The day starts with an easy ride on a sealed road until I reach a junction with a main road. There I find a Bicentennial National Trail sign that has the distance to Healesville and Cooktown marked. That makes me very joyful as I can see the proof of the progress I’ve made.
Later on I arrive at a property after a beautiful ride on gentle hills. I go through a gate by a house and see someone at the back of the paddock. This person owns the house and has some cattle on the property. He offered to help me find the trail through the property. We get onto his buggy and go for a ride together. He comes along down the creek so that we can spot the National Trail marker.
This terrain is brutal. I know that I will come back with the bike and will probably have to spend a couple of hours going through this mess. An overgrown patch with many gullies and creeks merging into the Mary River.
When I come back with the bike my doubts are confirmed. I have no idea where the trail is anymore. I lift up my bike over rusty wired fences, go down three meters in a creek to go back up the other side, pushing branches and going through spider webs, stepping in mud.
Fortunately I spot some horse poo here and there and decide to follow them.
They lead me to a track finally.
Further along the track I stop in admiration in front of a magnificent bush house. It’s a bush shed that John, its owner, has converted into a house.
John is living his dream, he moved to the bush a year ago. He lives here alone but has many friends who come visit him. He has no internet, no computer, just the wildlife and nature to entertain him, when he is not playing the guitar until late at night. John is kind and sincere, a loveable character. I can see it as we share a cup of tea on his immense terrace next to a 500 year old tree. He fell in love with this property and I understand why. Who wouldn’t.
I get offered breakfast but I need to go already.
When I get back in network reach, I read on social media that someone who has been following my adventure has lost his wife in an accident. He writes “Time together is important”. This is a good reminder as I travel alone and long for company. As someone said, happiness is real only if shared
I keep going, riding my bike as always and start to understand the new game to play with the route notes. They are full of mistakes and I have to guess if right means right or if it means left.
I get to the campsite. An old school campsite that has shut. I’m disappointed. It’s all run down and nothing really is working. I manage to have a cold shower, but a creek would have done the job. I feel uneasy sleeping next to old unmaintained buildings. I can’t wait to leave and plan an early start so that I can catch up with an Internet friend and National Trail coordinator.