Old Railway Viaduct
Having ridden 60k on my road bike yesterday, I thought a ride on the Mtn bike today was in order to get some blood running around the muscles... I chose a ride that I found interesting. Yet in the past I have never had time to explore this part of the mountains. Hartley Vale, Darling Causeway, Bell, Mt Victoria and Mt York all have an interesting history.
The view into HartleyVale
Like most areas of the mountains, they were either major routes to cross the Blue Mountains or they were parts of the shale mines that dotted the landscape.
Parking the troopie at Bell, ride south along the Darling causeway and you will come to a turn off to Hartley Vale, clearly marked. However, before descending into the valley, take the time to follow the old rail line that leads to a shale mine. The view on either side are spectacular. Double back and descend into the valley.
Remains of railway boiler.
The old Comet Inn and a few historic homes remain. I found the ride easy at this stage, before discovering, (for myself), the old Cox's Road, an ascent from the valley floor up to Mt York. Un daunted I rode towards my goal. It did not take long before I realised that it would be easier to carry the bike and walk up the old road. It was constructed in 1815 and was the only way off the Blue mountains before the current Victoria Pass was constructed. I pondered how the horses and people coped, as I struggled for breath in the heat.
Road into Hartley Vale.
The walk was difficult as the bike got stuck on fallen trees,I had little tread left on the bike shoes and the metal cleats slipped on the rocks. Undaunted I pressed on.
The views are simply beautiful even as the temperatures got to 38c. I finally arrived at the top. It was a-buzz with picnicers and rock climbers who all looked a bit amazed as I emerged from the bush.. the wrong way...(i.e. Bottom to top-not top to bottom).
Track across creeks.
The ride back to the car is about 15km of tar road. Pleasant and fast, amongst tall pine and beautiful gardens. However the heat and humidity, proved to be energy sapping, it was with great relief that I arrived back at the troopie, having explored this part of the Blue Mountains.
The walk up to the top...
I drove back home, tired but content that I had achieved something...