Executive End to End

Newsletter, December 2019

Executive Officer Oliver Laing and recently retired board member Alex Campbell undertook a North to South End to End of the Trail from the 26th October - 3rd November.

Spring often throws all manner of conditions at you in SW Western Australia, and our Munda Biddi adventure certainly had some extremes! We experienced one uncomfortably warm day near Dwellingup with the mercury reaching 39 degrees, I was literally melting on the powerlines diversion near Marinup! We also had some bitterly cold and wet weather from Pemberton to Walpole, as a strong cold front dumped significant rain - riding through the Walpole Wilderness between Yirra Kartta and Kworkalup Beela the temperature was 7 degrees!

Alex and myself had both ridden multiple sections of the Trail over a decade or more, but linking it up for the full E2E experience brings a different complexion to the ride. We had not ridden together before starting our adventure, and in hindsight, I would recommend being very familiar with your riding partners before heading out for a Munda Biddi adventure. Our relationship on the Trail was often a long-distance one, as we quickly discovered that we had different strengths on the bike. Overall, our journery worked out well, but both of us effectively rode solo much of the time. Nevertheless, it was great to catch up at the huts and elsewhere to share our tales from the Trail.

Some of my personal highlights were,

  • Encountering scores of riders out for a morning blast on the Kalamunda Circuit on a Saturday morning and contrasting the typical day ride with what we were getting ourselves into!
  • Rolling into Nglang Boodja campsite for the first time after (another) big day on the bike. This hut is in such a beautiful location and I had it all to myself. The only downside was when a hungry currawong flew off with my last Dutch Stroopwaffle!
  • Descending into Donnelly River Village after two and a half days on my own and being met by Alex with an enormous tasty lasagne.
  • Bumping into three E2E riders chilling out at Booner Mundak, having an in-depth discussion about bike and gear choices, then pushing onto Jinung Beigabup before dark; I was really envious of their more relaxed schedule! The location of Booner Mundak felt remote and seculded, a perfect place to soak in the south coastal hinterland.

Neither of us had any significant mechanicals, punctures or gear failures, although Alex broke a rear spoke north of Walpole. Fortunately modern disc brake rims can generally handle the wobble brought on by a single broken spoke. Not surprisingly, our bikes were especially gritty and grindy during, and after, the passage of the cold front which hit us in Quinninup and didn’t let up until Kwokralup Beela three days later.

On a 1060km long Trail there will always be things that need attention, but the Foundation works hard to keep these to a minimum, it was gratifying to encounter only one large tree obstructing the Trail that necessitated a lift and a scramble. The DBCA districts do a fantastic job at clearing up the Munda Biddi, as do our sectional maintenance volunteers. The vision, tenacity and passion of both the volunteers, and our partners Alcoa and DBCA, was highlighted to me during our ride - this is one special Trail!

Oliver Laing, Executive Officer