Mount Gipps

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

Mount Gipps
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

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

Mount Gipps

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

 

Mount Gipps

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

Mount Gipps
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

… and kangaroos.

Mount Gipps

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”.

Mount Gipps

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?

Mount Gipps

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

Mount Gipps

Mount Gipps
(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.

Mount Gipps
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

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

Mount Gipps

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.

Mount Gipps

I wondered what Harrison thought of all of this.

Would he want to ride with us again?

Mount Gipps

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.

Mount Gipps
(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.

Mount Gipps

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

Mount Gipps

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.

Mount Gipps
(Photo: Adam Lynch)
Mount Gipps
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

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

Mount Gipps Mount Gipps

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

Mount Gipps

The mud was continuous.

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

Mount Gipps
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

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

Mount Gipps

The mud eventually ended.

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

Mount Gipps
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

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

Mount Gipps

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

Mount Gipps
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

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

Mount Gipps

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.

Mount Gipps

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.

 

Mount Gipps

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.

Mount Gipps

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.

Mount Gipps

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

Mount Gipps

…and up the hill.

Mount Gipps Mount Gipps

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.

Total distance: 42.49 km
Max elevation: 397 m
Min elevation: 117 m
Total climbing: 1395 m
Total descent: -1373 m
Average speed: 15.14 km/h
Total time: 05:42:24
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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!

Mount GippsMount Gipps (Photo: Adam Lynch)Mount Gipps (Photo: Jason Grant)
Mount Gipps (Photo: Jason Grant)Mount Gipps (Photo: Jason Grant)Mount Gipps (Photo: Jason Grant)

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