We rode off early from Southport and backtracked north up the Huon Highway with a plan to check out Lake Pedder and surrounds in the World Heritage Area of various National Parks.
Stopping at Huonville for refuelling of both bike and rider we checked the map and noticed a shortcut. It cut off the need to return back to Hobart via the road. This trail had us turning off the highway at Grove and riding up over Wellington Ridge between White Timber Mountain and Mount Charles. Losing Hydro briefly at the Grove turn off, I pulled up where the bitumen turned to dirt and got chatting to a old local bloke in his driveway as he was checking his mail.
He explained the track was "Bloody steep" and passable only in the summer months so we were in luck. Old mate explained it was a fire trail put through years ago for the purposes of access during fire fighting. He was worried for us as it was a hot day, fire spotting helicopters were flying about and warnings were current. He told of the deadly fires he had witnessed roaring through the densely forested area during his 30+ years of living there down in the valley...
He bid us good luck and we took off following his verbal mud map to find the start of the trail.
Now the videos below don't really show the length or steepness of the track, every 50 or so metres is a cutting hump across the track to help drain/deflect water so it doesn't build up as a raging torrent down the trail. These were a godsend in some cases giving you a place to stop without the risk of rolling back down out of control where you had just scrambled up. Other times they were another obstacle added to the already challenging terrain. The weight of the bikes with our loads, immediately became obvious whilst traversing the trail. Click to watch.
Hydro takes his first step off. Click to watch.
Watch out Hydro a snake! You'll see briefly a snake disappearing off the track that Hydro almost ran over. Just before I started filming it sat up as he got near preparing to strike but Hydro got past fang free. You can imagine by the depth of the drainage 'gorges' on the side of the track of how much rain they get up there. Going down the other side was seemly harder due to the steepness. It became a situation of navigating a slide in either full brake or 1st gear compression lock up! Sorry for the heavy breathing in this video as it was a combination of hard work and panic controlling the 'slide' down the trail. My battle trying to get back on track after a 90 degree slide and change of direction had the risk of disappearing off the edge down into dense bush... Click to watch.
Just before we came out of the forest trails into farming area we frightened the life out of a quad bike riding local tearing up his rarely ridden track. I don't think he was expecting two large adventure bikes to appear from where he was about to go! After his initial surprise, we were greeted with a big smile and thumbs up!
After stopping to realign Hydros handle bars at New Norfolk we continued on towards to Strathgordon.
Scenes along the way. Hops growing, to brew the frequently tested great ales of the island.