Cooktown and My Snake Encounter on Mount Cook

I left Cairns and drove about 4.5hrs north to Cooktown, a historical town where Captain Cook arrived in 1770 and wan’t too friendly with the local Aboriginal people.

My first stop was the James Cook Museum which was previously the Sisters of Mercy convent school turned in to a museum.

This housed lots of Aboriginal arts crafts and history as well as Chinese history and of course James Cook and one of the anchors and cannons off the Endeavour. Thrown overboard when they were trying to repair the Endeavour after it hit the reef in 1770.

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Next up was to meet my friends Jennie and Mike that seem to be popping up as often as snakes in my blogs.

I met up with them and we were soon off wandering around the local grave yard, yes these seem to be strange friends I’ve found that like seeing dead people.

Anyway the graveyard was very interesting as Mike was armed with notes on all the graves and gave us a description of the most interesting ones.

It wasn’t long before we were heading for danger in a croc infested waterways, which apparently was a local walking track to town.

Between the two water bodies was a very narrow enclosed path that had many hiding spots for any of the local crocs that might like to ambush us.

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Poor Jennie couldn’t decide wether she wanted to be eaten first second or last and kept running from the back to the front of the line.

I’m not sure we could call this a stroll into town as most of the time it was a heart racing brisk walk with a game of leapfrog thrown in by Jennie who only she new the rules.

Arriving in town and we managed to have all our body parts and members of our team so we headed to the pub for a celebration and to get out of the rain.

Where to our surprise we found a black and white photo of a 8.5m croc hanging on the wall. Not sure if it was a locally caught one or not, we didn’t enquire as we were enjoying our ciders and hot chips.

The next day we decided to stay well away from the crocs and climb Mount Cook as it sounded a much safer option but we were wrong.

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This is a 3hr hike straight up the mountain from almost sea level to 431m which is not a bad effort for an early morning climb.

As we look up at the cloud covered mountain that looks like something out of Jules Verns novel, Mysterious Island. We set off hoping that the cloud will lift or get blown away in the next few hours as we hike the summit of Mount Cook.

There is some amazing plant life, some look beautiful and some can inflict deadly cuts if you were to grab them.

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The first lookout we came to gave us nice vistas of Cooktown and the dodgy walk we did yesterday. Which only had warning signs of crocodiles at the end of our walk and not at the cemetery side where we started.

We walked further around to the windy sea side of the mountain with much better views that would be even better on a sunny day. The strong southerly winds were coming in and so strong that could blow your hat off and almost your camera out of your hand.

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Evidently this is a much better view than the summit as the view points were limited because of tree growth.

The hike was getting much steeper and slippery because of the light rain, so you have to be careful where you put your footing. Jennie and Mike had poles I left mine 1700km away, not that I like using them much anyway.

I spotted a very large spider in a web and about another 1km I found the biggest spider of my life and had to have a photo with it. At this point if it moved I think I would have wet myself.

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Further up the track we were following yellow arrows my favourite colour to follow, this one was been eaten by the tree. I find it amazing that the tree is slowly bending the metal over the years.

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Just after the marker I came across some odd mushrooms that I haven’t seen before.

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We arrived at the summit which was a little disappointing as it was covered in weeds and a large helicopter pad.

We stopped and had some lunch on the metal helicopter pad as the rain never eventuated while we were walking but the wind was still in full force.

On the return Jennie and Mike said take off and go down the mountain at your own speed as they’re slow at coming down hills.

So with leaps and bounds, slips and falls this is how the first two meters went, then the next few km was pretty much the same.

After falling over for the fourth time and fear of getting my backpack dirty I slowed down because each time I fell I was in danger of reaching for the spiky plants.

This is when I saw the snake with its head down a hole looking for Alice in wonderland or maybe just the rabbit with a pocket watch.

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I’m thinking it’s fallen out of a tree as it has a few broken twigs laying on it, and its not moving at all.

So after waiting a good 5mins I getting a little closer to see if its breathing, I’m not sure at this point if I’m going to try CPR but I do remove the trig and ask if its OK.

Well I get no response as I’m a Hufflepuff and not Slithering (Harry Potter Joke) so stupid as it seem and I had a Darwin Award moment I’ll never do it again. I slowly move its tail with the stick as I want to get it off the track.

Well the tail moves and I know the snakes alive which may or may not be good, Anyway it slowly comes out of the hole and looks around.

I take a few more photos and just keep watching for a further 5mins. Its curiosity in me is short lived and sees I’m not moving and no threat so continues looking for Alice.

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Brown Headed Snake (Venomous)

I start to head off and then realise that Jennie and Mike can’t be far behind me at this point.

Now its bad practice to let your friends walk into a snake ambush and since I kind of like these guys and plan going on walks with them next year I better stay and warn them.

Mike comes down the hill as I’m photographing the snake and casually point out snake on the track as it’s a normal thing, they have a look, then we all carry on walking down to the carpark.

A rather good walk with some nice view and a little added wildlife that may or may not be there if you visit.

I’ll say a few things about my new friends,

  1. They love walking and have taken me on some excellent hikes
  2. They seem to attract snakes or dangerous creatures
  3. Jennie makes fabulous campfire bread

To new friends and surviving to tell the tails, makes some good adventures.

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