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Sunday, March 08, 2015

Back to Byron

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Hike a Bike

The last time we visited Mount Byron it was wet, cloudy and muddy. Today’s clear skies provided a perfect opportunity for us to return with a few friends.

Follow the Bikes

Our plan was to ride out to Mount Byron and follow some rough trails along the Western Escarpment of the D’Aguilar Range while I followed in the 4WD on smoother tracks carrying supplies.

We left together and followed “K” Break for a while.


(Photo Tony Ryan)

Some of the tracks were too rough for me to drive on. I left the riders to enjoy the bumpy ride down “A” Break, while I took a short cut to meet them at the other side.

Dew on Leaves

This let me enjoy the solitude and notice things I wouldn’t normally see on a bike, like crystal drops of dew on gum leaves.



I was surprised, however, at how quickly they emerged at the other end – mountain bikes are a surprisingly fast way of getting through rough terrain.

Trail Bike

… not as quick as the trail bikes with whom we shared the trails.



The riders zipped off down another exciting tight track through the forest…

(Video by Clare Burns)

…who knows what they got up to?

D'Aguilar National Park

… I waited in the bushes for them at the other end.


Resting on the Bridge

Our planned course was just over 30km, so we had plenty of time to stop and enjoy the forest.

Russel and Rick at Mount Byron Summit

(Photo Tony Ryan)

The riders reached the summit of Mount Byron quicker than I anticipated. It’s a short 1.5km detour from the main trail and only took them a few minutes.

Neil Walking

I had to hike up the mountain – cars aren’t allowed on that track. I found it slow going because I’m still recovering from surgery and had to be careful not to aggravate my knee.


(Photo Tony Ryan)

Thankfully, I have patient friends, and they waited for me to join them at the top.



The ride back down was even quicker than the ride up. Although keeping up with mountain bikes while driving a 4WD was challening, keeping up while walking was impossible :)

Clare at Somerset Lookout

We stopped at Somerset Lookout to enjoy yet another stunning view.

Darb and Rick at Somerset Lookout

It was a hot day, and I think the riders welcomed the opportunity to cool off in the breeze…

Darb & Russel at Somerset Lookout

…and to soak up the view.

Riding Buddies

At this point I left the drivers behind, and drove ahead a few km to the bottom of a steep descent where I waited for them to come down.


Ten minutes later I had barely emerged from the car when they came plummeting down the track towards me. I couldn’t believe how fast they were.

Rough Tracks

On the rougher tracks I even had trouble keeping up in the car when they were riding uphill.

Rick and Darb

I left the riders yet again as they completed a rough loop through the forest while I waited for them at the other side…


Clare made it up some cruelly steep pinch climbs…

Hike A Bike

…while the mere mortals walked.


It was a relief to reach the top.


At the top of the final climb I sat down and waited a few minutes for the riders to catch up. Sitting in the quietness I strained my ears for the telltale crunch of gravel and heavy breathing…

Hill Climb

Hill Climb

Hill Climb

I didn’t have to wait long.

Lovedays Road

The ride took about four and a half hours including breaks.

On the bike, this covered about 30km with about 1,000m of ascent.

I drove about 26km with slightly more elevation.

Despite its short distance, this is a tough ride with lots of challenging ascents through some rugged and remote terrain.

I’ll rate it 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks Clare, Darb, Russel and Rick for letting me tag along with you on todays ride.

Thanks for waiting for me, and for generously sharing your photos with me – it was nice to get a peek of what went on while I wasn’t around :)

Here’s my Tracklog (driving the 4WD)

Here’s Darb’s Tracklog (riding the bike)

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