In true form we left about an hour after we'd planned and then stopped at various towns on the way for provisions, coffee and again for provisions when I'd forgotten what I was supposed to get the first time. Arriving in the afternoon we set off with lights knowing the short winter day would be serving up sunset early. After warming up on Little Chook we started the hour long climb up the Old Blue Tier trail. This was the original descent but it makes a fantastic climbing trail with some technical rock sections. Picking a line to avoid putting a foot down is a fine way to pass the climb and the gradient is friendly enough to keep the effort under control. We reached the summit just in time to snap a scarlet setting sun and headed to the new Blue Tier descent.
|This was worth the climb. As was the descent. It was all good. Do it.|
According to Garmin it was 5 degrees but I'd pulled my arm warmers down to my wrists and was sweating up a storm in my jersey and undershirt. I guess I must be acclimatised now. I hadn't charged my lights since our last bike packing adventure so thought about turning them up bright and belting down as quickly as possible hoping they lasted. But I opted for running them low and hoping not to run into anything. It was such a still night and it was nice to flow down the trail, having the front wheel sent pinging in all directions by an unseen wet tree root or slippery rock. The advantage to not seeing was that I was very loose and ready to respond so avoided any crashes. The closest we came to injury was when a possum fell out of a tree onto us, panicked, ran up another tree and promptly fell out again the scurried into the bushes. I guess he failed possum school and we almost strained something laughing.
We were lucky enough to be accommodated at A Place to Stay, which is one of the few house in the area, just a few hundred metres past the Weldborough pub. Now it's not that I don't absolutely adore camping in a Tasmanian winter, but occasionally it's nice to have luxuries like hot running water, a coffee machine, heat pump, full kitchen and a doona so light and fluffy it was like being covered by a toasty, warm cloud. Reclining in front of the fire, with a red wine and a double episode of Shetland on Netflix, we were lucky to even make it to bed before the coma set in.
|A fire and a nanna-blanket are better than Stillnox|
Waking to a frosty morning we went exploring another lesser known trail. So lesser know that its name might be the OC or RC trail depending on which map you consult. We rode out from the cabin and headed up Emu Road as per the previous night. However we turned left at Frome road until we spotted pink tape and a rough mountain bike trail on our left. The RC track is what we'd call 'old school' mountain biking. Not groomed, covered in derailleur ripping detritus with a few fallen trees and requiring some thoughtful line choice. In other words - awesome. It had clearly been used as part of the Mountain Bike Australia National MTB Marathon Champs as there was still plenty of course tape marking the way. This was both disappointing and helpful when the trail became unclear. We missed the map turn but came across an abandoned race arrow which directed us back onto Frome Road after a short hike a bike. The climb out is on well graded road and isn't especially steep. There's a surprising amount of climbing on Emu Road I don't remember experiencing as a descent on the way in. We decided on a daylight lap of Big Chook but I think I rode it better when I couldn't see the rocks and trees.
|A ute, some MTBs and a cabin by the trails. What more is there in life?|
|Another sunset. Proof we stayed up past 5pm.|
These partners make my adventures possible:
Flight Centre Sports & Events
Wild Earth Australia