13-Dec-2012 -- The story starts at 43°S 147°E and continues from 20°S 147°E.
In the morning at 5 AM I said farewell to my host Des in Townsville and started cycling along the Bruce Highway. When my odometer hit the 70 km marker, I turned into the spectacular winding Mount Spec Road that leads to a 975 m peak at Paluma village. Shortly before reaching the top I was suddenly experiencing an attack of tiredness and had to lie down for an hour's nap. I think I am getting old!
Paluma didn't have a grocery or any restaurant, such that my stomach stayed empty. I passed Paluma and went down to the village 'Hidden Valley'. Although my map showed a symbol for 'shop' in Hidden Valley, one of the total number of 10 inhabitants laughed when I asked, saying this was long-long time ago when mining was active in the area.
From Hidden Valley, the confluence is in 3.5 km beeline distance. A track was useful up to a distance of 1.2 km and a path until 650 m, where I parked my bicycle. The hike was beautiful and mostly downhill. I located the confluence point exactly in a dry riverbed at the lowest point in the valley. Several trees are growing in the riverbed which is full of boulders.
I climbed uphill again and went back the same route to Hidden Valley. Luckily, I found some biscuits that I had been carrying for weeks in my panniers and which I had totally forgotten. I camped after cycling another 5 km on a spot where there had been a forest fire recently. Although the burnt wood made me, my clothes, and my tent black, I opted for such a camping spot: it is the safest place when there are forest fires.
In continued my trip on hilly back roads northwards through the Paluma State Forest and reached Bruce Highway at noon the next day near Ingham.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 7 km
- Distance to a track: 1.2 km
- Distance of bicycle parking: 600 m
- Time to reach CP from bicycle parking: 15 minutes
- Time at CP: 5:00 PM
- Measured height: 587 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy: 8 m
- Topography: mountainous, at the bottom of a deep valley.
- Vegetation: diverse forest
- Weather: sunny, 26° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Hidden Valley Confluence
More pictures of the trip can found at mautz.net.
The story continues at confluence 18°S 146°E.