Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cape Tribulation and our nightwalk

After returning from our dive trip (not nearly long enough) we rented a car and headed up the mountains to the rainforest.  A few hours drive north landed us right in the middle of the Daintree rainforest.  We stopped at the Daintree Conservation center, in the hopes of seeing a cassowary.  It was unfortunately not worth the money we spent, although we did get to see the Gympie Gympie (stinging tree) that I mentioned in my first post.  After the center we drove up the road to another hiking spot, which was free, where we saw a good deal more wildlife (still no cassowarys, alas) and had an all around good time hiking through the rainforest.  We checked into our hostel and got ready for our night hike.

The hike started with a small talk about the area we are in, and the fact that the Daintree is still to this day mostly untouched by humans.  Even the aboriginal people didn’t travel into the rainforest, as it was too hard to eke out a living in that area.  We were given our torches and Joe strapped on his headlamp (thanks Rich!) and we headed out.  We saw several very large spiders, two sleeping Boyd’s tree dragons, a small frog, a large cricket, and a very beautiful strangler fig.  I also licked the backside of a green ant.  The green ant secretes ascorbic acid (vitamin C) out of its’ abdomen.  After biting you, it turns around and squirts the acid into the bite.  Jerk ants. The aborigines used to take nests of the ants and make a tea out of them for the vitamins.  Mmmm…ant tea.  That concluded our night walk, and all tuckered out Joe and I fell promptly to sleep.

The next day we headed back to Cairns, stopping off at the small town of Kuranda on the way back.  We wandered around the shops there for a while, and headed into the “Venom Zoo”.  There we got to see 5 of Australia’s most venomous snakes, as well as a good deal of spiders and scorpions.  I even got to hold a giant cockroach. Then back to Cairns to pack up and rest before our south-ward bound adventure.

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