Wifey, the pet monkey and I did a dayride out from Stinson Park many years ago, we explored several roads including Gap Creek Road. Back then we limited our exploration depth with the pet monkey on board - no HAB (hike-a-bike) or 10 hour epics. The area intrigued me, and I always wanted to return to pick up where I'd left off.
Many years had gone by, recently my mate Dave attempted a through ride that went through this area, subsequently this area appeared back on my radar. Dave was halted by a segment of the range... my challenge was to find a suitable route over the range and add a HAB segment to future bikepacking trips through this area. I found the route tough going but doable - it won't be for everyone. Read on...
Just a perfect day. Lou Reed, RIP.
A stunning backdrop of Lamington NP.
The track climbs straight up along the ridge.
Taking a break from the climbing, looking behind revealed framed glimpses of the valley.
Back to the ascent. The most efficient way to HAB was to shoulder the bike - this removed significant stress from the Achilles tendons, allowed better foot placement, less heel slip in the boot (less blistering), aided balance and engaged larger muscle groups better to propel forward. A thick pad of neoprene or EVA foam works well as a shoulder pad, drivetrain facing out, one hand under the downtube.
I cached the bike on the hillside, then continued to summit.
The summit revealed an amazing vista. While there I looked for my target destination in the Running Creek valley - a small farm track that headed west to Mt Gipps locale. Along with a compass, I find a good pair of binoculars are handy for picking out routes and spotting birds. Through my Nikons I spotted the lesser forested ridgeline that I would descend into
After a while though, it became a wall of lantana. I could hear the creek running in the distance, but the treeline gave nothing away as to how far it was. This section I estimated at about 50m - my conviction pushed me forward, as such my technique was simple - stow all items on the bike that could get torn off, then throw the bike onto the lantana to create a path, stomp to the bike, lift bike off said lantana, swear at wait-a-while and barbed wire vine, repeat throwing process.
The barbed wire vine catches and shreds flesh, stretchy fabrics and handlebar tape. Will pack my heavy pants next time. The numerous march flies attacked any part of exposed flesh.
I'm not Danny Macaskill, so the drop into the creek had to be walked, not ridden.
To get back on target it was back into the scrub. More lantana shortly after. Snakes and bitey things were always on my mind, but my fuzzy animal logic told me to act like a big, mostly dumb, noisy animal. I'm a good method actor :)
Rough farm track was pockmarked by cattle hooves.
After a lot of paddock bashing, I was on the gravel of Mt Gipps Rd/Chinghee Creek Rd and very happy with my objectives met.
Postscript from the day after:
My knees and bike were lacerated by the lantana, barbed wire vine and wait-a-while. No ticks.
...any takers for my next trip?