Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A historic location and a magical place...

Last weekend we headed to Glengallan for the seasonal markets (and some Geocaching) because it was Father's Day and we wanted to get out of Warwick.

We checked out the markets and the grounds. The building has been worked on since I last visited over 15 years ago, which lovely to see.

The sky was being very impressive and the weather pleasant. The market stalls were full of locally made things from soap to wooden toys, knitwear to artwork.

These two. Always these two. Jimmy tired of looking at stalls pretty quickly, but was really good and only started running around towards the end of our time walking and looking.

Jimmy makes me think of Christopher Robin - a little boy enjoying his own little world, boldly heading out into the wild. Jimmy was pretty attached to that stick that day AND determined not to have his photo taken.

We stopped for coffees at the Glengallan cafe. It's completely run by volunteers and the coffees were good. So was Jimmy's strawberry milkshake. Refueled, we set off to start Geocaching.

The sky was still amazing while we were out getting our first Geocache. And while we were logging the cache, a man drove up, asked about what we were doing - this is country Queensland - and after we told him, he told us about a spot that might be suitable: the site of a new Landcare project that he is involved with. So, we thought we'd check it out once we'd done all our Geocaching. Keep reading to see the photos.

Located just above the Allora Transfer Station on Burge Road, the wilderness area is accessed by a steep and narrow dirt road. It's official name is Allora Mountain Flora and Fauna Reserve. There are picnic tables and an information board. And two walking tracks to choose from. We decided to take the short route because of a pair of short legs.

I love the boy the short legs belong to. The boy with the short legs is very fond of his pink gumboots and bucket hat. I am very fond of his round belly - a belly that is starting to be less round as he grows.

This the Darling Downs in spring: green if there's been rain and grey/brown when there is no water or the water evaporates too fast. And then there's the old eucalypts, drying in the sun. Sometimes I think the Australian landscape is a bit ordinary and sometimes it is so stunning it takes my breath away.

Through the gate and up a rocky path we went. Jimmy marched up it without difficulty and really enjoyed the challenge. We seemed so isolated but we were only 10 minutes from the centre of Allora.

Magic. The steep and rocky hillside has mostly protected the hill and hilltop from logging. It was probably grazed by cattle at some point in time but the only grazing-type animals we saw were kangaroos.

We saw a small pile of rocks and Michael decided it could be improved. Looking back, it was probably the marker for the walk... Oops...

We followed what we thought was the path, but it was probably an old cattle trail. And off in the distance we saw kangaroos grazing, and then bouncing away. They were very shy.

Going off-path was worth it. It's not something I generally support, especially in national parks, but we were following some sort of path... And this area is not national park... And if we'd stuck to the path, we wouldn't have found this magnificent tree. It needs a Geocache. Naturally.

The place was so serene. The recent rains had brought new life to the place, but the kangaroos kept the grass low. The old, fallen trees, grey with age and sun bleaching, were being replaced by spindly new trees and the whole place reminded me of Mr Rabbit and the Lovely Present, by Charlotte Zolotow, an old favourite book with beautiful illustrations by Maurice Sendak - there was something in the quality of light and the look of the young trees that reminded me of it, even though it's been years since I last laid eyes on the book.

After a while we decided to loop back in the direction of our starting point, but aimed a little away from it in the hope that we might pick up the intended path. And we did. Not before coming across a few old bleached bones, flowers, a native orchid, and lots of little wild flowers. It was sad to leave but we were all a little thirsty and tired.

The path was marked by little rocks on either side, a little like a garden path, only in the bush. As we came closer to the edge of the hilltop we could see the town below. It really was amazing to be so close to a town and yet feel like we were deep in the Australian bush, seeing an area that was almost untouched. I don't know if it was just the day, but there really is something special about this place.

I want to thank the man who approached us and told us about this place. We would not have known about it otherwise. And I also want to thank the Allora Landcare Group for taking this place under their wing and turning it into a Reserve. It's really wonderful to know that there's a quiet patch of easily accessible bushland not far from home. I think we'll be going back on a regular basis.

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