August 14, 2007: Conservation Project & Things

thursday was spent doing school work, packing, and of course recapping the amazingness of the concert with ryan. william had the voice of an angel and gabe busted a move up on that stage but i wont bore you with all the details about how i love music and bands and basically loved every second of it. oh, excpet when this crazed girl decided she was going to shove herself to the front and lay on me bc she didnt want to stand and i almost put my gum in her hair. ya.
so friday morning was an early start. we were supposed to arrie by 8:30 so as not to miss the bus. However our guide took two hours to get there and, well, we were all a little less than pleased. granted traffic was intense but him sitting and having a cup of coffee for another half hour was a little pissy. He did start to explain some of our duties, the accomodation, and brief of on safety though. We then proceeded to pile into a troopie which is like a 4 x 4 with two benches in the back and definitely bumpy on the road. i was sort of sitting there going “what type of unorganized chaos did i sign up for” in my head….until we got to the accomodation. It was this run down house in the middle of dried up farm land. wild roos and horses roamed the land and the place was falling apart. It was absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t have been more excited. After sweeping and a bit of cleaning and unloading, Damien (the leader) informed us that the power had been cut. On one hand i hadnt expected power, but having thought we were going to have power this was a bit of a bummer for some of the group. Damien felt really bad and was trying to get us another place or cut the trip short, but honestly coming that far and not having had expected much, i was psyched. In fact the whole group was chill about it and we were excited to stay. We had a system of flushing the toilet and knew we could cook by fire….it was all good. As part of the initial settling in day, we headed to town to get some groceries and supplies for the night.

When we returned ryan and i headed out into the woods to find fire wood. all the plastonians in the family would have been proud. I was all over that vatra. damien showed us which trees were the eucalyptus which were the best for burning so we collected as much as we could. It was funny because the rest of the girls (oh  ya it was all girls and ryan) came out to get some sticks as we were walking back with these giant stacks of wood. I also prepared a good old nove sokil delicacy of potato in foil in vatra. it was good times. a lot of stories and logs later we were ready for bed. the stars were absolutely brilliant and super clear causing ryan and i to have the wonderful idea of sleeping outside. lets just say it was freakin cold. We kept getting so close to the fire that i thought i was on fire and had to keep asking ryan every two seconds if i was smoking. about 4 am the dew had covered us and i was shaking so we decided to head back in and actually sleep. It was so cool though and im really happy we did it.

Next morning we packed lunches and headed up to the top of mt tamborine. Our project was to clear and plant in one of the corridors connecting various reserves. Because it wasnt a whole park it was next to the private property of a couple known as olga and leon. they were so nice and cute. Also they are extremely involved in building up the corridors in addition to keeping up their private property. The location was gorgeous. There were these horses that were allowed to roam there as well. I honestly think that i found a place that i would truly want to live. It honestly looked like a painting while you were standing there. In anycase, our work was to be done up the mountain so a hiking we went. it wasnt that far it was just really steep. We broke up in threes and my group went into this tunnel of overgrowth. The first day was spent clearing the weeds. sounds basic at first and technically it was. However the “weeds” were the size of trees. nice. It wasnt necessarily easy but it was doable and it felt really good to see our progress. Somehow i got up onto this tree and was pulling “weeds” out of the canopy and stuff like that, it was crazy. we got a huge section cleared.

time around the fire was a little quieter saturday night as we were all wiped out. this time we chose to sleep indoors and use the indoor fireplace as warmth. bad idea. it totally smoked us out and lets just say falling asleep was pretty quick not just because we were exhausted. I was excited though because i did manage to peep my head out of my sleeping bag to notice the sun was rising. i whacked ryan with a pillow since hes into pics as well. we went out side saying only “i cant even see”, snapped some shots, and went back to sleep for an hour.

We were way tired but had less work ahead of us so we tried to keep the moral as high as possible. Unfortunately, the troupie is a bumpy ride up the mountain and i was really dehydrated bc i didnt want to pee every two seconds. aka. i puked when kaitlyn said she had to stop bc she was feeling car sick. Thank goodness she said something or the would have been chunks everywhere. i was still pretty shaky til lunch when i had a chance to drink and eat. I did manage to plant 8 trees all by myself and help with a few more though, so i felt alright about it. That was our project for the day. 120 trees planted. pretty sweet since we were expected to do 70.

feeling refreshed after lunch we decided we were still up for a rainforest hike that damien had offerred to take us on. Ryan and i lagged behind the whole time bc we were taking pics. it was really cool though. By sunday night i cant deny my hip was sore, but it wasnt too bad considering the work i had done on it. The rainforest was beautiful and we saw a lot more wildlife than expected. there were kookaburras, parrots, cockatoos, wild turkeys, some crazy ant spiders, a bandicoot, and some other rat looking thingy.

it was such a great weekend and probably one of the top things i will do while im here. unfortunately it doesnt look like i will be able to volunteer outside of this experience so im glad i had it. oh i almost forgot….kathryn got a tick. that was fun. it wasnt bad though and Damien got it out right away.

go check out the pics. it wont do it justice but you can have a taste. there is nothing quite like being grubby, helping the environment, and enjoying your natural surroundings.

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