Wungong to Jarrahdale
Munda Biddi Trail
22nd August 2021
The Ride - With a lovely and a little bit tough start to day two on the Munda Biddi, I had left Aron to continue on towards Jarrahdale while I took the spur trail to check out Wungong Campsite. As I said in my previous post, this is a really nice location in the forest and I hope to come back one day to spend the night. After getting some extended solo riding under my belt between the Canning River and Gleneagle rest area, I was looking forward to some more while I caught up to Aron. With the time taken to get to Wungong making it almost impossible to reach Dandalup Campsite today, I was mentally prepared for an easy ride into Jarrahdale.
Transferring some water between my Sea to Summit water bladder to my water bottles and adding some Staminade powder, I gathered up my bike from the shelter and headed off down the same spur trail I came in on. On the way in I spotted a really nice sundew but decided it was best to photograph it on the way out so I didn't have to stop. The forest is really lush thanks to the creek running through here and it was a pleasure to saunter along taking it all in. Reaching the trail junction, I headed towards Jarrahdale on what would be a gentle incline for the next 12km or so. Riding along single trail, the excellent forest continues and it clicked that this was the spot where Donovan and I had our promotional shoot for Feed the Hike (use PY5 at checkout for a 5% discount). I remember it being a great section leading all the way to the crossing at Jarrahdale Road and this was true all the way from the trail junction to the road. Being summer on my last visit, it was great to see the area in late winter with wildflowers around and experience a much cooler riding temperature.
Reaching Jarrahdale Road, I loved seeing the wattle that is like a gateway on the edge of the trail. Crossing over, it was a funny thought that there was a very direct route to Jarrahdale by taking the tarmac but the Munda Biddi goes in a big semi-circle into town. I do not mind at all as it means more riding and much better scenery than passing cars so continued along the official route. Switching from single trail to wider vehicle track, this was an area I could put the jets on and make up some time on Aron. The increased speed on the relative flats was cancelled out by stopping a fair bit for photographs including a little wander around a creek crossing. This was fine with me as the solo riding was agreeing with me and I had all afternoon to catch up to my riding partner. I knew the vehicle tracks through here would take me towards roughly where Sullivan Rock was as the Munda Biddi meets up with the Balmoral Track that run from Jarrahdale to Sullivan Rock (one I will be doing in the future I think). It was nice to stretch the legs a bit when I wasn't stopping to photograph a wildflower or intriguing scene that caught my eye.
The slight uphill was noticeable in places as I was pedalling at a good speed but the speedo on the watch wasn't reading speeds that would be normal on a flat section. After weaving through some short and scrappy forest where I got some fleeting views of nearby Mount Randall on the other side of Albany Highway, the forest greatly improved thanks to some nice older trees and a denser feel. Finding the remains of an old railway station near a large cleared area, it's always nice to see the railway heritage even if the purpose of them was to cart the chopped down forest away. It was around this time that I was beginning to wonder if Aron had taken the highway shortcut into Jarrahdale as I still hadn't caught him and I was averaging a decent pace. It wasn't a big worry as one way or the other I would be seeing him in Jarrahdale but as with every time we separated, I really hoped that I didn't get a puncture as he had the tools to change tubes and the pump. A couple of smol puppa hills were ahead of me and would mercifully be the last hills until the very end of the day.
They were soon dispatched and my reward was a really enjoyable downhill run into the Balmoral POW Camp. Being on vehicle tracks, you have options for the path of your descent but it requires a bit of concentration to get your line right as some of the eroded sections can catch you out at high speed. In the distance I could hear the sound of chainsaws at work and wondered if some locals were out collecting firewood illegally but it turned out to be what I assume was DBCA officers clearing a fallen tree off the track. Finally reaching the signage near Balmoral, this is a really lush part of the day as you cross a creek before turning into the main visitor area. Here I found Aron's bike leaned up against the toilet and he soon popped into view after checking out the area a bit closer. I parked up my bike and we had a chat about that last section and the lovely riding we both enjoyed. The significance of Balmoral is that it was an interment camp for Italians during WWII and the remnants of the old buildings can be found in the area. It's a really shameful part of Perth history that never gets lumped in with the similar camps for Japanese people in America during the same period.