Bluff Point Walk, Yeppoon

6 Sep

Some of you will have noticed that this blog has had a quieter year than normal, particularly the last few months. In May, we returned from a trip to Europe (including attending Gallipoli for Anzac Day) and just a few weeks later, we learned that my dad had significantly advanced, inoperable cancer. The doctors were reluctant to give us a timeframe for how long Dad would be with us. I remember struggling to comprehend that we might not get to have Christmas together, and maybe not even get to go to Fleetwood Mac in November with the tickets we’d purchased a month earlier.

Not sure what we are doing here, but Dad went along with most things!

I first went up to where my parents live in  Yeppoon on the central Queensland coast in mid-June. Mum and Dad picked me up from the airport. We had a really special, normal weekend together. We walked on the beach, watched RocKwiz, went out for breakfast, ate fresh hot donuts (Dad’s and my vice), and Dad superglued an earring back together for me. I wanted to continue to see my parents but also maintain some sense of normalcy so decided I would come up every fortnightly weekend for three nights at a time.

The next fortnight only Mum was at the airport to pick me up. Dad was feeling sick. He went into hospital the next day. I realised we would not have Christmas together, that Dad wouldn’t be going to Fleetwood Mac, and that he might not make his October birthday. He left hospital the day that I left, but was back in hospital for the third weekend. And the fourth weekend. And the fifth weekend.

There were only five weekends. Dad died on 12 August, 11 weeks after he was first diagnosed.

The grief is unlike anything I’ve experienced; both dull and acute. Mostly though, I am constantly experiencing surprise. Surprise that he’s not here. Surprise that there are no more memories to create.

My parents loved visiting Canberra and I loved having them here and showing it off. I also got frustrated if they weren’t in awe of simply everything (and on those occasions it really drove home how much Canberra means to me!). Dad bought a Like Canberra shirt in 2013 for the centenary celebrations and wore it regularly, right up until he passed away.

On that same trip, I took him up to Booroomba Rocks. Dad thought it was a fantastic walk, and driving back we had a deep conversation – making a special place even more special for me. At the time I updated the original Booroomba Rocks post with a photo of him and now, given it continues its reign as the most popular post on the blog, I get some strange comfort that so many friends and strangers have seen my dad.

When my parents visited in March last year, I had them do their own blog post, reviewing their experience in Canberra. A few weeks later, Dad sent me a strange USB in the mail, wrapped in a piece of paper on which he’d simply written Bluff Point Walk. I had no idea what it was and couldn’t get the USB to work. I put it out of my head.

When Dad was diagnosed, I remembered it and asked Mum if she knew what was on it. It turns out Dad had done a review of a walk in Yeppoon which he loved and he sent it to me on the USB – along with a whole heap of photos he took – with the intention that I might publish it on the blog.

I was so upset with myself for not inquiring about it earlier and publishing it. But Dad was never someone who’d be hurt or disappointed or wonder why something didn’t happen. There is some comfort in that.

It didn’t feel right to post it when Dad was dying. It still doesn’t feel like the right time – and I’ve been procrastinating for weeks. Maybe it’s because in some ways it feels like a door is closing.

I’m not posting it because I want support or empathy or comments about loss – I’m so lucky to have been wonderfully supported by such a caring raft of friends and family who’ve filled that role. Nor am I posting it because it’s especially insightful or revealing – it’s not.

I’m posting it because I love my dad. And because the walk is, in his words and my words, highly worthwhile. If you’re ever up Yeppoon way, maybe you’ll think about doing this walk.


BLUFF POINT WALK

Bluff Point at the southern end of Kemp Beach on the Capricorn Coast is one of many volcanic remnants in the area rising to a height of 85m. Although only 2.3km long this is probably the best walking track along this stretch of coastline with a 2m wide crushed gravel and tar walking surface, well laid stone steps and drains to deal with heavy rainfall.

It’s 6:30am and we, Lucy our cattle dog* and I, decide to tackle the steep side first so start from the well maintained picnic area and head along the northern end of the outcrop.

This part of the track is relatively level through low bush, or some may say coastal rainforest, and after a few hundred metres the track starts climbing with alternating stretches of pathway and steps.

It takes us about 10 minutes to reach the first viewing platform – we aren’t in a hurry. The weather is not that great so the view down to the now murky water where turtles and dolphins are usually seen is disappointing. But we can see most of the islands along the Keppel Coast through the wind swept haze and head upwards now across open grassland towards the top.

The views just get better and better as we wind our way up, passing a couple of informative signs about the geological formation of this part of the coast.

At the top there is a welcome bench to sit at and take in the extensive views across Keppel Bay, along the coast and the inland region.

The way down around the southern and western portion of the point is a more gentle gradient with a fairly quick transition to more lush forest type growth.

Our first encounter with any other life, apart from birds, is a scrub turkey sauntering along the track in front of us. Lucy takes a bit of interest as the turkey flies in to the nearest tree but she’s seen plenty before and we walk on.

This downward portion of the track doesn’t have as many open spaces for viewpoints as the native bush growth is quite prolific so we enjoy the variation in tree types and the quality of the track. About half-way down we are passed by the first of about 8 runners, mostly women in pairs out for some early morning exercise. The walking track ends at the park we started at and another sign to read before we head off home. A short walk with plenty of panoramic views and enough variation in height to significantly elevate the heart rate, well worth while!

* Dogs aren’t actually allowed on this walk (!) – Dad realised this after he completed it.

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9 Responses to “Bluff Point Walk, Yeppoon”

  1. Mount Taylor Local September 6, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

    That’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.

    I lost my Mum, so I know how very special your Dad’s review is.

  2. Gary Lum September 7, 2015 at 5:20 am #

    Dear Tara
    I’m sorry sorry for the loss of your Dad
    Your tribute is beautiful
    Truly moving
    Take care

  3. Robert Triggs September 7, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    Your Dad sounds great and was obviously a part of a wonderful and loving family. Sorry for your loss.

  4. Kristy Lock September 7, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Ohhhh Tara this makes me want to fly home to see my Dad and go for a long walk with my dad and dog. Lots of tears whilst reading this and thinking about the importance of family.

    Thanks for reminding me of what really matters, in my busy life, full of work and wedding planning x

  5. Julie September 7, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    Hang in there sweetie – there’s lots of people who know this kind of grief & we’re all sending you love & strength.

  6. MJWC1 September 8, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    Thank you for the opportunity to read this very moving post, Tara, and to learn a bit more about your dad. Your love for him comes through in every word you wrote. I have no doubt he would have been proud.

  7. Nicole - Champagne and Chips September 10, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    I am so deeply saddened by your lost. What a wonderful man. I’m so glad you got to have that first weekend and this post is a lovely little gift to cherish him with.

    • inthetaratory September 13, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

      Thanks Nicole – what a lovely comment. You’ve warmed my night 🙂

  8. whisperinggums September 17, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    Yes, I had noticed you’d been quieter Tara. I just assumed that you’re young and life has got in the way. As a Queenslander myself, I remember your posts about your parents visits. I enjoyed them. Your parents sounded lovely and it brought back the visits my parents made to Canberra when I was first here. What fun we had.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. I haven’t lost a parent so can only imagine what you might be going through. We’ve had some close calls with my father and I have surprised myself with a feeling of panic. It has to happen one day I know, but oh boy …

    Thinking of you x

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