It rained all night, and I mean it rained.
I struggled out of bed as the alarm went off at 6.30am, feeling less than motivated for today’s planned walk over Mt Roland, and glanced out the window to see how wet it really was. I could still hear the rain falling on the roof above me as I glanced out the window.
It wasn’t good, a thick low lying fog covered all of the paddocks behind my motel room, and as I shuffled down to the kitchen for breakfast, my inner voice was pointing out how sore my legs were from yesterdays ride, how cold it would be up on Mt Roland, and how I wouldn’t see anything anyway due to the thick fog.
I hadn’t exactly talked myself out of the walk as I left the hotel and threw my stuff in the back of the car, but as I settled into the driver’s seat, I glanced at my watch and saw it was already 7:30am ... I’d basically have to drive, and drive hard, to get to the start line in time for the start of the walk at 8:00am.
Instead, I just sat there with the engine running, wondering what to do.
In the end I didn’t go, and yea I’m a little disappointed about that, but instead I drove back towards Deloraine, stopping about 10km’s short and pulled out the bike to cycle the last little off road section of the Tasmanian Trail that I didn’t manage to cover yesterday.
From what I could tell from the maps, and the very steep hill in front of me this still promised to be a pretty good physical challenge, and as the day panned out it didn’t disappoint.
Today I essentially did an out and back from near the end of Gardiners Ridge to the Mersey River Camp Site. I expected to be spending a lot of time cycling through heavily logged forests again, with a 1.3km section at the end which I suspected I would need to walk. So with this expectation I was very pleasantly surprised by the route.
|You take the high road, I'll take the low road.|
After a steep initial climb (for a couple of hundred meters), the trail then sidled around the side of the hill passing through a couple of quarries and a newly establish eucalypt plantation before diving down into the bush and across a very small creek and turning up again for a bit of a push to the top of a hill. Wildflowers abounded through here, and the rain, although constant wasn’t cold, so I was really enjoying myself. I even had to stop and take some pictures of some never before signs actually telling me that the Tasmanian Trail had been re-routed through this section. Luxury plus.
As you’d expect from the top of the hill, the trail headed down, firstly through some nice rocky trails through the bush , before emerging into another new plantation and then after a bit of a steep descent that I really wasn’t looking forward to that on the way back, I dropped out onto a gravel road and continued downhill for a couple of more kilometres.
Just before Lobster Rivulet the trail dives back off the road and circles around yet another plantation, but nice enough trails before switch backing down to the rivulet. To be honest when I first pulled up I thought maybe I’d reached the Arm River there was so much water flowing down it. All the rain from the previous 24 hours had the river at near flood levels and I was either in for a very wet, very hairy crossing or this was the end of my days ride.
I was taking some photos whilst pondering what to do, when I noticed what looked like a large log just 20 metres or so upstream, and after a bit of bush bashing I found myself crawling across the hungry waters on a very slippery log, but convinced enough that it was possible I wandered back and manhandled my bike to the end of the log ready for the crossing.
|Bit worried about getting my feet wet.|
|Notice my bike at the far end of the log.|
In a surprisingly conservative move for me, I actually crossed the river in two crossings, firstly just me and the bike, and then in the second crossing all my electronic gear and valuables. I was grimly happy to find that this conservative approach caused more problems than it saved as it ended up being much easier crossing the log with the bike than without it as I could use it as a third pivot point by shuffling across with the bike pointing up river and acting as a third anchor point on the log. I found myself feeling very unstable as I recrossed the river on a downward sloping, slippery log without the bike, and am not ashamed to admit that I did one section on my hands and knees.
After that little adventure, the trail runs along some lovely double track parallel to the rivulet through flat bushland and around yet another coupe before emerging onto another gravel road. A couple of more junctions, and I found myself heading off road again into some very inviting open bushland. My fears of having to walk and bash the last 1.3kms to the river turned out to be for nought, instead I found myself on a lovely bit of lightly used grassy track that ran virtually all the way down to the river with just one small little descent for the last 50 meters.
|Definitely get my feet wet crossing this one. Basically Impassable.|
The river level was significantly higher than when I’d been on the other side a few weeks ago, and I wasn’t in the slightest bit tempted to try and cross.
Although having the option of following an ‘emergency exit’ route noted in the trail guide and avoiding the re-crossing of lobster rivulet, the ride had been such fun it was really a no-brainer to turn around and retrace my outward route. Although there was quite a bit more uphill in this direction, I knew what was coming and so was able to just settle back into it and enjoy the climb. I do admit that I was a tad surprised at just how steep a few of the sections were, but that’s why I’ve got feet, and it only seems fair that I push my poor little bike every now and then given everything I put it through.
I got back to my car about 11.30am, so probably 3 to 3.5 hours return ride, and really recommended if you’re in the area and looking for somewhere to ride.
Incidentally I headed down towards the section off Leonard’s road around the Montana Falls Track, only to find that this section has now also been rerouted and you just continue straight along Leonards Road. That said it was still a nice section (though of course I was in a car).