Made in Minyon
There has been a relative shortage of epic adventures in my life recently. Last Saturday I took some steps to rectify that with a ride to Minyon Falls, a 7km walk through the rainforest, and a ride home, which left me with 212km on the bike for the day. It had clearly been too long since the last time I did something like that, but it felt good. As the weather cools in the coming months, I might look to string a few more together.
I set off at 4am to meet with some friends at Minyon Falls by 9am. This had another benefit in that it meant conditions were slightly cooler for longer as I headed down the Tweed Coast early. It also meant that the northerly wind that was to spring up later in the day (as if by obligation these days) would take an hour longer. This was a rather dubious "benefit" as it was supposed to be behind me early on. Even so, I managed to put the smackdown on the climb out of Mullumbimby toward the Crystal Castle, and reached the first destination with around 20 minutes to spare.
The next step was to join with some friends to walk the full circuit around Minyon Falls -- something I hadn't actually managed yet as the track always seems to be closed when I come down here. Actually, the NPWS website had suggested it should be closed again, but someone apparently forgot to tell the Park Ranger. Needless to say, the stroll through the rainforest to the creek at the bottom was worthwhile. We had split into two groups to do the circuit in opposite directions and meet at the base of the falls. Most of my group bailed on the final rock scramble to get to the falls as they perceived it as too difficult. The few of us who proceeded were awarded with something very special.
The 100-metre falls had been swelled by recent rain, meaning that those of us who braved a dip in the rockpool had to contend with waves. The water was beautiful, however, especially as it was now quite a hot day. There had actually been a couple of nude bathers when we arrived at the rock pool, and the fact that I didn't bring out the camera when they were around means I probably don't have much of a future as a pornographer. Such is life.
The walk back basically involved a long, winding climb from the base of the falls back to the top, passing through a million different types of rainforest, another waterfall, and eventually some spectacular views at the top. There was a slight disquiet that I still had to ride 108km home against the wind at the end of this climb, but as this wasn't like wading through Canungra Creek to get to Stairway Falls two years ago, and as I had a light that would save me if it got dark, I wasn't overly bothered. At times like this, it's far better to just enjoy the moment for what it is.
After lunch at the cafe at the entrance to Nightcap National Park, it was time to say goodbye to the others (most of whom continued on at the Brunswick Heads pub), and start the long ride home. The temperature hit 33 degrees C as I descended from Minyon (for once, minus a full touring load), and settled into the series of climbs and descents en route to Mullumbimby. This really is a very scenic stretch of road, and riding it twice in the same day wasn't a problem. The climb at Repentence Creek is long on a hot day, but the views over Cape Byron at the summit are worth the effort.
I then decided to take the final 85km over Mt Jerusalem National Park (note, this is NOT the real Mt Jerusalem), and finally climbing over Tomewin at the end. The extra hills would cut out both headwind and suburbia, so it was a smart move all round. At times both climbs felt like a struggle, but I seemed to be feeling OK on reaching the summits. I was perhaps fortunate that the dirt road through the Jerusalem NP is in better condition than it has been for some time. I would have thought the recent rain would have made it worse, but that's life.
I had planned to buy something sweet to gorge on in Uki, but there were no shops open at that time of day -- somehow I had overlooked the fact that it was an hour later in New South Wales. Strangely, the same thing happened in Murwillumbah, so at that point I decided to just press on and ride home without it. In the end it was a tiring, but extremely rewarding day, and just what I needed. While this weekend won't see any major epics due to a dental appointment, and watching Gold Coast United in the A-League finals, it has set up my appetite for the longer rides, and I can promise there will be plenty to come in the coming months.