I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. – Henry David Thoreau
It has been some time since my last proper camping trip, so when I heard about Gagaju Bushcamp, I immediately signed on for a 3-day excursion. I must immediately state that it will be a bit longer before I take a proper camping trip, as this site included quite a few creature comforts, but there were strong camping elements involved and a good time was had by all.
The Noosa, QLD area is under quite a bit of suppressive rainfall and has been for the past week and a half. However, I took a chance and a van on Tuesday and hit the campsite with 14 others. Turned out to be a gamble which paid dividends as the weather cleared, allowing us to canoe up the Noosa River to Lake Cootharaba one day and down the river to Lake Cooroibah the next. It’s a tidal river, which blew my mind as it is freshwater. Imagine the ol’ Mississippi changing it’s direction every six hours or so. We paddled against the current both ways the first day and rewarded ourselves with a hearty Guinness at the Apollonian Pub halfway through.
On our way back, we detoured down the placid “black waters” (which were actually just muddy brown) of this River of Mirrors. Two Swiss guys and a French Canadian girl almost sank their canoe trying to pull it up on the banks. A few of us took a plunge into the frigid water via a rope swing. Reto, one of the Swiss, and me climbed about 25′ to an overhanging branch and jumped in while the others taunted us and took pictures. The row back to camp was peaceful, but still strenuous. I looked around at the mangroves, the mountains, the water swirling around my paddle and thought, “This is living.” That night, we all slept like babies.
The next day proved a bit more difficult, canoeing against the wind on some fairly choppy waters. We hit another pub and complained about our sore necks and shoulders. The whole while, we came up with names for our boats based on our home countries. I was on Team U.N. due to our German/English/American mix.
Goon, the given name for all cheap boxed wine here, came into play in a big way the final night. We played card games, drank, sang songs and I may have ended up singing while walking atop the tables, slapping hands with the onlookers – living out my Bon Jovi dreams on a bit smaller stage.
Alas, after 3 nights of sleeping bags, hard ground and cold feet, I’m glad to be back in a hostel with an adequate mattress. I’m not sure this is exactly what Thoreau had in mind, but it was deliberate living. To all the friends I made out there, thank you for a wonderful time and to Noosa, thank you for the bit of sun.