Munda Biddi Day Five – Dwellingup to Lake Brockman (61.6km, 911m up, 11.03kmh av)
Going soft and staying inside was such a good option, I booked ahead for a cabin to stay at Lake Brockman. We left Dwellingup in the cold and rain, and turned our minds to the task of simply getting to the end of the day and getting warm and dry again. The rain continued for much of the morning, but started to clear later in the day. The trail surface had definitely improved in comparison to the pea gravel and deeply rutted trails of the first few days, and we were able to move along a bit more quickly.
The trail had been diverted around Nanga as a result of the fires in early 2016 that burned out vast areas of bushland. It destroyed many homes, farms and businesses, with the loss of several lives. Part of the Munda Biddi trail was in the fire zone, and trail markers and a hut were destroyed. The realigned trail followed newly graded mining and forestry roads through kilometres of devastated landscape. At times we could see burned and twisted trail signs in among the blackened stumps where the old trail had come close to the roads.
It was a cold and windy day, and new gravel on the roads slowed our progress considerably. We plodded along following the continual up and down of the roads, our moods as somber as the scene around us. It was a relief to see the Lake Brockman come into view, and to follow the bitumen around the lakes edge to our accommodation.
Munda Biddi – Day 6 – Lake Brockman to Yarri (47.2km, 607m up, 10.77kmh av)
Despite our inside accommodation, we again failed to make an early start, comforting ourselves with the thought that it was a relatively short and easy day. Soon after leaving Lake Brockman, we came across some colourful knitted and crocheted pieces attached to the burned trees. The notice on them explained that they were yarn bombing, placed there to remember the destruction of the fires and have something bright against the blackness of the tree stumps. We thought this was a kind gesture, especially in the face of such destruction when there is little else that can be done to make things better.
The ride continued through logging areas, past signs warning of logging operations. Although we never saw any work underway, we passed areas of recent clearing. The wildflowers were just starting to bloom, and we enjoyed spotting new ones. Our botanical knowledge is quite limited, so many things are daisys or pea flowers or banksias.
The final part of the ride was a long steady downhill to the shelter. It was enjoyable to cruise down the track, although I became increasingly concerned that we would miss the hut turnoff and have to climb back up to find it. So I kept the brakes on, peering cautiously around each bush and turn. I need not have worried. Yarri shelter was in the middle of the trail. A greater risk would be crashing into it.
Kim and I had the shelter to ourselves, and we quickly managed to spread our gear from end to end. Fearing another cold night, we decided to put the tent up on the sleeping platform. I was still cold, and spent much of the night plotting how to find warmer gear in Collie.
Day Seven – Yarri to Colllie (46.4km, 475m up, 12.44kmh av)
Our track today headed into our first official resupply point at Collie. We zoomed through areas of tall jarrah trees on easy track, pleased to finally be making some higher speeds. The lighter loads helped our pace, as well as the less hilly track. We found some great single track, and generally enjoyed a day on the bike. We could see the rain starting to threaten again, so were please to make the turn towards Collie for the 15km run into town.
We collected our food parcel from the Information centre, where the lovely lady directed us to the hotel where “they really look after all you people”, meaning Munda Biddi cyclists and Bibbulman walkers. The hotel was rustic, but the welcome was warm. We met a group of four blokes who were doing a three day ride, and one man who was one third of the way through walking the Bibbulman. He looked haggard, and mused that he’d expected to get fitter along the way, but was getting more tired. I certainly understood his feelings, and wondered if we already looked like that, or would have to wait until we were also 20 days into our trip.
In reality, the first of our scheduled rest stops wasn’t exactly restful. It was a whirlwind of shopping, washing clothes, finding something non-dehydrated to eat, trying to get some photos onto the website, planning our next few days, trying to get clothes dry, picking up our advanced food parcel and falling into bed. It started bucketing down again as we were shopping, and we rode back to our hotel in the cold and wet, minus our raingear.
On the positive side, I now have a small blanket to help with the cold nights ahead. My second slip of the trip happened in town, hopping off Pokey to walk up the overhead crossing in the rain. With one pannier bag full of groceries, Pokey over-balanced, and once again, fell onto me. I managed to land in a puddle making sure that Pokey escaped unharmed.