Yarri to Collie Junction
Munda Biddi Trail
26th August 2021
The Ride - After a few days of sunny weather riding from Carinyah to Yarri Campsite, we finally got some rain worth writing home about as the afternoon set in. I love being in camp when it's raining, relaxing under the tin roof and listening to the sound of the pitter patter. Spending the night playing Yahtzee and then having a very long snozzle, it wouldn't be long until we were on the middle stretch of the track where you ride from town to town enjoying creature comforts every night. Waking up to a drizzly morning, I laid in my toasty sleeping bag like a burrito and enjoyed the last of the warmth before getting up and getting ready for the day.
Up and about around camp, this would just be one of those mornings where it seemed the bikepacking world was against me. I had started to develop some saddle sores thanks to some warmer days and not using the right protection (apply your butt cream!!!) so that was playing on my mind. While packing up my bike, I was tightening the strap on my saddle bag and a plastic clip flew off and hit me in the face. Not remembering how it attached to the bag or seeing a way I could reconnect it, in the end I just manually tied it off and that technique I would have to use for the rest of the trip. With the light rain continuing to fall as we were set to depart, I didn't really want to expose my camera to the wet given it was about 12 months since I lost my D7500 to that fate on the Tagon Coastal Trail. With walking, it is fine in light rain as you can protect it a little but with riding you are effectively headbutting the rain as it falls and things get wetter much quicker. For that reason I buried the camera in my backpack and whipped out my waterproof Olympus TG6 I had brought along for this exact scenario. The TG6 allows you to shoot RAW images (larger file type), one of the reasons I got it for basic underwater photography but unfortunately it became clear early on that the images coming off it for landscapes were not very good.
The scenery in the first part of the day wasn't overly photogenic with lots of overgrown bushes and burnt forest so by the time the rain eased off enough to bring out the main camera, I hadn't missed much. The setup I have for carrying the camera when I'm riding is to have it clip to my backpack strap at the front pointing down and I found this to be a great way of keeping the lens dry, along with being super accessible. To help protect it a little more I wrapped a buff around it so the body didn't get too wet and this seemed to work alright. Passing under the powerlines for the first time of many times this day, it's a mix of rail form and recently burnt forest through to a section of farmland. Here the rain eased off to the lightest of drizzles and this was perfect as we entered a section of forest that was the best we'd see all morning. Given the comments in the log book at Yarri from 10-15 years ago suggested the ride from Lake Brockman to Yarri was high quality, I imagine this is what that section used to look like before the FPC logged the bejesus out of it. Making this stretch even better was that it was part of a 9km downhill run that made for some thoroughly enjoyable riding. The thick boi trees were everywhere, a rarity in most State Forests and I tried to keep the lens free of moisture but was fighting an uphill battle.
At the end of the downhill section you reach Mornington Road and it was a bit sad ending the really nice riding. There were some roadworks on Mornington Road near the bridge over the Brunswick River so I didn't stop for photos, instead riding a little further up where there were some wildflowers on the side of the road. You stay on Mornington Road for about 3km and it's a good way to pick up the pace, especially as it's an uphill ride. There isn't much room on the gravel shoulder to ride on so we stuck to the road and hoped the passing motorists would be respectful enough to give us room. Leaving the road riding behind, we entered the forest once again to find it had been recently burnt. Sporting the blackened look of scorched earth approach to forest management, it would last for a while as we rode along a vehicle track and then single track all the way to the next set of powerlines. I imagine this was nice forest before the burns but it will take a few years to recover unfortunately. At the edge of the exposed powerline area I stopped to wait for Aron and was happy to see the sun was out. Using the powerline access roads for a while, this is open and straight riding that isn't necessarily the best experience but with the Worsley Refinery a few hundred metres to your left, it's slightly better than seeing that.
At the end of the powerline riding is the railway that connects the Worsley Refinery to the Bunbury Port and I had fun shooting the curved railway line that reminded me a bit of my favourite photo from the Jarrahdale Railway Heritage Trail. Crossing over and riding parallel to the railway for a brief period before heading back into the forest leading to the Collie Junction. The wildflowers and forest through here were top quality and made for some really nice riding, helped by the downhill gradient too. With the clouds starting to drift overhead, the lighting was much better for the photos but I knew these clouds were the start of the predicted rain that would hit around midday. On an old vehicle track, it was easy riding until we came across a fallen tree and then a very large puddle that required getting the bike a bit wet but that's all part of the fun. We reached the Collie Junction where you can either continue on towards Nglang Boodja or ride the spur trail into Collie for a resupply, meal and accommodation. Originally I had us staying in Collie but after cutting day one short, removing a Collie there and back stop is how we would make up the lost kilometres. Making a good point to stop for lunch, we parked up the bikes and had a bit of a snack while I checked the radar for incoming rain. If you are continuing onto Collie then it is another 18km or so to the middle of town, a ride I might do in the future for completeness sake.