Mapleton

Mapleton

With its wonderfully long descent, and gruelling uphill climb, today’s ride through Mapleton National Park was the perfect place to prove the old saying: “What goes down must come up”.

 

Mapleton

We started out by following Mapleton Forest Road through towering trees, and lush green ferns.

Mapleton

We enjoyed our previous visits here, but were mindful that we were on a ridge line.  Any turn to the left or right would eventually lead to a steep descent from the mountain range we were on.  Which would mean a lot of hard work later in the day.

Mapleton

At a fork in the road we took “The Road Less Traveled” and turned left towards Cedar Creek.

Mapleton

The slope grew sharper as we accelerated down the hill.

Our bikes bumped frantically over the rocky track while trees rushed by in a blur of green.

I grinned stupidly, and held on tightly.

Mapleton

A few intense minutes later we emerged at the top of the Cedar Creek Valley – a hidden gem of a place tucked tightly away in the folds of the Blackall Range.

Mapleton
Mapleton

We followed the gravel road slowly down the valley.

Mapleton

I knew what lay ahead, and relished the relative ease while it lasted.

Mapleton

After a few kilometres we left the road and bashed through overgrowth to a national park gate.

Mapleton

The track started off steeply.

We clicked down a few gears and pedaled hard.

Mapleton
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

But no gear was low enough for this slope.  It was rough, slippery and steep.

We trudged upwards.

Mapleton

The track ended at a T-junction.  To the left was a tempting-looking downhill track.  To the right was yet more monster climbs…

Mapleton

We went right, and continued trudging uphill.

Mapleton
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Thankfully, all hills have a summit.  Eventually we reached the top, mounted the bikes, and continued past lush ferns in the welcome shade of the forest.

Mapleton
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

The track ended at Oaky Creek Lookout, at the end of a long ridge, with sweeping 270 degree views from the Mary Valley to our left to Cedar Creek on our right.

MapletonMapleton
Mapleton

We sat on the rocks, gazed out at the panorama, and enjoyed the short break.
Mapleton

Returning from the lookout, we followed the ridge-line track back towards Mapleton.  It was clearly marked with friendly signposts, so there was little chance of getting lost.

Mapleton

As we neared the end of our ride, Jason suggested following a few more tracks through the thicker part of the forest.

Mapleton

We entered another world.

The narrow tracks twisted tightly through the rain forest and over creeks.

The temperature dropped a few degrees.

Mapleton
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

We followed the snaking track around huge fallen trees, over a thick carpet of dead leaves as we made our way back into town.

Total distance: 34.71 km
Max elevation: 469 m
Min elevation: 111 m
Total climbing: 1197 m
Total descent: -1188 m
Average speed: 16.23 km/h
Total time: 04:18:11
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We rode just under 35km in about four hours.

During that time we climbed about 1,000 metres in elevation and I burned about 2,000 kcal.

Despite its short distance, this is a tough ride – especially in summer.

I’ll rate it 9 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks Darb, Eric, Calum, Jason and Paul for a great day out.

I love our rides 🙂

Mapleton
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

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