This year's Pilgrimage was held at Camp Laurence at Lake Moogerah. It was very special because it was the 50th anniversary. It was organised by Bushwalking Queensland, the overarching bushwalking group.
There were a wide variety of walks on the program for Saturday and Sunday, ranging from easy self guided walks, to hard mountain climbs. Walks were organised to Mt Greville, Teviot Falls, Mt Maroon, Mt Bangalore, Mt Cordeaux, Bare Rock, Mt Edwards and Boonah-Fassifern Rail Trail.
There was also bike riding and kayaking, and a short self guided walk from camp to Sandy Creek gorge. About 111 people participated in activities over the weekend. A few of the planned walks had to be cancelled because of bushfires. This included ones to Mt Mitchell and Mt Mathieson.
On Saturday, I went on an easy, interesting walk on the Boonah-Fassifern Rail Trail. We drove to the small country town of Boonah where we started the walk. After walking along the side of the road for a short time, we headed off onto the rail trail. Along the way we stopped to look at an old historic graveyard with tombstones dating back to the 1800s, at the Boonah Baptist Cemetery.
After we got back to camp and had a rest, my friend Bea and I kayaked across the lake, and down to a small creek. It was absolutely fantastic and one of the most beautiful kayaking trips I have done. The bird life was prolific, even though the lake was low because of very dry weather.
We kayaked through lots of dead trees with hundreds of cormorants sitting watching us. There were also lots of black swans. I felt like I was in a David Attenborough movie when some swans flew just above us. Unfortunately I don't have an underwater or water proof camera, so I couldn't take photos of the birds soaring above us. I took a camera out kayaking once and it got wrecked. I must buy myself a waterproof one.
In the creek, we saw lots of turtles, or at least we think that was what they were. We just kept seeing heads popping up and then going back under water, as we got closer.
We arrived back at shore just on sunset in time to have a shower, dinner and get ready for the bush dance. While we were having some pre dinner drinks and snacks, we saw an animal on the table behind us. We only got a quick glimpse before it scuttled off into the darkness, but I did get a look at its tale.
It was black like a bottlebrush. I had seen photos of Phascogales but had never seen one before. It was very exciting. I talked to one of the managers at the camp about our sighting. He said there are quite a few Phascogales in the area. I left my wildlife camera up hoping to get a photo, but I wasn't successful. Phascogales are carnivorous Australian marsupials of the family Dasyuridae.
The bush band "Band-O-Coots" were great and we all danced until we were exhausted. A caller walked us through each dance, so everyone could participate. I even did a 'Pride of Erin' dance which I hadn't done since leaving school.
I signed up for a walk up Mt Cordeaux on Sunday. I had climbed that beautiful mountain several times before and wrote about my first trip up there. That time I was very lucky to see an Albert's lyrebird.
The walk this time in Spring was absolutely beautiful. The mountain was covered in flowering Giant Spear Lilies and King orchids.
Maureen and I went for a kayak on Sunday afternoon and headed the opposite way from yesterday. This time we paddled towards the Moogerah dam wall. It was interesting with a side trip up a gorge, but there weren't as many birds and we had to watch out for speedboats and water skiers.
On Monday morning we did another kayak back up the lake where Bea and I had gone on Saturday, but there weren't as many birds around as we had seen in the late afternoon.
It was a wonderful weekend and great to meet people from other bushwalking clubs. The venue was lovely. I did ask if people could book to camp there, but was told it was only for large groups of at least thirty people. If you want to have a function with a large group, it could be worthwhile contacting them. There are also cabins onsite as well as lots of camping areas.
I met some women preparing for a school holiday group to arrive the next day as I was leaving. They were getting some craft activities ready.
The Toowoomba bushwalking club is organising the Pilgrimage next year. I am already looking forward to that, as there are some great bushwalking sites up that way.