Cycling Holiday Photos. 2nd Installment


This is the second installment of photos related to the cycling holiday mentioned in the last few previous posts. The photos on this page relate to the time I was camped at Mountain Creek, near Mount Bueaty / Tawonga near Mt Bogong.

Mountain Creek campsite

Mountain Creek campsite

Towards Eskdale Spur ride

Creek crossing bypass track

Creek crossing bypass track

4x4 track

4×4 track heading towards Eskdale Spur

A beautify mountain stream

A beautify mountain stream

One of the many bridges

One of the many bridges on the walking track that parallels the 4×4 track over a number of the creek crossings.

Creek crossing

Creek crossing where no parallel walking track / bridge existed. It was near here that the rear derailer on the bike had an altercation with a rather long stick which caused the ‘vital part’ to fail.

A rough walking track

A rough walking track – not designed for bicycles at all!

Trappers Gap road ride

Trappers Gap Road

Trappers Gap Road with mountains in the background

Mt Bogong

Mt Bogong from Trappers Gap Road

Mt Bogong

Mt Bogong from Trappers Gap Road

The only turnoff on the ride

The only turnoff on the ride. I rode along this track for a while, but as it started descending not long after I turned back and kept riding along Trappers Gap Road. I remembered this being the end of the climb, but there was a still a bit more climbing on Trappers Gap Road to do before it started it’s long descent towards Mitta Mitta.

Flowers beside the road

Flowers beside the road

Tree Fern Walk

This walk starts and nears near the Mountain Creek Campground.

Tree Fern Walk

Tree Fern Walk – big stump hole

Tree Fern Walk

Tree Fern Walk – big stump

Tree Fern Walk

Tree Fern Walk – Tall Tree

Tree Fern Walk

Tree Fern Walk – Fern

Tree Fern Walk

Tree Fern Walk – log decay

Tree Fern Walk

Tree Fern Walk – fungus and moss on a log

Tree Fern Walk

Tree Fern Walk – walking amongst the ferns

Sore muscles and other enjoyable things


Mount Lawson Valley View and Flaggy Creek Gorge Hike

Yesterday Bec and the girls were at an ‘Adventurers Day’ in one of the ‘nearby’ regional cities, and so Jesse and I took the opportunity to engage in some hiking in the ‘church with the big blue, white and grey roof’. Thats just a fancy way of saying that instead of being cooped up inside a church building made of bricks, wood and plaster we spent it outside in the great outdoors. The weather forecast said there was a ‘possibility of showers’, but that didn’t deter us.

Mount Lawson State Park is located in Victoria (Australia) about 60km east of Albury / Wodonga between the Murray Valley Highway and Murray River Road. The information brochure on the park said it is known for it’s steep slopes, cliffs and prominent rocky bluffs and is described as semi-remote. Seems to me thats a pretty reasonable description! We set out for The Kurrajongs, where the hike was to start and made final preparations to our day packs and set off. The Flaggy Creek Gorge walk is a rugged walk (again, thats what the brochure said, and it proved very true) with a number of climbs and descents. The end of the path is at the Flaggy Creek Gorge waterfalls, which is definitely worth the effort to hike in to see.

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

Flaggy Creek Gorge

The scenery along the walk and at Flaggy Gorge reminded me somewhat of Missinghams Steps, a walk in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, except the cliff faces were not quite so sheer as what I remember seeing on the Missinghams Steps walk and other areas of the Illawarra. After the first ascent we reached Valley View. This provides views across the Murray River valley and looking north into what I would reckon is the Woomargama National Park.

View of the Murray Vallery from Valley View

View of the Murray Valley from Valley View

View of the Murray Vallery from Valley View

View of the Murray Valley from Valley View

Along the walk there were various interesting rock formations and I took some photos of some them.

Rock Formations

Rock Formations

Rock Formations

Rock Formations

Valley View Rock Formations

Valley View Rock Formations

After passing through Valley View we descended down onto a saddle and climbed again towards a location called The Oaks. This location didn’t seem to have any oaks at all. Maybe they got burnt out in a bush fire at some point. But we did hear a lot of Lyrebirds in this section of the walk. I hadn’t heard Lyrebirds for many years and it surprised me somewhat to hear them here. But the sheer number of different lyrebirds we heard in close proximity to each other was also something I don’t think I have experienced before. I remember hearing Lyrebird calls in Sherbrook Forest near my parents house when I was growing up. We would go for walks and we would hear lyrebirds and maybe even see one, but I don’t remember hearing a number of different birds in fairly close proximity to each other like in Mount Lawson State Park. We heard so many Lyrebirds that I concluded there must be a Lyrebird colony in this part of the park. But we didn’t see a single Lyrebird, only heard them. We saw a number of Wombat holes too. But no actual wombats except for a poor road-kill wombat on the main road that borders the park.

Interesting tree near The Oaks

Interesting tree near The Oaks

Cute little fungii

Cute little fungii

On the walk in we experienced some discomfort in the feet and legs, but the walk back ‘matured’ the discomfort somewhat. Especially the last descent from Vally View to the carpark at The Kurrajongs. By the time we got back to the car my muscles so sore and I knew that if I got into the car without doing some form of stretching or cool-down I would suffer the consequences. Even though I did some cool down stretches my muscles were pretty sore by the time I got home and I hobbled around like an old man for most of the evening. It didn’t help that I had started to get blisters on my feet too. But in spite of the muscle stress, we really enjoyed the hike. There is always a sense of achievement when one finishes such a hike!

GPS data for the hike can be found here: http://www.strava.com/activities/156101073 .

Friends of High Country Rail Trail: ‘Jarvis Creek Jaunt’

Last Friday my wife told me about a bike ride around the Tallangatta area of Victoria (south west of Mt Lawson state park, and about 40km from Wodonga). The official information for the site said it suited Mountain Bikes or Sturdy Hybrids. Armed with that information I decided to do a test ride on Eliana’s mountain bike around Albury on Friday. This produced a decision to NOT take her mountain bike on the ride – it produced a lot of sore muscles, which contributed somewhat to the muscle soreness on the Mt Lawson hike. So I decided to risk taking my foldable bike with mountain bike rims and hope that it would handle the roads / tracks and terrain ok. I needn’t have worried – it handled the whole ride superbly – much better than the one riding it!

Leaving home at about 6:45am on Sunday and having some pretty thick fog to negotiate didn’t bode well but by the time I was east of Wodonga the fog was starting to lift. Along the way, at Edben, I saw this…

Fog over Lake Hume at Ebden

Fog over Lake Hume at Ebden

… and arrived in Tallangatta about 20 minutes later.

The ride is a 48km rail trail / road and mountain track ride. For the first part of the ride it was fairly easy being along the High Country Rail Trail, which follows the formation of the Wodonga – Cudgewa Railway. The rails have long since gone, but today a large portion of the railway formation has been converted to a Rail Trail. Then we headed across a very empty Lake Hume into Old Tallangatta and started to climb towards the highest point of the ride. Along Georges Creek Road was a steady climb with some undulations. And then we turned into Mitchells Track (I think that was it’s name). At this point it was getting foggy again, and the track was very damp but not too slippery. This climb was rather steep, and went for about 3km, with an average grade of 7%. That means there were some areas where it was steeper! An ascent of 7% for that length on a bike ride is something I have never experienced before – previously I would simply walk the bike up hills like that. Even still, I managed it ok today and would try it again, although not so soon after a hike that caused so much muscle soreness (ie, the Flaggy Gorge hike). Eventually we turned onto Plateau Rd, which as it’s name implies follows the plateau and soon we arrived at the designated place for some morning tea. Damper, muffins, tea and coffee were on offer. I decided on a choc-chip muffin and a piece of damper. Yummy! Damper is sort of a bit like scones, but is associated more with the Aussie bush and was or is cooked around a camp fire by swagmen, stockmen, drovers, campers and other travellers. After morning tea we continued on our way, for the most pleasant part of the ride – the downhill bits! Normally along this part of the ride we would have had some awesome views, but while on Plateau Rd the fog was mostly below us and so all we saw was the peaks of mountains poking through a sea of fog.

Fog below Plateau Road

Fog below Plateau Road

Eventually we turned onto Jarvis Creek Road, which marked the descent into Old Tallangatta. And coasted down the hill to where we would join the rail trail once again. Then it was back along the relatively gentle grades of the rail trail back into Tallangatta. The Friends of the High Country Rail Trail did a great job of organising the event, and providing morning tea, and provided check points along the way and an official rider at the back of the group to catch any who I guess couldn’t go any further. Some of the riders this year had done the ride in previous years, there were some like me who had never done the ride before, and there was even one rider who did the Jaunt as his first ride. After some lunch at Tallangatta I headed home and waddled inside, with sore muscles but that much sort after sense of achievement.

GPS data for the ride can be found here: http://www.strava.com/activities/156511052 .

 

 

Mansfield


From Tuesday to Thursday this week we (minus one – Zoe was away visiting friends in western Victoria) headed to the town of Mansfield in north east Victoria, Australia. Our purpose was 3-fold: 1) Go to the Mansfield Zoo because Eliana wanted to go to a zoo and it was the closest one to our home; 2) provide an opportunity for Jesse and I to do some cycling together in preparation for a long-ish rail trail ride in May; 3) spend some time away from familiar surroundings. On all 3 purposes we successed, although I had spent a lot of time in and around Mansfield over the years.

Mt Buller

Mt Buller (I think)

The Bluff

The Bluff (I think)

Tuesday, late in the morning, Bec dropped Jesse and I and our bikes off at Tolmie, a location some 25km from Mansfield in the mountains between Whitfield and Mansfield. The plan was that we would ride from Tolmie via Barwite to Mansfield. The road looked nice and straight on Google Maps, and I figured that the ride would be pretty much all down hill as Tolmie is considerably higher in altitude than Mansfield. That assumption was certainly not based on any actual knowledge of the roads we would be riding along. We started off on Old Tolmie Road, and after a few kilometres we encountered was a rather long steep hill – going up! I had climbed steeper and longer hills before on the bike so I didn’t find it too hard going although I did stop a few times to catch my breath on the ascent. Poor Jesse ended up walking his bike up most of the ascent and was clearly tired by the time he got to the top. The next part of the ride was a great relief – 7km of down hill and we didn’t need to peddle at all until we crossed a bridge at the bottom of the descent. Most of the descent we were travelling at over 30kph. But after the bridge there were some more hills. Not as steep as the ones before the descent but quite long and tiring nonetheless. Eventually we arrived in Mansfield and met up with Bec and Eliana who had purchased us a ‘gourmet’ lunch of beans from a can and corn chips from a packet as well as some Yoghurt in a tub. The GPS Map for the ride is located at http://www.strava.com/activities/130382830 .

After we checked into our cabin in the caravan park Bec, Eliana and myself went and had a game of Mini-Gockey while Jesse had a nap – the ride must have been tougher than I thought. What, I hear you ask, is ‘Mini-Gockey’? Well, it’s like mini-golf, with some of the ‘moves’ of hockey. I’ll let you imagine that rather than try and explain further. We had decided we would eat at a Pub that night, and so we chose the Delatite and had a great tea which included way too many hot chips! We decided not to have any dessert on account of the size of the meals we had and how much the meal had already cost us – eating out for 4 people is expensive at the best of times!

The next day I was hoping to do another bike ride with Jesse along the Great Victorian Rail Trail from Mansfield towards Bonnie Doon or Merton. But Jesse said that his muscles were still sore from the previous day’s ride so I decided instead that I would go a solo 40 plus km ride around the area instead. I was only familiar with one section of road outside the town of Mansfield on the planned ride – a short (couple of kms at most) stretch of the Mansfield – Woods Point road. All the rest of the roads I travelled outside of Mansfield were totally new to me. It’s strange how the perception of how well one if doing on a ride sometimes doesn’t match the ride statistics. I felt that my muscles really lacked energy on the ride, but when I uploaded the ride GPS data to Strava my average energy output over the whole ride was higher than my usual. One thing I noticed on the ride was the tendency of cars on the roads to not give much space for me. Whether that is because they were in a rush to get to work, or lack of consideration to cyclists in general, or some other reason I don’t know, but it was a very different experience to riding on the roads around where I live. The GPS Map for the ride is located at http://www.strava.com/activities/130683805 .

After I got back to the caravan park and had a shower we headed out to the Mansfield Zoo. Here are some photos of the zoo’s animals…

Bonnet Monkey

Bonnet Monkey

Jesse feeding a Llama

Jesse feeding a Llama

Agile Wallaby

Agile Wallaby

Dingo

Dingo – Australia’s native dog

Eliana feeding a Deer

Eliana feeding a Deer

Bison

Bison, a loooong way from home!

White Lion

White Lion

Capuchin Monkey

Capuchin Monkey

European Polecat

European Polecat

The Zoo had some white lions, various monkeys, some bison and a various types of Australian native wildlife. It was interesting to speak with the Zoo owner, and watch the lions get fed. After the Zoo visit we had another game of Mini-Gockey. And then it was back to the cabin for some relax time before we attacked dinner.

On Thursday, we packed the car and cleaned the cabin early. Then we started travelling back home. The plan was that Bec would do some shopping on the way as we needed some groceries to keep us going over the Easter weekend. I decided that I would ride the bike from Albury, where Bec was going to do the shopping, and would attempt to get all the way home. I had ridden the route I took on a number of occasions, but have only ever ridden it towards Albury / Wodonga not away from it. So while it was familiar territory it was a very different ride – the scenery was the same obviously, but the experience of riding in the reverse direction was quite different. I didn’t carry any water with me on the ride, but carried some money to buy a drink if I felt I needed it and I also knew where I could get water on the ride. Today I rode a total of 70 km, and arrived home around 3 hours after I started the ride.

Mountains to the Bay


Today was the first real deviation from the planned cycling touring holiday itinerary. I completed the Great Southern Rail Trail like I planned although a little earlier. The original plan was to then ride the Grand Ridge Rail Trail (starting at Mirboo North), but as I was already back at my parents house I decided to do a bike ride from their house to somewhere instead.

While riding the Warby Rail Trail I met a fellow who said that the Blind Creek Trail went all the way from the Dandenong Ranges to Carrum, and on the strength of the information he gave me I decided to attempt to ride from my parents house to Carrum (or wherever else I might have arrived at) on Port Phillip Bay. The trail passes through various natural features.

Mt Dandenong

Mt Dandenong from near Knox City

Jells Lake / Park

Jells Lake / Park

Wetlands near Dandenong

Wetlands near Dandenong

Wetlands near Dandenong

Wetlands near Dandenong

The trails between Belgrave and Knox City were your fairly standard suburban bike or shared trails with housing estates surrounding it and various other public amenities, parklands, wetlands and sporting fields. Once on the Eastlink trail south of Knox City the scenery changed quite noticably with the trail right next to the Eastlink Tollway in some places, or not far from it. The scenery was also a lot more open from where I joined the Eastlink trail, the more so the closer to Carrum the trail got. The trails were beautiful to ride on, mostly of asphalt or concrete, with a 5km or so section approaching Carrum where the trail was small stones. The architecture and man-made features along the trails was interesting too, and so I have included some photos below.

Cycling art near Knox City

Cycling art near Knox City

Eastlink signature orange seperator

Eastlink signature orange seperator

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features

Eastlink visual features – A whopping big bird shaped sculpture!

What is it?

What is it?

There was an unknown element of ‘danger’ on all the rides I did so far this week and I only realised it today. I noticed that my front tyre was a little flatter than I liked, and so I got out the small tyre pump I brought along and noticed that it was broken. So all this time I was riding with a broken tyre pump! I’m sure thankful that I didn’t get a puncture on one of my rides, especially a long way from the car as I could have put a new tube in the rim ok, but would have had no way of pumping it up. So today I pumped up the tyre using Dad’s car tyre pump, and prayed for no punctures. I even figured that having 2 spare tyre tubes was fairly pointless too, so left one behind and added a windcheater into the pack instead.

Bridge between Dandenong and Carrum

Bridge between Dandenong and Carrum

Dandenong Creek near Patterson Lakes

Dandenong Creek near Patterson Lakes

Pelican in Dandenong Creek

Pelican in Dandenong Creek near Patterson Lakes

Patterson Lakes Marina

Patterson Lakes Marina

The ride was not only puncture free, but apart from a short stretch where I seemed to lose the trail, was totally problem free. So I got from Belgrave to the Bay, Port Phillip Bay that is, without incident. I got on the train at Carrum, and within an hour or two I was back at my parents house, just in time for a slightly late lunch.

Where the Creek meets the Bay

Where the Creek meets the Bay at Carrum

For GPS data for this ride, go here: http://www.strava.com/activities/118339181 .