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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mission not accomplished



Sunday's mission was to find Hell's Hole in Mt Jerusalem National Park. It seems this is going to be harder to track down than I expected. Evidently people I've spoken who have supposedly been there cant' seem to decide whether it's actually a waterfall or a sink hole. Perhaps both are there. I've also heard stories of caves with rock paintings on Mt Chowan in that park, I really need to spend a weekend camping and exploring there. Sunday's epic started early into a strong southerly wind that came out of nowhere. I half-hid from it by heading through Urliup on the journey south, but it was gone by the time I reached Murwillumbah.





I headed south over the climbs of Reserve Creek and Cudgera Creek, taking in the pretty but largely unremarkable climbs. There was a surprising amount of traffic on Cudera Creek Road, probably more than I woud later see on the old Pacific Highway after Burringbar. The southern excursion continued through Billinudgel and Main Arm, before starting the southern climb to reach the National Park. I last climbed this approach on Easter Monday with a full touring load. It didn't feel any easier this time around either.



At the first of the two summits I turned left onto Middle Ridge road, and started climbing again, more steeply this time. Eventually the climb peaked at around 370 metres, and I turned off on the Sand Ridge Firetrail, which I had been told would lead to Hell's Hole. At the end of this trail, there were tracks branching off to the left and right. The left fork was all downhill, eventually leading to an old log bridge and a creek. I didn't see any sign of a waterfall here, so I returned to the top.





I then took the right fork, meeting up with a family of hippies on the way. This was where I heard of the possibility that there may be a sink hole rather than a waterfall. I also found some potentially delightful campsites in the area. As it was, this track led to another section of the same creek I found earlier, and continued on in the rainforest for a short while, but ultimately didn't lead to anything that was either a waterfall or sink hole. I did explore another side track, but it basically just continued to climb, and as it was now late in the day and I had another 90km to ride home, I decided to save that one for another time.



The ride home was very pleasant indeed, as the late afternoon sun caught the forest of Mt Jerusalem National Park (but not Mt Jerusalem itself) at just the right angle. The descent back into Uki was rutted and loose, not enough to cause me serious problems, but enough for me to totally pwn a 4wd on the way down. For the final ride back to the coast I decided to climb over Tomewin in preparation for doing the same thing at the back end of 200km this Saturday. My legs had some complaints about that, but they did the job and I got on with life.

All in all it was a ride that offered more questions than answers, leaving me to find time in a busy schedule over the coming weeks to explore this area more fully. I have a 200k Audax ride next week, followed by a long bushwalk at Lamington National Park the following weekend. Just when I'll make time to complete this project is uncertain, but I'll have to make it happen sooner or later.

11 Comments:

Blogger IronGambit said...

You would think that a water"fall" and a "sink" hole would all be in the same category? ;)

11:46 pm  
Anonymous Tweed Coast treadly said...

There really is a waterfall, at the top about 25-50 metres from the edge there are also 2 or 3 3-4 metre diameter and 1-2.5 metre deep holes ground out of the basalt in a step down fashion along the creek. at the time i visited in the late 70's there were also numerous yabbies visible in the creek. You could make your way to the creek bed below to look up through the canopy on the left (west?) hand side of the falls in a tree to tree or more like sapling to sapling grabing fashion
dave

PS I'm still recovering from cold but our house guest has now returned to Japan

3:33 pm  
Anonymous Robin Easton said...

Hi Chris,

I lost your site for awhile and just found it again. I remembered how excellent it is. I LOVE seeing your photos of OZ. As I may have told you I lived in NSW and QLD many years ago and just loved it. I eat up your photos. They are stunning and the text fascinating. I have bookmarked your site so I can revisit. I amire they way you get out to be with Nature and cycle all over the place. You ought to write a book. I think it would do really well. You would have great tales to tell. Thanks for sharing. Robin Easton www.nakedineden.com

12:45 am  
Blogger Chris L said...

Dave -- I'm planning another visit to have another look for the waterfall. I've got plenty of time to sort this one out.

Robin -- I've had a few people tell me I could write a book. I've given it some thought, but with so many adventures to come in the future, I can afford to wait on that one.

1:58 pm  
Anonymous Tweed Coast treadly said...

Hi Chris;
I hope we can get to ride together to Hell's Hole, I have used Google Maps to get better a better look at the information from the GeoCaching website and FIXED the co-ordinates you leave Sand Ridge Rd to walk along the "firetrail" to the falls located at...
Normal GPS Coordinates (WGS84 Datum)
Decimal: -28.48623 153.35447
DDD MM.MMM: S 28° 29.174 E 153° 21.268
DDD MM SS.SSS: S 28° 29' 10.4388" E 153° 21' 16.0812"


Older Datum (NAD27)
DECIMAL: -28.48976 153.35589
DDD MM.MMM: S 28° 29.386 E 153° 21.353
DDD MM SS.SSS: S 28° 29' 23.1540" E 153° 21' 21.2076"


UTM (WGS84 Datum)
56J E 534695 N -3

I'm in the early stages of getting a newer/smaller frame bike but will see... what happens happens.... You seem to be very busy at this time of the year with your lead up to your tour to NZ, walking and long group rides. We might be able to slot an attempt in before the Creek and Falls dry-up for spring!

I will post the Google Mapping Screen captures on my blog later, when I get a chance
Dave

10:26 am  
Blogger Chris L said...

I think I might have been in the right place last time, but I messed it up. There was a bit of water coming over Minyon Falls (near Mullumbimby) on Saturday, so we might be in luck.

The next two weekends are clear at the moment, but I'm having three wisdom teeth removed on September 17. Also be warned that the climb on Middle Ridge road is *STEEP*.

7:43 pm  
Anonymous Tweed Coast Treadly said...

You were very close.. right road everthing nut I think you went too far along the track is to the right on a very sharp left bend before the Y intersection...

I'm not to proud to walk! As you already know, sometimes I ride so slow that joggers can become a blur as they streak past me, rattling the frame as they go.

Mark is down with the flu again, but he and I am very keen (sppoke to him toay), to try as soon as possible, and my new work means I can now wake-up at 6am!!!
I explained it would be a ~100k+ circuit.... for he and I that is

Will we try for Sunday the 14th? or the 7th? For Mark I think it would be better the 14th. But even then he may still not ride, I might ask another rider but they tend to like road rides so he also might not come... otherwise it will be just you and me?

10:32 pm  
Blogger Chris L said...

At this stage I'd probably favour the 14th too. If Mark's flu is the same as the one that's been going around up here, he'll need the extra week to recover.

1:28 pm  
Anonymous Tweed Coast treadly said...

Hi Chris, havent spoken to Mark again this week, but the 14th still suits me does it still fit in with your other plans... I had forgotten the 7th will be Fathers Day. I'll wait on your reply to get times and direction of the loop... should still be a fair bit of water going over the falls, after this weeks rain, as well as leeches and now more than likely mozzies...
until then
dave
ps others have al begged out with random excuses....

12:58 pm  
Anonymous Tweed Coast Treadly said...

Chris, Mark wont be coming. Spoke to him today. A 7:30am start if you are still interested, that is?

8:41 pm  
Anonymous Rebecca M said...

Hi there, have you since been back and found Hell's Hole? (I would call them Rock Pools). I can tell you exactly where it is if you're still looking for it... P.S We didn't see any waterfalls on any of the tracks - perhaps it needs to rain for there to be a waterfall from the Rock Pools - I imagine if it rained enough there would be a cascade over the edge of the last rock pool to the gully below... but it doesn't flow regularly.

3:23 pm  

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