Sunday, 3 October 2010

Tasmanian Trail - Devonport to Railton

After my Ulverstone ride, and a well deserved lunch, I packed up the road bike and pulled out the Mountain Bike.  It was time to explore some of the northern sections of the Tasmanian Trail whilst I was up here.

I drove back to Devonport and followed the section from the Ferry Terminal through to the end of Old Deloraine Road the easy way, ie. in the car.  I had actually cycled the section from Devoport to Ouse about a decade ago, and it was nice to recall this section.  Before I knew it I was confronted by a boom gate and a range of very unwelcoming signs, so I unloaded the bike, and set off into the bush along the trails.

I was immediately thankful that I had GPS'd the route as there were trails going off in all directions, some formal, but most appearing to be fairly recent trail bike routes.  I think I would have got through without a GPS by following the mantra when in doubt, go straight ahead, but after the wonderful Ulverstone route this morning, I really found myself wondering why we would tell people to come cycle this trail.  It just doesn;t compare.

Unfortunately, it then got worse.  After a kilometre or two, the track I was on came to a T junction.  The Tas Trail marker (and my GPS route) both indicated I should proceed directly through the T junction  and into what looked like a dead end. 

I decided to trust them, for a little while at least, and I pedaled on.  The next 500metres are what really annoys a fully loaded touring cyclist.  The forest on the right hand side of the track had all been clearfelled, and many of the trees had just been dropped straight onto the track and left there.  That was why it looked like a dead end.  I ended up push and carry the bike over large trees, or take long detours off into the bush or coupe to find my way around all the deadfall.  This was all fine for me on an unloaded mountain bike, but would have you cursing if you were loaded up with gear.  It also wasn't recent ... there were some pretty significant tracks worn around all of the downed trees.

Thankfully, this section was brief, and after that it was just a short section out alongside a pasture fence and onto Native Plains Road. 

This is where I turned around (noting to myself on the way back in that there weren't any TT signs) and headed back to my car.  I tried going through the coupe on the way back to avoid all the deadfall, but the tracks were unrideable so ended up pushing again.  The only real positive was when I got back onto the trail I found that it was pretty much all downhill back to the car, which was a bit of a whoop.

I loaded the bike back in the car, backtracked to Latrobe and around to Native Plains Road and into Railton (the Tas trail follows the road the whole way to Railton).  Once there, I jumped back on the bike  to follow the first couple of kilometres of the old Railton to Sheffield rail line.  The first section of this trail is a lovely little bit of riding, and at the other end, I did a little loop through Sykes memorial and visited the monuments there.  The statues are interesting, and it made for a short lovely little ride to end off the day.  You wouldn't go out of your way to come and cycle this section, but at the same time you can see why they've included it in the Tas Trail.

It was getting onto about 5pm by the time I got back to the car, so I left the last little off road section of the rail line into Sheffield for tomorrow and went and booked into the Motor Inn in Sheffield for the night.  It's amazing what a hot shower and finding two complimentary cans of soft drink in the fridge will do for the spirits, even when you find that St Kilda has been flogged in the grand final rematch.  Sigh.

Ended up getting take-away chinese (very average, but lots of veg which I needed) and was in bed asleed by about 7.30pm.

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