Trip Start Sep 05, 2009
23Trip End Sep 11, 2010
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The idea of the camp is that you go on canoeing trips through the Everglades during the day and tent camp by night. The bush camp was actually quite nice; it had enough amenities to placate the less hardy among the group, but was still rustic and rough enough to make for an authentic undeveloped feel. For instance, there was a kitchen and lounge area with a pool table and music, but it was in an unenclosed structure, basically just a corrugated metal roof on wood framing
There were 12 others doing the trip at the same time as us, which made for five canoes manned by three people each. To my suprise, there were 9 girls in the group to only 6 guys. Not the numbers you would expect for a bush camp. We set out on the first day for a 7km paddle which took us down river and into a large lake. The lake had a dock which served as a stopping point; we disembarked there and hiked another 2km or so to a secluded section of beach along the Pacific. However, we didn't last long at the beach for two reasons. First, it was windy as heck and the beach greeted all comers with a healthy wall of sand in the face. Secondly, we had passed a remote but conveniently located BWS (beer wine and spirits) stand on our hike to the beach, and there were some British and Irish among us. For those of you who don't know, people from that portion of the world enjoy a cold drink. All the time. So after making it through a compulsory hour at the beach, we headed for the sanctuary of the BWS stand and spent the afternoon relaxing in the shade with some cold brews. The evening paddle back to the camp revealed the canoe manned by Anya, Marion, and myself as the swiftest of the group. This was convenient as it gave us the opportunity for bonus beer breaks while waiting for the others to catch up
The evenings were spent around the campfire, drinking boxed wine and socializing. Much of the socializing centered around the notion of how much of a pain it is to canoe against the tide and how much better it would be if we all just sat around bush camp drinking all day. The Irish were particularly adamant on this point.
Despite these ramblings we set out on canoes again for day two, this time for a 16km paddle in the other direction. The paddle was more difficult, but much more rewarding as it took us down a remote and unpopulated branch of the river and to a fantastically appointed tree. This tree was not fantastic for its genetics, size, or any matter of its own doing, but rather for the fact that it happened to grow at a 45 degree angle from the bank which left it cantilevering out over the river. It was also fantastic for the fact that some visionary had nailed a few 2x4's to the topside of it's trunk to made it moderately scalable and hung a tree swing from its trunk at the midpoint of the river. Needless to say, the little boy in me (which is pretty much all of me these days) was entertained for a good two hours in repeatedly summitting the tree and jumping into the river. The whole group got a kick out of this in fact, though I made sure to climb a couple branches higher than anyone else in an attempt to give an athletic boost to my ego
The trip ended up being a great time. It was refreshing to be on the water all day on a remote section of river, and the setting was conducive for bonding with the other campers. It was also nice getting away from the city for a few days and coming into contact with some of the more natural parts of Australia. I find that a lot of international travelers base their itinerary around cities. This is of course a necessity to some extent and also a great way to encounter a country's people and it's culture. However, I think it is an equally noble goal to explore the rural areas of a country, to escape the built environment and get to know the natural environment and habitats that a region has to offer. Anyway, that is just the opinion of one novice traveler, take if for what it's worth (admittedly not much).
The second half of this week will take me into Noosa, beach enclave and getaway destination for the well-healed. I am also looking forward to a day trip to the Australia Zoo of Steve Irwin fame. As always thank you for reading,