Munda Biddi Map 3 Nanga To Collie
This was an easy ride with my wife, who was going to experience her first overnighter at a Munda Biddi Hut. Our plan was to ride from Collie to Logue Brook Dam, overnighting at Yarri. She has not had a lot of MTB experience and she was riding a comfort bike, which is an upright type of mountain bike. However, map 3 is ideal as it is mainly old form and the hills are not excessively steep or rough. There would be no diversions in place - Stromlo Rd was reopened after logging and Gastaldo Road had been closed for a prescribed burn in Oct, but was now reopened.
We got an early start and we were in Collie by 11 am on Saturday. We had some lunch and I was on the way by 12 noon. I was riding the first section by myself as I recalled the first 20 km were on the road or full of pea gravel. However, it was not as bad as I remember - maybe it was because I had a 29" bike this time, and I was travelling without luggage. The road section didn't seem to last too long and and I made pretty good time on the gravel. It is nearly all old form once you turn off Harris River Rd at the 6 km mark. I was at "Collie 3 Ways" at 1.45pm, even with all my video and photo stops. The section around Hamilton Form had just been burnt off, so the ride down from Mornington Road was very different from usual - some areas were unburnt, other sections had the leaf litter burnt, the tree bark blacked and the leaves slightly singed. But some areas along Hamilton Form were completely burnt out by a fierce, hot fire. But this section went by very quickly, and I was soon at Gastaldo Rd, where my wife joined for the last 15 km to the hut.
This section was very nice. She didn't like the challenging section (fortunately we came down it not up it), as it was still bit rough and steep for her. However the rest was fabulous - good form with gentle slopes and beautiful scenery. Zephyr Rd in particular was superb - it became more overcast so the light was even, so the video looks great.
We got to Yarri hut about 4.30 pm. There was one rider there already, but he was camping in the camping area nearby. The riders log had about about 126 entries over the last 12 months (7 pages with 18 lines per page), which is a very low number. It was a bit overcast, and that kept the night temperature up to about 12 or 14 degrees. We had good comfortable mattresses, warm sleeping bags, plenty of food and a bottle of red. We were tucked up in bed just after 9.30pm.
We were up for the dawn chorus at 5.30am - I recorded it and used it as the sound track for the video. We had breakfast and packed up and we were on the trail at 7.30am. The trail was more of the same as yesterday - lots of old form, reasonable hills, good surfaces and pleasant weather. We found an old small water tank and steel container with name "Fremantle" etched on the side next to a form. At the Harvey Quindanning Road was an old truck chassis and part of it's body. Near the Yarri hut I found some old rail nails, and kept one as a souvenir.
I diverted into Logue Brook Dam off the Trail. I didn't use the track shown on the map, but the one before. This meant about 1200m on Logue Brook Dam road instead of 100m, but I know my short cut works as I had used it before. We got to Logue Brook Dam at 12 noon. We loaded up the bikes, cleaned up and had a well deserved all day breakfast at the cafe. We were home in Perth by 4pm
My wife performed really well. She got more confident as she went along, and the bike was a good option for her skill level and lack of luggage. She was tired by the end ( she rode 70 km from lunchtime on Saturday to lunchtime on Sunday) but really pleased with her fitness. She loved the spring flowers and the constantly changing scenery, from the white gums, to jarrah, to banksias, and she oaks. I hope the video shows what it was like. If she can do it, what is stopping you?
Softtail no luggage
This was a two day ride from Logue Brook Dam to Dwellinup. We had planned this ride with 4 riders and a back up driver for a while. You guessed it - the weather on either side of our weekend was perfect, but the forecast for our two days was awful. But it was too hard to change the dates, so we went anyway.
On the drive down it did rain a lot. Luckily we had packed up our gear really well so everything stayed dry in the ute and trailer. We got to Logue Brook Dam about 10.30am on Saturday and went to the cafe at Lake Brockman Tourist park. It was nice and warm by the fire and we all ordered coffees and burgers. It kept raining but as we started to unload it stopped. However it was very windy and very cool - maybe 10 degrees. The ride along the Scarp Rd diversion (see below) was ok - it mainly followed Lake Brockman on a flattish gravel road. The Trail becomes interesting when we turned off Scarp Rd onto Cowna Rd - this was old form with lots of big tree stumps all around.
Just after crossing the gravel Hoffman Rd we turned up along a track next to a farm. Within a kilometre or so, we came to the Hoffman Mill foundations. We stopped there and had an explore. The next feature was the diversion because of mining. We rode under the tunnel and watched some big machinery drive over the top. This diversion is next to Nanga Rd but is often on a windy single track next to it. The first part was up hill for us, then we had a big straight down hill to rejoin the King Jarrah form at the stream - some of us hit 54km/hr going down it. The form is then flat and easy riding to the hut.
We were at the hut just before 3pm, and it had stayed dry the whole ride! So after unpacking we headed down to the stream and waterfall for a look. The weather was still holding out, so we walked out to the King Jarrah, about 1500m up the form, then another 600m in - and mainly a steep uphill walk. But it is worth the effort - it is a great spot and tree to see.
During the night the rain was pretty heavy, but when we left at 8.30am it had stopped. But it wasn't for long. We were on North Junction Form when the rain started. It got pretty heavy, as you can see in the video. The rain was intermittent but heavy when it came, but at least it was lot warmer than yesterday.
The last diversion was easy to follow. Instead of following the old form around Nanga, there is a short steep hill to join the form after going through Nanga.
We stopped at the rangers hut while it poured and chatted with the staff there. Once it stopped we hit the Trail again, but it was soon pouring again. The undulating section into Dwellingup had us walking a couple of hills, but we were in Dwellingup by about 11am. We went to the visitors centre and used the toilets to change. I don't think even swimming in my clothes could have got them wetter! I had to put them into my dry bag to stop them soaking everything else. It was a short walk across to the pub and I was soon feeling a lot better with a Guinness and a curry in my stomach. The pub was packed - walkers, vintage car clubs but only us on bikes ( and no motorcyclists). The drive back to Bayswater was ok, and we were heading home by 4pm. We had done 60km over 2 days with over 70mm of rain. I was glad we got rained on the second day - it was ok knowing that although we were soaked through we would have a hot shower and a warm comfortable bed at the end. It would have been a lot harder if we were at a hut while that wet.
Although the ride was tough it was good to have a wet weather ride for once. We tested out our wet weather gear (raincoats and over shoes just seem to delay getting wet). And it was so much warmer in the hut than last year when it was clear but very cold.
The 3 diversions in place on this ride were:
- Munda Biddi was closed for aproximately 9.4km at Logue Brook Dam while the Water Corporation undertakes construction work on the wall. A 9.4km diversion is in operation for Lake Brockman tourist park to Cowna Rd via Scarp Rd
2. The southern 5.9km of King Jarrah Form is closed due to an expansion of Alcoa's mining operations. A 4.4km diversion of the Trail alongside Nanga Road is in place.
3. The Munda Biddi Trail has been permanently realigned at Nanga. Approximately 2.1km of Trail have been permanently closed as shown on the map
Softtail no luggage
The King Jarrah diversion map on the website is poor - there are better maps on the gates at start and end or at Bidjar hut. This is a long term diversion - I read this as permanent - due to mining.
The Winter weather forecast was dry but cool as 3 of us set off from Dwellingup to Bidjar hut. We had vehicle back up that was going to meet us near the hut with all our gear, so we were travelling light. We had left Perth about 9am, so by the time we had an early lunch in Dwellingup, unloaded and hit the trail it was nearly noon. The first shady downhill out of Dwellingup didn't let us warm up, but the undulating trail to the ranger's hut soon had us up to operating temperature. The ride up the hill after crossing the Murray River was easy enough, then the ride along the form into Nanga was a fast cruise. The diversion straight off the form into Nanga was still in place even though it was due to have been finished about a month ago, but it only cut about 1.5 km off the trail. It takes you off the form down a steep hill straight into Nanga, rather than following the form that gentley swings around the back of Nanga.
Most of North Junction form is easy riding, but there are a couple of small dips & rises with a few rocks where I assume old rail bridges had been burnt out. We were soon on King Jarrah form. The King Jarrah tree is 500m off the trail. It is on the King Jarrah walk, which heads from the MB trail straight through to Nanga. The first 100m is narrow single track, but once you cross the little stream, it is all uphill and completely unrideable - leave your bikes behind. The steep walk is worth it though - the jarrah is truly magnificent, roughly the diameter of a decent sized karri tree, and nearly as tall. I guess it survived because it is on such a steep slope and was not easy to harvest.
We were at the hut by 3pm. Our back up team had already carried up our gear in so after afternoon tea we had a browse of the waterfall near the hut. We decided to follow the stream up the hill and see how far we could go. Firstly, we put a waypoint for the hut on our mobile phone's GPS - that way if we got lost we could navigate back to the hut. It was pretty dense up there, but we did find an old form that was so overgrown it was a struggle to walk along! We also saw a rocky out crop that was on the map, but we did not get to the top of the hill or anywhere near Nanga Rd. However, we did get a weak signal on the mobiles, so we all feverishly sent texts to home. It is a long way to walk just to send a text, and the risk of getting lost is high (you won't see the hut till you are pretty close) so I wouldn't recommend chasing the signal unless it was an emergency. We used ours sense of direction to get back to the hut ok (GPS was like an umbrella - you never need it when you are prepared) and started getting ready for an early nightfall. Sunset is about 5.20pm at the moment, but in the valley the hut is in it started getting dark and cool pretty early. Our chef took down a 3 burner gas stove, so we had a veggie curry, a chicken curry, an Indian side dish, naan bread, then a traditional Indian dessert - what a treat after rehyd meals. We had a HF radio, so we threw up an antenna and tried it out. We managed to contact Perth, but communications were patchy.
By about 8pm we had finished everything so we ended up in the sleeping area chatting as it was abit warmer. However by 8.30pm we were all in bed.
Next morning was a struggle to get out of bed - my little temperature gauge said zero degrees. But a hot coffee, porridge and bacon & eggs soon had us firing up. We packed the gear up and carried it back to the vehicle, and hit the trail about 9.30am. The King Jarrah form after the Alcoa gate was similar to yesterdays - pretty flat, good surface and nice bush. The diversion turned us right and up a hill to almost join Nanga Rd. The MB follows Nanga Rd closely, but is a nice single track in most parts. After that the trail was mainly on forms. Martin's knee was a bit sore, so he had a couple Voltaren and made sure he spun up any hills in granny gear. This slowed us down abit, but gave us more time to stop and look, to take photos and soak up the sun and the fresh bush air - all very nice.
Just before crossing Hoffman Rd/Waterous Form at the 20.8 km mark we stopped at the old saw mill (I guess it is the Hoffman No 1 Mill, which is described as being located "at the head of Bancell Brook, 14 km east of Yarloop"). If this is the mill, it was put there in 1901 and destroyed by fire in 1917. All that is left is the very large concrete foundations and some saw pits, but it was worth a look. We saw some very large tree stumps in the area that were clearly cut by a saw.
When we came off Cowina Rd two of us took the challenging section, while Martin followed Scarp road to Logue Brook dam on the road on the map that follows the lake. He said it was 450 m from where the MB turned right off Scarp Rd to where he turned right (he said there was a LBD sign there). It shows as Blackburn Rd on my GPS, and is unnamed but on the MB map. If you carry straight on Scarp Rd you go to the caravan park/café via the east side of Lake Brockman via a gravel road. The "touring route" swings right up a slight rise and heads toward the dam wall along the north and west side of Lake Brockman. It is well signposted with a DPaW brown painted post and rail type of sign marked LBD and at a few other signs with maps, restrictions, etc. After 900m is another junction where the track along the northern side of the dam swings right and climbs a 10m ridge, and there is an impromptu track to the left that follows the shore of the dam around to the picnic spot. It's a bit lumpy but doesn't have the 10m climb. It might be the better touring route. The climb up the ridge is short but sharp, with minimal wash away and easy to negotiate, then there is a gentle run down the other side of the ridge to the carpark. Both tracks end in a carpark in another 600 m, and rejoin the MB. Total diversion is 1.95 km. As a general note the touring route is, at the moment anyway, very smooth and compacted by 4WDs and easy enough to ride, although the first part from the start of the challenging section was a little muddy and with a bit of rain it would be very muddy for the 450m to the track around the northern side of the lake. Do orientate your map to the ground and follow the lake edge if you take this route.
So now it was just a few kilometres around the dam and to follow the signs to the café at the Caravan Park. It was now 1 pm. The log fire was on, the coffee was hot and the lunch most satisfying, so all we had to do now was load up and head back to Perth. Surprisingly enough, after an 11 hour sleep last night, most people in the car fell asleep on the way home!
Soft tail 29"er with BOB
Friday afternoon, and I managed to get a lift to Dwellingup. I was dropped near the pub and started riding at 3pm. The forecast for 3 days was 13 to 23 degrees approximately and chance of a shower or 2 over the 3 days. So the weather looked great, but the days are pretty short at this time of year (sunrise 7am, sunset 5.30pm). I was riding on the X29 er with the Bob trailer, but not too loaded as it was only a 2 full day ride.
The ride into the Murray River valley is pretty easy - it was mainly down hill for this direction. Around Nanga the trail is mainly old form, so it was all pretty flat and easy, and even the challenging section was all rideable. I had the one small diversion at Nanga, and it was easy to follow.
It got very dark as the trail here is very shaded and Bidjar is in a valley. Got in around 5.30pm and had a soup & snack bar, then unpacked my gear. I had the green thai curry rehyd meal for dinner. Bidjar Hut water was decidedly green (not tea coloured from the tannin in leaves), so I filtered it and used a Steripen on it and I suffered no ill effects. It had no taste either, so another good sign. (I reported it to the ranger the next week as Winter is a good time to empty clean and refill the tanks - one at a time of course). Over 12 months about 100 multi day riders passed through and signed the log. The last rider was through here a couple of days ago. Read the riders notes about the Antichinus (native rat) stealing food and local feral pigs in the area. I went to bed about 8.30pm with a talking book on my phone. I had my usual uncomfortable night - even 2 sleeping mats is not as comfortable as my bed! It was cool, but not cold - I guess 12 degrees minimum.
When I got up at 6am in the dark, there was lots of fog which makes it hard to see with a helmet light - you just get a wall of white in front of you as the light hits the water drops. I had coffee, weetbix and fruit for breakfast and packed and ready to go by 8am. I had a quick walk to the waterfall and I loved the big jarrah by toilet.
I rode back to main route and the start of the deviation. The white gate was open, the markers indicated to head South, but I over thought the deviation and headed back along the King Jarrah form - the wrong way. I followed the Waterous Loop Trail deviation to Nanga Rd via Dawn Creek Rd. I had come along this way last year, and I got confused even with the obviously clear signage. The riding on Nanga Rd (a wide gravel road) was abit boring and after 13 km I rejoined the MB. I think my "deviation" added 10 km. Luckily I will be down this way again next month, so I can track the right route.
The MB had some nice single track along side Nanga Rd. There was a fair bit of old form and even some gravel road. The tunnel under the mining road was interesting. I didn't go to the arboretum - I see a lot of trees on this ride! The only challenging part was near Lake Brockman Tourist park, and even then it was fairly short. I diverted in to the cafe at the caravan park, as I think nearly every rider does. The cafe is open 7 days a week, and they have a great menu of burgers, all day breakfast, drinks, ice creams and cakes. I spent an hour there - eating, charging my phone, using a real toilet, texting home etc.
I left at 1 pm and had no drama re joining the Munda Biddi trail. I think I most probably cut out 2 km all up with my diversion, but my all day breakfast and take away cake was worth it.
There is another diversion on Stromlo Rd, which I think is an old form itself. It was really well sign posted, with a map at the start, the diversion markers in place, and the old trail markers had plastic bags over them to show they were not in use. It was a great job by DPaW. The trail is now nearly all old form, good surfaces and no big hills. With this perfect weather (no rain today), this is just perfect!
I was at Yarri hut by 5.30pm, which is actually on the trail with a view over a small valley. Had a soup and a snack bar again as soon as I got in then Mexican chicken with cous cous rehydrated meal - bit spicy but good. By 8pm I was ready for bed with another talking book. It was a warm night (maybe 15 degrees minimum) with a bit of rain overnight, and drizzle in morning. There were a few complaints in the riders log regarding the water here (a bit brown from tannin, but I thought it was OK), but especially Bidjar, where it was green. I had no ill effects but I did treat it.( I did advise DPaW when I got home, and of the poor deviation map on the website for King Jarrah Form). Both water tank taps face the same direction ie face you as you ride in from Perth. The one facing in towards the hut (ie the second one as you approach from Perth) has better coloured water than the tap facing up the trail (ie the first one).
Next morning I got wet from "Tunnels of Green" near Yarri that were dripping wet. Otherwise there was just a little drizzle that I didn't even put a rain coat on for. It was very humid and I was wetter from sweat than the other 2 days. It was 17 degrees at 10am, then the sun came out.
Zephyr Rd was wonderful - a smooth, solid undulating road under some big jarrah trees. The soft overcast light made for wonderful photos. The photos show you what I mean. It was a highlight of this section. There was diversion around the Zephyr rd logging area recently (2013). The diversion was on the Munda Biddi Foundation website in March '14, and directed you down Niger Rd and onto Mornington Rd for an extra 4 km approximately. When I rode through in May '14, the route as per the map was open, and signs of logging on Zephyr rd were obvious, including many marked trees. There were a few notes in the rider's log at Yarri complaining about the diversion around the logging area that takes you down the power line trail- one said it was a 14 km roller coaster on pea gravel (dated Oct '13). The diversion down the power line trail would be very hot in Summer as there is no shade.
On my drive home I noticed permanent Munda Biddi markers on Mornington Rd much further past the section I rode. This section turned off Mornington Rd onto Niger Rd (unmarked) in the vicinity of Big Tree Rd (which is on the opposite side of the road, and not shown on the MB map- it is near the Muja- Cannington power lines on the map). I spoke with DPaW and they say they used both the powerline track and Mornington Rd as the diversion - both had their positive and negatives. I was advised there is no more harvesting in area for foreseeable future so no diversion is needed but they have left markers on Mornington Rd just in case it needs to be reactivated. However there will logging nearer to the Yarri Hut in future and this may need a diversion in years to come.
When you cross Mornington Rd you can turn right if you want to high tail it into Collie. The downside is this road has a few hills and the your are sharing it with cars doing 100km/hr.
The Munda Biddi has less hills, but has more pea gravel and can be a slow hot ride in Summer.
I also heard a few chainsaws at various points on the trail as locals collected firewood, but didn't see any 4WD or motorbike (just their trails). As usual, I had the two huts to myself and saw no riders on the track ( except 2 day riders 10 km out of Collie going the opposite way). Ahh, the serenity!
Hard tail with BOB
Day 13 & 14 of 14 day ride:
Boyanup: Up about 6am and had breakfast in the kitchenette - cereal, toast, coffee, included in the $70 per room price. On the road by 8am. Looks like it will be warm again. We were planning on heading straight to to Yarri Hut, as it is equal distance to Collie and we don't have to back track about 20km along the trail the next day. Joshua Creek Rd to Crooked Brook Forest was easy enough, but then it was into the Ferguson Valley. We had about 8km of up hill along Richards Rd, which was sealed for the first kilometre, but then went to a gravel road through the farm lands (with views to the coast), then tracks through the bush. As we hit the bush we had a chain break, but I had a chain breaker and a spare Whipperman link, so it didn't take long to fix. The down hill to the Nglang Boodja hut was fast, but abit rough. We didn't stop there, but kept going to Honeymoon Pool. The map indicates water is available, but all taps there were marked not for drinking. We were about to fill up water from the river when a visitor gave us 10 litres, which was very nice. By now my temperature gauge said 30 degrees. The "challenging" section was ahead of us, so we jumped on River Road ( gravel road) and stayed on it till Wellington Dam Road, a sealed road. It was hot on the open road with the hills but rideable. We turned off towards Dwellingup as it was about 20km to Yarri Hut, the same distance to Collie. As we crossed Mornington Rd, we stayed on the sealed road as the trail is full of gravel and abit boring, and we were now pretty tired - the last 20km were a struggle.There were a few trees down and a few puddles (just enough to soak my shoes) but nothing serious. At Yarri hut at 5pm. This hut is half a hut on the side of the trail over looking a small valley - very nice. No phone signal at the hut, so cleaned up, ate and bed at 8pm.
We were awoken at 5.20am by the most amazing bird chorus of my life. Got up about 5.40am. It was a pleasant night - warm, no wind but drizzling. It is my last full day on the trail - a bit exciting but a bit sad as well. We were ready to go by 7.30am. We enjoyed the forms around Yarri - it was another great bit of riding. My shoes didn't dry out from yesterday, and it is drizzling all the time today, so damp shoes are here for the day. There was a small bypass due to logging at Stromlo rd, and once we crossed Clarke rd ( a good gravel road) we followed that to Logue Brook Dam. The facilities had improved greatly from last time, so we had an all day breakfast and hot drinks to warm up. Its not cold, its just we are all damp. I texted my family, then we left about 1pm. We cut the red section out after Logue Brook Picnic area by staying on the road that follows the Lake, navigating through the tracks and hitting Scarp Rd. The roads were quite good - no big hills, some railway form and all rideable. We also all felt good after a good lunch, less hills and cooler weather.The weather cleared up after lunch and was even sunny. We followed the semi permanent mine detour, then on to King Jarrah Form for the last run into the hut at about 5pm. The falls near the hut are small but flowing really well. We had a look around then back to the hut for a wash, dinner and finally sleep.
Up about 6am. What a contrast to Yarri - hardly a bird to be heard, just some very distant rumbling in the middle of the night from the mine. It was drizzling again in the morning, then rain periods as we headed off about 8am. North Junction Form was great - it follows the river and often over looks it. Nanga was quite busy with campers. There was some decent hills, so it was too hot to ride in a rain coat, but too wet not too! At the spot were we got lost last time the entire area had been cleared so the track was easy to follow. I wonder why? When we got to the rangers station at the entrance to Lane Poole Reserve it poured hard for 15 mins so we stood under a tree. This time we followed the MB trail into Dwellingup rather than the road and found it much better. We were into Dwellingup at 11.07am, in time for a late breakfast at the cafe. One of our party was being collected in Dwellingup, so we left him about 12 to ride to Pinjarra. The rain came again, but worse still was the wind, which we were riding into. We only stopped for a quick moment in Pinjarra and headed straight to Mandurah. By now we were soaked from the constant drizzle. We got to the train station about 10 mins before a train so we dried off abit and put on dry clothes before the relaxing hour ride to Perth. The train was very quiet - I think the weather was keeping people in doors. I got off at the Esplanade stop and rode to the cycleway along the River to Bayswater. Wonderful to get home. I did 899 km in 16 days, 7 nights in huts and 8 in accommodation. I lost 3 kg on the ride, but lost another 3kg over the next few days as my metabolism was still in "burn fat" mode I guess (don't worry dear reader, it soon crept back on again!). It was a very tough ride in some dreadful weather, but I tolerated the rain more than I can tolerate heat, although the wind was very annoying. I felt a real sense of achievement after completing it.
Soft tail with BOB
My wife drove John & I to Collie, leaving home by 8.15am and getting to the Collie bakery at 10.30am for "sustenance". We drove to Mornington Rd as the first 5km were in Collie itself or semi rural roads on the edge of town. We started at 11.30am and the weather was warm and fine - 27 degrees. The first 10km of our ride was gravel tracks with some pea gravel. The rest of the ride to Yarri was good trails, with lots of shade and in some parts narrow, over grown tunnels of greenery - beautiful. Sun or safety glasses are a good idea as we were whipped in the face by branches a lot. We were at the hut by 3pm. It is a half sized hut on a very narrow rail trail, perched over looking a small stream that is completely hidden by trees and dense bush. Later in the day another rider turned up who had ridden 60km from Willowdale Arboretum. He'd dropped his car at Collie and paid $216 to get to his start point at Willowdale by taxi! He was very tired so in bed by 7.30pm, whereas we partied on till 8.30pm!
We were up before 6am, and had the usual weetbix & fruit, and away by 7am. The first section was like the last part yesterday - gentle slopes, good paths, tunnels of green, and at times quite overgrown, which made for really nice riding. However the 10~20 km into Logue Brook Dam, and nearly all to Bidjar was the usual Darling Range MB riding - a mix of surfaces but lots of gravel & sand, and steeper hills, and lots of open jarrah forest. We did stop at the caravan park, but the cafe/shop is not functioning, so they only had ice cream & soft drinks. We cut out the red section by Logue Brook Dam by following the road on the map around and rejoining the MB after the car park.
Nearer to Bidjar, I went down the Form that I was sure took us to the hut, but it was the wrong way. There is a diversion in place around some bauxite mining (isn't this Lane Poole RESERVE?!?) that I think has changed the original route of the Munda Biddi. We rode about about an extra 4km. We were expecting more riding on Forms, so the diversion seemed extra bad to us- riding next to a road on a slow rough track. (Should have gone to the website for deviations before riding!). It started to rain when we finally hit King Jarrah Form, although it had been overcast all day and had sprinkled abit at Logue Brook Dam. We were at the hut by 5pm with no other visitors. We went to the little stream by the hut (follow the path in front of picnic tables down) and up to the little water fall. This is a lovely little spot. No partying for us tonight - we were tired from 10 hrs on the trail, so bed by 7.30pm. It rained a lot overnight.
Up at 5.30am at Bidjar and had breakfast by the waterfall, watching the little native fish. We were on the road by 7am. The forms were very slippery with the overnight rain, and I had my front wheel slip out from under me at about 20km/hr. I ended up abit muddy, but not a single scratch as the mud let me slide.
We got lost between Nanga and Baden Powel as there was a junction without a sign and we ended up on the wrong route. We rode for 3 kms before coming back onto the MB a km before we took the wrong route. We tried the other option and saw more signs within 500 m. Saw some massive tree ferns on the ride - as tall as small trees and something you'd expect in temperate rain forests, not here. Once we got to the Rangers station just beyond Baden Powel we stayed on Nanga Rd to Dwellingup - it is about a 70km/hr narrow, steep windy road, but we preferred in to go uphill on sealed road rather than the trail (see 2014 ride - MB trail is pretty good - stay with it). We were in Dwellingup by 10.30am for food & drink, then on the road to Mandurah. It was sunny now. The down hill section was ok as it was sign posted 80km/hr and we were moving fast, but on the flat to Pinjarra it was 110km/hr zone and we were doing 30km/hr tops, so cars whizzed by. We had a pie and a break at the Pinjarra bakery before doing the last 25km to Mandurah on cycleways & road. We jumped straight on a train, and we were in Perth an hour later. I rode the cycleway to Bayswater. I was very sore, muddy, tired and sun burnt, but satisfied. The trail highlight was the trail South & North of Yarri and Bidjar
Softtail with BOB
Day 4 off 7 day Ride Soft tail with Bob Trailer
Collie to Yarri:
Monday was a half day, as we wanted to get back into sync with the huts. I had breakfast at the Collie Bakery - it opens at 5.30am, so no rush to get there - before the bikes were fixed. We left Collie just after 10am. Like Donnybrook, you have to backtrack along the trail a fair way to rejoin it, so we rode out of town on the black stuff & rejoined the trail at Gastaldo Road. After Zephyr Road the trail is back on the old rail line, so it is smooth, rolling type hills, but very over grown in a great fun sort of way (can I suggest you wear some sunnies to protect your eyes). At Yarri hut someone described it as long green tunnels. We completed our 40 km in 2hrs 45 mins, but 4 hours on the road. Yarri is a really lovely spot - it is on a slope overlooking a small, heavily treed valley. The hut actually takes up half the track & the balcony has seats overlooking the valley. Who was supposed to bring the beers? It was a top spot to have an extra few hours break.
Tuesday saw more of the long green tunnels before we hit a diversion around Tag Rd due to timber harvesting. This was fine, but the next diversion was due to aerial burning and was not as pleasant. The diversion covered a fair area, so we did about 5 km on the Harvey/Quindanning Rd, which is all gravel bar a small section of asphalt in the middle for some reason. It looked like the MB followed contour lines, but the gravel road just went straight up & down hills - and there were some big 'uns! To make it worse, the road was very wide, so shade was non existent, whereas on the narrow Trail you were often in shade. Climbing those hills on a 30 degree day was sweaty work. We reached Logue Brook Dam about lunch time & although the caravan park had just recently reopened, it had not restocked the shop, so there were no facilities available. We had our pre packed lunches on a caravan park bench overlooking the Dam while numerous 28's & magpies tried to share it.
After Logue Brook Dam there were some rough, steep climbs with great views of the Scarp. Once we hit King Jarrah Form the Trail was smooth, level & well shaded - perfect when you are tired. We got into Bidgar Ngoulin hut about 6pm, after 10 hours and 7 water bottles on the road. It took a fraction over 6 hrs to ride the 77 km. This hut is fantastic - a small stream runs nearby & it has a small waterfall feeding it - absolutely lovely. My only concern was the 2 wild pigs I saw walking along a ridge above the stream, but we saw no signs of them being near the hut. As always, I stayed on the top bunk with my food, as not to attract any attention from locals like them. And as for the whole trip, Perry & I had the hut to ourselves. In fact we only saw 2 multi day riders, both heading South, about 1 day apart from each other.
Wednesday night was in Dandalup Hut. It was another 10 hours on the road, but 6 ½ hours riding to cover the 76 km. The King Jarrah Form was much the same as yesterday, except with some nice views of the river. However after Nanga the only way was up and often the Trail went up & down. Perry actually stayed on the road and that did save him some time. We were in Dwellingup for lunch, so feasted like kings there before filling up water at the tourist bureau.