recently a colleague at work prodded me (gently ;-)), saying she still looks forward to seeing my holiday photos...of which there haven't been any for too long.
well, i haven't been camping since last year's trip to haddon corner...but mid-september i took a short little trip to girraween NP, in the granite belt region pretty much on the QLD-NSW border.
a few weeks earlier i had some wrenching fun to improve my car's load carrying behaviour: i added airbags in the back, to keep the rear end from sagging under load (the colorado also doesn't have headlight levelling, which makes any sag twice as annoying).
this time i was pretty lazy, only checked and prepped maybe half the stuff on sunday and left all the annoying bits for monday morning, in particular the lifting and mounting of the 55+ kg roof top tent without a second person.
the first few times i used the car's winch looped over the roo bar and the roof racks, but nowadays i'm experienced enough to just huuaaarhg lift it first onto my dodgy rails and huummmmmpf push it up said rails until it topples over onto the roof racks. (well, 'experienced'... is actually a lie: i'm just too lazy to fiddle with the winch...)
with me puffed up after lifting the tent, and the car back puffed up level, and all the good stuff packed up, i drove w/sw for roughly 3 hours.
i arrived a bit after lunch and the weather was very inviting for a walk, and so i didn't unpack anything but headed out to the pyramid, one of the prominent granite knolls. i had missed hiking up that one when i last visited in 2018.
it had rained a lot the weeks before, so everything was very green and bald rock creek was flowing strongly.
the hike was really lovely, and this being in the mid-afternoon, quiet: i met just one other person (but the camping area was pretty damn busy). this being one week before QLD school holidays, i had hoped for more quiet...alas, lots of other people also hoped for quiet...
(retired) friends told me of their recent camping trips and how the last two years have seen a huge upswing in camping (i'm usually way off the beaten track, so tend to not notice that as much...) but even with a bit too much visitor population, girraween is a good place to walk and scramble up rocks and vanish into the bush.
the camping area had lots of roos in the open spots (all of which had been reworked recently, for caravans and with some powered sites), and the usual thieving magpies and currawongs and kookaburras enjoyed 'sharing' my food. monday evening i quickly set up my tent and camp kitchen, but decided to be too lazy to cook...and with lots of fresh stuff from my garden in my fridge, a cold dinner of leftovers is not a bad thing at all.
the nights were very cold, down to 3°C. i should have brought some firewood but hadn't bothered, so shortly after the sun vanished i also vanished, into my comfy down sleeping bag.
tuesday morning i spent in the valley, walking to the junction of bald rock creek and ramsay creek. there was a lot of water running and it was quite beautiful. on the way back i scrambled through the bush onto an unnamed knoll instead of plodding along the marked tracks. very nice view, but getting down back to the camping area was a scruffy and scratchy affair.
the afternoon reward consisted of a cooked lunch and lots of reading and snoozing in my hammock. highly enjoyable.
on wednesday i first hiked up to the sphinx and then past the turtle rock as well until i reached the lovely open peak area of that ridge (the walking track stops a good km short of that, for now good reason whatsoever). the view towards mount norman and all the other southern ridges was very nice, and i enjoyed a late breakfast up there (leftovers from dinner plus a takeaway tub plus a ridiculous spork = fairly reasonable trail food).
interestingly i had usable mobile reception up there, exchanged a few pix and messages with conny, and checked the weather forecast - which predicted some rain for thursday, and much more rain for friday to sunday.
on the way back down from turtle rock i hiked up to the top of castle rock, because of the lovely views it provides (and to "use up" the good weather).
thursday morning the weather turned sour indeed, and i packed up just before the first showers - no mount norman hike this time, but here are a few views from mt. norman back in april 2018...
thanks to the rain i cut the trip short a little, went on to tenterfield to visit a friend; we hiked up the doctor's nose for an hour and a half (i think), in drizzly windy weather - but the cloud cover remained open enough for a few final photos up there. and very late evening saw me back at home, dry and snug and content :-)