Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Munda Biddi Trail: Stage 1: Day 9

Blue line with yellow dots = Munda Biddi Trail.
Green line with yellow dots = Touring route.

Images for illustration only. Important information has been erased from these maps. Do not use.

Elevation profiles.

Journal entry

'Woke up at 7 AM. 'Had a great sleep last night, though I could have slept much earlier — the beers were really good: Tooney's Extra Dry, followed by Emu Bitter. I couldn't ask for more. Well, maybe some great company; then, John walked over and introduced himself  :-)

Many people think it must be boring and lonely traveling solo, but I get to meet more people and interact with them more in depth when I travel alone.

A couple pics of the bar in the morning before I go.

Disposed of the trash accumulated since leaving Jarrahdale.

A curious bike/skateboard hybrid beside the chest freezer at the rear of the building.

Stuffed in the groceries I bought from Dwellingup General Store last night, balanced the load, and I'm off.

Started off at 10:13 AM.
Altimeter reading of site  1135 ft (346 m)
Temperature  23° C (73.4° F)

Dwellingup Adventures is right across from the bar / hotel (on Del Park Road), so I decided to drop by for a look.

'Spent a few minutes chatting with Mike; he was preparing to go for a ride on the Munda Biddi Trail in a bit. In a few weeks, he opined, it would be too warm to ride the trail. 'Glad I'm here now  :-D

Crossing Williams Road to get on River Road, and leaving Dwellingup Townsite.

Leaving the asphalt behind.

I prefer the previous picture.

There was a bit of pushing in the beginning, but none as hard as those earlier in the tour. Even the steep downhills are more trailer-friendly — I'll remember the descent to Dandalup Campsite for sure (ho! ho! ho!).

One thing I realized about the Bob Ibex Trailer: correct tire pressure is very important. It optimizes traction, and minimizes the trailer bouncing and sliding around. Also, one should get the best 16" tire available. The Cheng Shin tires are awful for lateral traction, resulting in the trailer sliding into ruts when you're pushing along rutted trails (or worse, when you are riding down them).

What I recall from looking at this picture: the wind roaring past my ears, punctuated by the whip and crackle of branches whizzing by; the crunch of gravel, the rasp of dry leaves, and twigs snapping under the weight of 3 tires hurtling on a journey to nowhere; the cries of birds perched overhead (from the harsh "Karee! Karee!" of a Red-tailed black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso) to the gurgling chuckle of a Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)); and repeatedly — futilely — trying to stop grinning so that flies won't get in my mouth.

Dance for me, Happy Orange Guy (H.O.G.)!

Descending southbound towards Nanga Road.

At this point, the trail is sandwiched between Nanga Road and a pine plantation. There's a drop of 100 m (328 ft) in elevation to Murray River Bridge.

Descending to Lane Poole Reserve Entry Station.

Beyond the entry station is Park Road, which leads to Baden Powell Campsite.

I picked up a couple brochures from the ranger station.

As I browsed through the leaflets, a duo of friendly Alcoa employees drove up. They confirmed my heading and also gave me a heads up not to be spooked if I hear something like thunder — they were executing 10 seconds of blasting at a nearby bauxite mine in a little while.

Murray River Bridge.

There's no stopping on the narrow bridge, so I parked my rig after crossing and returned on foot to snap a few quick pics.

West bank of Murray River.

Rode by quite a few campsites today: Baden Powell (on the other side of the Murray River), Nanga Bush Camp (with chalets and cottages too!), Nanga Mill (gorgeous), Nanga Townsite, Stringers, as well as some possibly illegal campsites in King Jarrah. More information here.

Nanga Road: as I huffed and puffed up yet another incline, I ran into a troop of scouts on a camping trip; one of them exclaimed to his mates, "Wow! Look at his bike! I bet he has been traveling for ages!"

How I wish, son.

How I wish.


Heading eastwards on Mandalay Road, which flanks Murray River.

'Heard a thunderous roar and was about to reach for my rain shell when I recalled the tip from the Alcoa employees (so I reached for a muesli bar instead).

Leaving Mandalay Road, and heading south.

Trees and shrubs get more intimate, closing in.

A gorgeously colored beetle.

Free buckle!

Puffing from riding uphill, this shot took me 2 minutes 34 seconds and 6 attempts with the Canon A510. I should have transferred the Image-Stabilizer (IS) enabled A590 IS from the Bob Dry Sak to my Camelbak.

Jane Eddington has a gorgeous macro shot of the Western Australian Pea Flower here.

Nanga Campsite comes into view during a quiet descent on leaf-strewn forest paths.

Nanga Brook.

The campsite is nestled within the grove of pines.

While Cloe and Bob are tough, I didn't see the point in gratuitously subjecting them to unnecessary abuse, so I dismounted and maneuvered them past the constriction.

Taking a moment beside the cool, clear stream.

Merging with Nanga Road again, the Munda Biddi Trail joins up with Waterous Trail.

West, on the Waterous Trail, leads to Waroona Dam and Lake Navarino Forest Resort, 17.3 km away; east, parallels the Munda Biddi Trail to Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite.

An incomplete map of Waterous Trail.
For illustrative purposes only.
Do not use.

Waterous Trail set to scale to the Munda Biddi Trail.

(I started from Mundaring 9 days ago, and am making my way down to Collie.)

Passing through Nanga Campsite.

Munda Biddi and Waterous trail markers.

'Chanced upon a group engaged in vehicle-supported bike touring.
The trailer behind the mini bus holds luggage.

And some deem my trailer excessively large  :-P

'Chatted with the ladies for a few minutes, then I got back on the trail.

Peter Bradshaw rode his trike and trailer here in February 2008  :-o

Getting onto North Junction Form.

Walkers (hikers) join this part of the trail now.

Prescribed burning is an effective means of preventing devastating forest fires. It's easy to blame the arsonists for the devastating forest fires of 2009 in Victoria, but as Saint Bernard augured, "Hell is full of good intentions or desires" — the EnviroWeenies and their bandwagon jumpers are more to blame.

If there wasn't so much fuel accumulated in the forest over the decades, would the fires be this intense?

Five years ago, the shire council overseeing some of the most devastated areas ignored warnings of implementing ill-conceived "green" policies.

In his article, "Victoria bushfires stoked by green vote," David Packham, a bushfire scientist for over half a century, pointed out:

Fuels build up year after year at an approximate rate of one tonne a hectare a year, up to a maximum of about 30 tonnes a hectare. If the fuels exceed about eight tonnes a hectare, disastrous fires can and will occur. Every objective analysis of the dynamics of fuel and fire concludes that unless the fuels are maintained at near the levels that our indigenous stewards of the land achieved, then we will have unhealthy and unsafe forests that from time to time will generate disasters such as the one that erupted on saturday.

Hold that thought while you read about Liam Sheahan's court battle with Mitchell Shire Council.

On a lighter note, the late George Carlin had a few choice words for the EcoWeenies as well.

Mr. Warwick Spooner though, is a little more blunt (and justly so).


Brumby gives permission to cut around council laws

Paul Austin
August 31, 2009

HOME owners will get increased powers to clear trees and other vegetation from their properties under a controversial move to prepare the state for another horror bushfire season.

The Victorian Government will announce today that it is overriding council permit requirements in bushfire-prone areas to ensure property owners can clean-up their land before summer. Under the rules, which will come into effect within weeks:

■ Residents will not need a council permit to clear any vegetation, including trees, within 10 metres of their house.

■ Lower-lying vegetation such as shrubs and ''ground fuel'' will be able to be cleared up to 30 metres from their house.

■ Land owners will be permitted to clear trees and other vegetation up to four metres either side of their fence lines, provided they have the consent of their neighbour.

■ People will be allowed to collect firewood ''as of right'' from roadside areas that have been identified as posing a high fire-risk area targeted for planned burning by the CFA.

         (Austin, Paul.  "Brumby gives permission to cut around council laws."  The Age [Australia] 31 Aug 2009.  Retrieved 31 Aug 2009.)

Cut-away section of a tree (stump) and its roots.

I had significant difficulty taking this picture as I could only stand so far away from my subject before backing into the mud wall on the opposite side of the trail. A 24 mm lens (found on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 or Leica D-LUX 4) would have really come in handy here. I'm open to other suggestions, of course. E.g. anyone decides to sponsor me a Nikon 13 mm ƒ5.6 AI-s ultra-wide angle lens, I shall not demur  :-P

Across the River

A steady wind.  A childhood
that waits for us as daffodils
shed their husks on a shore
where no one has wept for years.
There is another world, time
enough for walks, for testimonies
of wood in a cast-iron stove.
A descrescendo.  A wilderness
on fire.  Then rain.  Finally snow
with no one’s footprints in it.

(Timothy Liu)



Noticing I didn't bring my rubber ducky, a family of ducks cameoed.

'Glad I didn't have to rescue any of them this time  :-)

After a wonderful wash, I noticed a possible campsite a little ways up. It even had firewood stacked up and ready.

23.62 km (14.8 miles) from Dwellingup: it was tempting, but, at 4 PM, I judged it a little too early to call it a day. That, and higher ground seem to drain into the area, and the site was a little too close to the water for comfort / safety.

Back on the trail.

Continuing on to King Jarrah Formation.

I'll pass on the hike.

According to the map, Dawn Creek Road does lead to the northeastern portion of Waterous Trail (with a 100 m gain in elevation), but I have not attempted it.

4:45 PM: junction to Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite.

Elevation of site  840 ft (256 m)
Elevation climbed  940 ft (286.6 m)
Distance  28.73 km (17.96 miles)
Temperature  30° C (86° F)

This shot is reminiscent of my days of driving past Moffett Field's gargantuan Hangar One on Highway 101.

Expecting to find a crowd at Bidjar Ngoulin, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I'll be the sole occupant tonight. Well, there's company — vicious horseflies. You can have them with my blessings; maybe even set up weekly group hug, anger management sessions. They pay in blood. Hope you're a vampire.

The restroom.

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite is nice but there are many march flies here. Have fun doing the Wii dance if you didn't bring — or run out of — insect repellent.

Today's date: November 19th, 2008.

Besides the carton of milk, previous occupants also left behind part of a necklace chain and two brake pad spacers. Pebbles (pea gravel) and seed pod mine. The #@%*!!! fly is not mine. You can have it. Heck, take all of them on this trail.

Things to bring on next trip

1.) Flamethrower
2.) Fly swatter

Howard and John's entries are hilarious.


I think the site Troy Sara mentioned is the one I considered earlier.

After locking up the bike and trailer, with time to kill spare, I went to check out a trail leading away from the campsite.

Lo and behold! A couple of benches on a deck by a bubbling brook.

Dinner for one, al fresco, coming up!

Further up, a small waterfall  :-)

Today has been sheer luxury, I had a bath; and now, a shower  :-D

Warmer temperatures meant more bugs. The march flies didn't quit until 8:40 PM. For the first time, mosquitos are a problem at night. At 8:52 PM, the temperature remained a relatively cozy 19° C (66.2° F).

8:55 PM — thunder, and then, heavy rain. I'm glad I rode the remaining 5 km to Bidjar Ngoulin instead of camping by the Murray River at 4 PM. As picturesque as the site looked; sheltered from the wind; smooth level ground; easy access to water; and ready access to firewood; it was only 2 feet above the river. A storm further up the river tonight and I might find myself kayaking down the river in my tent. The Bidjar Ngoulin hut, in comparison, is 20 feet above the brook in Federal Gully.

9:10 PM — the rain has turned into a deluge. Vicious horseflies not withstanding > tent by the river.

Speaking of bugs, as I reached for my efferverscent electrolyte-replacement tablets in the Bob Dry Sak — which I, having grown complacent (thanks to colder temperatures, and consequently, less insects, earlier in the tour) didn't seal — a palm-sized spider lurking behind the other fold in the bag charged at my hand. If I was feeling sleepy before, I'm certainly wide awake now.

This is where a freestanding dome or geodesic tent comes in handy. It would allow me to pitch it on the wooden, sleeping platforms. Inside, I know the critters are kept out. The last thing I want to experience on a night's snooze after a day's ride is something with fangs crawling across my face. (No, I'm not talking about your ex-girlfriend.)
-10:17 PM


Start  10:13 PM
End  4:45 PM
Total  6 hours 32 minutes

Cateye AT-100
Altimeter reading at Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite  865 ft (263.7 m)
Elevation climbed  960 ft (292.7 m)
Distance  17.9 miles (28.6 km)
2 hours 54 minutes 17 seconds
Average speed  6.1 mph
Maximum speed  27.6 mph
Temperature  19° C - 30° C (66.2° F - 86° F)

Cateye Enduro 8
2 hours 41 minutes 26 seconds*
Average speed  10.8 km/h
Maximum speed  44.5 km/h
[Oops! Exceeded recommended speed limit for Bob trailer.]
Distance  29.25 km
Cumulative distance  250.94 km (156.84 miles)

* = The Enduro 8 doesn't appear to keep time or give a speed reading below speeds of 3.6 km/h (2.25 mph). E.g. when I'm pushing Cloe and Bob up steep hills. Distance, however, continues to be tracked.

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