29 April 2008

The Big River Ride

Every year my dad organizes a big '4 day ride', a time for all the 'men' in our family to ride our bicycle across a new and unexplored aspect of Mother Earth.

My first big ride was 2 years ago, an amazing journey through the Sacred Wollumbin Caldera...

Ever since experiencing the joy and magic of cycling across the Land, I've been hooked on the idea of riding my bike far and wide around the world ~

The Plan was originally to leave for North Queensland by mid April, but alas the departure date has changed (mid-may)..

... and so the opportunity arose to go on one of my dads bush cycling adventures.

Although they are challenging, both mentally and physically, I just couldn't resist ~

Day 1

Beginning just outside of Glenn Innes (1200m+ above sea level), at lovely Maureens Cottage, we made our way over the edge of the New England tablelands ~ down into "Big River Country"

The whole trip was apart of the Clarence Catchment, One of Australia's biggest river systems.

Our destination was Nymboida, 120km downstream, and our path was "The Old Grafton Road" which was the original passage from the coast to the tablelands. It is now an old dirt back-road.

The tunnel below was made by convicts

Absolutely gorgeous country, and a pure feeling of bliss traveling all the way down
to 230m above sea level, from high in the tablelands...

Day 2

From Nymboida we headed south-west for Ebor Falls (1300m+ above sea level)

This was hard day, with many big hills, but the ever-changing landscape was worth every sweet drop of sweat.

Going from River flat country, through Wet sclerophyll and Rainforest, and up into the high country with grassy woodlands.

For almost 10km, a massive flock of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos followed (up to 100 birds) Flew overhead and went crazy with their screeching calls.

They were feeding on plantation pines (Pinus radiata) were once stood a mighty forest teaming with diversity

After lunch the blue sky gave way to the coldest rain I've ever felt in my entire life.

My cousin correy and I were leading the pack, when we stopped to chat with a man selling local organic apples, we had no money on us (as it was in the support vehicle) but he still filled our pockets with the most delicious apples I've ever tasted!

He spent his youth cycling through Africa and Europe, and so understood we needed good food to fuel the Journey.

After telling us a story of a time when his hands went numb and he crashed his bicycle, we took off for Ebor

and so it was, that in the last 5km my fingers and toes began to go numb, I couldn't help but think of the story of our apple growing friend.

It must have been the only time in my life I've felt such a joy to walk into a pub, where we warmed up to the fire .... which felt so unbelievably good !

Just on Sunset, My cousin Joel and I made our way to the Ebor Falls.

These waterfalls are beautiful, so much power in them, especially after the rain.

Last year, during the big July frost, they totally froze over !!!! they had photo's in the Ebor pub~

Day 3

we awoke to a beautiful, blue, crispy cold morning

After another visit to the falls, with all the lads, we took off for the highest township on the tablelands, at
1320m above sea level !

This Day was entirely on the Highway, with a clear blue sky, we flew like eagles along the undulating highland country.

overlooking Guy Fawkes National Park

Day 4

On the last day of the ride, we rode along the highway for a short while, and by mid-morning we were back onto the dirt roads towards Glenn Innes.

The wind was hitting us head-on, and it made for some dry lips and difficult riding

This country looks dry, but it is a actually the natural colour of this highland species of grass, especially after a few frosts.

When my cousin Joel and I came across the headwaters of the "The Mann River" we knew it was a unique opportunity to swim in one of the highest catchment areas on the East coast of Australia

despite the extreme cold, it was an incredibly refreshing experience, and seemed to have a positive impact on our muscles.

After 4 days and nearly 400km riding from 1200m above sea level down to around 200m, and then back up to 1320m ... this ride was a big one !

thanks to my humble dad, Greg, for organizing such a great a bicycle trip.


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