Wednesday 11 October 2017
Photos by Denise, Karen and Rosalie
With great anticipation, 16 walkers led by Mark N set off on the 13km return lower half of the Corn Trail in the Monga National Park. This historic walking track was originally used by Indigenous people on their seasonal travels between the coast and the tablelands, then later by European settlers on pack horses carrying supplies. The first part of the walk passed through cycads, cabbage palms, tree ferns, towering eucalypts and many blueberry ashes. Birdsong filled the air. After clambering over a fallen tree it was time for morning tea at a dry creek where a number of us commented on the warmth and high humidity.
The sound of cicadas rose as we headed on and into the rainforest. It was like entering into another world – trees cloaked in moss, ferns and climbers, and thick vines twisting their way up to the sunlight. Bob T pointed out a stinging tree with plate sized leaves – we didn’t touch them to check his identification skills! A community of birds nest ferns was happily living at various altitudes on accommodating trees – some ferns were enormous. Mark N spotted a solitary orchid keeping company with delicate ferns on a tree branch.
Lunch by the Buckenbowra River was lovely. It is the classic river with round pebbles worn smooth over thousands of years by the crystal clear water. An eel darted off under the rocks, little insects skated around on the mirror-like surface and friendly leeches and a tick joined us for lunch. The rock orchids clung to the rock face but there were few flowers due to the dry winter – we’ll just have to come back next year! Rob L found a dark grey rock with many fossilised shells easily visible – we could only marvel at how long it had been there.
On the way back, the group was less chatty than on the walk in. Perhaps the warm humid day had taken its toll – or maybe we were just in quiet contemplation of the beautiful, peaceful place we had just left behind. Thank you Mark for leading a truly memorable walk.