Thursday, December 2, 2010

Exploring the Rainforest

We awoke this morning and suited up for a day in the rainforest. We had made the awesome discovery yesterday that breakfast was included with the room we got, so we had another tremendous breakfast from the international breakfast buffet (which included traditional stuff like eggs and bacon, Aussie stuff like baked beans, and Asian stuff like rice and soup). We were picked up in a very Aussie looking 4WD vehicle, by a man wearing what you would expect to see on an Aussie rainforest guide. He introduced himself as Kevin, and loaded us into his 4WD. It was a tight squeeze in the back, we had to duck our heads going into and out of the back of the vehicle each time. He chattered at us the entire stretch of road leading out of the city and toward the mountains in the distance. I felt like I needed to be frantically taking notes, because there was no way I was going to retain all the information he was throwing at me. We stopped on the side of the road on the way up the mountains and saw enormous bats hanging in a tree. They were a colony of fruit bats, the same gigantic bats I saw flying in Darwin in the early morning. We continued up the mountain and saw the deadliest snake in Australia crawling across the road on the way up. "It's definitely going to be a reptile day," said Kevin. We finally reached our first stop, seeing a bush turkey and a tree that was hundreds of years old. The highlight of the trip though was our drive through the section of the jungle that is off limits to anyone without a permit. We had several river crossings, which is something I have never experienced before. The coolest thing we saw on this trail was the fig tree. It looked like something straight out of Fern Gully or Avatar, which is essentially the same movie with millions of dollars difference in the budgets. The tree was enormous and made from growing vines over another tree. Eventually the original tree dies and you are left with an enormous tree of vines. It was an amazing sight.
After a day exploring the rainforests just beyond Cairns, we headed back down the mountain and back to Cairns. We spent the evening reflecting on the day and saving our pictures. Tomorrow we fly to Sydney for our last couple of days in Australia. Matt flies out on Sunday. I can't believe 3 months has gone by this fast.

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