Nala Mia to Nannup
Munda Biddi Trail
Nala Mia Hut
28th August 2021
The Ride - After a long and rainy detour to avoid some timber harvesting by taking us along active timber harvesting roads, we enjoyed a good lunch break at the Nala Mia Campsite in the warm sunshine of a Djilba day. With the bulk of the hills now behind us (not that there were many), we could enjoy what is often regarded as one of the most enjoyable sections of the whole Munda Biddi leading into Nannup. Waiting for us in town would be our partners, who had driven all the way from Perth to join us for one night, and a well earned rest day after clocking almost 500km in the legs so far.
Joining us at Nala Mia was another Munda Biddi rider who was also doing Donnybrook to Nannup today but had started a bit later than us. He was just out for the day and was being picked up in town so we had a bit of a chat about the baffling diversion, the trail so far and his fancy dual suspension bike. With Aron and I having our heavy bikepacking setups, we eventually had to repack everything and get going. The weather looked like it was clearing for a section I had earmarked as one to really enjoy as it was a pleasant ride the first time I did it in 2020 with my podcast partner. With 27km left for the day and it being all on old rail trail, I was excited to get going. I made my feelings on Jarrahwood quite clear in my last post so it would not surprise anyone to hear that I wasn't particularly sad to see leave the place as we rode towards the Vasse Highway crossing. The joy really begins once you cross the highway and join the Sidings Rail Trail as it travels all the way into the centre of Nannup.
From this point for the next 13km, it would essentially be a flat ride on old rail form that is always a pleasure to ride on. I love photographing the narrow corridors that these old formations cut through the forest but was very aware that I didn't want to have every photo just look the same. Luckily it was late winter and there was plenty of detail to shoot, along with the relics of this old railway line to provide something different. The first of these came shortly into the ride with one of many old bridges requiring a detour along a more modern creek crossing thanks to the state of disrepair they are now in. I like that these bridges are still there, albeit fenced off, and the old sleepers are still in place. Sometimes old rail formations just seem like another section of single trail so the reminders of their heritage certainly add to the enjoyment. Throughout the Sidings Rail Trail there are sections of old sleepers and rusted out railway line that really adds to the experience. It also helps that the forest lining the trail is a delight to ride through with a good mix of different tree and plant types including a few stands of Pineapple Bush, one of my favourite plants in the South West.
For one of the first times all trip, Aron was leading the way for extended periods as I was stopping frequently to photograph wildflowers, railway line, trail views and anything that caught my eye. He had stopped at the longest bridge of the day, an old wooden relic running over St John Brook and one spot that deserves a slow crawl to fully appreciate the beauty of the place. The narrow bridge can be a bit slippery with the exposed slabs of timber but there is no risk of falling off thanks to the metal railings that have been installed. I found myself walking across so I could take photos of the creepy old mans beard lichen that is dripping off every tree branch and trunk. The water levels were pretty full thanks to all the winter rains we had received this year and the whole place had an enchanted feel about it (if you looked to the east and not the exposed property to the west). Aron rushed off into the distance as he had a carrot dangling in front of him to pick up the pace this afternoon, while I was a bit more relaxed as I could easily put on the afterburners and I knew that the trail was an easy ride leading into town.
The excellent scenery continued as I left the old rail bridge behind and despite the nature of the scenery not changing a whole lot (straight trail with trees either side), I was busy scanning the edges for wildflowers. My prayers were answered with a collection of Pink Fairy Orchids, some tangled Drosera and plenty more that didn't make the cut for the above gallery. After a week filled with plenty of hills, steep gradients, pea gravel and long road or vehicle track sections, this was a nice relief and a fantastic way to finish the first part of the track. Tootling along at around 20kmph for long periods had been unheard of up until this point but with minimal effort, the reward was making up time as we headed into town. At this rate we would be arriving before the girls and based on the updates we had been receiving during the day, that was going to be the case. Arriving at Cambray Siding, there is some old railways relics here including a water tank and accompanying information boards. This marks the turn-off for the Old Timberline Trail that together with the Sidings Rail Trail, form a nice loop from the centre of Nannup (stay tuned in 2022 as I come back to do this one).