Saturday May 13th.
So Nyree was working all day Saturday and all day Sunday, so I came up with a plan, I would head away by myself and bike all weekend.
We’d come back from Turon river the weekend before and its close enough to Sydney and has plenty of opportunities for biking. So I’d go up Saturday morning and come back Sunday arvo, it would give me a ride Saturday arvo and a ride Sunday morning.
It was a lightweight trip, I packed the swag and stretcher bed, a little esky with some JD and a steak and veggies, 2 sleeping bags, and a hotplate for the fire. It was really cold the week before when Nyree and I were up there so I took 2 sleeping bags and some warm clothes and prepared to freeze Saturday night.
I left around 7.30am and got up there around 11.45am. There was 1 group of campers in a tent and 2 trailers near where I wanted to set up so I’d be in the sun all afternoon and early the next day, so I camped further away from them in a site that was a bit shadier. I set up my swag under the truck annex and went and cut some firewood and got myself set up for the evening when I got back. I unloaded the bike and headed off about 1pm.
I wanted to travel along the Pinnacle fire trail out Portland and back, I’d studied it online and it looked a round trip of about 60km-70km. I haven’t pushed the bike to empty yet but I reckon I have over 100km range, so I wasn’t worried about running out of fuel. I had been about 15kms along this track on a previous visit, so after about 25km wherever the track junctioned or split, the marking disappeared and I was using my instinct to head in the direction I thought I should be travelling.
My instinct was good, I ended up on a track that I didn’t remember when I studied the maps online. So even though it was a great track, I thought it best to turn around and retrace my steps as I didn’t plan on getting lost. I ran into a group of fella’s who said they were just laying down a new route, I notice that had handheld GPS’s stuck their bars, note for me in future I think. Anyway I thought I might tag along behind them for a while, that lasted until we hit the first downhill, I was hitting it in 2nd/3rd, I think they did it in 5th, they were gone and I realized I’ve still got a lot of riding to do before I can say that I’m good on a bike.
I eventually came out of the bush and headed through some closed gates and onto a trail that was cutting across some paddock’s and what looked like some homesteads, I’d come back into some civilization and I could see off in the distance over a few hills a dirt road, I must be near the outskirts of Portland I thought. Anyhow the dirt roads were boring so I turned around and made my way back into the bush and back onto the Pinnacle fire trail and eventually after a few side tracks, creek crossings and turn around dead ends made my way back to camp.
It was about 4pm so I got the fire going, turned the radio on to listed to the footie and kicked back and enjoyed a few drinks. A crew of 5 Land cruisers turned up and camped beside me, but they were cool and kept pretty quiet and much to themselves. Another group of about 15 4WD’s turned up not long after and thankfully camped away from me and much closer to the other campers.
Just on dark I got my steak on and enjoyed that with a few chargrilled veggies. I’d rugged up big time but it didn’t get that cold. The stars were out between breaks in the cloud and it was a good night. I jumped into the swag and listened to my Broncos go 14 nil down before ½ time. That gave me the shits so I turned the radio off and went to sleep.
Sunday May 14th.
I think I had a good night sleep and woke about 7am to a big fog, too big to get out of the swag, so I stayed in and listened to Macca for a while before I rose. The fog lifted about 8.30am, so I got up and packed up. I was going to head back to Cullen Bullen, and do the Baal Bone Gap trail.
The plan was to head across to Black Fellows Hand trail and get towards Bungleboori picnic area if my fuel would let me, turn around and retrace my track back to the truck. This was a great ride, open fire trail, some good up and down rocky sections, some big mud holes, and a great challenge getting up and down, what I can only describe as a rock wall step at either end of the track.
I came across two 4wds the whole 70 odd Km’s and the views from the track which follow the escarpment down into the Wolgan valley were awesome. I did have one stack when I came around a nice loose dirt corner, I thought I’d slide the tail and get the power back on, unfortunately the tail kept sliding and I ended up on the ground, nothing major but a couple of nice bruises did show up on both thighs a few days later.
Anyway I got back at the truck about 12.45pm and on my way home by 1.15pm. A great drive home had me arriving back at Narrabeen just before 4.30pm.
I’ll do those tracks again sometime bringing Nyree with me, with a map in my backpack or a GPS, and some extra fuel.