We fell asleep to the trickle of slow rapids from the river. In the middle of the night, Eric had a rondezvous with a possum having a go at his food. The story is a little grotesque for this blog, but if you see Eric, ask him, it’s pretty funny!
In the morning the weather was once again beautiful with a blanket of mist clouding the mountains surrounding us.
Today we had to begin the ride by getting all our gear across the Mersey River. Darb and Eric choose to carry their gear across first so they could then carry their bikes across without risking water ingress to the hubs and bottom bracket bearings.
I have submerged my cheaper bike many times before without any ingress, so I was happy to take the easier option and cross just the once.
The water was cold and deeper than our knees. We had to negotiate large rocks carefully as we placed each foot step.
On the other side we put our dry riding shoes on and followed the short single track up the River bank. It was too steep to ride so we pushed for the first time.
We continued on some nice tracks towards Golden valley and now had to cross the Lobster Rivulet creek.
The trail got a bit tricky after this as a section of the trail was closed due to damage from the floods last year. Thankfully trail volunteers had marked out an alternate route around it, thanks guys!!
We eventually climbed out of golden valley and got onto some farm back roads detouring off the Tasmanian trail to Deloraine for supplies.
Eric spotted an apple tree and excitedly yelled to me, “Adam, there is an apple here with your name on it!”. I dropped my bike, hurried over and picked a fresh apple, it was delicious!
We soon rolled into Deloraine and choose a great cafe for an early lunch. The bacon and eggs were excellent!
The region was explored in 1821 by Captain Roland, who was searching for farm land. The land was granted to new settlers, and the town is now a major agricultural centre, with a large number of farms of all types in the area.
We topped up our water and food supplies and headed towards our next camp, a river side reserve at Bracknell.
The Western tiers came into view and Quamby’s bluff looked magnificent.
We were glad to have had a big early lunch as we had our first major climb to conquer up over the Cluan tiers as can be seen in the elevation chart below.
It was a cruisy ride to the base of this climb. On the way we ran into a French hiker by the name of ‘Guillaume’. Eric gave him some water, talked to him in French and photos were taken by both parties.
Little did we know at the time but there was a couple (Tim and Bec) travelling the Tasmanian trail right behind us by only a few hours each day. Tim and Bec also ran into Guillaume and he showed them a picture of us! Now Tim and Bec knew who belonged to the tyre tread patterns they were following.
Just down the road after meeting Guillaume, Eric spotted some plums, the ones fallen on the ground were another nice free treat on the side of the Tasmanian trail.
We soon entered ‘Back Jack Hill Regional Reserve’ near the base of this big climb. We decided to have a rest, take off our woollen underlayer and eat some snacks before ascending. I took some happy snaps too.
The climb felt like forever. Unfortunately for me I started to get some pain in the tendons that join onto my inner right knee. I pushed on and tried to ignore it.
At times I was dazzled by the radiant flowers lining the gravel road.
At the top of the climb we met two council workers with their huge slasher.
As we chatted with the workers we donned our wollen underlayer for the descent. The temperature was noticeably cooler up this high.
On the way down and at the bottom we enjoyed some lovely foresty trails towards Myrtle creek.
We then cruised on the welcome flats into Bracknell.
We set up camp and had a beer at the local pub. My knee pulled up really sore and quite painful. I started doubting weather I could go on. I woke up several times to tight pain. I couldn’t believe it, after so much preparation and excitement, the Tasmanian Trail might have to come to end already. We will see how I feel in the morning.
Today we rode 68 kilometres and climbed 1,104 metres of elevation gain.
With the big climb towards the end of the day, I would rate today as 8.0 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.