Lake Brockman to Yarri
Munda Biddi Trail
25th August 2021
The Ride - With a few of the longer days we would ride on the whole trip, today would mark the start of a pretty leisurely stretch of 40-50km days. Staying in one of the cabins at the Lake Brockman Tourist Park, we had a decision to make with regards to breakfast, either have something in the cabin and leave early or wait until the cafe opened at 9am. It was a fairly easy decision to try and sleep in, have a cruisy morning and then wander down for a cooked breakfast. Being a holiday park we weren't expecting gourmet meals and the eggs on toast was better than a Clif Bar. I did have a laugh that I was charged $4.50 for the same Twinnings Earl Grey tea that I had brought along with me on the trip (and brewed earlier in the cabin).
After supporting local business and getting some snacks for later that night, we set off to tackle the section leading towards the Yarri Campsite. This would be a welcome return to the camping life with a two night stretch before reaching Donnybrook and the start of a weeklong town to town stint. As the Munda Biddi doesn't actually go through the Lake Brockman Tourist Park, we figured a way to get back to the trail that didn't require backtracking all the way down to the Logue Brook Dam wall. Heading off along Logue Brook Dam Road, we would eventually intersect the trail as it crossed the road about 3km in. While missing out on what is some nice looking single trail through the forest, it was the most logical way to start the day. Climbing up the wide gravel road, the sun was shining bright as we headed east and up a slight hill. Finally reaching the proper trail, I was happy to be off the road and into some nice looking trail as it joins an old rail formation. This would also be the start of a medium puppa hill but the gradient was a very gentle 2-5% so it was one of the more enjoyable climbs of the whole trail.
I was excited to see what wildflowers were in bloom and early on I saw a Flame Pea and a Pink Fairy Orchid. The riding was really fun and I was super relaxed as we pottered along the rail form towards another road crossing. At the top of the climb we reached Clarke Road and found the first of a couple diversion notices for the day thanks to the Forests Products Commission and their environmental vandalism (logging of our native forests). It was on this trip that it was announced that logging of our native forests would be banned from 2024 and it was nice to know the future of the Munda Biddi won't be a cycling tour of how much we log our Southern Forests. This was only a short diversion and didn't add or subtract any distance to the day. This would be the start of a very long downhill section that would last for over 5km and was a good reward for the climbing that started the day. The forest through here looked a little scrappy but as we descended further, it got thicker and eventually some creamy trunked Bullich appeared. It's nice to see some variety and this would mark one of the more enjoyable stretches of riding for the whole day.
Following the edge of a creek, the mixed forest was a dream to ride through and eventually we reached a section full of Kingia Australis, the similar looking cousin of the Grass Tree. Providing a bit of variety to the understory, they serve to make the forest seem a bit more complete compared to some of the regrowth logging coupes that have a monotonous look thanks to having machinery driven through them. Reaching the first of many creek crossings for the day, the swampy/wetlands enclosed feeling was nice, even though the bright sunlight didn't make for the best photos. With a lot of winter rain, the creeks were flowing nicely and supporting a lot of life that was making itself known. With the trail following creeks for a lot of this first half, the forest kept changing between mixed Jarrah/Marri and Bullich but also meant there were sections where the regrowth of the understory was so thick it was like riding through a tunnel of green debris. It was a little thick in places so we were lucky it was a dry day, otherwise we would have been soaked. Occasionally we would have to ride through or over a fallen branch but survived getting anything lodged in the bike.
At the top of a smol puppa hill we made a left turn onto another vehicle track and out of the corner of my eye I spotted something a bit different from the regular wildflowers I had seen over the course of the morning. A Jug Orchid was just off the edge of the trail and I stopped riding to check it out. I had been hoping to see more orchids on this trip but apart from day one when I spotted three spider orchids, the best I had seen were some Pink Fairies. This was a good consolation prize for my inner botany enthusiast and the stop allowed me to photograph Aron descending down a straight, tree lined road. It wasn't long before I was stopping again, this time thanks to a large tree that stood out like a giant among dwarves. Admiring this behemoth, I started noticing the little things around it like the small fungi growing at the base and the new shoots coming off the edges. Not far up the track I heard the familiar call of the Black Cockatoo and both Aron and I creeped along slowly so I could get some good photos of them perched in the canopy. Thankfully they picked the skeleton of a dead tree so were nice and exposed and I got some nice shots of a couple landing on the higher branches.