Today’s plan was to do the 10 km Box Forest Circuit. We’d go to the left descending downhill most of the way past numerous waterfalls. Huge Brush Box trees dominate this track, hence the name:
This is what the little sign said next to the trunk. It talked about leaves, but the leaves were so high up I could hardly see them.
I set my iPhone to scan and did a vertical scan, only then did a feeling for its immense size emerge from the photo. The huge trunk disappeared into the bright canopy above.
I stood next to the tree and felt very small. My lungs were invigorated by the earthy smells of decaying vegetation and ever growing moss and ferns adding oxygen to the air.. The Brush Box covered me in its shadow and the heat of the sun was left in the leaves above.
Such magnificence left me in awe. Again I wanted to stay close to the tree to immerse myself in its presence, but we continued on, the sound of water falling quickened my steps. When a huge log crossed our path. Climbing over was the only way.
The Rainforest is a constant struggle for survival, some trees come crashing down and leave space for others to get light. Strangler Figs plant their seeds in other trees and then extend their roots to the ground eventually strangling their host. Here is a vertical scan of another huge Brush Box tree that is being taken over the roots of a Stranger Fig.:
Lizzie and I shank in size next to these giants of the forest. We passed a small waterfall, and then an even larger Brush Box appeared around the corner. I sat in awe at its feet. I was falling in love with these trees, some 1500 years old, maybe a bit old for me.
A major waterfall roared in our ears, but we couldn’t see any water or river in the deep bush. The trail continued to descend switching in curves back and forth. Despite the occasional fallen tree the trail was well maintained and well marked. I metal sign told us where we were on the trail.
A few switchbacks later and a double waterfall appeared through the trees. The water cascaded down the upper rocks and then fell vertically down into the rainforest valley:
We successfully crossed over a rapidly flowing creek without even one wet foot by carefully stepping on rocks. Our protein bars were happily devoured on the large rocks at Darragumai Falls. I was feeling so confident of my hiking a rock negotiating abilities that I did a few yoga poses on the rocks.
Down the valley a little further there was a sign pointing to Tollerigumai Box Log Falls. We couldn’t see anything but we could hear the water roaring down the canyon. We carefully balanced from one rock to the next. The falls were hidden behind a rock wall covered with small iridescent plants clinging on from every crevice.
I was beginning to get tired, but I was in heaven seeing these trees and waterfalls. A little further on we crossed the creek. If the water had been high the brochure said we would need to wade across this creek. Lizzie said, “Just put your foot here in the water and your stick there, or if you think you can stretch that far just step on this pointy one, but I don’t recommend it.”
Since I’d been doing so well I decided to stretch. As soon as my left foot touched the slippery pointy rock I flew into the air and my left hip and tail went splash into the creek. I landed on my tailbone with my right hip pocket out of the water. Cold water filled the bag on shoulder. I quickly reached in my right pocket and pulled my still dry phone out handing it to Lizzie. At least that hadn’t gotten wet, but most people my age break bones if they fall. I wondered, Will I’d be able to walk?
The cool clear water felt good rushing around my butt. I knew it was going to hurt. I stretch my legs out and I praised God that I could move. Lizzie gave me a hand as I struggled to get up. I was on my feet, but every step was a pain. I hobbled onward.
Lizzie said, “I fell off my horse once onto rocks like these. I had to get up and walk home.”
I absorbed that information as I clung to the side of the hill. I used my hiking stick to ease the stress on my back. When the path switched, I switched my stick to the opposite side always holding the stick next to the drop-off and my free hand next to the cliff so it would be free to grab onto a rock or branch that clung to the side.
Lizzie noticed my increased caution. I was no longer the confident hiker. “Come on now liven up no need to be scared,” she said.
All I could think of was when we might get to the next old stream and how I could find some ice when we got back to O’Reilly’s Guest House. Finally, we arrived at Elbana falls. I found a pool of cold running water to ease my butt into, immediately the pain was chilled. Lizzie and some other hikers, the first we’d seen on this incredible hike, climbed further up the rocks and photographed this lovely waterfall while I spent a good 20 minutes relaxing in my natural spa.
With the pain iced by my cold wet pants, I was able to continue. At O’Reilly Guest House they found a bag of ice for me. We also registered for the extra day, even if I couldn’t do another walk I could go to the Lost World Spa and get a massage.
We quickly grabbed a bite to eat and got ready to ride to our evening excursion of a drink while watching the sunset over the valley. Our guide drove us to the lookout, and we had a glass of wine. The lookout point gave an impressive view of the valley and mountains beyond, but there weren’t any seats and it wasn’t as beautiful as the sunset from our balcony the evening before.