Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Walking in the Wet

On December 21, our daughter Sarah Jane came up from Sydney and persuaded us to go on a trek to the Glowworm Tunnel, deep in the bushland northwest of our home. We drove for miles on dirt roads of questionable condition although our little Toyota Echo bounced cheerfully over the potholes and corrugations without any dire consequences. Arriving at a tunnel which turned out to be the wrong one, we set off on foot from there, and walked about 4 or 5 km to the actual Glowworm tunnel under threatening skies.

The track is the bed of an old railway: hence the tunnels, not to mention the easy grade. As it had been a rainy week, we passed several small waterfalls running off the rocks beside the track.

It had begun to drizzle by the time we reached this little bridge across a gully,
just before the dark, cold tunnel in which the glowworms reside. Having only a small flashlight between the three of us, we ventured in just far enough to see the first ones, sparkling on the walls. Of course, photos were impossible. Sarah Jane told us that the glowwworms spin tiny webs across crevices in the rock, and lurk behind them with their lights on to attract unwary insects on which they feed. Brighter than fireflies, they look like LED points of light against the surrounding velvet blackness of the tunnel.

On our return trek, the skies opened and we were drenched in the downpour. As we headed home to hot showers and dry clothes, we passed a tea tree (Leptospermum macrocarpum?) in full bloom, and later a couple of large grey kangaroos feeding on cleared land.

Despite the challenges of weather and terrain, it was a great way to spend an afternoon with much to see and appreciate.

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