If you follow the Brisbane River as far upstream as you can, it eventually splits into two branches. Here’s a postcard from our recent adventure there.
We’ve ridden here several times before. These valleys, between Nanango and Jimna are often dry. But when the rain comes, the grass gets green and lush, the cattle get fat, and once dry rivers flow again.
We started about twenty-five kilometres north of Linville, where the Eastern and Western Branches of the Brisbane River meet, then followed the western branch of the river upstream.
Rolling hills of green stretched in every direction.
Every few kilometres we crossed the river. This far up it’s just a stream, but we hoped that we’d be able to eventually splash through some flooded crossings and get our feet wet.
Each crossing on this road is numbered. Crossing number one is just out of Linville. We counted about twenty-three of them as we rode north, but there are more.
Some drovers and a pack of eager cattle dogs looked curiously at us as we rode past.
Suddenly the riders in front stopped and pointed at a strange-looking snake on the road.
I love snakes and stopped, eager to take a picture.
Alas, I was mistaken…
Paul had snapped his chain. Bikes aren’t much use without chains.
As is our custom, we all stood around offering unsolicited advice while Paul patiently fixed his chain. The advice was good, and he was able to fix it.
After about fifteen kilometres, we left the main road and pointed the bikes towards the steep tracks of Mount Stanley State Forest.
We climbed for about an hour.
After about six kilometres we reached the summit, then enjoyed a bumpy ride down the other side.
I chatted with Blair while we coasted downhill.
“The first time we came here, we rode UP this hill,” I said.
“It’s much more fun going down it.”
At the bottom we enjoyed a quick break beside Wombi Creek.
We were now in the Eastern Branch Valley.
It felt different from the Western Branch. It was narrower. The trees were different.
It also felt more remote. There was no road through this valley to somewhere else. If you drove up this valley, you’d eventually have to drive back down it.
The other big difference was the water.
The river flowed over the causeways. We got wet feet. Awesome!
There’s something magical about rolling through a place that’s usually bone dry, and seeing green fields and a flowing river.
I soaked up the magic.
We slowed down to let a herd of sleek, well-fed cattle amble by, then deftly avoided the smelly bovine land mines they left behind.
Almost every crossing on Eastern Branch Road was covered in water.
I grinned at Russel.
“We got what we paid for today, didn’t we?”
At Crossing 4, we stopped to pay our respects to “Barrow Annie” – a massive boulder that sits beside the road.
Not many rocks have names – Annie is so big and special that the locals have named her.
The crossings now flashed by like a count-down.
Crossing 3. Not far to go now.
At Crossing 1 we stopped.
A hundred metres to our right, the Eastern and Western Branches of the Brisbane River merged into one.
This was the start of the Brisbane river – and we were standing on the first bridge that crosses it on its 344 kilometre journey to Moreton Bay.
That was a lot of fun.
Max elevation: 537 m
Min elevation: 175 m
Total climbing: 1083 m
Total descent: -1080 m
Average speed: 17.24 km/h
Total time: 03:42:51
We rode 43 kilometres in just under four hours including breaks.
During that time we climbed 800 metres and I burned about 2,000 kcal.
I’ll rate this one 7 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Thanks Jason, Malcolm, Darb, Blair, Paul, Russel and Paul for a fun day out.
Where to next week?
PS. For the next few months I won’t be writing detailed weekly blog posts. During that time, if I get a chance, I’ll add a quick “postcard” of where we’ve been. It’s handy to have a record of what we did and where we went.