I decided that today would be the day to take the N800 and GPS and do some moreÂ mapping for OpenStreetMap. First I went up Upper Wilson’s Creek, which has the feel I recall for the whole valley during my adolescence – numerous creek crossings all in flood, small windy roads where cars have to pull over to let others pass…
Not that Wilson’s Creek Road was ever that bad when I was young here, but there were several floods that kept us from school; the old crossing, near where Pioneer Bridge, was often under water, with a flying fox for the kids when the school bus couldn’t get through; logging trucks sent smaller cars scurrying for the side of the road, and it seems that half of our childhood was spend mucking around in inner tubes, like warped variants of hobbits, on the creek.
I just read a book detailing the centenary of schooling in the valley… it’s a wonderful snapshot of life here since the selections were established. It also makes me realise how tenuous a hold on the area we have. Electricity was only introduced into the valley in the 50’s, and that was also when bitumenising of the road was started – at the gap and slowly working out to Huonbrook by 1961.
There’s a lovely story of Stan Robinson heading out at 6pm with a truck-load of bananas. At 6am he rode his saddle pony home, after having only traveled half a mile along the boggy road and having had to unpack and pack everything twice to try and get un-bogged. After breakfast he went back and finally delivered the bananas to Mullumbimby railway station later in the day. Upper Wilson’s Creek is still only dirt, as is upper Main Arm Road, up to the Mount Jerusalem State National Park.
I was going toÂ stop and turn around back to Mullum when I hit the national park, but there was a sign saying 12km to Uki so I figured that I should really continue on and see what the rest of the road was like instead of merely mapping Main Arm Road. The surface is all quite nice for a dirt road – no real potholes, and just a few graded channels across the road to let the water drain better. It didn’t seem too steep across the NP, but there were a couple of climbs where I thought that riding up and down them might be tough.
Then I hit the downhill to Uki. It’s 2 km of fairly steep road, which is only about 13% but felt steeper. It winds down out of the NP and back to bitumen until it hits Rowland Creek Road and, at the end of it, I was wondering whether it was sensible to drive back up it. By the time I got to Uki, I decided not to and continued on through Smith’s Creek Road and the old Pacific Highway.
Overall, Mann’s Road had a drop of about 210m over 2 km. I’m very glad I didn’t try and ride up it the other day. Maybe next year with a lighter load and after a day’s rest at Uki. Maybe with a mountain bike 🙂 The section on the profile between vertical dividers shows the drop.