Visiting : Jamieson, Woods Point, Mt Matlock, Mt Terrible
Distance : 120km
When : Thursday 23rd March 2017, 6:00am @ Jamieson
This was a ride with a clear and simple concept – I wanted to ride from Matlock to Jamieson via the “high road” which starts with Mt Matlock, finishes with Mt Terrible and has a whole lot of fun in between. Type 2 fun, of course.
The idea for this one had been kicking around in my head for ages before I finally put together a solid plan. I figured I’d start out of Jamieson, nice and early, ride out to Matlock on the “main road” and then return via the “high road”. Simple plan for a simple ride.
Beautiful country between Jamieson and Matlock but you’ll have to take my word for it – I wanted to get the “easy” part out of the way as soon as possible so, for the most part, I just tapped away and didn’t bother with photos. Well, except for some random gold mine shots that I thought my boy Max would like.
There’s plenty of old mining relics around (like the above roadside tunnel) as well a couple of very-much-active gold mines, like the A1 mine. I was passed by a couple of earth-moving trucks on the climb up to A1 – apparently they truck the ore all the way to Maldon to process it.
Up and over Frenchman’s Gap. That was the first significant climb of the day done.
Then I bombed down to Woods Point and stocked up on food and drink. The shop there was great – I walked in the front door directly into what felt like someone’s living room. Big kitchen table in the middle of the room with an old guy sitting there smoking ciggies. He didn’t have a huge range of food items but I grabbed a block of chocolate, chocolate milk and maybe some gatorade or some such. I’m guessing he probably caters to the local miners more than anything? Probably do a bit of research on his opening days/hours if you’re planning on resupplying here.
Anyway, I didn’t hang around. I sculled the chocolate milk and half the gatorade, ate half the chocolate and started climbing up to Matlock – the second decent climb of the day.
After rolling through Matlock, I headed on towards the turnoff to Mt Matlock. Rather than taking the turnoff immediately, I kept going a bit to find a water source I knew was there. I remember filling up water here before and, looking at the topo in google maps, I was pretty sure exactly where it would be.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Folkes Creek ain’t much to look at but it’s enough to fill your bidon and I figured, rightly, that it was going to be the last water source I’d see before the far side of Mt Terrible. Riding ridgelines is great for the scenic views but pretty bad if you want a creek or river to fill up from. Pretty sure Folkes Creek runs all year round and it’s right on the side of the road – can’t beat that for convenience.
So, bidon topped off, “easy bit” out of the way, I started climbing up to Mt Matlock.
Nice fire tower up there. Bit cloudy though.
And then it was straight into the ridgeline fun!
A lot of the route followed a wide firebreak which means top views. Here’s a shot looking back towards Mt Matlock. You can see the track disappearing up into the clouds – fire tower’s up there somewhere.
The going was rough along Corn Hill Road. Very pinchy climbs with sizable chunk. I certainly hiked up a lot of sections and maybe even down one or two steep, rocky, loose ones. Soon I could see Mt Terrible in the distance.
That was it. The goal was in sight. I just needed to get to the top of that hill then it was all downhill to the finish.
Pinch after pinch, hiking up one side, controlled-falling down the other side. I started to get the feeling I was a little under-biked.
Actually, nah! No such thing.
I passed an old friend and relived some memories.
Cambarville Logging Road heads straight down to Big River Road. What was that saying about short cuts and long delays?
I wasn’t taking that road on this ride. Instead, I kept grovelling along Ryan Spur Track until I reached one of the most unsavoury huts I’ve ever had the mixed fortune to see. I give you… Ryan Spur Hut.
I shudder to think what scenes of depraved boganry have played out in this busted old shack.
It gets better…
Looks so inviting doesn’t it?
Disturbing vibes around this place. It made me think of Wolf Creek. The Boys. Wake In Fright. True blue, dinky-di. Blokes being blokes. Bad blood and dark menace.
Oh, it’s probably not that bad. I’ve got such an imagination sometimes.
Never gonna stay the night there though.
Heading on from Ryan Spur Hut, the pinches kept coming.
And Mt Terrible got closer.
A lot of Mt Terrible Track was hike-a-bike for me but the increasingly airy views helped keep my motivation up. Mt Torbreck loomed in the distance.
Classic Mt Terrible Track shot. Poor man’s Billy Goat Bluff?
Pushing your bike up a steep hill is hard work but, in my experience, it also leads you to see things you wouldn’t normally see if you were rolling at proper riding speed. Like this unassuming little fella.
Just looked like a fat-bodied, non-descript grasshopper type thing that.. WHOA!
What was that!? Hey mate, do it again! HA!
Awesome! Such colours. Rather than fly or run away when startled, this little scamp would pop open its wings and give you a flash of colour to startle you right back. I looked it up when I got home and found that it was a female Mountain Katydid.
I love seeing things I never new existed while out riding.
The hike-a-bike continued. But at least the end was now in sight.
And, like all good hikes, it came to an end when there was nowhere higher to go.
Obligatory Mt Terrible sign shot.
Felt good to have made it up there. It’s hard work whichever track you choose and whatever bike you ride. And the hut up there was the polar opposite of that nasty Ryan Spur disgrace.
Yeah, I’d definitely stay the night there. It had only recently been rebuilt after the last time someone burned it down. This one’s had a hard time over the years at the hands of the selfish and unthinking.
I don’t know what’s worse, letting a hut sink into decay and disrepair over the years or just periodically trashing and burning it to the ground and rebuilding from a clean slate?
Silly! The best option is to take care of our huts and always leave them in better shape than we found them, every single time. But we all knew that didn’t we?
Oblig tower shot :
And then I was off down the other side of Mt Terrible, with DOWN being the operative word here.
I didn’t take many photos because I was just trying to hang on and stay upright. The track was steep, chunky and loose enough that my arms were pumped and my hands were aching claws. I had to be on the brakes all the way down or I’d get too much speed and not be able to find my safe line, get thrown off balance by the rocks, ruts, loose gravel, and pitch headfirst down the hill in a tumbling mess of broken clavicles and scaphoids.
Ok, it probably wasn’t that bad. But still, it was hard work and not the free ride that I’d been hoping for. I did start getting some great views of Lake Eildon though.
Here’s one with Mt Torbreck on the left, Lake Eildon on the right.
More controlled falling.
And finally the main road!
Now it really was a free ride all the way back to Jamieson. Twelve k’s of downhill, all on beautiful paved road. No cars. You’ll forgive me for not wanting to stop and take photos at this point. I just tucked down and enjoyed the roll. After so much hiking throughout the day, this was exactly what I needed to reset my equilibrium.
Couldn’t resist one shot of this little arm of the lake though, and is that Mt Buller in the distance?
The descent went too quickly and soon I was back in Jamieson, loading up the car and looking back on the day.
This was a great ride. It was not an easy ride. But, I had the idea for it, drew a line on a map, and I went out and rode it. It was a creative act and, more than that, it was fun.
Well, y’know, Type 2 fun.