Mission In The Forest With Willow

With 2.2 million people in the city of Brisbane it’s hard to imagine finding a place to yourself – a place where you can forget about the skyscrapers and highways, and the never-ending hum that fills your ears.

However, scattered amongst the urban sprawl and convening suburbs are parks and reserves containing remnant forest – small pockets of forest that have been largely untouched by development.

Willow, Steph, and I visited one of these places on the weekend – Dawn Road Reserve – but we were on a mission.

Our mission was to solve a series of puzzles someone had left in the reserve in the form of geocaches. A geocache is a container containing a log book hidden in the bush – or even the city – which players find based on clues and coordinates given by the cache owner.

If you want to learn more about geocaching or even get started yourself you can find out more at geocaching.com.

Today we were searching for a puzzle cache that took the form of a series of seven caches with questions that need to be solved to find the coordinates of a final cache.

Entering the reserve with Willow slung over my shoulder in her adventure bag we were surrounded by giant ironbarks and dry forest. The wide sandy trail which circled the reserve soon brought us to our first cache.

We discovered it sneakily concealed in an old tree stump. Inside were some tiles which formed a word. Once each puzzle was solved each word was used to determine part of the coordinates of the final cache.

We were soon brought to a lazy creek surrounded by piccabeen palms and ferns, and on a mossy log Willow posed for some photos. Can you see the mosquito buzzing around her left leg in the second shot?

We sat on the log together and I imagined that a few hundred years ago the whole of Brisbane looked like this, a time when the Turrbal people walked this land. In recent times local residents have fought hard to protect this area from development corporations and local government selling it off.

So far they have succeeded, their voices heard, and most now realise the ecological significance of these remaining forests, and as important habitat for wallaby and platypus.

These days, many a runner, cyclist, and dog walker enjoy the park every day. Though I’m not sure how many cats visit?

Back on the geocache search we found the next 6 caches and solved their riddles but we soon realised that a mistake had been made. We had to venture back to the third cache to check our answer.

We now had all the clues. The calculation was made as to the coordinates of the final cache and we were off to the centre of the reserve.

Arriving at groundzero having made our way through the scrub, Steph was quick to find the cache hidden in some grasses – an old ammo box. With delight we signed our names in the log before placing the cache container back where we found it.

We sat on the mossy log and enjoyed the mildness of a Brisbane winter’s day. The birds were carolling and Willow sat enchanted by their calls.

The afternoon was getting late and soon it would be getting cold. It was time to get back to the van, and of course – it was now time for Willow’s afternoon nap. Sleep well Willow! We will have lots more adventures some other day.

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