Woke up at ‘sparrows fart’ time and had breakfast in the dark. I wanted to get down to the lake for sunrise and test out the new camera. One of the cycle touring friends (Paul from Sydney) was already down there meditating.
After an hour or so I packed up camp and said farewell to my friends. Paul from Sydney (white shirt on right) met the other three at Newcastle NSW and has been travelling with them since. Yaenker (blue shirt), Oliver (red shirt) and Greigo (white shirt on left) are from Slovakia and have been travelling around Australia for nine months so far. Paul is headed to Cairns and the others are heading to Darwin! Today they are going to Hervey Bay via Kingfisher Bay.
Got rolling by 7:45am this morning. I knew with the track conditions it was going to be a big day of riding.
The day started with steady climbing for a good hour. The ground had a constant layer of sticks and leaves, you were constantly negotiating the worse sticks and staying alert for any bigger ones. Even on the downhills you couldn’t get too much speed up as there was too much to watch out for including vines hanging down that would latch on to yourself and the bike.
The vegetation slowly got thicker and thicker and ended up like this after just a few kilometres.
After a while I ended up at the lookout for Lake Wabby. It is an interesting lake as it supports 12 different fish species. Lake Wabby is the deepest on the island at 11.5 metres. It has been formed by sandblow Hammerstone. This sandblow moves 1 metre per year! Engulfing whatever is in its path. The experts say that Lake Wabby will eventually be engulfed by Hammerstone sandblow.
The walking track continues from this lookout but the rangers had put up a temporary fence with closed signs due to aggressive dingo behaviour. It mentions that the walking track can be picked up further down the four-wheel drive road.
The four-wheel drive tracks were actually easy compared to the walking track. The wheel tracks are packed down hard and the big 4″ tyres rolled over the sandy surface easily. As much as I wanted to be on the walking track, it was a welcome relief rolling effortlessly on these bigger tracks.
Few kilometres later I picked up the walking track again.
At one stage I noticed a heap of these red nuts lying on the ground. They looked fresh and edible. I had a bite of one and it tasted a bit like a macadamian nut. I pictured in my mind the Butchulla people feasting on these back in the day. Does anyone know what they are??? I have googled and can’t work it out.
Next I reached a sign saying a lookout 500 metres. I had to check it out, can’t ignore a sign like that. The track was overgrown and clearly had very little use. I had to get off and drag the bike through thick scrub lying across the track. I was just starting to contemplate ditching the bike to finish getting to the lookout when I looked up and saw this in front of me…
I was once again amazed. Never seen anything like it. “This must be the back of a sandblow” I said out loud to myself. Wow! Look at that big old tree getting buried! Nature never ceases to amaze me of it’s power. Photos don’t show the true gradients but this was like a wall! I estimate around 40 degrees at least for sure. I had to use all four limbs to maintain grip and get up to the top. It was a hard workout getting up there!
According to the HEMA map, this must be Badjala sandblow! The view looking east was pretty spectacular.
Just think, If I sat here long enough, I would be buried alive!
After some snacks to recharge, I almost absailed down the back of this sandblow leaping outwards to fall down metres at a time. It was fun!
I soon reached the Valley of the Giants hikers camp site. The trees here were up to 8 metres in diameter and 200 metres high!
There was not a human soul around and the track in here is clearly rarely used. It was like another world, really surreal. It was nice to see the dingo safe metal boxes for food, a dunny and a water tap. Although I had only done 32 km (slow and soft terrain) it was 2pm. I quickly decided to setup camp here and use the remaining light to get organised. I tried to chase the tiny patches of sun beaming through the giant trees with my solar panel only to give up from frustration. Being in a rainforest for two and half days meant I was running low on electrical power. This valley had no connection to the outside world anyway, so off with the power buttons.
After minutes of pulling up, this little finch started playing with me. It was like he was lonely and excited to see someone. He flew around darting at my feet and sitting next to me on the bench. He kept looking at me and spinning around in the air. He certainly had my attention and soon became my little friend. I started talking to him which only made him more excited.
As I looked around this dark rainforest I thought this place is eerie and would be scary for some but really its just me and the animals. Animals aren’t evil and I’m actually safer here than in the big smoke.
I made myself some pancakes with honey that didn’t end up working out too well asthetically but still tasted nice.
Next was dinner and an early night. Chopped up salami with a packet of big Ben’s rice went down nice wth a hot chocolate.
With 630 metres of elevation gain over 32 km it was no wonder my legs were feeling it.