|Heidi does her best cycle touring pose|
Heidi and I are pretty much fresh off the boat in Queeensland, and so are taking every opportunity to get out and explore this new place where we find ourselves living. Given my obvious obsession with bikes, Heidi has graciously resigned herself to our wheeled steeds accompanying us on most holidays in the future. So in the interests of seamlessly integrating the pinnacle of transportation that is the push-bike with our holidays, we have decided to dabble with cycle touring.
|Ollie follows suit|
For me, it is a natural instinct to want to explore the high points of new places first, and I like the idea that standing atop a summit in a new place will provide an appreciation and view of surroundings that you simply can’t get from the flat plains. Mount Nebo was within striking distance of our new home, and so we resolved to leave early afternoon and push for a mountaintop campground, staying there a night then returning the next day. A sampler of cycle touring to see if it was something we could dig, and if I could refrain from turning it into a race, because not everything is a race.
The reality of Mt Nebo, a 40km ride from central Brisbane didn’t quite provide the expansive views we’d expected. A meer hillock by New Zealand standard at 538m a.s.l., the epic undulations leading to the mountain top were not to be underestimated. And at the summit, rather than a panoramic view of the sprawl below, we were enclosed in an eerie tropical tunnel with thickets of palms and twisted vines so stout I was half expecting tarzan to come swinging across the road in full cry.
|Rocket booster panniers|
Gear wise we’d gone minimalist. We’d toyed with taking my uber light Z-packs tent but given the rain forecast and the likely dampness for the second person (me), we swapped this out for the Black Diamond Mesa. We took a cooker, pots, sleeping bags and mats, and enough food to ensure a food induced coma at our camp, just in case the hill wasn’t enough to do this.
The climb to Nebo undulates in the true delightful sense. As if the early civil engineers had playfully wielded their scale rules like paintbrushes, the road pitched up then flowed down in a whimsical fashion. Delightful, at least at first.
|The view from one of the lookouts|
|Heidi gets some emergency snacks|
Even these directions weren’t sufficient for our navigational numptiness, and with the first heavy drops starting to fall we made a quick decision to stealth camp at a trail head, hoping that any enforcement officials would take pity on our predicament in the face of the impending storm.
And storm it did, with bright lightning flashes lighting up the sky and deep thunder rumbles echoing through the dense forest. I’d last experienced such epic precipitation on a ridge top in New Mexico, and fortunately the lightning never got as close as it did then.
Thankful for the shelter of the walker’s rest, we set up the cooker and prepared our food, a delicious green curry with a desert of giant jelly pythons.
|Heidi chops vege by headlight|
Packing up, eating breakfast and rolling out, we stopped to sample an Australian pie (nothing on Sheffield) and climb then descending the last few pinches to home in Toowong.
|Heidi fearlessly tackles the steep descent|
|And shreds one of the numerous sweeping switchbacks|