Monday, October 12th
I wake up early. No matter what. Earlier than the others with me, so I usually wait for awhile before I start getting ready for the day. I was going to run this morning but I decided not to because we are hiking in the Bald Mountain National Park...which should be a 3 hour hike total.
My left foot is still giving me problems - but the pain is on the top of my foot. This has happened before but it normall goes away eventually. Not now. After today's hike, I might take it easy for a couple of days and see what happens.
We ate breakfast at a mom & pop bakery - we all had meat pies with something different on top. Mine had tomatoes, cheese and bacon - not too bad!
The Bald Rock Mountain is supposedly the largest exposed granite monolith in the Southern hemisphere. We started our hike up with snacks and water. It was an easy hike up - mostly on a logging road. As we got to the top - we were hiking mostly on smoth granite rock. We again had a great view, there were lots of clouds but they just added to the beauty. We had hoped to see wildlife out here but all we saw were flies and a few birds.
Then. There are two ways to the summit.
1) long but easy (which we took up to the top)
2) short and harder - more of a rock climb
We tried to find the rock climb down. But honestly there were NO signs for it at the top. So Candis and AJ thought we could continue our hike dow the logging road - I mentioned that I wasn't comfortable with it but agreed to try. 45 minutes later we hadn't seen any signs - so I told them that I thought we should really turn around. I have been in this situation too many times before(you know, lost but you know exactly where you are) so we turned around. We were low on water and it was lunch time...Anyways, we got back fine, just hiked a lot longer than we planned.
I was super determined to not get discouraged - so my prayer the whole time was "give me eyes to see"...cause I can get so inward focused that I miss what's around me. (Still didn't see kangaroos though).
We washed our faces at a spigot near the carpark and then drove to a waterfall gorge - it was beautiful! There was also a HUGE dragon/lizard...pictures to come!
We spent the rest of the day driving south...we decided to go to the next town down for lunch - even though we were all pretty hungry - so around 3:30 in the small town of Deepwater...we stopped at a convenient store that served burgers and sandwiches. The owner is a delightful woman who has been in the area for about 4 years - her name is Sandra. She told us stories about her family and how she ended up in Deepwater. All I know is she makes a mean burger - it was possibly the best meal yet! We left stuffed.
In Glen Innes - there is a Celtic memorial to honor the Irish and how they helped Australia to become what it is today. They are standing stones...it is pretty cool. But weird because it isn't natural. And there are alllll sorts of amazing rocks standing all over the place. But we went and looked and enjoyed.
Further down the road as we passed through Glen Innes - we saw the Happy Strawberry. They make strawberry shakes, shortcake, jams and more. This place was recommended to us by Ulla. So we had to stop in! Candis and I split a shake and because I had asked about the Pavlova - the woman gave us a sample. It was a meringue with cream and strawberries. OH MY. I could have licked the plate! So good. No really. I want some more now.
Found out my hike in New Zealand was cancelled. So...I don't know what I am going to do in a couple of days. I think I am still heading to New Zealand but I don't know where I am going to hike. OH - and the weather in South Australia and New Zealand is cold enough to snow! hehe.
Tonight we are in a cabin at a YHA - in the town of Armidale. The home of the University of New England.