April 2 – 4, 2014
By Becca Zilk
We spent most of April 2nd working on and presenting our experiments on fire ecology and on social behavior of animals. I really enjoyed listening to the presentations, especially the ones on social behavior of animals, because I learned a lot about different Australian animals from my peers. Two of these projects were on pretty faced wallabies, one was on apostle birds, and as Gabby previously detailed, ours was on social behavior of ants and termites. After dinner we decided to watch Finding Nemo in order to get ourselves into the proper mindset for studying marine animals at Heron Island, where we will be snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. We also felt obligated to watch this “Australian film” because many of our lecturers have discussed aspects of it in parts of our lessons.
|Exploring Carnarvon Gorge|
April 3rd was our last day at Carnarvon Gorge. We had a few optional hikes planned for those who were keen. One of the hikes was a dawn walk to watch the sun rise from atop a bluff. I had been planning on going on this hike, but my foot (which Sierra mentioned in her blog from March 2nd-5th) has still been giving me trouble on and off and had been hurting all night. I decided to sit out that hike. It turns out that was a good idea because the other students reported that it was basically a scramble in the dark up a very steep slope. The other hike that was offered was a pretty intense canyoning adventure that involved swimming across rivers and rock climbing. This sounded like a ton of fun and I really wanted to go, but climbing would have been really bad on my foot. Instead, I stayed at camp, finished the book I had been reading, and went for a swim at the swimming hole near camp. We had a pretty quiet evening and an early night, as a lot of people were tired from getting up early and going on two strenuous hikes.
|Sunrise over Carnarvon Gorge|
The next day started off with an efficient pack up of camp. By 11am we had all piled back onto our home away from home, the tour bus. Three hours later, we found ourselves at a cattle station called Kroombit, in Biloela, Queensland. This station had turned to tourism to subsidize the station during times of drought and has basically become a dude ranch. It was a very bizarre experience and took some getting used to. Almost all of the people working there were not Australian, but backpackers working for their room and board while trying to get their 2nd year visas. The evening’s activities started with trying out the mystery meat (which was kangaroo) and continued on to learning how to crack whips, line dance, and ride a mechanical bull. All of these things felt very touristy, but it was fun to just let ourselves relax and have fun for the evening.
|Our Home Away from Home|
We will learn more about the history and how the station traditionally functions tomorrow.
Until next time,