Friday, December 11, 2009

Out along the Huon

There's a big river that runs not far from my place and a heap of logging roads through the tall forests on either side all the way south to Geeveston and beyond. Since moving here I've only ventured out there once, but I've been keenly aware I've been missing out on something. Ben and I had a crack at the southern forests today with fat knobby tyres on our Surly Cross Check cyclocross bikes.

We set off with the dim plan of following the river down to a tourist attraction known as the Tahune Airwalk, have some lunch and ride back. It's about a 40km round trip and reasonably flat. I had a bit of an clue how to get there, but there are no up-to-date maps and Google Earth is only so much use. We made good time and picked up some unexpected road signs counting down the distance to the Airwalk, counting it down from about 20km out. We crossed the Huon on the bridge near the Ta Ann veneer mill and pedalled on. After a while we didn't see any more signs, but we hadn't passed any obvious turnings and it never occurred to us we might be on the wrong track. Never mind, of such stuff are adventures made.

After about 25km of a planned 20km ride we came to a T-interesection. Airwalk 15km right,
Geeveston 8km left it said. Bugger, we're miles out of our way. Which way to go? We decided to press on regardless, climbing a long and arduous hill I've noticed form the car and vowed never to tackle on a bike. Never mind, some lovely descending followed and we counted down the kilometres to the Airwalk in pretty quick time with 45km on the clock by lunch.

A lovely feed was had and some directions gleaned and we were back on the bikes along the fast and mainly flat dirt roads back towards the car. We spotted the veneer mill through the trees and decided to take a shortcut when the road turned in the wrong direction. Often this is a bad idea which leads to backtracking, but a section of pretty cool singletrack took us to a broad but shallow river crossing which we forded with the bikes before pressing on again.

Back at the mill, it was simple navigation and an easy ride towards the car. Undeterred by a flat tyre about 5km out we rolled back down the dirt to the end of a very enjoyable adventure. I'm a little disappointed I haven't spent more time checking out these largely traffic-free roads in the past, but now I've had a taste there's some pretty cool trip plans forming in my head.

5755km so far this year.

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