13 June 2008

Carnarvon Gorge & Central QLD Highlands

hi there.

the internet is rediculously expensive in Central Queensland, plus no image editing means it takes ages to upload raw files!
soOooOo, i'm just gonna put a few up for now and share an 'adapted extract' from an email I sent my family, it pretty much sums up what's been happening.

the last week has been quite an 'experience'

I've hit rock bottom indeed, and dead centre 'the space within and around the thoughts'
When I woke up in Miles, after packing up my gear .... I couldn't find my wallet ... I looked everywhere for it, getting quite upset with myself (thinking I'd 'misplaced' it, as you know I do sometimes) ...

so after a long and tedious search that lasted well over an hour, I went to the toilet and saw it sitting on top of a washing machine... someone had found it on the ground !!!! ahhh what a good feeling...

then I found they had taken the money out of it, oh well it was only 50 dollars or so, atleast they returned the wallet ~ but still left a bitter after-taste in my mind

and THEN, i could't fit the trailer on the bike, it just wouldn't fit... the quick-release attachment had bent a tiny fraction.... so frustrating and just made me really angry..

the more I struggled the worse it became !

ahhh, the frustration.

and eventually i stopped, took a deeeeeep breath and sat down ... and just observed all these negative thoughts and emtions stirring in my mind.... who is this watching this happen ??

big deep breath.....snnnnNnNnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

observer and the observed .... mmmmm

after a breif 5 minute calming-abiding meditation .. i tried again, and of course the trailer fitted straight away...

the power of meditation to create 'gaps' in consciousness is just incredible.

so i hit the road eventually and made my way halfway to roma, camped out in the state forest... just beautiful ... I lit a fire and made a big yummy vegie and rice meal

oh the stars. shivers.

the next day I made it to roma and contacted 'Bloss' in the Arcadia Valley, she was heading to Brisbane for the next week, so alas it wasn't meant to be just yet ... I also received an email from both my wwoof contacts in Mackay... and they are BOTH out of town ~

the feeling was that after Carnavon I will just head all the way up north, via the inland route (which is quite nice and that would mean I'd be up there !~ very soooon, in time for the Winter Solstice Gathering)

so a couple of days later and I'm not far from the Carnarvon Gorge turn-off... feeling fresh and alive ... my legs are pumping along without any effort.

by Sunday Morning there was virtually no trucks or even cars on the Road, it's a bizarre feeling after the past few days of big triple trailer road trains wizzing past

out of no-where the loudest "BANG" scares the living daylights out of me!!!!~

my tyre blew-up !!!!!! shit ... fuck

I didn't expect that to happen !

my mind races through all the possibilities ... what'll i do ... it's the weekend ?

and the closest bike shop is hundreds of kilometres away ... and it won't open until tuesday!

I decided to hitch with my gear, hoping that someone will give me a lift to the Carnarvon Turn-off ... within 20 minutes a really nice man picks me up (who is working on a gas-field near rolleston)

he drops me off at the Carnarvon Turn-off ~ I get my backpack and load it up with all I'll need for the next few days up in the Gorge.... i'll deal with the tyre in a few days !!!

so after hiding my bike, panniers and trailer in the bushes .... I stick my thumb out and await one of the many 'grey nomads' to give me a lift 40km into the Gorge ~

and along comes Laurie, a most unusual character, super friendly ... he is in his mid 50's ... a little overweight... a bit like a wombat really ... very slow to express what he wants to say ... but warm-hearted and quite a thoughtful man.

so it happens that Laurie has a mountain bike in the back of his car... along with 3 fishing rods and a thousand one other items that just were never going to be of any use up in the Gorge~@!

WOW, synchronicity indeed... what are the chances of a mountain biker picking me up ?

So we get to the gorge and it's 18 dollars a night to camp at rip-off-takaraka camping !! or just $4.50 to camp at "Big Bend" ! the catch being a 10km walk in the gorge ~

big bend it is !~

I organize to meet Laurie on Tuesday afternoon, when he'll give me a lift back to my bicycle and sell me one of his Tyres (really good one too! michellyn?) his bike is worth 7 grand !! eek

..... so alas the gorge was absolutely beautiful, I had it all to myself ! with probably 30 to 50 grey nomads camped back at Takaraka.

I can't put the gorge into words ... it's absolutely Gorge-ous !!!! (hehehe aren't i punny !)

I'll try and get some photo's up .... massive old-growth Cycads (Macrozamia mooreii) and the Carnarvon Cabbage Palm (Livistonia nitilida)

it's one big long gorge for 30 km... but most of the lush rainforsty bits are in side gorges ... all with different names and features.... one gorge has the only remaining "King Ferns" left in central queensland ... just 17 specimens ... huge big ferns .. awww so juicy.

and one of the side canyons is really just a massive split... where you can touch both sides.. covered in moss ...

absolutely beautiful beyond words... and the birdlife. ... ahh so much spriteful energy.

but on my first morning .. exploring the upper gorge section ... I realized there was an overwhelming sound of nothing ?

no birds ... not even water running .... no wind .... nothing .....

just my thoughts commenting the sound of nothing ... with a few gaps of litterally just presence ??!!!!


I took a big deep breath.



so i spent the next couple of days exploring and taking photo's and got to meet "Jack Conway" an Indigenous man of the area.. who did a walk and talk through the gorge. . such a wise old man... very funny and very loving ...not at all jaded about his people being taken from their beloved land .... he just wants people to learn about indigenous culture and learn about the need to live in harmony with the mother earth ...

so on tuesday afternoon laurie took me to the turn-off and we fixed the bike up ... he took off and I packed up my things ...

BUT, alas ... i couldn't find the quick-release connection that connects the trailer to the bike ?

i looked all over the ground .... it was no-where ?

I quickly sunk into a living hell.... I just wanted to get back on the road and find a nice camp spot away from the highway...

every negative emotion and thought came bubbling to the surface ?

i cursed myself ... i cursed the great spirit ... i cursed every-thing ~

after walking over 50km in Carnarvon Gorge .. i was well and truly buggered, so my tired body and mind didn't think to stop and meditate ... to calm down ... to tune into the inner-tuition (intuition)

i looked everywhere .. in the bushes where the bike was... all around the side of the road .

until eventually i just gave up ... i lay on the ground and gave up ... fuck it ... the crows can eat me ... i was so hungry but didn't have the energy nor the will to cook some food.

eventually I realized i'd have to set up the tent and deal with this delemna in the morning

... one tiny little bolt ... that's all i could think ... where the FUCK is it ? hahahah

I slept well...

I dreamt that I was looking in the bushes where the bike was and that I found the bolt under some grass ...

it was so real... the dream ... i woke up and thought AHHH

maybe that is where the bolt is .. and ran over to the place in the dream !!

YAY !!!! i found it .... it was there. .. just like in the dream...

hahah, and then i woke up again....

i felt more settle and just accepted the flow of things ... i had another look but to no avail.

than i thought, hmmm ... maybe its back where the bike broke down in the first place.

yes, the feeling was strong... to hitch back to the spot (luckily next to a river that said "second crossing")

I got a lift within 20 minutes and there it was ... sitting there on the side of the road !!!

(that was this morning) .... ohhh god it felt so good

i sang and skipped and gave thanks to all that i cursed just 12 hours earlier ~

and so I rolled on to a town called 'Rolleston' where the universe took good care of me.

after asking some local where a good place to camp would be, they sent me to one of their 'other' houses across the paddock where there mate 'Neil' was camped too, he had 2 caravans set up and a hotshower, toilets.... 5-star living mate.

you wouldn't beleive how nice this character was, he made me a cupper and after I had a shower... he heated up a big meal (that his wife made)
he must have sense my hunger, so he cooked me up another one ..... and eventually another one ! and another 8 cuppaz' ~

we listened to the State of Origon on the Radio but mostly just talked about life in the Country.

Neil's the kind of man who you can sit with in silence and feel totally comfortable, just sipping tea and contemplating how nice it is to be sipping tea.

and So I've now worked out that if I travel 116.7 km average per day, I'll reach Innot Hot Springs where a 4 day Winter Solstice Gathering is being held... on the 20th of June (1050km north of Rolleston)
I got up early and Neil heated me up another one of this wifes delicious home cooked meal.... It felt soooOoO good to eat some meat!!!
I've decided I can't be a cycling vegatarian, I'd shrivel up and die. Though I beleive the average person eats twice as much protien per day as they need (not to mention sugar!!!) and the production of meet (especially beef) has a massive ecological footrprint ~
and so yeh, now I'm in Emerald and last night I met my first fellow cyclists

she's from Melbourne and is planning to cycle to Darwin eventually to teach in Aboriginal Community.
awesome connection, great to share our Journey and experiences.

more photo's up when I find a computer with image editing.

Peace, Blessings and Abundance to you all ...


Matt said...

Wow, what an adventure packed full ups and downs and blessings abundant.
I loved reading it as tears building in my eyes helped create the picture. I hope you can get to the solstice gathering. Glad you found your Q R attachment by following your intuition. Enjoy the warmer weather, Kyogle has just turned a bit snappy.
Blessings and miracles.

Komodo said...

Loving it Pauly, dig deep in your moments of need. Yours holes will be deeper and your carrots straighter.

Jondy said...

Paul you are such an inspirtation! What an amazing journey!!

Carlie said...

I love this blog Pauly, it is full of wonders...thanks for bringing a bit of your travels to the friends of Sherbrooke XX