Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Butterflies and Waterfalls at Tully Gorge

Michele: A few days ago we packed into the rental van for a picnic and afternoon in Tully Gorge. With 7 of us, we needed something larger than uncle Larry's Mazda 323 so we rented a Toyota Torado from Sugarland Rentals. Now we get to drive a stylin' vehicle with Sugarland Rentals emblazoned in large letters across both the rear window and the top of the windshield. Hee haw! The advantage of having one vehicle is that now the grandparents, Gavin and I all get to hear the kids whine about the drive.

Anyways, we set up for Tully Gorge, about 45 minutes drive inland and had a wonderful picnic at a park/campground alongside the Tully river. At the moment, the river has recent crocodile sighting placards posted. Last month a 2 meter long croc and a 1.5 meter long croc were spotted in this popular swimming hole. Ok, no swimming for us here. The park also has a short butterfly track. Australian tracks really seem to deliver their promises. The Magnetic Island track that advertised koalas had an adorable one just next to the track. This Butterfly track had scores of butterflies include the Ulysses that is distinct to this area. Robin and Grandma Lorna enjoyed the track so much that they walked it twice.

After lunch we headed up river to a good swimming spot. The crocs can't go up many of the rapids so if you head up stream you can get away from them. The spot that we
went to is popular with the white water rafters and the people who watch them. The hydroelectric plant releases water at noon each day. Fortunately, the crowds had all left before we we got there and we had the whole river to ourselves.

Across the river was a delightful waterfall and evidence suggests that in the wetter season there are two water falls. The rocks here are columnar basalts. Floating under the basalt ledge looking up at the columns was uber-cool even for the non-geologists. In the above photo Gavin has just floated under the waterfall. The current was pretty strong so we had to take care to get across. This involved a lot of upstream walking before across-down stream swimming.

The Ulysees and Blue Triangle butterflies are attracted to blue colors, which they think
are other butterflies ready for the mating. Well this poor Blue Triangle butterfly in the photo at right mistook my mom for a like-minded butterfly lookin' for lovin'. The blue of her bathing suit exactly matched the blue of the butterfly. This fellow stuck around for a long time; he was persistent.

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