Flying Fish Point to Tinaroo Falls
After dreaming of crocodiles all night I woke to a day of no rain in the rain forest! From Flying Fish Point we climbed up off the coast and onto the Tablelands of North Queensland. The landscape reminded me of the South Africa bush veldt, expansive views on hilly terrain, in shades of gold and brown. There were more and more banana plantations and for a pleasant surprise a tea farm!
The tea farm was a first for me, from a distance I could tell it was a new crop, it was manicured, low and very green. The aroma didn’t even give me a clue, but then sitting alongside the road was a stand offering tea for sale from the farm on the honor system!
I rode with Elisabeth today, neither one of us was feeling like going very fast. We set a leisurely pace for our climb which was to take us from sea level up and over 3 passes at 2350, 2400 and 2750 feet in altitude. The day started out to be warm and ended up just downright hot and muggy. Of course the locals kept telling us, “this isn’t hot, you should be here in the summertime!” I was glad we were not, it was hot enough for me.
The route was very rural, meaning there weren’t many stores to stop and buy food etc. We passed a few fruit and vegetable stands, not thinking about stopping, but then we approached one where there were other riders sitting on a bench enjoying a refreshment. We pulled off the road and joined them. It turned out to be a great stop! The very enterprising lady of the house not only had fruit and veggies for sale, but baked goods and frozen tropical fruit “slushies” as we called them. I ordered one, it was so delicious and refreshing, I will always remember this stop.
We stayed for quite awhile, because the “slushies” were more frozen than slushy. We ate them slowly as they melted, of course we shouted to all the other riders passing by how great our drink was, resulting in selling 20 or so of them for her!
Our hostess was telling us about the horrible climb we had ahead of us. She was concerned and even offered to see if she could get one of her friends who drives a cattle truck back and forth over the road to take us to camp. Our ears perked up at this thought. Elisabeth and I decided we would not let “pride get in our way” if a cattle truck were to appear and offer a lift! We told our hostess the same. She said the drivers never came by the same time, we would just have to take our chances, if one were to come by while we were waiting, then she would ask. If not she couldn’t help us.
As it turned out, the elusive drivers were probably out having donuts somewhere. They never showed up while we were there. Oh well, maybe next time. We set off towards checkpoint.
It wasn’t long before we started to climb into the rainforest. The section of forest we were traveling through was a designated “World Heritage Wet Tropical Rain forest” Back in the 1970′s the World Congress got together to designate certain areas of the world that needed to be preserved. These areas are both natural and man-made. Some of the original spots are Yellowstone National Park, Great Barrier Reef, Taj Mahal, Pyramids of Egypt, etc. Since that time other countries have joined the World Congress and over 500 more locations have been added to the list of “World Heritage Sites”. The Wet Tropical Rain forest that I went through today, was awesome.
If I could only remember one thing about the rain forest, it would be the noise. The moment we entered the forest the volume got turned up. Every emotion of life could be heard, laughing, crying, anger, joy and happiness all shouted out, there was communication going on, all at once! The trees were alive with birds, frogs, snakes and bugs. It would take a lifetime to identify the voices, so I just enjoyed the privilege of being there, sharing the moment.
The coolness of the shady forest was a welcome difference to us hot cyclists. The canopy of the forest blocked the sunshine, dropping the temperature by at least 10 degrees, but not the humidity. Considering our climb would be up and out of the rain forest, I was delighted for the shade.
A magnificent butterfly made an appearance in front of me as I rode. It was a Ulysses butterfly of vibrant, almost electric blue. I had seen a postcard of this variety and recognized it immediately. She fluttered in front of me, leading the way for quite awhile. I was entranced by the beauty, mother nature was putting on a show for me today. I was so glad the cattle truck didn’t appear, had it done so, I would have missed this moment, one I will always remember.
It was the day it didn’t rain in the rain forest.