father.


In a rage, Tibrogargan struck his son, and broke his neck. Tibrogargan is now stone, and stands facing the sea to the east to this day, with his back to the son who disappointed him.


Beerwah is now stone too, but she forgave her son and faces him.


Coonowrin is now stone, too. And as you can see from this picture, his broken neck is still visible – testament to fiery emotions that can exist between parents and children in times of crisis.


The incident caused many tears, which is why there are so many small streams in the area.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beerburrum State Forest

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A Road Through the Forest

Beerburrum State Forest is full of tracks, roads and trails. Some of them wind through the trees. Some of them, like this one, go on for ages in one direction.


Chilling by the Creek #1

Elimbah Creek winds through the forest crossing the roads in several places. Not all the tracks have bridges, so if you don’t want to get wet feet it’s a good idea to plan the route beforehand.

Chilling by the Creek #2



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chasing Roos

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Chasing RoosChasing Roos

Chasing RoosChasing Roos

I spent the afternoon on my bike chasing kangaroos around the wetlands at Deepwater Bend.


It was an utterly futile quest, but it was a lot of fun. Sometimes they’d stand still and look at me, and as soon as I’d get the camera out, they’d bounce off.


So I tried holding the camera in one hand and the handlebars with the other. This is not a good idea. I didn’t fall off, but I could almost hear the malicious macropods laughing at my erratic attempts to steer and photograph at the same time.


I’ll be back, Skippy!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Diana’s Bath (Almost)

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I tried to ride to Diana’s Bath today. It’s up in the D’Aguilar Ranges half way between Dayboro and Kilcoy. It’s about a 100km round trip from my place and I would have made it except I ran out of time. But I’m happy with my efforts to get within 5km on my first attempt.


Mt Pleasant

A stand of Hoop Pines and Bunya Pines grow along the upper reaches of the North Pine River in Mount Pleasant.


Surveyor Robert Dixon drew a map of the area in 1842 and noted a “Bunya Scrub Camp” on the upper reaches of the North Pine River (he called it the Eden River). But I think this bunch of trees is even further up the river than Dixon surveyed.


Upper Reaches - North Pine River

This is the source of the North Pine River. It continues for another kilometre upstream from here in the rainforest. This is the same river that passes within 500m of our house on its way to the sea about 50km downstream.


Byron Creek

Byron Creek flows westwards into Reedy Creek and eventually into the Stanley River before it meets the Brisbane River near Esk.



View Diana’s Bath in a larger map

This map gives an idea of how close I got. About 1.5km as the crow flies, but about 5 on the road.



Friday, November 19, 2010

Floods and Mushrooms

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You're gonna get wet

Grant Street causeway, North Pine River, Petrie. This crossing is directly below the North Pine Dam, often floods, and is closed to vehicular traffic. But I regularly ride through on the bike. Only problem is, you get wet feet :)


Mushrooms

This bunch of mushrooms decided to grow on the leading edge of a gate. If the gate swings open, it will knock them over. I had to open the gate, so before I did, I took lots of photos. Then I carefully lifted the gate up and over the mushrooms to avoid disturbing them.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Alfred Delisser was here

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Alfred Delisser


Photo courtesy of John Henley

Alfred Delisser was a 19th century surveyor who surveyed the Nullarbor Plain in the 1860’s. Noting the distinct lack of trees, he coined the name “Nullarbor” from the latin words “Null” (lack of) and “Arbor” (tree). The Delisser Mobile Sand Dunes in Eucla National Park are named in his honour.


In the early 1880’s he surveyed much of the Blackall Ranges and Glass House Mountains, proceeding via The Old North Road. On that journey he probably crossed Mosquito Creek.


You can read more about Albert Delisser at John Henley’s excellent website about the Mapleton Tramway.




Along the Old North Road: Mosquito Creek

The crossing is still there today surrounded by peaceful bushland. I ride it quite regularly on my bike. By some strange quirk of geography, it rarely floods – even after much rain. There once was a bridge over this crossing, and I think it’s possible to see the remains if you look around hard enough.




Survey Tree, Kurwongbah

So I was delighted after finding this survey tree last week at Mosquito Creek just near the crossing to discover that it was blazed by Alfred Delisser in 1889. He had passed through this area several years earlier and was probably quite familiar with it, making him an ideal choice. No survey marks remain on the tree, apart from its original blazing. In fact the wooden “heart” of the blaze has fallen out. I thought it deserved a bit of respect so I cleaned it up and set it against the tree.


The tree itself isn’t that big. But it could easily be over 200 years old. Ironbark trees grow slowly.




Here’s part of the survey plan of the Mosquito Creek crossing created by Alftred Delisser in 1889. Many thanks to Leith Barter for obtaining this copy for me.


The survey plan is over 111 years old. But even as Delisser created it, the road he was on had been used for 45 years by Evan Mackenzie and the Archer Brothers as they made their way north to Durrundur Station.


But even that is fairly recent compared to the thousands of years that the original track had been in use by Aborigines walking from Meeanjin (Brisbane) to the Bonyi (Bunya) feasts in the Blackall Ranges.