Sunday, 22 August 2010

I'm not lost, I'm wandering ... Tasmanian Trail continued

Ever have something nag at you? well what's been bothering me all week is the question where did I lose the Tasmanian Trail last weekend up at Ouse?

So despite heavy rainfalls on the Friday, I threw the bike back in the car early Saturday morning and chugged my way back out to Pillies Road to find out where I went wrong, before a planned assault on the section from Ellendale to Bronte Park.

I parked out on Pillies Road, where the track from the Broad River comes in, and tried out the route I mentioned in my previous blog about cycling around, rather than over, the pine plantation hill, and slightly to my surprise found several, very old and faded "temporary TT detour signs" along the section, so they had detoured people along here, but then for some reason sent them back again.  Strange.  Anyway, I decided to agree with my recommendation from last weekend that this is a much better route for mountain bikers to take.

Just to make a loop of it, I continued along the pine plantation and across, what last week was a small flow of water, but this week was a pretty serious creek, then turned left, but after a couple of hundred metres, instead of continuing right at a corner and along the Tasmanian Trail, I instead turned left back into an old bush track which after a very deep creek crossing, brought me back at the Y junction.  Again this is a nice little section of track.  I followed my tracks back to the car then headed off towards Broad River.

I only however got as far as the first creek about 200 meters along the track, and was somewhat perturbed by the increase in water flowing down it from the previous week, and was starting to think my chances of getting across Broad River today were pretty low.  Deciding to play it safe, I went back to the car, and instead continued along Pillies Road, and then via Dawson's Road drove back up the other side of Broad River to where I got lost, by turning off into the bush near the big shiny new gate.

Continuing up the road, I found the well signposted turn off onto the real Tasmanian Trail just 100 meters further along.  A simple comfort sign back along the road would have saved me today's trip, and my detours of last weekend, although to be fair, if I had paid closer attention to the map I should have got onto the real trail.  Anyway, I unpacked the bike and slipped and slid my way down a straight, ugly, muddy, slippery track to Broad River 1.35kms away to be greeted by a rather engorged river that I had no chance of getting across.  At least I got that call right.  I'm also highly dubious of claims in the cycle Tasmania Trail guide that there's any good campsites nearby, because it looked like a horrid spot to camp to me.

Sometimes leaving the track
is the nicest option
I retraced my route (read: pushed my bike) about half way back to the road, until I saw a old track heading off to the right, which I decided to follow.  This turned out into a fun, fairly flat, little detour, with a few sections where I had to throw the bike over logs and track ditches, but eventually dropping me back out onto the track I came down last week, which all in all was a much more enjoyable ride both scenically and from a gradient perspective.  In fact it would make a great little alternative route, but would unfortunately need a lot of signage so you didn't get lost.

It had been raining on and off all morning, and the snow line was pretty low down, so I was getting pretty cold at this point and was somewhat less enthusiastic about further explorations.  I therefore drove back towards Ellendale and explored out along Jones River Road and Rockmount Road which are the approaches / departure routes around Mt Bethune.  Jones River Road in particular looked like an enjoyable ride, Rockmount rode less so due to steep slopes and rough ground, but I have to admit, the visit has now got me thinking that maybe Mt Bethune is worth exploring by bike.


After that, I continued on to the next turn off from Ellendale Road planning on jumping back on the bike, but despite the TT sign markers, I was greeted by a sign saying non unauthorised travel beyond this point ... with no indication of how to get "authourised".  I decided to head back to Glenora and try and head in that way (the heavy rain on my windscreen being a fairly good motivator) but the lack off TT signs, and the high number of "trespassers prosecuted" signs on nearly every gate I drove past encouraged me to instead consider the option of heading back to Hobart for a warm shower and afternoon latte.

All in all, not a very productive days riding.

POSTSCRIPT:  After returning from this ride, I was crusing the Tasmanian Trail website and found that this section of the trail has just been closed temporarily as they're going to log out the pine plantaiton.  There goes another great section of the trail.

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