Tonight, writing these notes I’m already having trouble remembering everything.
I feel like I went through two seasons and three countries in one day. I wish I could record all my thoughts, it would be easier to write this journal.
This morning we seem to all wake up at the same time. There’s three of us at this Junction between the Alpine Trail and the Bicentennial National Trail. It’s a real pleasure to share some time with fellow trekkers. And as always, I feel like a lot has been shared and we know each other. Making friends is easy on the trail. Chris seems intrigued by the bikepacking concept and it looks he wants to give it a go one day. He owns a petrol station and manage to have plenty of time got himself. One things to know about Chris, he eats only two meals per day to save on weight: lunch and dinner. A nice fella.
Sally was a teacher and just like me sold most of her belongings and is hiking her way. She is wondering what job she could do after, so many options she reckons. She will hike the Compostelle track in Spain shortly after she finishes the Australian Alpine Trail. One picture and we wish farewell.
Soon after I’m on an exposed wide mountain road, heading to Mt Hope. A lot of dead trees around me. I make my way up to 1,400m but I know the day is just a succession of undulations. Nothing too hard, nothing very exciting neither. There is a cold wind and I end up wearing my rain jacket. That along with some good music I’m travelling at a good pace. I’m not having as much fun as yesterday. Maybe I’ve become addicted to the climbs, and I happen to like them even though they are challenging.
After a while, lunch is calling and I’m making my way down to Tom Groggin station.
In the process I disturb a group of cattle. Being on a narrow road, they have no choice but to run away, making it look like I’m chasing them. This goes on for a good 10kms. Poor cattle look exhausted and the young ones struggle to follow. They are slowing me down and I get cow poo all over my bike. Finally there is a fork and they take a left, I take the right.
A last climb on this trail and I get to Tom Groggin station. There is a Hut by the river. It’s 2pm and once again I already made it to the campsite. Things are so different when I’m not constantly battling against punishing Hills. For lunch I have a rather big meal, I figured yesterday that I was ahead of my schedule and therefore I have more food than required.
This campsite site is not bad, but reading the route notes I find that the next one is even better. Keebles Hut would be a nice place to rest at now that it’s warmer. If I make the next campsite, that means I’m making it from Omeo to Khancoban in six days instead of the 11 I had planned for. Good job! It’s nice to travel slow but I get more fun if I go through more places each day as I see and smell and feel more things. I’m so looking forward to making it to Canberra: bye bye nasty mountains. You are beautiful but not kind to me.
There is a new track to go to the next campsite, It has been opened recently and allows one to avoid hiking the Alpine road. The new track is well served in terms of signs. It’s a single track, very pretty, most horse riders or bike riders would love it.
I’m having a lot of fun cruising on the flat ish section.On this track I have 24 kms to go, making it 70 kms all together for today, my longest distance so far.
While going too fast crossing a tiny Creek, my back wheel goes flat. The inner tube has exploded under the pressure. Before taking a look at it, I realise I might be in trouble. I started the trip with 2 spare tubes but they are used up, if the tube can’t be repaired, it means I’ll have to drag the bike for the next 50kmsm call a friend and wait for a few days until I receive new ones by mail. Luckily, I fix the tube, but for how long? I took a lot of risks here and need to get spares asap.
It’s getting late and unfortunately the trail is going up. It’s very much rideable but I’m just too tired for that. I wanted to be by the river but looks like this is compromised. This trail is magnificent and absolutely perfect for horses, but it’s a bike wheel destroyer. The ground is covered with sticks and stones that are well hidden under a thin layer of vegetation. It is too soft to ride efficiently uphill, and on the downhill the sticks get in the spoke and derailleur to cause all sort of damages. It’s getting dark by the time I reach the end of the trail. I get back on the Alpine road and get a good downhill on the tar that I haven’t seen for 5 days. I feel like I’m cheating on this new trail, but safety comes first. I’m reaching exhaustion, swallowing energy gels to keep up, and it’s past the crucial time, 7pm.
A few more kilometres, back on the trail, I reach the new horse campsite.
Beautiful but not for cyclists. I finally make it to the right campsite and say hello to campers on my way in. Last time I did that I got offered food and met wonderful people. Bingo! The third caravan’s owner ask me to stop for a picture. They are impressed by the bike and my adventure. As usual follows a flow of questions. I setup my tent quickly and then head to the river in the dark for a quick clean. When I’m back, the couple announce that dinner and coffee will be served promptly. And what a dinner, sausages, gravy, sour cream and vegetables. I swallow all of it and soon get complaints from my stomach. Too fast, too fat. But it was good.
The rest of the evening is spent chatting by the huge camp-fire with Graham and Joanne who take great care of me insist on having me come visit them one day. I also hear about the latest world news and realise I don’t miss them as they are not always good.
Distance: 73.3 km
Moving Time: 7:28
Stopped Time: 5:42
Min Elevation: 421m
Max Elevation: 1450m
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