Today’s adventure took us back to Deer Reserve State Forest near Kilcoy, followed by a wonderful descent along what i think is one of the most scenic roads in the Somerset region.
Twelve of us started at Gregors Creek and followed the gravel road into the forest.
We have visited Deer Reserve before, so this time we decided to explore some tracks he didn’t get to ride last time.
The state forest is in two sections: a large hoop pine plantation at the foot of the mountain, and a second, larger forest on top of the mountain. Before the big hill-climb we first checked out the lower forest.
Many of the tracks we intended to ride in the lower section were overgrown, so we had to alter our route as we went. The first part of our ride ended up being an “out and back” along “Jenkinson Break” – the main track in that section of forest.
Thankfully Eric brought a paper map, which gave us a better idea of our options as we altered our original course.
Eventually we agreed we’d done enough exploring of the lower forest, had a quick break then retraced our steps to the main trail-head.
Today was unusually steamy.
Although it was early in the day, the temperature was already over 30C with 90 percent humidity. We were all drenched in sweat, and many of us removed our helmets while we completed the long, slow, sticky climb to the top of the hill.
We gained about 350m in elevation over about 3.5km – a steady climb up to the higher forest. Each of us took the ascent at our own pace, trying not to overheat.
During a brief break towards the top of the hill, I squeezed about half a cup of sweat from my riding gloves.
The “KCB Tree” is on top of this mountain somewhere – a tree stump from the 1850’s marking the boundaries of Kilcoy, Cressbrook and Mount Brisbane Stations. We spotted a lot of blazed trees, but I don’t think any of them were the historical marker I was looking for.
Eventually we reached the high point on the top of Mount Goonneringerringgi.
The aboriginal name is difficult to pronounce, and was given to the mountain by European surveyor Robert Austin in 1868.
In the Waka / Dungidau language “gooner-gooner-gerringi” means “hollow place”.
Somewhere in my mind, I was trying to add a new verse to the song “I’ve been everywhere, man” where I’d been to “Goonneringerringgi, Goondoowindi, Tarragindi, Mullimbimby, Murrumbidge…”. Perhaps even “Western Sydney” 🙂
The terrain dropped off steeply at this point giving us some great views to the east.
At our feet we could see the hoop pine forest below us where we had labored earlier in the day while the Connondale Range framed the northern horizon.
To the east we could see Lake Somerset, and the Stanley River snaking off towards Woodford, with the peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains on the horizon.
What a perfect spot for a group photo.
We rolled down from the summit towards the southern section of the forest. The idea was to seek out a swimming hole in one of the creeks. Today was perfect for a swim.
At the bottom of one steep descent, we didn’t find a swimming hole, but we did find very steep scramble out.
(Photo: Raquel Brand)
There was no way we could ride up this gradient, so we all just dragged our bikes up the hill on foot.
We eventually left the state forest heading west along Pohlmans Range Road.
This track starts as little more than a farm track, slowly snaking over rolling hills, with some impressive views of the Brisbane Valley to the south.
There are a few disused farm buildings along the way, one which we humorously dubbed a “renovators delight”.
The road followed a ridge northwards, with some spectacular views of the surrounding plains.
Ahead of us, and on either side, the land dropped off, revealing a stunning landscape.
“This is awesome!” Raquel yelled as she shot past me.
It was tempting to let go of the brakes and accelerate down the hill, but most of us took it easy, preferring to soak up the panorama.
A gentle drizzle started to fall.
We welcomed the cool relief as the breeze flowed through our hot damp jerseys.
This was a great way to end a ride.
At the bottom of the descent, we followed the paved road back to our starting point for about 20 minutes.
Some of the final hills were demanding on our tired legs, but we felt encouraged by the thought of a cold drink and a tasty lunch at a nearby pub.
We rode a total of 39km in just under 5 hours including breaks.
I burned 2,600kcal as we climbed about 1,150m in vertical ascent.
In muggy weather this was a challenging ride and deserves a rating of 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Thanks everyone for a fun day out.
Total climbing: 1323 m
Average temperature: 25
Total time: 04:43:57