Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Friends of the Forest

For Jonathan's first foray into Australia's wet tropics, we drove up the windy Macalister Range that cradles the town of Cairns in a voraciously green bear hug. The mountains' steep ascent took us from sea level to 1,200 feet in just a few kilometers.

Nestled within the heights are the Atherton Tablelands. 
Here, a unique blend of altitude and weather create a farmer's haven high above the ocean's sharp reef. Rolling plains, stately oak trees, and content bovines are more reminiscent of the English countryside than rugged Australia. Yet the Tablelands are very much a part of  Oz. 

Jonathan and I were driving through the area to see Barron Falls, where the Barron River plunges from the fertile soil of the Tablelands to the costal plain around Cairns. 
Now, as a rule, whenever my twin and I travel together the weather gets up to mischief. So naturally, when we finally made it to Barron Falls the clear sky instantly flooded with clouds and released a torrent of rain. Which would have been ok, if we didn't have to hike through a forest to get back to our rental car.
While plodding through the dense forest, Jonathan came to 3 realizations. In the tropics there are:
1) Big plants
2) Big spider webs 
3) And, consequently, big freakin spiders
The spider is on the top right, incase you're having trouble spotting it (it's about the size of Jonathan's head).

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