Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Oh look, you cut yourself," I said looking at Jeanne's ankle.  "Wait a minute, is that a LEECH???!!!!"  Sure enough, while hiking through Mossman Gorge in Queensland, Australia, Jeanne had somehow picked up a leech.

We were visiting at the tail end of the dry season so it was pretty unlikely to catch a leech this time of year.  Had we been hiking this same trail during the wet season, the entire trail would have been crawling with them.  In fact, the locals told us that during the wet season they also drop down out of the trees and onto you.  "Best wear a wide-brimmed hat," they advised matter-of-fact like.

The leech was tiny; smaller than a small-size caterpillar.  It wasn't one of those huge ones I remember seeing in the scene from the movie "Stand By Me."  Still, the thought of something sucking your blood doesn't bode well with most people.

Mossman Gorge is located North of Cairns, Australia up near the Great Barrier Reef.  It is located in a lush jungle gorge as you head up to Cape Tribulation.  This jungle is one of the oldest on the planet.

The river and gorge are a popular swimming destination for locals and tourists alike.  The primary reason is that the water is safe.  There are no crocodiles that will suddenly snatch you "down under" without warning.  That is a real possibility anywhere near the ocean waters that feed it.  Wrestling crocodiles for my life isn't on my bucket list either!

It's also an incredible place to shoot photographs.  The beauty of the Gorge, the rocks, the crazy roots, the fig trees and their fin-like roots that travel above ground for long distances in search of Earth they can penetrate.  The area is very rocky.

Yes...this actually is the trail...
It had rained just the day before we arrived and the Gorge was still damp.  That breeds leeches we later found out so we were lucky to only have one actually breach our skin.  But the drenching also meant very few tourists and the whole trail practically to our own.  I swear the feeling hiking around there was something out of Jurassic Park!  I half expected to spy one of the pesky meat-eating dinosaurs lurking in the jungle undergrowth.  Turns out the only things I did see were a might bit smaller...

He "thought" I wouldn't notice him...think again, Mr. Lizard, think again!
Not exactly a Jurassic Park Dinosaur...but perhaps a baby cousin...
Though the trail was a bit difficult to navigate with its roots and rocks, being from Oregon we were very accustomed to dealing with such hiking and had no other problems.

Roots have trouble reaching Earth due to rock so they snake to where they can
I'd say this was one of our non-beach highlights of our time in Queensland, Australia...minus that damn leech of course.

Just a little make-shift bridge I made along the way to help cross this gorge... ;)
Yeah, I could have done like other tourists and pretended to be holding this boulder up...
This impossibly large fig tree is threatened just from humans hiking around it...sort of like Redwoods are
Amazing what the fin-like roots would do to find a place to dig in... I couldn't resist just one cheesy tourist pose...


  1. Ah, a leechy creepy forest. Glad to hear there were no crocs! Those trees look a big grabby, though.

  2. reforminggeek - You know, despite the leech, the forest didn't feel very creepy at all. Definitely unusual from what I am used to but it had a fresh, beautiful feel to it. Had a tree actually grabbed me, I might be saying something different...

  3. Did she scream 'Get it off of me! Get it off of me!....' while frantically clawing at her ankle?!?

  4. i am Woody - Ha! I would have expected that but oddly it came off before she realized and then promptly fell through the bridge we were on so we couldn't torture it for information or anything like that. It got her on the bottom of the foot too and both spots still have a mark to this day. Hey...why pay for tattoos? Just have some leaches do an improv one for you!!!

  5. Yeah, travelling Western Australia there were lots of beautiful pools we almost dived into... until we saw the thousands of tiny leeches swimming around! Poor thing!

  6. The Tech Gypsy - Yeah, thousands of that is one way to give blood quickly!