The Ultimate Walk
Sharan who provided Dad with the inspiration
All siblings eagerly agreed without hesitation.
Celebrating the big "six O" needed a special event,
To prove that not all of one's life was spent.
Dad a Noosa to Sandy Cape walk did nominate
The three eldest were in; little fearing their fate.
Young Andrés, showed judgement more mature
He said he'd wait to see; he wasn't so sure.
During the seven hundreds days that were to pass.
The boys bought gadgets and equipment top class
They wanted the best gear which was light weight.
Keith declared his brand best — the "Ultimate".
So bedecked with mod cons including GPS,
They'd all but compass; directions they'd guess.
In Brisbane the brothers first assembled — all four
They'd never all been in the same place before.
After splurging in Brisbane on a food buying spree,
Five forced gear in the Paj and raced for the ferry.
As children they'd spent many a happy day
With grandparents at "Talinga", making play.
Now it was a night with Dad and plans and talk
They dined out at Sid's; tomorrow, The Walk.
A Top Start
The alarm a four o'clock the expedition started;
Adventures like this aren't for the faint-hearted
In inky darkness headlights probed the beach
Ngkala Rocks was their first objective to reach.
Klicks flew as Poyungan and Chards were passed,
Despite the GPS, Keith hit Eli far too fast.
At Ngkala rocks were chopped, holes filled with sand
The red sun rose from the Pacific — a vision grand.
The youngest trio took gear ahead to the Cape.
The elder three walked six klicks to get in shape.
Browns Rocks were an obstacle Keith didn't foresee
Wheels spun in midair as the Paj defied gravity.
They searched vainly round the fishermen's camp for water,
While in the sun rotted mullet from the slaughter.
A brew, then toes dipped in sea at Breaksea Spit,
And put on their packs (and swag) for the first bit.
On the way to the lighthouse, they talked to the Ranger;
Who told them of management problems and danger.
Lunch was consumed with much relish and hunger
Before a sortie to inspect an old wartime bunker.
In the bush below the light, ground orchids grew,
Greenhoods fighting through weeds to get a view.
A few kilometres further they finally reached Bool;
By now for more food Andrés had begun to drool.
A snack, a drink and time for muscles to forget
The elder four then walked on until a great sunset.
The jury sat down for the green flash to await
'Twas no unanimous verdict after much debate.
Rest, sleep and snoring then followed ever faster
After a dinner of carrots, pears, pesto and pasta.
Kee Kee's Unwise Crack
Morning began as daylight the dark attacked.
Yet again John's (Jr.) widdling a car did attract.
Camp was dismantled and gear shoved into the car.
Five Sinclairs set off but didn't get very far.
After just about two kilometres (or maybe three)
Keith stopped in pain, having cracked his knee.
Two kilometres before even reaching Rooney Point
He doubled up with pain from his left knee joint.
No vehicular support here, no turning back,
Just 20 Ks of pain before rejoining his pack.
With ice-gel, a bandage and a stick in his hand.
He hobbling bravely, determination grand.
Around from the point a wrecked cat cruiser lay
Disintegrating under the waves from Hervey Bay.
The "Panama" grounded here 136 years before
While Aborigines fed survivors on this very shore.
The valiant quintet rounded the wide zeta curve,
Pondering the role in Nature soldier crabs serve.
No other human tracks marked this beach pristine,
As wind and tide shaped this wilderness scene.
They lost some joy of feeling wild and free
Crossing Blowah Rocks froze Keith's dicky knee
Andrés helped Keith while three elders were sent
To where Michelle waited with car food and tent.
Rescue and refreshment ended an eventful day,
The walkers were well around Platypus Bay.
Wathumba Creek Waders
'Twas early when the elders and Andrés left camp,
Keith and Michelle packed tents which were damp
Proceeding south they passed professional fishermen
Patrolling for mullet schools every now and again.
They reached wide Wathumba right at low tide,
They could have kept pants on to get to south side
In the estuary were anchored two yachts.
John pined for Laura as he observed two little tots.
The paused in the campground for almost an hour,
And while waiting for the Paj all took a shower.
While the vehicle took the gear ahead
The packless quartet southwards sped.
Passing mangroves, streams, crab armies and more.
Even Beach thicknees inhabit this shore.
Good progress was made with relative ease
But at the "bubbler" Dad sank to his knees.
Arriving early at Awinya — about 2.30,
They erected their camp and got undirty.
Food and baggage had been left at Awinya,
But unbeknown, dingoes had eaten their dinner.
Ration shortages didn't deter after their dash.
They dined on dregs and looked for a green flash.
Eagles clashed, two whistlers and a Brahminy Kite
An overhead duel for a nearby nesting site.
Dad started shivering and rugged up early for bed
Then spent the next hour watching satellites instead.
Into the Storm
A shower before dawn left the tents very damp,
It was nine before they eventually left camp.
Inertia and tranquil scene slowed up the pack
Then creek was crossed, boots on and up the track.
A steeper gradient produced some feelings strange
Despite the aches, the forest was a welcome change.
They paused at an Angophora full of feral bees,
Then passing Gnarran and Whites Lakes with relative ease.
Many topics discussed including Olympic events,
The bland, the sublime, inconsequential, intense,
By a swamp Dad wondered if the islands of sedges
May have come from detritus washed off road edges.
At a picnic ground in a carroll and hoop pine forest
They watched melomys' antics while taking a rest.
A rainforest garden surrounds Lake Bowarrady,
The weather looked ominous as they began early tea.
In icy water with turtles and musk duck
Dad was parasitized by a leech — Just his luck.
Well before second course, it began to heavily rain,
'Twould be another three days to see the sun again.
They retreated to the tents to wait out the long night
But Andrés and Dad got mixed up in a big fight.
The High Point
During the long night down the rain poured,
Three qualified for the "Golden Bladder Award".
Once big trucks travelled the road beside this lake,
They're overgrown now and only pedestrians take.
Backhousia, auracaria, syncarpia, a great rainforest
Drizzle and funnel webs deterred sitting to rest.
Other pedestrians use this track, poorly maintained,
But despite obstacles the Telstra road was attained.
John's estimate of a short detour to the tower.
Was two kilometres short, taking over an hour.
They met two German hikers and a carpet snake,
But further on was the dilemma of which track to take.
The first choice was wrong adding an extra 2 k's
Back the junction with a choice of three ways.
They had no compass or sun to point ahead.
The GPS gave only position instead.
Eventually they reached the spot where Michelle.
Was waiting with plenty fresh food — just as well.
Andrés decided he would temporarily withdraw,
Walking more than planned and got top score.
They then turned east to set up base at Lake Allom,
They had it to themselves, Would any more come?
In their quest they now sought a different scene,
To find the well hidden Deepwater Lake pristine.
After bush bashing they espied this lake elusive,
Enveloped in a wall of reeds, a lagoon exclusive.
At Allom facing a wet night and hard bed,
John and Rastus opted for "Talinga" instead.
Dad and Keith stayed and walked around the lake
Before sleeping, ignoring noise backpackers make.
The Winds of Change
Big surges troubled those returning to Eurong,
It was slow and dangerous taking much too long.
Andrés wanted rest, refusing to lift a finger
He determined to rest and stay put at "Talinga".
Four ascended the ridge of lightning scarred gums
At Knifeblade Lookout they held up their thumbs
Keith took the Paj; Michelle joined the older three
To descend to the sandblow's wind-swept beauty.
Magic sand patterns, even streams and waterfall,
Laterite and ancient tree skeletons enriched it all.
Climbing up the barkhans then down to the beach
Through thickets of scratchies to Thoorgine reach.
Above the foredunes glided majestic wedgetails,
Making most of strong winds freshening to gales.
Lunch was a spartan affair near the old Maheno,
Then on to Eli where most tourists are wont to go.
Dad dallied here; John had trouble with his knee.
Michelle continued; walkers now down to three.
The wind became stronger, but it was rain free.
As they passed Chards Rocks and Happy Valley.
The tide was making as they Yidney was crossed
They found the gear near the Oaks not getting lost.
They dined well that night, not making a welter,
But grateful for the trees providing some shelter.
Talinga on The Beach
At dawn Dad went to the beach to get fresh water
Tho rain suggested that bed was where he oughta
While at Eurong they waited for Paul and Pauline
The Trio up the beach exploring a new scene.
The big waves surged up to the top of the beach
But at Rainbow Gorge they were out of their reach.
Here foot prints revealed a crowd well controlled
And staying on the tracks without being patrolled.
On the beach it didn't rain ,but it certainly blew
Winds buffetted birds as they soared and flew.
Passing Poyungan, they were still going strong
Covering twenty two kilometres to get to Eurong.
Somewhere near Cornwalls Break or there about
Up drove a crowded Pajero on the lookout.
After 24 hours resting his dislocated knee
John resumed the walk, joining the other three.
Lunch was eaten near the Wabby Lakes track exit.
Nothing special more than an opportunity to eat.
Back at Eurong with a chance to rest and recover.
Dad won at "tricks" before the night was over.
Thems the Breaks.
For the sixty year old today stated at five,
Like Milligan he felt "it's good to be alive!"
Others emerged in approximate descending age
Until the youngest of all was last to reach the stage.
The two young lovers needed urgent health repair,
At Tin Can Bay they received some medical care.
The remaining six celebrated "Sixty" walked inland
Where fallen trees & barbed wire littered the sand.
They left the main island road at the Eastern Break,
But past the quarry slow progress did they make.
At a kilometre an hour they covered the ground
Where two decades of fire negligence were found.
They stopped twice to eat fruitos and Muesli bars
Allowing Michelle to admire her increasing scars.
At Markwell's Lookout they paused to see the view
Now obscured by walls of trees grown up anew.
They all sat down to anticipate a birthday lunch
Though there was very little on which to munch.
They followed Markwell's Break with difficulty
Until reaching an old bulldozed area near the sea.
Then they came upon a dense and scratchy thicket
Dad got poked in an eye; it just wasn't cricket.
Almost on hands and knees they had to creep,
Until they reached the swamp full of water deep.
A desperate six waded across to reach the sea
They had covered eight Ks with great difficulty.
Six scratched, scarred hikers, one with a sore eye,
Rested and relaxed at Eurong heaving a big sigh.
That night at Sid's they celebrated Dad's big six "O".
There were now only 30 more kilometres to go.
The Penultimate Day
At just about 9.30, near the top of the tide
The elder three resumed trekking Fraser's East side.
Starting where they left off the previous night,
They walked down to Dilli and then turned right.
With packs on backs, passing an area sandmined.
The track they sought was now not at all defined.
The old swamps trail was with lantana overgrown,
Even its existence to the Rangers was unknown.
After wasting an hour seeking an old walking track
Before retracing their steps, they stopped to snack.
Then back over Govi, on the old mining road,
They were muddied by a 4WD unslowed.
Almost 10 Ks they made towards Toolooroo Creek
But 2 K's short, a campsite they began to seek.
The wind got stronger with cool air from the west,
Amongst the casuarinas they found a place to rest.
Despite plenty of wood and opportunity for a fire
The freshening wind quickly cooled this desire.
Three dined, reminisced, watching star and satellite
Before retreating to their warm sacks for the night.
Doing It Their Way
'Twas today the elder trio made another early start
They had 13 K's to go before they could depart.
Three times Rastus stopped to speak to Michelle.
They had the mobile phone which was just as well.
They liaised with the driver of a Getaway bus
Arranging a lift to Noosa without great fuss.
With the tide very high, the road carried many cars
Vehicular traffic the sense of isolation mars.
Finally they reached the Strait at Hook Point
Keith photographed the end of this epic jaunt.
Then it was to Eurong and to pack and to plan
When Dad turns seventy we'll all do it again.
Next time we will walk the other side of the water
From Noosa to Inskip is certainly be much shorter.