When the new Queensland Government repealed the “Bunya Proclamation” in 1859, they opened up large tracts of dense forest that had previously been protected for the benefit of local Aborigines. Timber-getters hungrily harvested thick forests on the mountains around Maleny.
The only problem was getting the massive logs down the mountain – which was where “The Shute” came in. The logs were slid down long steep shutes (that’s the old-fashioned way of spelling “chute”), such as McCarthy’s Shute, to waiting bullock drays at the bottom of the mountain. From there, the precious cargo would be lifted onto carts, and hauled to timber mills.
Today we followed the slippery path of the logs, and rode our bikes down McCarthy’s Shute.
Bernie kindly drove us up the mountain to our starting point at Mary Cairncross Reserve, on the outskirts of Maleny. Amid the damp mist and light drizzle, we headed westwards down the hill towards “The Shute”.
Eventually the road transforms into a “Shute” 🙂 It gets steep, muddy and slippery – perfect mountain biking terrain.
The next physical challenge was a gruelling climb up Macdonalds Road. Thankfully it was paved, but this nasty little pinch reaches slopes in excess of 25% as it makes its way up one of the precarious peaks near Bald Knob. (Oh, why do cameras always make steep hills look flat???)
The track is steep, rough and muddy in places. At one spot, while riding over a steep drop-off, my front wheel got stuck in the mud, and I went over the handlebars in slow-motion. I was unhurt during this manouevre which seemed to take an eternity. But, sadly, I managed to break one of the spokes on my rear wheel. For some reason, the spokes on my Crank Brothers Cobalt Wheels seem to easily break – even though they’re advertised as tough cross-country wheels. On the up-side, it’s relatively easy to replace spokes, and I always carry spares in my pack, so we took a break for ten minutes while I fixed my rear wheel. This is the first time I’ve ever replaced a spoke – so I’m feeling very proud of myself at the moment 🙂
After putting the wheel back on the bike, we ground up another steep hill towards Mount Mellum. Hills are inevitable in Mountain Biking. The best approach is to get used to them. We normally arrive at the top out of breath, but the views are always worth the effort!
We made our way eastwards through Dullarcha National Park. Most people know this park for the “Rail Trail” which passes through it, but Dullarcha is much more than that. Nestled up against the Blackall Range, it’s very hilly in parts. We got a great view of the Glasshouse Mountains to the south as we passed over the railway tunnel on the North Coast line.
We followed the tracks from the hills above the railway line down to the muddy trails around Ewen Maddock dam.
And just outside of our destination at Beerburrum, we stopped at an old aboriginal Bora Ring on the edge of a pineapple field. The sign said “Silent now” but sometimes I think if you use a bit of imagination you can hear the echoes of clapsticks and soft singing.
On the distant horizon, the heights of our starting point reminded us of where we had started the day.
After giving the bikes a quick hose-down, we hopped on the train for the quick ride back to Brisbane.
We rode 65 km in about 7 hours including breaks, climbing about 900 metres. I burned 3,000 kcal. The first part of this ride was the toughest. After lunch it was quite relaxing. Taking it all into account I’d rate it about 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Thanks Becca end Eric for a fun day out.
Thanks Bernie for driving us to our starting point.
Max elevation: 420 m
Min elevation: 20 m
Total climbing: 1694 m
Total descent: -2049 m
Average speed: 17.17 km/h
Total time: 06:59:23