Wednesday 21 February. Bright Rest Day. Ride up Mt Buffalo .
Weather today was warm and sunny in the morning but a little cooler in the afternoon with cloud moving in and a few spots of rain. Temperatures reached 29C.
Today was a rest day in that I was staying 2 nights in Bright so did not have to ride anywhere. However I decided to ride up the local high road, a 24 mile dead end climb though Mt Buffalo National Park to the Horn viewpoint at 1723 meters or 5652ft, starting from 1000ft at Bright.
This ride with over 20 miles of climbing would really have suited Peter T. Peter W would have done something else!!
Why take on such a massive climb some may ask. The usual reasons, the challenge, because it's there, the views and as a unique way to totally experience the views fauna and flora of a very special area.
I rode a few miles back the way I came yesterday and then turned off onto the Mt Buffalo road. I passed the entrance to the National Park which covers the Mountain and its foothills. Some of the cliffs rising 1000ft above reminded me of Yosemite.
Early in the climb I was very pleased to capture some Parrots on film. These are often seen while riding but usually fly off at speed before I get in photographing range.
Only a few miles further up and some rustling alerted me to a wombat at the side of the road. This was my first live wombat seen in the wild. Anybody in a car or bus might have briefly seen something which looked like a small Boulder or piece of wood. The Wombat was in the gully at the side of the road and although apparently uninjured and moving I was concerned it might have been injured by a car as Wombats are nocturnal and usually sleep in nests during the day. Many miles and hours later I asked at the Visitor Centre much higher up. They told me that some wombats locally suffer from a blight and have to graze during the day to get enough food.
The climb involved many hairpin bends lined with gum trees. Traffic was shall we say light, about a car every 30 minutes. Vistas opened up during the climb ovelooking the Alpine ranges. Nearer the top there was a high plateau littered with great rocks. Some of the landscape looked like a fantasy world out of Lord of the Rings with skeletal white gum trees damaged by fire.
The last 2 miles of the road was gravelled up to the Horn lookout. The motorists who were there and who had passed me earlier congratulated me on making it. There is a lookout with great views where I had a picnic lunch. Then there is a climb up a 1 mile track, which of course I did, to the very top of the mountain and a 360 degree lookout.
The descent was a lot faster than the climb and is the real fun bit. I kept a lookout and spotted another Wombat on the way down. This again seemed uninjured and was awake but probably too sleepy to run away from me so I got more pics.
52 miles for the day and 5429ft of climb.
Posted by Edwin
at 9:26 PM EADT