Day 12 – Sleeper Hewer’s Hut to Donnelly River

We got some pretty heavy rain last night which sounded cool on the tin roof of the hut. Poor Shaun got drenched outside in his lightweight tent and had to resort to his emergency thermal blanket for extra protection.

We took the morning to clean and service the bikes, they’re looking pretty spiffy and riding quite well.

  

We left the hut around 8:30am and finished the last of the Timberline Trail – I highly recommend this as a detour, it’s a few extra kms but the trail is easy to ride and the hut provides another option between the Nala Mia and Karta Burna campsites. The only downside was the extra couple hundred metres of climbing we needed to do to get back to Nannup.

   

 
Got into Nannup around 10:00am and met Matthieu and Mathilde, a French couple who’ve been riding around the world for the last two and a half years….kinda makes our three week tour seem a bit pathetic. They’re riding the Munda Biddi as their last adventure before heading back to France. We’d been seeing their entries in the hut log books so it was finally good to put a face to the names.  We told them we were headed for Donnelly River and they changed their plans to do the same.

We posted some gear home and stocked up on provisions in Nannup, then set off for an afternoon of hills.

The trail leaves Nannup to the south and stays on sealed and unsealed roads for about 20km. Most of this is uphill if you’re heading south, but the grades are gentle and if you find a comfy gear and grind away, you’ll be fine.

   
 
It’s kinda nice to sit on roads and knock some kms off quickly as a break from single track where you’re always on your toes. They’re very quiet roads, we only saw a couple of cars.

The ride into Donnelly River is quite nice single track and passes through some sections of Karri forest, the first we’ve seen on the trip so far. 

  

Donnelly River is another old timber mill town, established in 1951 and employing many itinerant post-war workers. It was established by the Bunnings brothers, who owned a lot of land in this area. They later went on to establish a chain of successful hardware stores.

   
 The town churned out 50 truck loads of milled timber every day for 27 years, until a freak hurricane destroyed much of the Karri forest in 1978.

These days it only has four permanent residents, although I’m told this number swells to 250 odd in school holidays with tourists seeking an unsophisticated bush hoiday. Donnelly River is also the halfway point of the Munda Biddi.

  

We stayed at the old primary school which has been converted to bunk dorms. They must feed the local wildlife pretty regularly, as the roos, emus and lorikeets were all pretty tame and comfortable around people….although the emu didn’t much like the kiwi!

  

Matthieu and Mathilde rolled in about an hour after us. We also met a fella called Nick who was walking part of the Bibbulmun track – after a few wines and an hour or so of conversation, Nick casually mentioned that he used to be the bass player in Tame Impala and that he’s the frontman in Pond. Rad.

   
 
We carried on for a while longer; Matt and Di had stocked up on wine and scotch and Matthieu had carried in a bottle too. The animals became increasingly more comfortable around us and by the end of the night we had them eating out the palms of our hands. Tennis looked a bit like a bearded Ace Ventura. Good day.

   
   

As we’ve now passed the half way point I thought I’d share a few stats that might peak your interest:

  • Distance ridden – 615km
  • Total riding time – 63 hours
  • Total ascent – 8,340m
  • Total wheel revolutions – 219,650
  • Total pedal revolutions – 525,000
  • Total calories burnt – 64,000
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