I just completed my most epic adventure so far.... Aside from a nightcap ranges sojourn (I think I forgot to do that TR dammit)
I'm taking part in a GPS logging survey for NPWS in the northern Sydney area for a study they are doing on mtb and its compatibility with the parks in our area. I have a month of data to submit but was given a weeks extension due to the wet weather. So I've been trying to do extra rides in places I wouldn't ordinarily go in the NPWS as they have given me a kind of no implications if caught pass. Not far from me there is the Berowra Valley Regional Park and Kuring-gai Chase National Park that is part of where I ride. There are heaps of walking trails and fire roads that are not readily used by mtb or anyone for that matter but could be handy for linking other sections which is what the study is partly about.
I have been checking google maps for a few months and had eyed off 2 particular rides that looked to be in the region of 15km returns from 220m ASL down to the hawksbury river. Both seemed to show other walking trails veering off occasionally.
Today I wasn't working and the forecast was good so my plan was to gear up, head up to pie in the sky at Cowan (I'm actually still there now recovering with a hard earned strawberry milkshake haha)
Parked up and heading off over the pacific highway and into the mugomara reserve road. Did a lap around the reserve , stopped to take a few pics and some iPhone video I'm going to make into a self filmed edit.
This panorama shows close to the highest point in the ride and the little section of water down on the right is where the lowest point was.
Then it was down into the valley and onto peats bight fire trail which leads down into peats crater, an old volcanic marr.
This was the steepest section of the fire road and as hard as I tried to keep on the bike I ended up losing traction and I had to walk it on this face when I was coming back up.
The fire trail has been torn apart by water flow and at one point was so narrow a 4wd or fire truck would no be able to pass.
old sandstone wall on double Hairpin. Trail continues below.
Then once you have descended into the crater you come to this.
there was a farm, cricket oval and jetty down here in the early 20's when the pacific highway was being built. Remnants still exist including this orchard of semi poisonous fruit.
Took a break here in the meadow under a tree then pushed on along the gully hoping to make it out to the hawksbury where the remains of the old jetty are.
The fire trail ended at the meadow but a nice single trail headed off into the forest.
Part way along I came across a nice creek with clear running water, this was handy to refill some water on the return journey (ill tell you how I feel after to see if its drinkable, but there's not really any runoff into this valley from anything other than the reserves bushland.
bike stand optional
From here it was a bit of a bushbash, frequently off the bike to climb over fallen trees up to a Metre in diameter. This whole park is only open to the public for 6 weeks In spring so it doesn't see much traffic outside of that.
I ended up coming out at some mangroves which on further research turns out to be the cricket oval now reclaimed
Still a few outfielders on the field
back across the mudflats
couldnt resist some circle work
I pressed on a bit further passed this point for about 1km but the trail was blocked by a massive downed tree... The only way around was through a deeper creek and time was getting away so I decided to cut it short of seeing the open water.
I turned around here. The gully was about 2m deep and full of water and mud- no thanks
Time to head back up
shot of the creek - staghorn in tree
topping up the camelbak - hope its safe
Got back to the clearing and took another 5 minute break, enjoyed a mars bar and some other swisse energy bar.
As a side point I got reception down in the clearing just past the fruit trees. before i started on my way down I texted my wife just to let her know where I was just in case I caused myself a mischief. When I got to the bottom I did this again and before heading back up. (I had been seeing a set of shoe prints quite often leading down the Firetrail followed alongside by the footprints of a bear sized dog, started having flashbacks of Wolfcreek. I didn't see anyone down there or any prints going the other way... So concluded they had continued through somewhere else)
Started the climb with no idea how I would go, but I was happy to go the distance non stop except for the dismount on the steepest loosest section.
last section of the steep loose bit.
I will admit I had to drop to the granny ring on the climb. After weeks of riding only on the middle 33t to see if I was ready for a 1x this trail was a deal breaker. I enjoy varied rides like this so I think 1x is wishful thinking. I would have been pushing a lot more if not for the 22t.
Finally reached the end of peats bight fire trail and linked back with the main fire trail in the reserve. Funnily enough at this point I came across to not particularly fit looking blokes on what looked like huffys riding in thongs, singlets and sans helmets or even water bottles (one bloke had a backpack though) heading down. They had walked it years ago and figured they would give it a stab on the bikes. When I told them how far down they had to go they didn't seem to fazed so I left them and kept on riding. got my legs pumping on the smoother Firetrail which went for a few km and managed a koM on some segment someone had logged there. (Haha probably the huffy guys.)
Pulled into the carpark at pie in the sky mission complete. Although as I wrote this up with my milkshake, the other guys also pedaled in and chucked there bikes in their car. They laughed and said it was too steep so they turned around.
So that's it, a Tuesday adventure complete on a fun trail.
I would love to know if anyone else has done it and what you thought of it.
my milkshake only brought me to the yard.
all up stats
1hr 42min riding time
1 Category 4 climb
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