|Beardy Waters Reserve|
We eventually made our way further north along the New England Highway, stopping for lunch just outside Glen Innes after we had turned east on the Gwydir Highway, at the Beardy Waters picnic area. It was established a while back now and used to be a favoured stop with its variety of picnic spots, bench tables and national park fireplaces. Exposed granite boulders and natural grasses leading down to deep pools in the Beardy Waters made it a once attractive spot.
Not any more. The long drop toilets had that bouquet which belong to the bequeaths of neglect and the fireplaces - at least the ones we saw - were rusted to the point of screaming complaint if you made any attempt at lifting their plate. There were a few spots where the grass was short enough to feel safe on this sunny spring day but if you wandered from these, you struggled to still see your knees.
Regardless, we parked down by the creek and broke bread in the comfort of the van and chit chattered ourselves into the afternoon.
Before we hit the road, Sue braved the nearest toilet and decided that not even Victoria Cross winners were that brave, so a lady-like repose beyond view would suffice. She returned as I was taking a few photos of the creek.
Sharp-eyed as usual, she pointed out something swimming rapidly across the creek, suggesting it might be a snake. I was convinced it was just a surface bug and rebutted her suggestion.
“Are you sure? It moves a lot like a snake,” she insisted.
“It’s a bug,” I confidently retorted and then, “no, it’s a snake. Run for the car!”
It was coming straight for us, clearly not by intent, but I didn’t want to be in its unintentional way when it arrived. The car and van lurched up the hill and we took ten minutes to stop laughing.
The next sixty odd kilometres were at times slow, because we are never in a hurry and tend to dawdle up hills but we reached our overnight stop, Boundary Falls by half three.
Boundary Falls is located in the western end of Gibraltar Range, which straddles the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range as it passes between Glen Innes and Grafton. Boundary Creek divides two types of sclerophyl forest and was also the boundary between two large properties more than a hundred years ago. The spot where the camping area has been established was a small timber mill for thirty years, up until the mid 1960’s. The remains of the steam engine which powered the mill lies rusting among the trees and undergrowth that are gradually making it their own. Footings for the huts and buildings can be found within a short tramp.
Back at the campsite, I chopped wood for the fireplace and Sue prepared our jaffles. I must say, the menu proved a shock. Jaffles were the favoured evening meal when we toured Central Australia with the children more than twenty years ago but for some reason known only to Sue, after that trip, they were ripped from the menu. Ever the optimist, I have kept a jaffle iron packed with every rig since.
We opened a special bottle of red, given to me on the occasion of my sixtieth summer by Sal and Al
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Romance would report that I hadn't lost my touch with the jaffle iron, but I had. However, I recovered quickly and they were all eaten.
The wine was superb!