Festive Forest

Festive Forest

As the heat and humidity rise in the lead-up to Christmas, we find ourselves drawn towards shorter rides closer to home, preferably with a swimming spot or two.

Festive Forest

Today we explored the forest trails around Mapleton, planning to keep to the higher parts of the National Park to avoid long hill climbs.

Festive Forest
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

A sign pointed to “Kureelpa Falls”. We thought it might be interesting to have a look at the falls, but it was at the bottom of a steep hill which meant we’d have a tough climb out.

Festive Forest

Ah well – why not?

We rolled to the bottom of a long descent, parked the bikes, then hiked along the upper reaches of the South Maroochy River looking for a waterfall.

Festive Forest

There wasn’t much water…

Festive Forest

…but over time the river has carved out impressive rock faces, sheer cliffs and a narrow gorge.

Festive Forest

As we rode back up the hill, the landscape slowly changed. The tracks narrowed and the dark-green vegetation closed in around us.

Festive Forest

And then just as abruptly, we found ourselves in the midst of giant eucalypts.

Festive Forest
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

At the western edge of the forest, the ground dropped sharply away, revealing the Gheerulla Valley and the distant peaks of the Conondale Range.

Festive Forest

This was the perfect spot to sit, rest, and soak up the view.

Festive Forest

Or just rest.

Festive Forest

The clifftop on which we stood was almost directly above Gheerulla Falls.

The quickest way to get to the rock pool at the bottom was on foot down the walking track.

This track was too dangerous to ride, and bike riding wasn’t allowed, so we walked instead.

Festive Forest

I had promised my friends a swim:

“The rock pool at the falls is shaded. The water is cool. I swam there in winter and nearly froze my backside off. It should be perfect this time of year.”

Festive Forest

We eagerly walked the last few metres through the rainforest to the falls.

Festive Forest

“Hey Neil, where’s all the water gone?”

Except for a few brown patches, the pool was almost empty. The falls weren’t flowing at all.

Festive Forest

I was disappointed. When I had visited in winter, the falls were flowing, the pool was full and I had a freezing swim.

Festive Forest

Today there was barely enough water to soak our feet.

Festive Forest

Calum found a deeper spot that he could sit in.

Festive Forest

Eric let the tadpoles and crayfish nibble on his legs.

Festive Forest
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

It wasn’t what we expected,but that didn’t really matter…

Festive Forest
Festive ForestFestive Forest

…it was still pleasant to sit in the water and cool off.

Festive Forest

After our swim, Calum gave us a brief demonstration of “Jungle Yoga”.

Festive Forest

From here we rode uphill to Delicia Road through shaded groves of Piccabeen palms.

Festive Forest

And then another short climb up Delicia Road back to Mapleton.

Festive Forest

As we rolled past the cemetery I thought about how lucky we were to be alive, and how much I wanted to make every second count.

Festive Forest

I remembered Leonard Lambert’s poem which describes how the dead look with envy upon the living, wondering why they don’t take more opportunities to live more fully while they still can.

I’d probably add one verse: “You have wheels, why don’t you ride?”

 

Festive Forest
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

Back at the Mapleton Pub, we enjoyed lunch with a view, while Eric showed off his T-Shirt. As someone who has often tried to keep up with him, I can vouch for its accuracy.

Total distance: 24.67 km
Max elevation: 451 m
Min elevation: 220 m
Total climbing: 1064 m
Total descent: -1047 m
Average speed: 13.41 km/h
Total time: 03:54:06
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We rode about 24km in 4 hours including breaks. During that time we climbed about 820 metres in vertical ascent, and I burned about 2,000 kcal.

Despite its short distance, on a hot day, this was a tough ride. I’ll rate it 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Please note that it’s illegal to ride bikes on the walking track between Ubajee and Gheerulla Falls. You have to walk it.

Thanks Eric, Calum, Jason, Adam and Raquel for a fun ride through some beautiful landscapes.

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Festive Forest
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

7 Replies to “Festive Forest”

  1. Thanks for your informative and entertaining reports during the year. Am looking forward to next years explorations. Cheers. Andrew

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