Yarri Hut - A new way... - CycleBlaze

Yarri Hut

One last bit of the unknown


Day 7, maybe?

I honestly don't know how many days I've been out here, dear reader. You can go back and count them up if you must.  

With some new deviations in place (FPC clear felling a big chunk of forest this time), it was going to be about 49 km to the Yarri Hut, about 10 km further than anticipated. But that was fine because I hadn't previously ridden this stretch of the track; it was all new and I was looking forward to it. I got a 0800 start after a breakfast of coffee, muesli and honey. I was tempted to stick around for the cafe to open - they do excellent pancakes, but the track was calling. It was a fun mix of keep-you-on-your-toes single track and back road logging tracks, surrounded by wildflowers and jarrah trees. I love the look/feel/smell of a forest after a good rainstorm - everything is so fresh and alive. I had another short and rude hike-a-bike section up a deeply eroded fire break. It was very good exercise.  

It's funny that. I started out this trip a bit of a mess physically; horrendously unfit and a litany of niggly aches and pains too numerous to burden any reader with... But strangely enough, I seemed to be riding them out, well... most of them anyway. This bike riding is good for both body and soul. 

One of the deviations went through a pine plantation forest for a bit of a change. That was all too familiar for me. In a previous life (about 40 years ago), I worked out here in the southwest for a year felling trees in these pine plantations. Western Australia was in an economic recession and there wasn't much work available... you do what you have to to survive. I couldn't help but assess the state of the plantation as I rode through it - old habits die hard. They close space the trees when they plant them, so that they grow like asparagus - straight up searching for the sun. But then they are suppose to go through the plot at least twice over the next 20-30 years, trimming the limbs and thinning them out so they can grow bigger with less competition. All except the very large trees are harvested by machine now. The harvester grabs the tree and cuts it off at the ground, then strips off the branches and bucks it to length - all in one quick movement. They say it is more cost effective than doing it with a chainsaw, but I have my doubts. Only problem is they didn't figure on the cost and availability of labour over the long term, so many of the plantations missed out on this maintenance. Investors lost money/motivation when they lost their tax exemption status and as a result many of the plantations were neglected and/or completely abandoned. Too much of this plantation looked like it hadn't received much if any attention in the past 20 years - a bit like a five year old feral who hasn't had his hair washed/cut/brushed in a couple of years. 

The ride through the pines was entertaining and there was still plenty of native forest to ride through, too. 

At one point during the ride I stepped off the bike to stretch and take a pee. Looking down, I spotted this exquisite little mini orchid staring up at me.
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I met the last of the end-to-end racers today. First was a young single rider in his early twenties, a bit overweight and out of shape, but giving it his best. He told me he had just taken up bike riding last year and had already lost 50 kg. He said he would be happy just to reach the finish. He didn't want to stop and rest and I could see he was hurting, but he was determined to get to the finish. I hope he made it. The other two riders, the tail-enders, were a couple of guys about my age. They were having a great time, doing about 100 km a day and pacing themselves as they went. They were in no particular hurry to finish and knew they would get there eventually. 

Everywhere you look there are wildflowers in abundance.
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I met them at the Yarri Hut. I have been there once before a few years back on a cold wet winter day when I rode the Munda Biddi from Nannup to Harvey, finishing at the Yarri hut and then riding down the escarpment to Harvey on Mornington Road. The Yarri hut is smaller/narrower than most of the other huts and is placed right alongside the track - you can literally step off of your bike and onto the sleeping platform in one (big) step. Two more steps and you are sitting on the dining table on the veranda looking out at the trees - you can almost touch them. It's completely shaded by the trees and is a cool oasis on a hot summer's day. The tail-enders and I spent a pleasant afternoon talking bikes and travel. We all went to bed early because they were doing a 3 am wake up and early predawn start. 

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