24 March 2008

Cycling the Caldera

Over the long weekend, I had the pleasure of riding through the Heart of the Wollumbin Caldera, with Paul Nichols, a Brother from Another Mother ...
who is also on an 'Adventure For Sustainability'.

Paul is riding around Australia to raise awareness of our responsibility to create a sustainable society, one that we can be proud to pass on to our children and their children's children. He left Melbourne in February, and has now traveled half way up the east coast.

We met up on Thursday afternoon and planted some trees down at the nature reserve in Town. The next morning, Paul & Paul left Kyogle to ride up into the majestic Border Ranges National Park, on the western edge of the Wollumbin Caldera.

From 80 meters above sea level to almost 1100 meters in the Mountains, this is one of the most challenging rides in Northern NSW, yet worth every moment, for the sensual experience of being in an ancient rainforest community, and one of the most spectacular sunrise lookouts on the eastcoast of Australia.
~ Pain and Pleasure ~
It certainly was demanding to keep pace with Paul, a tour-hardened southerner who had experienced similar gradients in the Snowy Mountains only a few weeks prior.

Our first stop was at Sheepstation, were I had a refreshing swim under 'Brush Box Falls' and Paul got to climb a massive Strangler Fig and witness the multitude of lifeforms manifesting.

From there it was a steep upwards gradient to 'Forest Tops' and down into 'Brindle Creek', where Sub-Tropical meets Warm-temperate Rainforest in what has to be one of the most beautiful wilderness areas on planet Earth.

We made ourselves some lunch and took rest for a couple of hours to the sound of spring-fed water dripple-carving it's way through the basalt Caldera.

For a moment there, I was in a place outside of time. I lay on my back and practiced some of Shakti's tense and relax yogic deep breathing exercises. The intense physical activity of the morning session left me absolutely bugger'ed...

simply lying on my back and being* felt like pure bliss.

I drifted off, as my body lay on the cool pebbled Earth, and awoke to a feeling of regeneration and inner restoration ...

ahhh, the serenity

At around 4p.m we were back on the road towards Black Butt lookout, on the Caldera rim.

Paul discovered the reason why it's called a Rainforest, a rainbow gave birth to a soaking downpour, which left a dense cloud of mist throughout the forest. We were up high in the mountains by this stage, amongst the ancient Antarctic Beech cool-temperate rainforest.

After 10 hours riding, the sun was beginning to leave us, and almost on cue, the pin on my trailer broke off ! I took a deep breath and settled my energy, as Paul was ahead of me. With the head torch, I managed to find the missing quick-release pin, but my hydraulic disc breaks were oozing with some foreign substance.

oh the challenges.

Luckily Paul came back just as the last rays of light were piercing through the densely forested canopy, he towed my trailer and I slowly rode the bike the next 1km to Camp.

The Full moon would appear through the mist and then disappear just as quickly. It is a whole 'nother world up there. Reminds me of "The Land before Time".

We cooked dinner and Paul shared with me many of his practical touring tips and general life ethos.

eventually fatique overcame me, So I set up the tent, hopped in ... and went to Sleep.

Sleep felt so good, soothing resting earth snuggles.


Sunrise was really quite amazing, at 1100m above sea level, and a view over 50km from where the mostly easterly point on the Australian mainland reaches the Pacific Ocean, 'Black Butt' lookout is indeed sacred land.

Above the clouds, straddling an ancient landscape, watching it all happen.

We took in the view and witnessed the ever-changing dynamics of light, temperature and feelings.

One last climb and our hard work was blessed with another reward, a downhil stint that lasted half an hour. The changing veg types were our only indication of altitude under the canopy, but eventually we made our way out of the park and into the valleys below, Barkersvale and then down into Uki, the little village beneath Wollumbin (Mt Warning).

And so the adventures of Paul and Paul came to an end, as Brother Paul continued north for the Border and I turned south-east and entered Mt Jerusalem National Park, which eventually led me to the magical upper main-arm area of Mullumbimby, where I lived for a short while a couple of years ago.

This section brought back memories from the past, which held a variety of different feeelings and emotions, as I continued to ride towards the ocean in the ever-unfolding passage of space and time.

Cycling into Byron was an incredibly surreal experience, as the Blues Festival was on and I wasn't quite prepared for the intensity of it all, after cycling through the ancient volcanic landscape, listening to the sound of birds, wind and water.

T'was a pleasure to catch up with friends and reconnect with the town I once called home, But as the Sun Sat, my feeling was to head for the hinterland and take rest amongst family.

Oceana offered to give me a lift in Bunny's Van, which I gratefully accepted, and we drove Inland for Nashua, just past Bangalow.

Talking, as we do, of Life the Universe and Everything. A sharing of feelings and emotions, dreams and aspirations, and all our illusions that hold us back from creating that which we truly Love.

I Love you Oceana.

Good friends stoke the fire inside our hearts.

As the moon rose for the evening, Oce' dropped me at my Sister's place, where I was bathed and fed, and supplied cream for my sore bum, by the Forsyth family; Lachlan ~ Bree and the magical little sprite, Torin.

Bree and Torin

A truly splendid way to end another 'shake-down training-tour'. Spending time with my family feels so nice, and a rare gift to share with my Sweet Sprite Sister Sarah, from Melbourne. Special times indeedy ~

As you may tell from the photo's, little 14 month old Torin is a common focal point amongst us.

Lachlan and Torin (Father and Sun)

Aunty Sarah Daley and Torin Forsyth.

I will miss the company of my Friends and Family when I head north, in little over a month.

I'm feeling now is the moment to stretch the imagination, expand the mind and open the heart

to the infinite possibilities of life.

mmmm, gratitude ~ to be alive in this space and time, so blessed ...

~ indeed, sometimes i forget.

*cue the beat-box and bring forth the ozzy hip-hop*

let us all remember, each of us is a member ~ of the Earth Family.

one tribe, sharing, one common unity ~


you and me

breath the same air

it's THIS life
we All Share

*Beat-Box fades to the sounds of celtic gypsy music*

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