Sunday 27th September – The Lower Portals

Coronavirus Lockdown Day 189

1,157 cases: 1 new (acquired overseas and is in hotel quarantine), 8 active.

Sunrise on Mt Maroon

Some bright lights walked past at 4:24 AM, which was exciting and made a nice change from my “wait until the pain was too great to bare, then roll over onto the other side and wait until the pain was too great to bare” procedure I’d been using to get through the night, then shortly after at 4:45 AM my alarm went off and I got up. Carissa was also up and—after a short wait for Bronwen to get ready—we rushed up to the summit to watch the sunrise.

This time we all took our sleeping bags, so everyone was nice and warm. This turned out to be a good idea, because it was very windy—even windier than yesterday—and also much colder. My thermometer said 6° at one point, which with the wind chill made it feel like -30°. In one of those amazing coincidences that happen far more likely than statistically feasible, the bright light that had walked past at 4:24 AM turned out to be a friend Carissa met while she was walking through Nepal, who she hadn’t met since.

Climbing down Mt Maroon

After the sun rose and the pretty sunsets turned into normal sky, we walked back to the no-camping spot and had breakfast. Bronwen and I shared a can of Mexican beans, and a few Chicos (chocolate flavoured jelly babies) for breakfast, before packing the tent up and heading back down the path towards the car.

My legs were feeling quite weak and I wasn’t looking forward to going back down the scary part—but as often happens, I didn’t find it at all scary going down, and the walk down only took an hour and a quarter.

Once we got back to the car we found that Bronwen had left her window open all night—but surprisingly no one had broken in, not even any animals, which was fortunate considering that we had a pile of salad sandwiches in the car that they could have eaten.

Lower Portals

Carissa left as she had work today, and Bronwen and I drove to the Lower Portals car park to argue about whether we should walk to Lower Portals. The car park was almost completely full, and it was very hot, dusty, and unpleasant, and my legs were tired and sore, so I didn’t think we should go—but Bronwen did, so we walked to Lower Portals.

We left most of our stuff in the car, just taking the one pack with Wallace (the drone) and some water in it—which Bronwen carried.

It took 1 hour 25 minutes to get to the Lower Portals—via a very hot and dusty walk that felt much longer than I remembered. We passed quite a lot of people on the walk, most of which must have been camping because once we got to the swimming hole there were only a handful of people there. I managed to take Wallace (the drone) for a bit of a flight, and Bronwen went for a swim in the very-cold water.

The walk back took 1 hour 20 minutes.

Bronwen removing pathogens Bronwen, Walking to Lower Portals Walking to Lower Portals Walking to Lower Portals Bronwen, Walking to Lower Portals Walking to Lower Portals Walking to Lower Portals Lower Portals Spiky plants at Lower Portals Spiky plants at Lower Portals Bronwen swimming at Lower Portals Lower Portals from above Lower Portals from above Lower Portals from above Lower Portals from above A goanna checking shoes Lower Portals Bronwen with a goanna, Lower Portals Goanna sets up the shot… …takes amazing photo of himself Walking back from Lower Portals Walking back from Lower Portals Walking back from Lower Portals Ned's dirty leg, Walking back from Lower Portals


Bronwen and I drove from the Lower Portals carpark to Rathdowney, where we stopped and ate a can of soup, before continuing on to Beaudesert, where we stopped at a Woolworths for me to buy an iced coffee so as not to fall asleep while driving—and also bought a very cheap chocolate mud cake and some cream filled buns.

The hour’s drive from Beaudesert to home was uneventful.


I’d gone all stiff and wasn’t able to walk very well, and was incredibly dirty, so a nice hot shower the first thing, followed by lots of effort in unpacking the car, then some hot, cheesy two-minute noodles, and then bed.