Day 457 | Bidjar Ngoulin Shelter, Munda Biddi Trail: alone again for a rather cold night
39 km | Heading west total: 16,483 km
Any day you only manage to scrape above 8 km/hour, (5 mph), for almost 5 hours can usually be considered a good day’s effort.
Somehow there’s a discrepancy with the promotional photos shown in the official literature and maps for the Munda Biddi with that young family out on a Sunday afternoon jaunt on a smooth clay road in the middle of the forest.
OK, half the bikes have panniers in the photos, you probably need them on a 500 km trip.
(Surprisingly, when I collate the entries in the shelter log books most of the end to end trekkers are blokes aged over 40. They mostly seem to have left the women and children behind.)
For me it was a day of a thick sea of pea gravel on much of the uphill sections, the front wheel sliding around with me churning away on the biggest back cog. So I ended up with the most walking of the bike in 15 months.
Even when I finally made it to the fabulous King Jarrah Formation, an old tram line on a gentle downhill grade and a smooth clay surface, I found that due to the construction of a new mining road there was a deviation up an unexpected hill on a good unsealed road.
Except they had scraped a bike trail to the side of it up the hill, adequately marked for a change, but pretty soft and only just rideable for me with my caravan. Half an hour later I arrived at the top to see that lovely road 10 feet away.
I’m not complaining, after all I’m the one who came up with this particular itinerary.
I did have one surreal moment while eating my bread and cheese lunch. A tall guy with no load pedalled furiously past in his granny ring with me enviously looking on. (It would be useful to have access to a full set of gears out here, he thinks.)
My usual salutation to strangers had only the response of a grunt and a slightly increase cadence. Those legs were whirring.
Half an hour later I reached the top to find a whole gaggle of school kids coming the other way taking a break. For the second time in two days I was referred to as The Dude after my poetic description of the Yarri water, which they were soon to encounter, smelling like poo and I guess, to my generally casual attitude to the day’s exertions.
The Tall One looked on grimly. He’s supposed to be the hero out here not some grinning idiot who was not sending The Right Message with the failure to don his helmet.
I talked about where the track markers started and stopped north of Yarri. One of the kids, a full head shorter than me, actually another teacher, emerged as The Leader, dismissing it all.
No worries, as I shambled off.
So I didn’t tell him that I had marked every possible intersection with little bits of pink fluorescent plastic ribbon.