Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mt Greyrillas in the Saturday Mist

Jet and me jettisoned ourselves from the city in a very smelly leaking-damp Fiat, making good time to Sefton by 12.05.  Nelson turned up not long after and we transferred to the 'Rona, round through Balcairn and up the gravel to Lake Janet.  12.40something as we rode off up the hill.  Long grind, always longer than you remember, into the mist.  Evidence (fresh tracks) all the way up of a 4wd having gone ahead, and finally up in the fog, as we were wondering whether this was the last corner to round before the tower would loom, there appeared said 4wd on it's way down.  Tower then loomed in the fog, and the temperature and wind were unfavourable for hanging around so straight onto the singletrack we went, and down, taking the steeper scree strewn line from the ridge down to the sidling trail.

Feet were soon soaked through from the wet tussocks overhanging the singletrack, but the trail was sweet and we cruised at a comfortable pace down.  Jet loving every minute of it, sticking just behind Nelson who was leading the way.  When we stopped, he'd go sniffing off up or down the hill, locking on to the scent of pigs or hares or deer and having to be called back before he buggered off too far.  First couple of sets of hairpins and we were still in the fog, but not too much farther down we got under it and could see sun soaked hillsides across the valley - very local this cloud was.  Nelson rode the rocky drop that avoids a couple hairpins, but I was feeling chickenshit-cautious and rode the two switchies. From here it was around to the wee saddle and heading into the bush.  Very damp down here, with roots and rocks slippery-as, making caution my middle name.  Fun though, fun fun fun in the bits between the switchbacks, most of which had me just keeping left foot clipped, and manhandling the bike around in a couple of steps (plant front wheel, swing back round, maneuver front around...) and riding on. Nelson cleaned heaps of them, but got off on a few too and crashed on at least one.

So many different environments encountered down through here it's hard to keep their sequence straight in my head.  After the initial bunch of switchbacks, a couple of longer stretches, then finally the best long one after the step-to-rocky-corner Chris crashed on one time.  One more switchback and then the run down to creek crossing.  After this, dryish rocky bits, pungent smell of beech dew, then into an ever-shortening-distances-between-switchbacks sequence down towards the creek lower down, and then more longer drier bits onto the ridge (off which goes the track back up to the fire lookout and 'Lake' Janet and also the lookout on the ridge) and then into pine which was probably the best condition I've ever seen, and then more jungle and slick roots, and more dry beech and then open -what's normally a quagmire but was still dry-ish from the long dry summer - then back into beech jungle, more slick roots and ruts, and the eventually the flatlands and bridge and then out to the end.  All very nice.  Mud spattered and happy we emerged from the woods, encouraged Jet to grab a big drink from the river, and we were into the climb up the road that never ends.  Finally back to the car 2.40pm, 2 hours solid riding - I guess cos we hardly ever stopped..

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