Today’s adventure took us in a big loop from Mount Crosby and around Lake Manchester, stopping at a pleasant section of the Brisbane River along the way.
The rolling hills were a rude start to the day. Although we were following the Brisbane River, they reminded us we were still in the foothills of the D’Aguilar Range.
Eventually we reached the flatter pastures of Kholo and relaxed along an old road reserve through lush paddocks.
Contented cattle stood by full dams, staring placidly as we rolled by.
We followed the faint track through the grass towards the river.
In the distance, on the other side of the river we could see the hills of Sapling Pocket, covered with hoop pines.
(Photo: Raquel Brand)
As we neared the river, we could hear the distant hiss of water rushing over rocks.
And then we reached it.
It was beautiful. In the shallows, crystal clear water bubbled over smooth stones.
Adam decided for the “full immersion” experience while we watched curiously from the riverbank.
Last week I explained how around 1825 Edmund Lockyer rowed up the Brisbane River, past this spot and continued as far as Cressbrook. At one spot he was unable to haul his boat over some rapids. The water was too shallow and fast, and the boat was too heavy. So he ditched the boat and continued on foot. This might have been the spot where Lockyer decided to leave his boat a while. I can’t imagine how anyone could row over these rocks.
This is a pleasant spot. I’d like to return here soon.
Rather than retrace our tracks back to the main loop, we took a short detour. Unfortunately this involved a bit of bashing through thick undergrowth. We let Darb go first to flatten out the terrain with his huge tyres, then we followed…
…then skidded precariously down one final embankment to rejoin the road.
We had reached the river at its junction with Cabbage Tree Creek and followed the creek back to the road..
This creek flows out of D’Aguilar National Park and was dammed in 1912 to form the Lake Manchester Dam. Originally called the “Cabbage Tree Creek Dam”, it was renamed “Lake Manchester” in 1916 in honour of of the president of the Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board – E. J. T. Manchester.
As we reached the main road I noticed flood markers along the fence-line. The topmost mark showed 26 metres. That’s a terrible amount of flood water. As I looked at the “26” on top of the pole, I tried to imagine a vast sheet of water stretching from here over the surrounding land, as has happened several times over the last century. What an imposing thought.
We soon rolled into the Day Use Area at Lake Manchester.
Behind us, the dam wall peacefully held back 26 megalitres. It’s amazing how much water you can accumulate just by blocking off one creek.
In the distance, across the water, we could see the peak of Mermaid Mountain, where we stood the previous week.
Even though the trail follows the lake shoreline, it is still surprisingly steep in parts.
We had to push the bikes up one or two steep pinch climbs.
At one stage, a lady walking her dog decided to get out of the way and sit beside the track to watch us skid down the hill.
We weren’t in any rush so took a few minutes to look at a log cabin by the shore line. A couple of us remarked it might come in handy for a stealthy overnighter if we found ourselves out here late one afternoon.
Patrick jumped awkwardly over a puddle and ended up injuring his elbow. I think he was proud of his accomplishment.
With plenty of time to spare, we stopped for short breaks at the top of each hill.
Raquel was curious about Darb’s fat bike and took it for a quick spin while we rested. I reckon it suits you, Raquel. Why don’t you get one?
We followed Light Line Road southwards out of the park, beside Malts Gully.
Light Line Road is another of those dirt tracks which leads from Lake Manchester back up the hill to Mount Nebo. I didn’t realize until today that it actually continues all the way to Lake Manchester Road…
… we followed it out of the forest, and through an old Saw Mill.
A few minutes away, on the other side of the road, we took another short break in a picnic area beside some horse trails.
When I looked at the map, these horse trails looked quite flat…
…wrong again. Perhaps maps need bigger bumps in them so slow-learners like me realize that there might be big hills. Or maybe I should take more notice of the contour lines?
We pushed up a couple of nasty climbs…
…resting at the top to catch our breath.
Raquel had a crash riding down one steep section. Darb came to the rescue, patching up her knee.
It’s difficult to control a bike on the more severe descents: you can’t stop the bike because the wheels skid instead of stopping, and you can’t ease off the brakes too much or the bike will accelerate away uncontrollably. The key is to keep the wheels turning, and keep your backside as far back as possible. I was back so far that my belly was on my seat and I could almost feel the tyre on the seat of my pants. But it seemed to do the trick.
The final section of the ride followed some gentle grassy slopes back down to Stumers Road.
Patrick had another crash. His shoes got stuck in his pedals. The bike stopped, and he couldn’t put a foot out. He slowly fell over into the grass.
Luckily no one was there to photograph the embarrassing moment 😉
Max elevation: 186 m
Min elevation: 18 m
Total climbing: 1279 m
Total descent: -1269 m
Average speed: 16.21 km/h
Total time: 04:59:11
We rode about 36km in five hours including breaks.
During that time I burned about 2,000 kcal.
My GPS says we climbed about 1,000m, but some of the other guys measured about 750m. Elevation is a tricky thing, so lets’ say it was just under 900 metres of climbing.
This was a pleasant ride, but the steep climbs make it challenging, so I’ll rate it 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. 7.5 out of 10 in Winter.
Thanks Darb, Jason, Raquel, Adam, Calum and Patrick for a fun ride in some beautiful country.