“It’ll be an easy ride, you’ll love it.” I promised Paul.
It wasn’t easy. In fact it was really tough. But we loved it.
As with most adventures into D’Aguilar National Park, we started at the bottom of The Goat Track, and slowly made our way up the range.
After almost twenty years of faithful service, Paul recently replaced his old Specialized Stumpjumper with a new bike, and was eager to try it out.
D’Aguilar National Park was an obvious choice – it was close to home and had lots of possibilities.
Although it’s a reasonably easy climb, we spread out as we ascended the Goat Track – each of us working at our own pace.
At Mount Nebo we took a detour via D’Arcy Kelly Road, to avoid the traffic.
From there we headed up the gravel track that is Hammermeister Road. It’s an enjoyable off-road way to get to the trail head at Dundas Road – if you don’t mind a short sharp climb.
At Dundas Road we rode west for a couple of kilometres towards the bush camp.
I love the Dundas Road bush camp.
Sitting at a crossroad, it offers numerous choices – all downhill.
With very little pedaling it’s possible to roll downhill for miles.
Take a left turn, and you’ll wind up at Lake Manchester near Ipswich.
Go straight ahead, and before you know it you’ll be in Fernvale.
Or turn right, and skid down some crazy dirt tracks all the way to England Creek, beneath Mount Glorious.
We turned right, and hung on tightly as we bumped down Goodes Road.
There wasn’t much time to admire the great views which blurred by on our right as we plummeted down the hill.
At the bottom we splashed through England Creek.
No matter when I’ve ridden through this pretty spot, the creek always seems to be flowing with fresh clean water.
Paul filled his “Platypus” purifier with water from the creek.
This small filter is a handy way to top up water supplies on a hot day.
It’s a steep climb from the creek up to the bottom of Joyners Ridge Road. We clicked down a few gears and slowly turned the pedals.
Steve got a flat tyre.
As is usual in these situations, we turned it into a spectator event. Steve’s repair efforts became the main attraction while the rest of us watched on, encouraging him, and offering unsolicited advice.
Half an hour later we crossed England Creek a second time.
“Look ma, no feet!”
After the second creek crossing, we faced a long climb up England Creek Road towards Northbrook Mountain.
It took over an hour to reach the top. We walked some parts, and rode others.
Halfway up we stopped at an intersection. Catarrh Break rose steeply behind us.
I jokingly asked if anyone wanted to scramble up and have a look.
Nah – not today. Maybe next time.
We were riding on the top of a ridge with sharp drops on either side.
More impressive views stretched out behind us on the other side of the track.
The climb ended at Northbrook Mountain.
We had a quick break at the water tank, while Paul tried out his Platypus filter again.
This is another fascinating spot. If you turn left here you can follow Lawton Road all the way down the mountain to Lake Wivenhoe. The only problem is it’s a long way back up.
If you go straight ahead you can scramble on foot down to Northbrook Gorge – a spectacular narrow canyon which winds through some amazing rainforest.
Today we were turning right – this would take us back to Mount Glorious.
As we rolled down Northbrook Mountain, an imposing cliff face loomed over us.
The track continued down. We accelerated along a twisting gravel road. It was a relief to be finally descending after so much pushing uphill.
Like all good things, the easy downhill run came to an end. Once more we had to make an effort to get up the hill.
Some walked. Some rode.
Most of the fire trails around Mount Glorious pass through rainforest just before they reach the top. When the vegetation grew thick and green, we knew we didn’t have far to go.
We could hear the hum of passing cars a few hundred metres ahead…
We were almost there.
Although we love riding on dirt, we smiled when we finally reached Mount Glorious Road and were able take it easy for a while.
I released the brakes and rolled down the road. Faster and faster, the wind cooling me as I went.
I maxed out at about 70km/h before easing back a bit.
Max elevation: 703 m
Min elevation: 116 m
Total climbing: 1825 m
Total descent: -1813 m
Average speed: 19.71 km/h
Total time: 05:41:29
We rode just over forty kilometres in about five and a half hours.
During that time we climbed almost 1,600 metres in vertical ascent, and I burned about 3,000 kcal.
This is an enjoyable ride with amazing views, but it’s hard work.
I’ll rate it 9 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Thanks Steve, Paul, Peter and Kaye for another fun day on the bikes.