Thursday, July 30, 2009

If I Could I Would...

Josh is at the Appalachian String Band Festival in West Virginia. It sounds like an amazing time. He has been all around the country and is almost back. He is going to the outer banks next and then will be home around the 20th of August. I was wrote an email to him and it was interesting enough that I decided to post most of it on here.

So I have conjured up a few plans for next week. First I contacted this guy who had an add up on helpx advertising him living on his sailboat, and giving room, board, and some sailing lessons, in exchange for helping him out on his boat, painting and what not. I talked to him on the phone and he said he was busy at the moment but it might work out next week, and to give him a call back. It sounds nice, but it is a bit of a drive to get down to where he is and I don’t know how much sailing we would actually be doing. I will call him back though. I contacted another farm not far from where I am now and they said I could come this coming Wednesday. They seem nice and the property sounds beautiful. I want to learn as much as I can about farms so I can have one of my own some day!

Ben asked me an interesting question when we were on out little trip last week. He asked me what my life would be like if I could have anything I wanted. When he first asked I went blank. I think it is a question everyone should know the answer to, if you don’t know what you want then how will you ever get it or come close to getting it. I told him I would think about it and let him know. So I have known for sometime that the most important thing to me in life is community. Whether it is a big family, a tight group of friends, or some belief that brings people together, everyone is happier when they get to share the experience with ones they love. I think it is something that modern society lacks. If I could have my life any way I like it, I would have all the people I love together. I would get a beautiful plot of land and start a farm. We could all live off the land. We would continually learn and teach and play. The funny thing is that this is not that crazy of an idea. Well the part about having everyone I love all together is quite a stretch. But there are plenty of people I have yet to meet that I would love to live with, and I do have a few friends and family members that might be interested in such a thing. It’s not like I am asking for fame and fortune and to tavel the world.

Anyways, I finish the book I was reading and started a new one called the Seduction on Silence. It goes through the stories of five generations in an Indian family. It is nice to get my thoughts back into Hindu Stories and beliefs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Good Day at the Farm

I am having an exceptionally good day. Nothing special has happened I just feel very calm and collected. Lately I have been feeling mentally overworked. I have been worrying too much and letting other people get to me. I am spending more time alone now, giving myself a chance to relax my mind. Yesterday Ann went back to France so I got to move into her bedroom. Before that I was in the game room in a corner with a twin bed. There was no privacy. This morning I woke up when the sun came through the window next to my bed. There is a curtain with flowers on it that looks really lovely when the sun shins through it. There is another window across from the bed that has a plant hanging outside of it. It also brought peace to me when I looked out of it. The walls, ceilings, and floors of the house are all made of unpainted wood. It brings a warm feeling to the house. This morning I laid in bed and read the book I started two days ago called Enduring Love, written by Ian McEwan. It is such a compelling novel; I am already almost done with it. It is one of those books that once you pick up you just can’t put down. While I was reading the novel, Josh sent me a message on my phone and we messaged each other for a while. We decided on meeting in New Zealand in December. It always brightens my day to hear from Josh. I told him I could feel him right here with me in my heart. And I truly have all day.

Ben and I planted more mango stein trees today. It was very relaxing. I did not rush at all like I did when we were planting a few days ago. And I did not let Ben’s thoughts get into mine. It seems like he gets frustrated a lot and I have a tendency to try and make him feel better, or feel like it is my fault. I think I do this with a lot of people. But today I was focused on what I was doing, the sound of the wind and birdcalls, the way the mist felt in the air, the soil as it crumbled in my hands. I was in touch with my surroundings. There are times when my thoughts get so caught up in what other people may or may not be thinking. Sometimes I feel like I am living like a machine, just doing without really being aware of what I am doing. I did not feel like this today. I opened my eyes and other senses to the world and felt alive. After planting six trees and putting shades around them we went back to the house. I have been eating about six passion fruits a day! I have also had many other rare tropical fruits. Including the fruit that cocoa beans come out of. It is packed full of cocoa seeds. You cut it in half and suck on the seeds, which have a white pulp around them that is sweet. As I ate the fruits today I took my time so I could enjoy the flavor and feel of them in my mouth.

There are these scarlet blue round fruits called quan dongs. They have a diameter of about the size of a nickel. Just under the blue skin there is soft, light, green, and gooey stuff surrounding the seed which has grooves in it that make it look like a brain. Quan dong seeds are known for being used as beads for mala prayer necklaces. I collected some last week and drilled holes in them. I broke my mala necklace when I was kayaking in Colorado and lost some of the beads. So I used 9 quan dong seeds along with the beads from my old necklace to make a new mala. It looks great. I am planning on making some more necklaces with the quan dong seeds along with some other red seeds as gifts for people back home.

I think I will go finish the book I am reading. I will write more soon. Next time I write I should have plans for what I am going to be doing next. I am leaving the farm next Monday or Wednesday, but don't know where I am going. I want to go to the Great Barrier Reef and go diving. I would like to find some people with a boat that wouldn’t mind me sailing around with them for a little bit. I am not sure how I am going to go about finding these people. Maybe I will just hang around the marina and yacht clubs in Cairns and try and make some friends. We will see. I will have to have a back up plan if I don’t find anyone. At least somewhere to stay while I am looking in Cairns. I would like to make some people that I could develop a friendship with. So far the only person I feel like I could call a friend is Rud. But he is all the way down in Sydney. He sends me text messages every now and then to make sure I am staying safe. Maybe he knows some people I could sail with. He did have those friends in Brisbane that were sailing to Whitsunday. I will be patient and things will work themselves out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Hey everyone,

Just so y’all know I am safe and back in Daintree at the farm. I do feel like an old woman that has been beat up and thrown off a 100-meter cliff. (I may be exaggerating lust a bit!) Despite my sore muscles, millions of scratches on my legs, sprained ankle, and an itchy nee from a stinging leaf whose sting can last up to six months, I had an amazing time traveling around tablelands with Ben. An adventure without getting a little banged up is not an adventure at all. I had a blast! We started the trip on Saturday the 11th of July in Ben's white van. The van has been fixed up with all the camping essentials, a bed, a table, a couple coolers, some chairs and a stove. We got some groceries from the store and headed south.

Our first stop was Yungaburra. We got there later in the day and found a park to crash at. There were toilets and a picnic table. We had a candle lit dinner and played cribbage. Then we used my star gazing map to find some constellations. I found the Southern Cross and above it two bright stars that the map called alpha and beta, but I don't know their real names. I found Scorpio (my sign), which is very big and bright, it has like 16 stars in it you can see on a regular night and it is in the middle the sky this time of year. I found Sagittarius too; it is right next to Scorpio. I found a few more but I can’t remember their names.

The next day we went to Lake Tinaroo. We couldn’t find a public park on the lake, so we just walked in people’s backyards. A lot of them were lake homes that get rented out with no one in them. Most of the walk around the lake was cleared out but sections were wooded that we had to climb through. This is just the beginning of my scratches. Rainforests are no joke! The lake was very beautiful, it is an artificial lake with lots of homes around it, but ironically it was very quiet and peaceful, and we saw almost no people. The best part was all the birds that all took off at the same time, making a dominating sound that echoed around the lake walls. The birds would not fly very far before turning around, landing in the same place they took off from, and then flying off again. It was a magical sight to see. We kept walking and realized this lake was VERY big and there was no way we were going to be walking around it. I considered swimming across, but Ben didn’t want to and I wasn’t going to make him walk back by himself. On the way back I sneaked on to a trampoline in someone’s back yard, and jumped around a bit. It was fun, and no one told me to get off. We walked the road back, getting French lessons the whole way. I have gotten a lot better, although I still can’t understand when Ben talks to people in French and it takes me like two full minutes to come up with a sentence.

That afternoon we went to Lake Eacham, a lake that was once a volcano. It is a small lake, very clear water with a hint turquoise. It had a 400-km trail going around it that we hiked. I realized at this point that I had rolled my ankle. I don’t know how it happened, but it must have happened sometime when we were walking around Lake Tinnaroo. I realized as well that I had only brought my flip-flops with me. Luckily, Ben’s foot is not that much bigger than mine and he had an extra pair of tennis shoes. My ankle was fine once I wore the shoes and we enjoyed our hike around Lake Eacham. The rain forest around the lake was full of strangler figs. A strangler fig usually begins life when a seed, dropped by a bird germinates on a high branch. It sends roots down to the ground and, over time, these roots merge, encasing the trunk of the host tree. The host tree eventually dies from lack of sunlight, leaving a hollow strangler fig tree. The strangler fig will grow its own branches that reach for the sun, but it also continues to make roots. Some of which shoot straight down to support the tree like crutches. The roots at the base of the tree are very tall and narrow; some look like the bottom of a rocket ship. They will sometimes crawl up to 40 meters away! It is an awesome tree to climb. There are so many good places to hold on. Our favorite Strangler fig was incredibly big. It must have strangled three very large trees, and then morphed together. If I were a small creature this would have been the perfect mansion. We climbed this tree for a while and then continued our hike around the lake. We made dinner and slept in the parking lot near a picnic table and star gazed some more.

The next morning we bathed in the lake, It was the perfect temperature and the water was so clear. There was this 80 year old woman paddling around the lake that was traveling around Australia to all the rivers and lakes on her blow up ducky kayak. She was very nice and fun. Next we went to lake Barrine that was not to far away. It was also once a volcano. It was very much like the Lake Eacham except bigger. We walked round the lake on a trail that was 600 km long. We didn’t find a tree as cool for climbing as the one on Lake Eacham but there were two enormous pine trees that looked like the front two legs of a dinosaur. After this hike we drove to a nearby crater in Mt Hypipamee National Park. There was a beautiful creak below the crater with lots of waterfalls and it was nearly dusk so we decided we would some back the next day when we had more time. But the crater was only 500 meters away so we went and checked it out anyway. Then drove to find a place to park/camp outside of the national park. We were not sure where we were going to go and it was dark. But we found a sign that said parking so we drove in. It was called Windy Hill, and that it was. There were 20 huge windmills spinning very fast. They made a lovely, powerful sound that I liked. We made dinner and played cribbage again. I beat Ben pretty well because I got a 22 point hand, and many other good hands! It was awfully cold out so we ate chocolate in the car and went to bed.

The next day we drove back to Mt Hypipamee National Park. We went swimming at the main waterfall, called Dinner Falls, with our new goggles we bought in Yungaburra after wishing we had them when we were swimming in Lake Eacham. The sunrays shinning through the water looked really magical under water. We swam out to the waterfall and went under it where it was coming down really strong and there was a small cave behind it you could stand in. That was refreshing. Then we hiked down stream for a while and climbed across some logs that fell fairly high up over the creek. It felt at home hiking that creek. Then we carried a big rock to the crater to throw into it. It was about 70 meters until the crater hit water. Which was completely still and full of green duckweed. So when we through the rock it cleared out a hole of duckweed and made a nice echo. The crater was surrounded by gorgeous granite. I imagined if Josh was with me that we would repel down and climb back up! I still haven’t found any rock climbers in Australia. We hiked back to the car and drove to the Misty Mountains. It took a while to drive there so I was reading Little Women the whole way. We drove down this gravel road for a bit until a sign said no more motor vehicles. There was a trail head information sign but not really a “campground”. It would be dark within an hour and a half but I wanted to hike. We started at the Hinson Creek Trail Head. It was a very small trail in a thick rainforest. We brought our flashlight and hiked until almost dark and turned around and hiked back in the dark with the flashlight. There were a lot of bugs in the woods. We picked the tiny ticks off each other when we got back, made dinner, I read some more and then went to bed.

The next day we took a while to get moving. I read some more and then we decided to go to Mila Mila and hike around the waterfalls there instead of hiking on the same trail we walked on that night. We drove all the way back to Mila Mila and didn’t get to the waterfall till about 1:00. Ben read in his Guide book that there was a waterfall circuit connecting three waterfalls. We were got to ‘Mila Mila Falls’ which is very touristic but a very big beautiful waterfall with a large swimming hole. Wanting to get away from all the people we hitched a ride with a swiss family that was in the parkinglot to Zillie Falls. Our plan was to hike on a trail that went from Zillie Falls to Mila Mila Falls. So we got to Zillie Falls and realized no such trail existed. Our car was at the other waterfall and Ben said if we hiked the creek downstream it would eventually get to the falls that are car was at. The guide book said there was a 6 km trail so we thought we could make it before dark no problem. We had packed two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the rest of our cookies and the bottom of a peanut butter jar to dip them in. Zillie Falls was georgious and there was somewhat of a trail to get to the bottom of the falls where there were no people. It was absolutely stunning with all the green surrounding it moss, mist in the air cairing a rainbow, Gigantic Bolders with water crashing on them. I walked up under this enormous waterfall and showered with my Dr. Bronners. I was in awe of the beauty. We hiked down the creek, which was pretty calm at this point, not to many big rocks or falls. Shortly after we began there was a clearing with cows and rolling hills in the distance. Simply Gorgeous. I was so entranced by thebeauty that I jumped in the water forgeting that I had my camera in my camel back. Well I felt very stupid, but what was done was done, my camera no longer worked. Soon after we came across a large lizard sitting very still on a rock, Ben took a picture with his camera, but mine was ruined. Soon we came to some bigger rocks and the hike got much more strenuous. It was very steap with falls in every direction. I was thourouly enjoying myself, riding down the falls on my but that looked safe. The water flatted out and was very shallow with lots of little rocks and then it got deaper for a bit. I was thinking we might almost be to our car. I am still swimming every chance I get. If the water was deap enough, I was in it. When it started to get darker in the sky and we noted that there would only be two hours left of sunlight we became a little bit antious to see our car around the corner. Then we came across some amazing waterfalls. There was one big fall right after the other, Like six in a row. At this point we were getting antious for any sign of civilization. We hadn’t seen a human or a clearing of land since the very beginning. It was just thick jungle all around us. I thought for sure SOMEONE had to have come to see THESE waterfalls, they were so ginormous, it was unreal. But there was no trail anywhere to be found. We kept hiking with great spirts. It was hard not to be happy with all the beautiful surroundings. I am still jumping in the water every chance I get, slidding down falls, swimming most of the way. Ben is keeping fairly dry but we both have picked up the pace. He suggested stopping and setting up a place to camp. I thought it an outragous idea, and thought for sure we would make it. I remember asking him do you want to get to the car, and he said yes, and I said well then we have to keep hiking.
We hiked until we couldn’t see our hand if we put it infront of our face. We had no flashlight, so we used Ben lighter to find a place to “camp”. We put out some leafs and made a “bed”. Ben realized he could use his camera as a flash light so we tried to find fire wood with the light from the camera. It wasn’t much use because we were right next to a creek in a rainforest so everything was wet, plus it was to dark we kept running in to briers and cutting ourself. My hands got all bloody from the ‘wait a while’ ferns. They are called that because if you get caught on their thorns then you will have to ‘wait a while’ to pull them out of your skin, hair, or clothes. After we gathered a little wood we tried to start a fire. We had a lighter and paper but the wood was not dry enough. We gave up after a while and tried to get confortable for the 10 hours of cold dark night we would have. All I had on was my bathingsuit because everything else was wet and would have made me more cold. I was feeling fine at the begginng of the night because my heart rate was still up from hiking so heat was still moving through my body. It was not long before I was very cold and shivering. I tried doing jumping jaxs and I am not sure if it made me much warmer but at least it was something to pass the time away. I had my very small sponge towel that dries fairly quickly and becomes stiff. It barely fit around my back, but it was my savior blanket! Ben has semi dry boxers on and a dry tee shirt. He offered that I could wear his shirt but he is a very thin guy and would get much colder than me so I let him wear it. We knotted up to eachother to try and get as much warmth from eachother as possible, but it was very uncomfortable and impossible to sleep. I just thought of happy warm thoughts and closed my eyes. We would get up and change positions every half hour or hour, and sometimes do more jumping jax. We got desparate and tried to make a fire again, we came very close and I was beginning to think it might just work. But it never got big enough to put anything bigger than a itsey bitsey twig and eventually I got tired of blowing. Again it may not have worked but it passed the time away. I looked at the clock like every hour. I might have fell asleep for intervals of 10 minutes at the max but it wasn’t a deap sleep by anymeans. I would have dreams of hiking down the creek and coming across a trail then realize I was still laying in the cold wet rainforest floor.

Finally the sun did rise, and we could see again. We scraped the empty peanut butter jar clean for breakfast and decided to go a little farther down the creek just to see if the car was just around the corner. If it wasn’t we would turn around and head back the way we came. At least we knew there was civilization that way. We started hiking around 7:00 AM. Not very far from where we camped our creek flew into a bigger river, which I later found out was the Johnstone River. I had to fill up my camel back with river water because I was all out of water, but the water was very clean and tasted grreat. We went down it a little farther until realizing if we kept going we would only get farther away and perhaps have to stay another night in the jungle. So we turned around. It was at a section where the rocks were too steep and we had to walk around through the jungle when I walked straight into a stinging leaf tree. It stung my knee so bad, it felt like I was being stabbed by a million nifes. I knew right away what had happened. I had heared about this leaf and had been trying to look out for them. They are almost heart shaped with jagged edges. They have tinny hairs on them that stick into your skin and sting you like crazy. People said the sting would last for months. Tears started falling from my eyes at the thought that I would be in this much pain for months. Luckly the pain was only bad right when they stung and if my knee toutched something. I also soon found out that if it got wet it hurt all over again but worse. I kept getting in the water anyways, thinking although it hurt like hell it might just help it. Eventually the pain was not as bad and the welts went completely down.
We didn’t get back to where we camped until 10:30. Ben was not walking very fast so I kept having to wait for him. We knew we would make it back before dark though even if we walked slow so I was not worried. It was a beautiful hike going back but it was much harder to climb up the rocks then slide down them, especially when we we compleatley out of energy. Jumping in the cold water woke me up and I ate the cookie crumbs at the bottom of the bag, and got any drop of peanut butter that was left. My legs were so sore. Luckily my ancle was not hurting me too bad. The hike back seemed much farther than we remembered. Eventually I looked up to the left and saw that there may be a clearing through the trees. So excited I hiked up and sure enough there was a bunch of red dirt where a tractor had been through and a dirt road leading to some grassy fields. I saw a house in the distance so I was very excited. The house was abandoned but a little farther down the driveway there was another house. We knocked on the door and a woman with a baby and two other small children answered. We told her a short summary of our story and asked her if she could tell us where we were and how to get back ot our car. She was not very sure and kept saying turn left no right so we wern’t going to trust her directions. We came across a man with six dogs and a big cattle farm. He was herding in his cattle to make beef. He cleared up the directions and said we would probably need to hitch a ride because it would be a long walk all the way to the car. Once we got to a bogger road a car came by. We stuck out our thumb and they pulled over. It was an elderly couple, they were weary of taking hitch hikers but could tell we were in need of help, so they took us to our van. They offered us their sandwiches but we said we had food in our van so we could wait. It was like heaven when we reached that car. We made peanut butter and nutella samdwhiches right away and ate them in like two seconds flat. We ate some bannanas too. Then we drove to a campervan park in Ravenshoe where we could have a shower, make dinner, and sleep.

The next day was a very relaxed one. Both of us could hardly move. I was so scratched up and aching all over. I cleaned up all of my wounds so they wouldn’t get infected. And set up my hammock to read the rest of Little Women. It was a great novel, I enjoyed it thouroghly. Then we drove into the town of ravenshoe and asked the information center about the nearby hot springs.After finishing the book we packed up and drove to Innot Hotsprings. The hot springs were in a section of a creek. It got hotter as you went up stream and then cooled down again. It was nice because you could pick what temperature you liked. There was a sandy beach next to the hot springs where people had dug out holes to sit in and let the hot water from the creek run in. It was not very deap, but it was deap enough to lay down and be compleately covered. It was absolutely perfect, exactly what I needed. There were three kids hangingout in the pool we were in. One aborigional girl named Nikita, she was 10 years old and very bright. She told me about the spiky leaf that I can cut open and rub on my knee where the leaf stung me. She was refering to Aloe Vera. The other two brothers, Johnathon and Mauri, that were about 9 and 6. They were running across the hottest parts of the creek and then climbing up to the other side. Nikita dared me to do it so I did. I ran back before climbing up the first two tries and then finally climbed all the way up and jumped into the hot water. We stayed out their and looked at the stars and then drove to a free campervan park. We made dinner and hungout by a fire with two dutch boys that had been traveling around australia for almost a year.

The next day we didn’t want to do anything to strenuous, so we went to Little Millstream Falls. It was not far and was recommended by a man we met at the hot springs. It was a very beautiful spot that tourist did not usually go to. So it felt nice and private. We spent the day there. I did a watercolor painting of the falls. It felt good to take it easy. Then we headed back to Daintree. Daintree has a small tourist town where Ben’s friend Ann works at a cafĂ©. She hung out with us while we drank beer and ate dinner. We went to Four Mile Beach the next day in Port Douglas. It was the closest beach that had a net in the water so that you could swim. You can’t swim in the ocean here without a net because there are salt water crocodiles and box jellyfish. There were a lot of people on the beach but it was a nice beach to lay in the sun and swim at. We headed back to Daintree in the afternoon and rowed to the farm to help with the fish harvest. They harvest their baramundi fish every monday. We got 118 fish from their pond and put them in coolers. I ate some for dinner for the first time, they were delicous.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Trip So Far

So I arrived in Melbourne on a Saturday stayed with Justin two nights
Ian two nights and Meg two nights. Then Meg, JB (her boyfriend),
Justin, his girlfriend, Oxavian (a German friend of theirs), and Rob
(an Australian friend of theirs) all drove south east of Melbourne to
a beach house in the bush for the weekend. It was very beautiful, but
not warm enough to go swimming. Then we drove back to Melbourne. The
next day, (Monday) I found a ride to Sydney, and a place to stay an
hour north of Sydney. The ride and the place to stay I found on a
"ride share websight" called Gumtree. I rode to Sydney with a man
named Doug, who has kids in Melbourne he was visiting. A girl and guy
from the UK also caught a ride with him. It took nine hours to drive
to Sydney so by the time we got there it was late. So we slept in the

In the morning I caught a train to Warawee where I thought Rudyard
lived. There is a little bit of a communication barrier and there are
LOTS of places that start with a W. When I got to Warawee I called
Rudyard and said "I am here". So Rud and his son went to the station
in Woy Woy. 30 minutes later I called back saying where are you? Then
found out I was not in the right town. Luckily I didn't really go out
of the way, I just got off the train to early, so I just had to catch
the next train to Woy Woy. They were very understanding.

They let me stay with him for five days, and then we drove to Brisbane
the next Saturday. He is on "Couch Surfing" and has guests stay
regularly so it was normal for me to be there. Rud (short for Rudyard)
and his wife Margo, have three kids. Kip, (18), Hapsibar (13), (sp.),
and Natasha (20). I mostly hung out with Kip and Rudyard, I taught
them how to play cribbage and we played cribbage three nights and
rummy cube one night. I really enjoyed the company of Rud, he is a
TRUE Aussie!! This is where I went on my kayak adventure. There house
is right on the river, I don't know the name of the river, sorry.

The second day I was there we went to Rud's mom's house.
They call it Narnia, since she is the kids "Narny". We
had to take a boat to get to Narnia, there are no roads that go their.
The house is not complete by any means, they have been working on it for 15 years,
and it still does not have walls. Narny and Gary, Rud's dad are pretty old
and have collected alot of junk through the years. The property is full of useless crap and lots of barking dogs. There are like five Caravans, most of which are full of junk as well, But I suppose they live in one of those. I walked on a
trail, where there was no junk, but donkey turds. I found their pet
donkey, and walked until the trail ended. Then sat under some banana
trees and did a drawing. Anyways.. I am going into way to much detail.
It was a good day.

I was planning on going on a bike ride one day, but the tires
were flat. Rudyard suggested that I take one of his kayaks down the river.
I was like hell yea! So I headed out
onto the river not knowing where I was really going to go. The river
is very flat, almost like a lake, but there was a lot of wind and
waves. I was paddling like you taught me too, with my core and not my
arms. Stretching my shoulder out in front of me as far as it would go
and then twisting my body. It felt really good to be out on the water.
So I paddled down the river but it was hard to tell which direction
the current was flowing. There were lots of forks in the river most of
which were dead ends into a cove with houses and boats docked. So I
continued until there was a fork in the river that looked all green
with no houses. It was very pretty.

I found what looked like an island with a sandy beach and paddled to
it. I got off and started running around the coast of it to see if it
was an island and if there were any trails to hike on. It turned out
not to be an island but a peninsula. There was a sign that said
Brisbane Water National Park, but I didn't see any trials. I found a
rope swing that went into the water, but to swing very high you had to
climb this tree and swing from up in it. This was no easy task, the
tree was very BIG so I couldn't get a good grasp around it and there
were no branches within reaching distance. So I threw the rope swing
over the first branch. The rope was attached to a stick. I grabbed the
stick and pulled myself up so that my legs were hanging from the
stick, and I was upside down, then I grabbed the branch, which was
large and hard to grip. Some how I made it up with only a few
scratches! I then made a knot in the rope held on to it, put my feet
on the stick, and swung!! I went out above the water, but didn't jump
in; don’t forget it is winter here. It didn't swing for that long but it was still
worth all the effort, because after I got off that swing I was
changed. I realized how free I was to do whatever I want. Its like
that moment is when my adventure really started. Up until then I had
been in cities and/or with people just doing what they were doing, not
taking any risks.

After my rope swinging adventure I headed back to the boat. The sun
was low enough in the sky so that it was hidden by the hills. Any
normal person would have started heading back at this point. But I
wanted to go just a little further down this fork in the river. I
could see that it ended just a few hundred meters ahead. The water
started to get very shallow and I could see lots of fish swimming
away. The river narrowed and up ahead I saw a few small waterfalls.
There was a stream that led into the river! I had to at least get out
of the boat and check it out. I got out and walked around and thought
I will just walk a little ways up the creak to see if it amounts to
much. It was full of larch boulders that you could walk under like a
tunnel. There were loads of small waterfalls. It was lighter up ahead,
because I was beginning to go towards the other side of the hill, which
was exposed to the sun. So I thought I would just hike until the creak
ended or it got to dark. The rock was red, bright red, I don't know
what that means, maybe there was some sort of metal in the rock, it
was kind of a rusty look. The green moss complemented the red rocks
very nicely. (Not like Christmas!!) There were loads of green plants
all around and flowers. I hiked until the creek almost disappeared. It
was nearly dark so I headed back. I hiked back quickly, looking out
for spider webs. You know they say all the spiders in Australia are deadly!
I wasn't too worried, but I had a lot of adrenaline flowing in me.
It was cool to think that no one knew where I was.

When I got to the river, my boat had floated away but was caught in
some bushes. At this point it was almost completely dark. I climbed
into the kayak and started to paddle back. I was so happy. I had all
the energy in the world. The ride back was fun, I stayed close to land
so if any boats came they wouldn't run me over. I didn't end up seeing
any boats, but it was good precaution. The stars were out with a few
clouds in sky. If I can recall correctly, the moon was a little over
half full. I paddled to where I thought their house was but it was not
the right cove, I knew I had not missed it, so it had to be a little
farther. Sure enough it was the next cove up. It was farther than I
remembered, probably because on the way there I did not paddle along
the shore so it took less time. That was the end of that adventure I
took a shower ate dinner, celebrated Rudyard’s birthday, then played
cribbage with his son, Kip. He beat me, even though he had never played
before! Just barely though, he got a really good cut for his last
hand, I think it was 17 points!

The ride to Brisbane was nice. We picked up a young english girl on the way.
We shared many fun conversations. I played them The Mason Jar Drinker's CD, (Josh), after singing the traveling man to them, and they loved it. You all would make it big in Australia! We arrived in Brisbane Saturday night and stayed with Rud's
friends. I ate dinner with them, not knowing what I was eating had
ground Kangaroo in it until after when i was washing the dishes!! I
was good!

In the morning I caught a ride with two French girls, Delphine and
Marine, who I found on Gumtree as well. They had a red pop up van, and
were traveling around Australia. They had only just then began there
trip starting in Brisbane so they were not used to driving on the left
side of the road. It was a bit scary. We got lost right away! We drove
up to Noosa Heads, and camped out there, I hung my hammock up and
slept in it and they slept on the bed in the van. The next day we
walked on some trails in Noosa National forest. Noosa is a beautiful
place but there are way too many people, rich people. It is a resort
town. We got lost so many times, since there are seriously about 100
round abouts none of which have road signs. It gave me a headache
trying to look at the map and tell a French girl where to go who could
not really speak English. Marine got very angry when driving. I liked
Delphine a lot, and she could speak English O.K. Anyways, they were
planning to take a month to get up to Cairns, where I wanted to go,
and I already was getting annoyed by Marine. Plus they were very girly
girls, had to take showers every day fix their hair, and wax their

I had posted a request for a ride on Gumtree before I left for
Brisbane, and got a call from a truck driver named Allen who weekly
makes drive from Brisbane to Cairns. So I called him up and he picked
me up at a nearby town that I took a bus to that was near the highway.
I was nervous at first, and had my knife and pepper spray ready. And
he seemed "too" nice. He bought me dinner and a shower. And let me
sleep most of the ride in the bed. Then let me sleep in the bed while
he slept on the seat. He reminded me of Matt Sullivan (our neighbor in
Charlotte). He looked like him and treated me as if I was his niece or
child. Very kind, always asking if I needed anything. He bought all my
meals and we went walking in Makay, on the harbor and on this trail
next to a lagoon. We found a coconut tree and ripped apart the outer
green meaty part, to find a coconut inside! I t was a small one, but
it was my first coconut! anyways.. I slept another night in the truck
and made it to Cairns by noon the next day. Where Jane picked me up.
Allen didn't want any money, he just enjoyed the company. (most of the
time on gumtree you split gas costs, of course this truck was
monstrous, and it cost over a thousand dollars to fill it up, three
very large tanks, and we filled it up twice, so no way would I have
split the gas price with him).

So Jane and Mike King live in the Daintree rain forest. It is
beautiful, home to millions of plats species that can be found nowhere
else on earth. The get FIVE meters of rain a year, most of which all
comes in ONE month! Usually March, but sometimes as early as January.
So I met these people on I had arranged to stay with them
before I came to Australia. They are pretty amazing people. Jane loves
to talk. All the time, it is hard to get a word in without her coming
up with another story. I decided to not even really try and talk and
to just listen. I sneak in a few sentences here and there.

She and Mike met in Brisbane at the university there. They and 10 or
so other friends built a sailboat while going to school. It took them
like five years, but when they were done they sailed north on the
ocean for five months until they arrived in the Daintree Forest. They
loved it there and have been there ever since. First they all bought
some land and built a house and lived together on a commune. Mike
became the Mayor on the already existing town. He stayed mayor for
over fifteen years. He is now head of an organization that preserves
forests and wildlife. I have not met him yet, but will tell more of
him once I meet him. Now they live on a property that is across a
river full of crocodiles that eat humans. The motor boat is broken
right now so we have to row across, very scary!

There are four other "woofers". This stands for "work on organic farm
-ers". We work on their farm in exchange for room and board. I like
everyone here. There are the English kids Kelem and Vickey, and the
Frenchies, Ben and Ann. Kelem is only 18 and can be a bit immature and
obnoxiously, Vickey met him along the way, they are not "together" but
they bicker like they are brother and sister. Ben is very nice, I
mostly talk with him. He is from Paris and is working on his English.
It is not hard to communicate with him. I might do a 10 day trip in
his van with him around an area where there are lots of waterfalls,
not far from here. He is planning on leaving tomorrow so I will have
to decide quick. Ann is working in the town at the new restaurant to
make some more money so I don't see her much, she has great English,
you can't even tell that she is French.

I really love this spot and plan to stay here a while. The work is
fun. They have a fish farm so yesterday me and Ben scrubbed the big
nets that are in the water full of pond scum. This is a weekly job.
Then I cut down weeks with a Machete knife in a garden that had
overgrown. That was FUN! They also grow mangosteins, but they are not
in season. There are lots of manderines, grapefruit, passion fruits, and chocolate pudding fruits in season though, yum yum! There are so many books in this
house! I am reading Little Women right now. It is such an old copy. It
was given to Jane's mother in 1933, when she was 11 years old! It is a
little pink book, the title has worn off the front and sides. I have
also been reading this Gigantic Botany Field Guide with every Fruit
Tree in the Norther Queensland!

Today was fun we drove Ben's van to Mossman Gorge. It is a very pretty
river with clear water in it and lots of granite boulders. I swam
around in it for a couple hours like a fish with my eyes open trying
to catch the fish. There were lots of medium sized fish. I hiked way
up the creek and swam down, with my feet out in front of me when going
down rapids, hitting my bum on a few rocks, but that is what it is
there for, right? I did see one snake on a rock in the grass, but none
in the water. I had so much fun, I felt like a little kid without a
care in the world. Now I am back at the house. Gunna go take a shower

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to my blog. I decided it was to hard to write emails to everyone and it would be much easier to make a blog. It is called Rambling Thoughts because I tend to ramble a lot. Read as much as you want but you may get bored after a while. I do try and make it interesting. I am mostly writting for myself, so I can remember my trip and reflect about it. I hope you enjoy! If you want to see my pictures from my trip with Steve and Josh out west they are on my picasa picture web page: Right now I only have access to dial up internet so it may be a little while until I post more pictures. But when I do I will put them on the picasa webpage as well. I love and miss home already, but I am going to take advantage of my oportunity to travel, thanks for all of your support. Please write me when ever you want, my email is I also have a cell phone if you want to call or text, the number is 04 0823 8647, but to reach me from the US dial: 011 614 0823 8647. The 011 just gets you out of the US, then 61 is the country code, and for some reason the zero gets dropped when dialing from the US. If you set up a skype account it doesn't cost that much to call my cell phone and when I have access to a faster computer I can use skype as well, skype to sykpe is free. If you just google Skype and follow the instuctions to set up an account you can call from any computer that has internet connection. Enjoy!