John and I had 2 weeks holiday driving down to Victoria and back checking out mountain bike parks along the way. I wanted to add an overnighter into the holiday and where better than the Snowy Mountains. A little bit of research on the net came up with the Mosquito Creek Trail in the Northern Snowy Mountains. We didn't know much about it and had to wait till we arrived in Tumut before we could buy a map of the area to really get any solid information. We chose the "Rooftops" map, it is full of interesting info on the Old Huts as well as the trail...which was handy.
Day 1 Temora to Blue Water Holes
Yesterday we put in a big day on the road driving from Armidale to the very quaint Temora B&B. Arriving at 6pm to than unpack the ENTIRE car and cart the contents of it up a rabbit warren of stairs and corridors to our room. Car camping and bike camping are two different things and a LOT of reorganising was required. We have “rockets” aka dry bags for the back of our bikes and a front bag as well and basically everything we need for the trip gets stuffed into them. 2 hours later….many trips back and forth from the car…we were ready. The car is now full again. The next morning Theresa from Temora B&B cooked us a lovely breakfast of bacon and eggs and chilly snags. Yum. We then gathered the rest of our gear and stuff from the kitchen area and took off, heading for Tumut and the Yarrongbilly Caves area. The Garmin took us the “country roads” route. We hardly saw another car till Gundagai. Stopped at the tourist info place and as well as a loo stop we got the words for “Road to Gundagai” – BONUS, which I then sang in the car! Took the “highway” from Gundagai to Tumut – more cars but no idiots. In Tumut we had jobs to do. Buy a map – step one. Confirm desired trip – done. Text mum and let someone know what we are doing – done. Then buy a bread roll, ice and some noodles. All done and off we went into the Northern Snowy Mountains. Up the hill to where the white lines turn to yellow lines so you can see them in the snow. We finally arrived at Long Plain Rd then to Prince Philip rd – a dirt rd and then to Ghost Gully at about 11:20am. Lovely country side and a beautiful day, it’s about 15 degrees here. Lots of organizing to do and “rockets” to put on bikes and occy straps to pull as tight as possible. Then to adorn the bikes with front “airbags” middle goodies case and a camera bag and we were set. Had lunch and went to the toilet at least 3 times each. It’s cold okay!
Finally got on the rocket bikes at 12ish or 1230, can’t remember. Rode a little way and up a hill – pant, puff and then along to the first homestead. 300m off the track to a hut called Hainsworth hut.
Nice place. Tin hut, big fireplace. Then another 8ish km of rolling hills. I have a hunch we have a lot more of uphill to do on the return journey tomorrow – we seem to be doing a lot of downhill stuff. Got to the next homestead turnoff. A 1.5km detour to Old Currango Homestead. This one is a beautiful place.
Couple of rooms too. Beautiful outlook over the plains and great fireplace and dining table. Another 5km from here to the turnoff to Bill Jones Hut which we made it to and where hoping to stay the night here. Bit disappointed as it had a earth floor and was dusty and small. Nice hut, but not to stay in for the night. We decided to press on to Blue Waterhole Campsite and if we have time turn around to return to the 2nd hut – we like it.
We saw plenty of brumbies and kangaroos along the way. Such a lovely day. Got to Blue Waterholes at about 3:30pm.
No time now to turn back as the sun was setting. we are now staying here tonight. Car campers here x 4 sets. A man with a flat tyre fixing the problem too. Thought there was no water here – but we got directed to it by the tyre man. Turns out Blue Waterholes is very pretty, got some water and then had a skinny dip just in time before two lads turned up. Very refreshing.
Back at our campsite we set about emptying the entire contents of our stuff onto the BBQ table – pack explosion! Spent the next hour collecting some firewood. 2 mammoth sized pieces John hauled up from the creek. I called one piece “The Whale”.
Then rediscovered the BBQ table and cooked a dinner of Thai chicken curry. Tried to warm ourselves up by almost sitting on the fire and it worked a little. Wasn’t too cold before dinner but the temp dropped after dinner +++. Finished our chores and both brushed our teeth with my toothbrush!!! (someone forgot his) and then into the warmth of the tent, to write in this and then rug up.
Sometime at the start of sleep time (probably 8:30 as neither of us looked at the time) John woke up freezing. He put on more clothes and I unpacked the space blanket and assured him he would be like a cooked chook in no time. Well, that never happened but at least he wasn’t like a frozen chook anymore. I put his gortex jacket over him as well. Tent not very big and it was very ++++ dewy outside and occasionally John got dripped on and we were on a slight hill so he was nearly rolling out of the tent too. I heard him sleeping at some point during the night so he at least slept some.
Day 2 – Good Friday – Blue Waterholes to Albury
It was a very cold morning – brrrrrr. Cozy in my bed – cold nose and if I only knew where my lip balm was that would feel really really good about now. John was up first – his bladder fuller then mine. Water dripping in the tent every time he touched the side trying to first undress to put day clothes on, then re-apply every other clothing item . Then it was my turn – how cold could it be I thought. Very, very cold in fact. Should have put more clothes on! We left a water container on the picnic table last night and when I asked John to help me wash my hands we discovered it had ice in it. So that’s how cold it was. The Whale log had gone out by the morning so no fire either. I went down to the Blue Waterhole for breakfast water and then spent at least ½ an hour trying to boil it. Brrrr – so cold. John freezing again so he wrapped the space blanket around him? What good it did, I don’t know? Chatted to the other happy campers and had breakfast and set off at 8:30am still wearing all our warm clothes. Turned on the Garmin – it said 0.2 degrees!!! Downhill first then flat then up,up,up. Still left all our clothes on till after next flattish bit then a small hill which I left me feeling like a roasting chook.
It was time for the puff jacket to come off, followed shortly after by 2 x thermals, and the light weight cycle jacket. At the turn-off to Bill Jones Hut I took off the cycling leggings as well, they kept falling down anyway. John took a little longer to eventually slowly delayer. It was 18km back to the car with lots of up bits. Spent the first half of riding today wondering where I left my mojo? Hills even small ones had me walking them. Thankfully with the aid of yesterday’s left over Growling Dog powerbar I found some of that mojo to get up the big sucker hill. Yeah!!!.
As well as brumbies and lots of roos we also came across a group of horse riders heading to Old Currajong Hut and then 2 hikers heading to Picket hut. It’s great to see so many people out enjoying life this Easter. I was having more fun on the descents today. Using the brakes a little less. Dodging the big rocks and the massive piles of poo brumbies do all in the same spots. What is that? Some poo piles looked like a collection had started for someone’s flower garden.
We weren’t too cold either now with the sun peeping out every now and again. That was until about 5km from the car. Whooha. Did that wind pick up and the sun go into hiding. Very very cold. Reluctant to stop so just rode faster and eventually around a bend and downhill to the car. The sun had come out again so it was cold but not freezing. The place “Ghost Gully” was packed with people – wow and the road was full of drivers with boats. Where are they off to? A quick change out of our sweaty gear and into some warm stuff and then de rocket the bikes and chuck stuff in car and bikes on the back and get out of there. We went past heaps more Easter traffic on the little dirt Rd out of here – lots of people. Out on the main highway we decided to take a look at the Yarrongbilly caves area and maybe a swim at the thermal pools. In hindsight we really had no time for this – but went anyway. We didn’t have a swim when we discovered you had to walk to it and we didn’t buy the pass to do it at the info center. Togs packed too deep in depths of car anyway. Drove on back up the very windy Rd to highway and then a LONG, LONG way before finally ending the twists and turns you take to get off very high land to Tumburumba. Very hungry by now, it was 1:30 and a long long time since Growling Dog left overs. Found the very quirky “Four Bears Café”! Not just four bears anymore – try 4000 bears – and a menu with at least 50 different “bear like” selections on it. I got a hot chocolate and a Grizzly Burger. Then with Telstra now available to us again, some texting and internet action was had. I spent a long time texting Anne all about the bears and bear jokes. Jokes got worse and worse, It was a very funny “con’bear’sation”! and a very yummy lunch too.
We drove on to Albury along the highway and past about 6 cops. Double demerits for Easter. Arrived at The Albury All Seasons Caravan Park just in time to pitch the big tent just before it rained at about 6pm. Big couple of days, great couple of days.