Today I got up at 5a to go meet a German named Steffi and her French friend Sammie to go to camping in Girraween National Forrest. I immediately noticed they were a bit... different - rather cold and abrupt, but it wasn't until later that I realized just how strange they were. I actually found out within the first hour that Sammie was, in fact, a stripper... yet I assumed nothing of her personality. We eventually arrived in a small NSW town called Tenterfield and made a relatively short drive up to Boonoo Boonoo for our first excursion.
After having a quick barbie we found that Boonoo Boonoo had only a short trail to the waterfalls.
We then hiked through a tall moist forest to climb the largest granite dome in the Southern Hemisphere, an ancient 220 million year old volcanic extrusion called "Bald Rock."
We scaled some major slopes and managed to make it to the summit overlooking vast amounts of forestry and one particularly cool rainbow coloured flow of rock.
We also found some roundish boulders balancing at the top called "The Brothers."
On the way back down the girls looked a little bored so I jumped out from behind some rocks and gave them a little scare... they did not appreciate the gesture. For the rest of the trip my input would be requested only for the sake of doing the complete opposite. Back at the car they asked me where to camp then, when I said "here is fine," they decided we would drive back to Tenterfield where I could set up my tent for $10. On the way I suggested checking the GPS but this was clearly a profound waste of energy... until we ended up 20km south of the town... my fault, of course. We arrived in the town and followed the instructions given to me over the phone down Miles St; a street that, to my dismay, continues on both sides of the showgrounds where we would be camping. I sat back as a frenzy of bitter confusion ensued but, thankfully, we eventually found our way over to the entrance on the other side. The attendant was nice enough to let us in for $5 at which point I set up my tent and immediately passed out inside. That night it was cold and rainy, every hour or so I could hear the girls starting up the car to keep warm - they didn't exactly have a proper sleeping bag, and they were sharing that, so it must have been pretty uncomfortable.
This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that my tent had held it's own against natures fury the night before. After attempting to bid the girls a "good morning" I packed up and joined them in the car. We had a quick brekky then headed back to Girraween.
There we played with some kangaroos and grabbed some rather disgusting water from some sinks which were the only apparent water source in the park.
During the first leg of our hike we stopped in at the Granite Arch - an arch of three boulders formed naturally by erosion.
Many similar formations were created this way.
Finally we arrived at the Pyramids which were pretty impressive and rather similar to Bald Rock, if not just a bit steeper.
I quickly made my way to the top and waited while the girls made their way up the hard way.
After the girls joined me at the top we headed back down and had lunch. Then we made our way back and found some decent water in a tank hidden behind one of the buildings. Our next hike was up to Castle Rock where Sammie decided to stop just short of the finish, so I continued with the agreement that I would catch up in a bit.
Though, it would seem my intention to "catch up" was not understood and, despite my most diplomatic efforts, the rest of the trip was tainted with ever increasing angst and distrust from the girls. Upon our return to the car I was hesitantly elected to drive. This hesitation increased as we drove into what appeared to be a snow drift... in Australia?
About an hour of backseat driving later I was feeling a bit unsympathetic... at this point I may have made a few references to their poor language/communication skills, double standards (calling me "stupid" then getting offended when I couldn't understand their "funny accents") and my generally misunderstood goodwill. This surprisingly led to laughter but I suspect there may have been a murderous undertone to it... As we approached my home I had the distinct impression that, if not for the rest of my financial contribution sitting in my closet, my return trip would have come to an abrupt end long ago. With everyone's last bit of patience hanging by a thread we managed to reach my house as Steffi was turning into a bit of a rage monster - cutting corners and basically trying to flip the car. I handed them the money while simultaneously grabbing my gear, as if in some sort of hostage exchange, then hurried off. Just then Sammie attempted one more jab at me saying something along the lines of, "I'm looking forward to never seeing you again" to which I replied, "love you too" and retreated before another word could be said.