A Collection of Some of My Favorite Things: from science to humor to otters to places I'd love to see someday
Okay, rewind it back! Last weekend was our last big field trip was to Tenterfield, an influential town to Australia that is about 4 hours inland from Lennox Head. There, Lyn planned a ton of activities for us to fulfill that would give us a better picture of Australian culture and history.
We departed early Saturday morning and napped as best we could on the bus. I never get car sick as I always pass out immediately the moment I am strapped in, but this time I wasn’t so lucky. The fact that we were increasing in altitude by winding up mountains and changing gears on a big coach bus, got me a little nauseous. The last 45 minutes of that trip was a little torturous; I was never so glad to touch ground!
We arrived at the Golfers Inn Motel, where atleast 15 Ball State students have stayed with Lyn. The owners there always welcome Ball State Uni students through, and with that we have an outstanding reputation with them. When we finally arrived we were given our motel keys and dispersed to random rooms. Our motel rooms were so cute! They were mini townhouses I swear. Hard wood floors all throughout, two bedrooms (one with two twin beds, the other with a queen), a spacious living room with an extra day bed, a kitchen, and super cool bathroom! The bathroom was literally a room; the shower was not separate from the toilet in respects that there was just a rain shower head and faucets. You could fit a party of 15 people in that bathroom and shower! Everything was fully updated and was so comfortable. Only thing Anna and I couldn’t stand: THE BED/PILLOWS. Most uncomfortable things to lay on in our lives. Neither of us got good rest there, especially with me constantly talking in my sleep and maniacally laughing. Who knew I laughed in my dreams? Anna swore she kicked me to wake me up, but that only halted my laughter to picked up later on in the night…
We ran around checking all of our cool rooms and then gathered on a common porch to an assortment of sandwiches that the owners of the Golfers Inn prepared! There were so many options and all were so delicious. We chowed down as fast as we could and piled back up on the bus to drive to Bald Rock! The mountain wasn’t too far from where we were staying so a short bus ride commenced. All of our hiking gear was applied (got to wear my new hiking boots Dad got me! They’re heaven on my feet). Lyn, our 73 year old professor, does this 1.5 hour trek twice a year every year. Are you KIDDING me? Lyn, keep it going man!
We started off by seeing Thunderbolt’s cave, Australia’s outlaw, which was really cool. The boulder caves were gorgeous. Of course Luke, Enoch, Susannah and a few crazy climbers were in hiking heaven and went nuts. Lyn had to reel us all in to head back to see another spot before we started our hike up Bald Rock. Little Jacob also loved all the climbing; him and Martin were little children in nature’s playground, it was adorable.
We then saw the WWII tank traps that Australia had placed near the mountains to protect themselves from the Japanese. The tank traps were a bit hard to see in the fact that the shrubbery was overgrown covering them. Basically, what was left of them consisted of wooden poles placed strategically in the ground so that tanks could not travel the terrain. They also had a concrete wall on the downside of a hill that blockaded troops and vehicles from crossing, or at least slow them. Those two sites forced me to flash back to Europe when I visited the Berlin Wall in Germany a few years back. To see something in person that you’ve learned about in textbooks for countless years and in photographs, was so incredible. I remember that tingly sensation like it was yesterday. It puts in perspective how a world event, such as WWII, affected not only America and that we were not the only ones to have suffered great losses from it. We constantly tend to think of only ourselves in America: how does it benefit me? It’s about what I want, what I need, what I desire, no body else. It was nice to see how another country dealt with issues that we tend to only think affect us back in the states solely.
We finally made it Bald Rock after our short stops, but not before we saw our first wild wallabys! A few us spotted them on the bus trail up there and our bus driver, Neil (bless his heart), stopped for us so we could stalk them and take pictures. He was laughing at how giddy we got at just a wallaby.
We all stopped to grab water and apples that Lyn provided us before we started our hike. Lisa and Jacob stayed back because this steep climb wasn’t suitable for a 3 year old, nor her knees. Martin was all over our hike like stink on shit! He was cracking us up as we went along, playing African pop music on his phone outloud and and dancing up the mountain! He talked about how he used to climb mountains like these (2 or 3 miles) everyday to go to and from school. We are so spoiled in other countries!
Lyn was setting the pace, leading the group up the trails. Let me tell you, that man can climb a damn mountain! Half the time, us 20 some year olds were asking Lyn when we were going to stop to catch a break! It was a constant incline and we climbed through boulder caves and stone steps, it was fantastic views. It is a national trail that is built, so it is a bit nicer than if we scaled a mountain blind, but didn’t mean it was made for the faint hearted. Here’s a pretty accurate depiction of how all of us felt hiking next to Lyn.
Lyn, what a great guy he is. Full of so much knowledge that I think he’s a better American than the rest of us at times.
We stopped a few times to take in the scenery the higher we climbed, and man that was gorgeous! The horizon was insane and the tree line seemed endless. I was just in awe. My first mountain climb and I couldn’t have imagined greater views. Here’s a few pictures of the mountain near the top or at the top.
It was pretty incredible views. There was a sign in sheet at the top peak in a metal case that we all signed and left our mark! That was pretty cool. We took a ton of group photos up there and chilled out to appreciate the beauty of nature and congratulate everyone on making it up!
We trekked down and man did that seem so much faster! The very last picture depicts us going down a really steep slope. It looked super dangerous when we were at the top of it, but trusted Lyn with all our hearts that it truly wasn’t awful. And it really wasn’t! The only complaint: you basically have no knee cartilage left from leaning back and stopping yourself from falling down.
We piled back onto the bus and made our way to the Deetswood Winery where we learned of how the small vineyard makes it’s wine and of course, the best part, TASTE IT. We had 13 wines we tried and we all left a little tipsy. Good thing we had a bus service to tote us around! I was a kid a candy store, learning the fermentation processes and all the additives to the wine: a microbiologist dream! I think I was the only one asking such detailed questions…my nerd colors definitely showed and Lisa and everyone were cracking up. We all were cracking up after some of the Staggering Cow wine…
Staggering Cow is a type of white wine they make that one season, the cows had the leftover grapes from that season and they all got drunk from eating them! That certain grade and the nutrients within it make the perfect combination inside a cow to get them wasted. Lisa bought a couple bottles.
Flash forward: at the end of this Tenterfield trip, Lyn gave out paper awards to everybody on random assorted talents that popped up. What award did I get? The one who consumed the most wine and asked all the right questions at the winery…what a classy award for such a classy task.
After the winery we all headed back to the Golfer’s Inn where we had dinner and the rest of the night to rest up.
The next morning we all woke up and headed to Inverell, two hours further inland from Tenterfield. There we visited the Pioneer Village that was a historical landmark. The village was completely preserved and the land is famous for it’s rich soil containing…SAPPHIRES! We were all guaranteed sapphires while mining and they weren’t kidding! Not that they were big ol’ hunks, but the amount of tiny ones we all collected through sifting dirt was unbelievable. Alot of them were party sapphires and they are a mix of blues and greens…really pretty. I also collected a few Zircons which came in lots of colors; topaz like, garnet like, amber, yellow, etc. I picked a few that looked topaz and garnet. I was able to find a few good sized sapphires so we’ll see what I can do with them!
After mining for sapphires we ate lunch that the volunteers of the village made for us and then Lyn had a searching assignment for us. We had to go to each building and write something we appreciated about it while exploring and learning about the Pioneer days in Australia. It was really cool to see how everyone lived back then.
After we spent a few hours doing that, we drove down the road and Lyn taught us how to play cricket! It was actually quite fun, but we were so tired. A few of us were a bit crabby since our day had been so long already, but Lyn is so enthusiastic and sweet, there’s no way you can’t put forth some effort. It’s very similar to baseball, yet a little different at the same time. Some professional games can actually last for days, since there is 3 different styles of playing. We of course played the short version, but even that lasted about 2 hours to play a full game. I wasn’t good batting what so ever, but when it came to pitching? I was awesome!! Who woulda thought?! I got two batters out in my pitching sequence, which is most than any other person was able to do. I felt pretty damn good!
We had tea time afterwards (apples and juice) and then headed back to Tenterfield. We only had 45 minutes when we got back to shower and dress up a bit as Lyn had prepared a dinner at the country club for us. It was a delicious roast, au gratin potatoes, corn and peas dinner with a delicious dessert that contained ice cream, chocolate and puff pastries filled with a light cream. Jacob got antsy towards the end and a few us walked outside with him, taking in the beautiful pink sunset over the mountains. Back the motel we went and prepared for a long journey back to Lennox Head. Anna and I couldn’t wait so we could get a decent amount of sleep again and not get motion sick on the bus.
That was Tenterfield in a quick way! It might not seem that way with how long this entry is, but that weekend was jam packed with activities and events. It was exhausting but alot of fun!
Until next time, xoxo