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Mount Gipps


Todays adventure took us up a hidden valley towards the imposing cliffs of the Macpherson Range and the headwaters of Running Creek.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

We started at the village of Hillview and headed south towards the QLD / NSW border.

Delighted that my son Harrison decided to join us, I silently hoped there would be no unpleasant surprises.

 

This is rich farming country with fields full of contented cattle…

(Photo: Adam Lynch)

… and kangaroos.

Ahead lay Mount Chingee (rhymes with “clingy” – the “g” isn’t hard).  Its forest-clad slopes are a national park and part of the world-heritage-listed Gondwanaland Rainforests of Australia.  In local aboriginal culture it’s known as “Bung Bung” or “The Place of the Dead”.

Although it had rained heavily for the preceding few days, today was perfect for riding.  Cloudless skies with low temperatures.  What more could you ask for?

As the road meandered up the valley, it grew rougher.  The hills grew closer.  A steep climb lay ahead.

(Photo: Jason Grant)

We all climbed at our own pace.  It was steep – but the road was paved, so it wasn’t as difficult as it looked.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

We stopped for a bite to eat at a small clearing near the top of the hill.

The trail led southwards down the other side of the hill through a herd of indifferent cattle, along a muddy road strewn with bovine landmines.

I wondered what Harrison thought of all of this.

Would he want to ride with us again?

An old bridge led us over Running Creek.  Its cool fresh water babbled over myriads of boulders.  The further we rode, the prettier the landscape grew.

(Photo: Adam Lynch)

We buzzed over a cattle grid and into a cattle property owned by the Drynan Family.  Andrew and Anne Drynan settled here in the 1870’s.  Their descendants have lived on this farm ever since.

I spoke with Jan earlier in the week and she generously gave us permission to ride our bikes on their land.

Ahead of us lay Mount Gipps.  The border between Queensland and NSW passes over its summit.

Although it was sunny today, rain from the previous few days had made the ground muddy.

We tried to avoid the mud as much as possible.

(Photo: Adam Lynch)

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Our tyres spun and slipped in the mud.  We all battled valiantly to stay on the bikes.

At some places we had to get off and walk… and get our feet wet.

The mud was continuous.

Small sections are easy to cope with, but sliding through a couple of kilometres of the stuff is challenging.

(Photo: Adam Lynch)

We just soldiered on, and tried to joke about it.

The mud eventually ended.

We splashed across a small creek and into the National Park.

(Photo: Adam Lynch)

The grass grew higher here.  The ground was still wet – but at least it wasn’t muddy.

The vehicle track came to an end, so we ditched the bikes and walked the rest of the way on foot.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Running creek was pretty.  We jumped from rock to rock enjoying the view, happily taking photos.

Fresh clear water washed over the large rocks.

“Can you really drink this?” Harrison asked.  “Is it safe?”

I assured him it was, and took a few gulps myself to prove the point.

Our original plan was to rock-hop up the creek to the base of Running Creek Falls.  But the waterfall was at least another two kilometres away.

It didn’t make sense to walk this far in cycling shoes, so we admired the creek for a while then decided to battle the mud again.

 

On our way back we could either retrace our route through the muddy tracks, or try something totally different along the creek bed.

“The way we came was horrible,” I said to Darb.  “Nothing could be worse than that.  Let’s try going back a different way.”

The gamble paid off.  Our return track was muddy, but nowhere near as bad as the original quagmire we passed through.

As we approached the front gate, Jan came out to say “G’day”.

She was impressed with our large tyres, and bemused at the craziness that inspired us to pedal several kilometres through the mud.

As well as their farm, Jan and Ken also have three holiday cabins on their beautiful property.

We retraced our steps, following Mount Gipps Road back over Running Creek…

…and up the hill.

Our ride out of the valley was much quicker than the ride in – the gentle downhill slope gave us a welcome push in the right direction.

NOTE.  Portions of this route are on private property.  Do not follow our track unless you first obtain permission from the land owners.

We rode 42km in almost six hours. During that time we gained about 950 metres in elevation and I burned 2,500 kcal.

This was a pleasant ride made difficult by the muddy terrain. For that reason I think it deserves 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks Darb, Adam, Jason, Kaye and Harrison for a fun ride!

(Photo: Adam Lynch) (Photo: Jason Grant)
(Photo: Jason Grant) (Photo: Jason Grant) (Photo: Jason Grant)

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