Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kuranda Rainforest Trails

Just beside Bat Reach was a small trail that led into the rainforest surrounding Kuranda. Halfway through my stay there, I decided to start spending my afternoon hours hiking all the trails. There was only one that I wasn't able to hike. After Pluto arrived, I sent most of my afternoons feeding him instead. The first few steps into wilderness take you over a small creek bridge and then to a map outlining each trail. I took a picture of the map in order to keep my bearings. It wasn't meant for this blog, so it isn't the best picture, but it still gives a general picture.

There were four main paths outside of the city: Jumrum Creek Conservation Park, The Jungle Walk, The River Walk, and Barron Falls Walk. (Only two are in the picture above in blue and yellow.) The last was too far to make there and back without missing a feeding or chore. The Jumrum was the path I had already started on. I only walked it on the first day, but walked it again a few more times during my time in town. I added on the other paths as I had the time. Naturally while going through town I walked the orange and purple trails as well.

There were many birds in the rainforest. I never saw a single one, but boy were they loud. In the evening, insects competed to heard instead. Only the kookaburras overpowered the constant hum of twilight sound. Let me correct myself- I did see one bird- the wild turkey. They were everywhere. There were also tiny lizards along the trees and scurrying away as I progressed down the path. There were other tiny critters running my my feet, but I didn't let myself investigate whether they were cockroaches, spiders, or worse. All of the paths were very obvious and most were paved, so the walking was pretty easy with no damage to the rainforest.

Anyone know what this is in the tree? It wasn't an animal. Maybe fungi or a nest of some kind?

Maybe this is the same thing? 

The path eventually opened up to the Jumrum Creek and twisted right over it to get across. The first time I came down there the water was clear and beautiful. The last time I went down there it had just rained making the water too murky to see through at all. My mind just kept repeating all of the crocodile horror stories I had heard before moving here as I eyed how close the path was to the dark water. Crocodiles can leap out of nowhere, grab you by the torso, drag you underwater to drown, and eat you in pieces over days. Pam had reassured me that crocs lived at least 30 minutes farther north. That was too close to risk in my mind. Anytime I couldn't see all the water, I high tailed it straight back to the house.

Blue dragonfly

I felt a bit spoiled to have stairs on such an easy walk.

The Jumrum Creek trail came to an end with a fork in the path. To the left, the path led all the way back to the center of town, mostly following neighborhood streets. Straight ahead went into the Jungle Walk. 

One thing I love about North Queensland is all the butterflies. Most of them are huge and bold, but fly away before I can get a picture.

These lizards are absolutely everywhere.


When I'm in the outdoors, I like to look up at all the trees swaying in the wind. As I progressed down the Jungle Walk, my eyes readjusted to something much closer. A giant spider! I'm not even being a sissy on this one. It was truly huge! What's worse, it made it's evil torture web directly above the path I had to take. I stood in front of it at a calculated distance of how far I thought it might be able to jump. Every time I'd take a step forward all I could picture was it leaping off the web, and crawling at lightening speed down my shirt, biting and writhing as it crawled on my skin. Irrational? Probably. But keep in mind that I don't know really anything about the spiders here, other than that they are large and most cause pain, if not death. I finally told myself that I had to pass it. I prepared myself and then sprinted full speed under it. Everything in me just wanted to keep running and get out of there. However, the idea of it jumping on my back, where I might not feel at first made me glance backwards to check that it was still there. It was silly how much relief flooded through me to see that stupid spider still up there. I like spiders... You know, in books and television, far away from me. I'll even hold them if I know they're harmless. But put me next to a head sized spider that can run faster than me and might be deadly, I freak out.

Since it was difficult to take a picture of the web, I doodled this fine work of art to illistrate the horror that stood in front of me. (The brown things on either side are trees) Unfortunately, I couldn't display the evil clench of its jaws or anticipatory twitch of its legs accurately in this format.

This was the actual picture of the spider. Turned out to be a harmless Golden Orb. Still not something I'll need to ever see again in my life.

Soon after passing the spider, I heard a loud buzzing sound behind me. It was such a large sound, I assumed it was a dragonfly or similar interesting, harmless animal. Nope! I turned around and found my head directly in the middle of a mosquito swarm. I decided this trail was a booby trap or torture, so practically ran to the next trail, The River Walk.

When I first approached the river, I noticed two large dark circles swimming opposite of each other in parallel lines. It took me a minute to figure out that these circles weren't oddly behaving rays, but rather a shadow cast from the zip line tour of the rainforest. 

Pink fuzzy tree?

I love the moss covered picnic tables!

I found another spider web, at least 10 feet high, but once again, it didn't show in the photographs. There are only a few suspended leaves to show where it stood beside me.

I also refused to get close to this river- even more of a chance of a croc!

I loved the way the trees and their roots intertwined.

Okay so, the "Rainforest Trails" were nothing like trekking through wild unmarked jungles, but it was still pretty cool. Wish I had a better camera for pictures, but hopefully this gave a good enough visualization. Moral of this blog: Always be aware of crocodiles and spiders in Australia!

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