Tuesday the 24th of March – Bindi Station to Hells gate

This morning the farmer, whom I talked to on the phone the day before, comes to greet me. He takes the time to show me the facilities and insists on turning on the hot water so that I can have a shower (not cold like the one I had yesterday). He also indicates where I can find the BNT logbook. It contains interesting entries from trekkers who came to Bindi station in the past. I mostly find entries from people I know, a mate, and also people I’d heard of from the internet. Strangely there is a 2 year gap in the book. Maybe it got lost and found again.

I’m running late (I feel like I say that a lot) so I cannot spend much time on the logbook or enjoying the luxurious facilities. I do use the stove for my morning porridge and have a warm shower. I don’t really need a shower in the morning, knowing I will get sweaty in the next 30 minutes, but I just cannot not refuse the offer. You never know when the next one is going to be.
So finally I’m on the road again. I’ve got mixed feelings about this place and I’m looking forward to moving on. I‘ve got a lot of ground to cover and it  might be another 10 days before I see a town.
I try the road the farmer told me to take but I just cannot figure it out. I look at my GPS, it says to go the opposite way but has only part of the trail on it. So I need to fill in the gaps and use my navigation skills and imagination. I’m having a good start but soon the track disappears, leaving me with dirt bike trails that go in all directions through the sheep yards.

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Eventually I reach a fence and have to decide to go right or left until I can find a gate. My bike is too heavy to carry over a fence and taking things apart is a waste of time. Removing a pannier is easier, putting it back on, not so. I’m riding in long grass and it’s not getting easier. I know the bearing but I seem to take the wrong way to get there.

Eventually, after having pushed the bike uphill for a while, I reach a dead end: there is a fence and behind the fence is nothing I could ride or walk: it’s covered in bushes and too steep,  so a decision is made. I backtrack for a few kilometres downhill and finally reach the last gate that leads to a proper track. I’ve wasted a lot of energy and time going the wrong way in high grass, uphill, that happens at times.

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I can see on my GPS that this will eventually lead to the BNT and I’m up for some serious climbing.
I’ve kept eating snacks throughout the morning. My bike is very heavy, carrying a lot of food. So I spend my energy carrying it only to eat it away at the same time.
At the bottom of the hill, I find my bike gears are not working properly. The chain keeps switching from one gear to the next. Turns out the derailleur hanger (aliminium piece attaching the derailleur to the bike frame) is bent. Earlier on, a big wood stick came into my wheel and tore things apart. Fortunately I have a spare derailleur hanger. Someone told me to take one before the trip. It’s a quick fix and its quickly replaced. The spare derailleur has saved me. Without it I would have been pushing the bike for the next 10 days. This give me a confidence boost. It’s another repair well handled in the bush, and once again I did have the right tools and parts. Planning didn’t go waste.

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Later on I’m on a climb. And what a climb! I spent a lot of energy finding my way this morning and it’s nearly 2pm. The next hours are spent pushing the bike, catching up my breath, eating snacks, drinking a lot of water and getting desperate. At least I know I’m on the right track and it is not too slippery.
Four hours later I reach the top of the hill at 1,200m (started at 650). Lucky for me I get mobile coverage and can quickly retrieve some emails whilst I eat another snack and check the route notes. I’ve been dreaming of a nice campsite by the river with fire pit, water and plenty of firewood. A short downhill later,  someone must have heard my wishes. It’s all there, my campsite by the river and someone has left plenty of logs. This is fortunate.

Earlier, the farmer was telling me that there were wild dog traps in this area, so I’m confident this place is infested by wild dogs. Someone told me back in Omeo, that wild dogs are terrorised by fire and loud noise. You have to pretend you are not alone, I know for sure that dogs could attack humans if there is easy food to get and they are hungry.

Soon fire is made and before dark I’m cooking dinner. Arriving early enough at a campsite to prepare everything and relax is the way to go. It makes a difference and I’m not in a good mood, so far so good. Tomorrow morning will start with a 300m elevation gain over 1.5kms. That is going to be touch and go. By the end of the day I will be camping at 1,500m above sea level. This means it will be cold and without easy access to water. I will have to carry plenty which will make my bike even heavier. I don’t really like camping in these places, I prefer to be somewhere at lower altitude with easy access to water and if other campers are there, even better. It will be safe and there is no better way to relax.

Soon fire is made and before dark I’m cooking dinner. Arriving early enough at a campsite to prepare everything and relax is the way to go. It makes a difference and I’m not I’m in a good mood. So far so good. Tomorrow morning will start with a 300m elevation gain over 1.5kms. That is going to be tough. End of day I will be camping at 1,500m above sea level. This means it will be cold and without easy access to water. I will have to carry plenty which will make my bike even heavier. I don’t really like camping in those places and prefer to be somewhere at lower altitude with easy access to water and if other campers are the,  even better. It will be safe and there is no better way to relax.

Statistics:

  • Distance: 20.6 km
  • Moving Time: 3:52
  • Stopped Time: 4:56
  • Min Elevation: 411m
  • Max Elevation: 1235m
  • Ascent: 1288m
  • Descent: 833m

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