The 9th of July – Burdekin river to Mt Garnet

that is what I see in the morning when I wake up: not much

Today starts like any other day. The trail is mostly flat, slightly going up to 700m above sea level. It’s a smooth graded incline.

easy climb

At midday, I stop for lunch and a motorbike comes. A cattle boy is opening the gates as they are mustering the cattle. We chat about mountain biking and the road ahead until the horses and cattle arrive.

a little bit of bitumen

look at the flood plain for lunch break

cattle mustering

Soon after leaving him, and already spending an hour there, I stop again to get mobile phone signal and check a few things. With my phone up in the air, I manage to send some messages back and forth. I’m flat out though. I can’t find the will to progress. I write quickly how I feel:

When the excitement is gone, I’m left with the passion. It’s been a battle for water and against isolation. I’ve won the first one and survived through the second one. I’ve smelt road kill in all states of decomposition, losing appetite when I was starving and eventually eating between a dead pig and dead kangaroo. Nearly 700km in the last 8 days, an entire section of the Bicentennial National Trail. Yet I’m alive and the sadness in me is mixed with joy. In a state of mind where I’m sure of nothing, not wanting anything. Maybe that is peace of mind. I’m taking a break now, soon.

I have been in touch with Kathy from Atherton for some time now over social media. She has offered to pick me up further north so I can have a few days rest at her house. I was supposed to be picked up in two days time, but I’m tired. We make a plan over text messages to meet the next morning. After the plan is made, I want to push as far as I can to get close to our meeting point so that Kathy doesn’t have to drive as far. This, and some sweet snacks give me the motivation and energy to keep going, pedalling harder.
I’m only 65 km from the extraction point, initially it doesn’t seem doable today.. But then again, why not?
If I can get to Mt Garnet tonight, I can camp at a caravan park, and be picked up first thing tomorrow morning. I like my plan and I don’t really feel camping in the bush tonight.
So I get on my bike and do the kilometers.
Once I get to the National Trail turn off, I’m suppose to leave the bitumen road and travel on a smaller track. If I take the turn off, I’ll be back in the bush and will have to stop riding as it’s getting dark. If I keep going on the main sealed road, I will make it to Mt Garnet just before dark but I will have left the official trail.

Left, the bitumen road, easier way to the caravan park. Right, the unknown following the BNT : shorter but not good tat this time of the day

It’s late and I was sold on the plan to camp at the caravan park tonight. So I stay on the main road, with some regrets. That turn off looked very nice.
I get to the caravan park and enjoy the luxury of a shower and a fully equipped camp kitchen. I’m truly exhausted after a 115km ride, but I know that I will be getting my lift tomorrow morning and have a good rest for a couple of days.

Track Map


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