(60km, 11.06kmh av, 1058m up)
The night in the pub seemed to work wonders for us both. We were up, packed and ready to leave by 8am – our earliest start yet. Our first stop was the bakery that Kim had found on a reconnaissance mission the previous evening. We picked up fresh rolls for lunch, and managed to convince Kim that he couldn’t justify a vanilla slice after riding only 200 meters, and that vanilla slices wouldn’t transport too well in the panniers over rough country. He contented himself with the free samples instead.
The first 14km were a relatively gentle climb on bitumen following a river valley. Yesterdays warm weather had deserted us, and the full array of warm gear was again in use. After our first uphill, we turned into the forestry area, and enjoyed some undulating riding and downhill runs on good dirt roads. Our map had promised us easy riding all morning, and was true to its word, apart from a few times the track speared off into new single track country. A highlight of the day was the family of emus that appeared on the track. The adult and about eight juveniles ran along in front of us before heading back into the bush. After Donnelly Mill, the map showed a seven kilometre section rated medium. We planned to knock that over before having a late lunch break, knowing that there was a four kilometre challenging section to end the day including a tough climb up to the shelter.
The medium track was strewn with broken branches, and we stopped frequently to pull them out of our spokes and derailleurs. There were many big trees fallen across the path. It took both of us to lift our bikes across nearly a dozen huge logs where there was no other way to scramble around them. In many places, the track had suffered in the recent rains with areas washed out and several wet sections. It was tiring and difficult riding, and took much longer than expected. We revived over lunch at One Tree Bridge picnic area trying not to think too much about the next section.
It was our lucky day. The final four kilometres were on a well graded trail that followed a series of switchbacks up the climb to the hut. There was less fallen timber, and we managed to maintain a steady pace for most of the ride. It has been our biggest day of climbing so far, with over 1000 metres of elevation. We are learning not to expect too many flat spots on the Munda Biddi.
Karta Burnu shelter sits in a cleared patch high in the hills, with great views over the paddocks and forests. It is also totally exposed to the wind and the rain, both of which came roaring through soon after we arrived. The shelter seems newer than those we have previously seen, and less well used. The log book shows we are the first to stay overnight for a few weeks. We have enjoyed another night with the shelter to ourselves, and are very happy to have a place out of the wind and rain. It was a very chilly 10 degrees as we had a wash, put on every piece of clothing we have and ate our tea. We have put up the tent inside the shelter again, hoping for a warm nights sleep.
6 September 2016