I admit it – I do love anything with a motor, and especially if that motor is attached to a dirt bike. Which is why rain is always a good sign. Tracks that were once dry, gnarly and dusty suddenly become full of fish tailing trail riding opportunities. So it was only natural that with all the rain we’ve been having lately, I knew I’d be having a ball out on my bike very soon.
Last weekend a friend and I headed out to the Gheerulla Trail, located within the Mapleton nature reserve. Usually, it’s a little tricky to ride as it can be very loose and dusty, but with the rain it would be perfectly conditioned for some two wheeled action. You have to pick your time though. You have to allow for the ground water to dry out just a little. Most riders tend to avoid riding after a downfall, for fear of the slippery conditions and damaged trails, but if you wait just long enough, it’s perfect riding, motorised and otherwise.
There are twenty-six kilometres of trails within Mapleton’s circuits and they are amongst my favourite destinations in the right conditions. There is nothing quite like these trails, with the cool forest air, fabulous twisty and turns, plenty of room to open the throttle plus the addition of a few jumps to get the adrenalin pumping. Most importantly it’s one of the most beautiful areas that hinterland has to offer. So much so in fact, it will take all of your self-restraint to keep your mind on the ride ahead and not looking at the views or go chasing after some far off bird calling deep from within the tree line.
The trail itself is two-way, so if you do chose to ride it, be aware of this and expect to meet someone coming the other way. I’ve never had any issues, as long as everyone keeps his or her wits about them. Luckily the trail was was dead quiet and so we could relax a little bit and just enjoy the run!
After exhausting the trails and ourselves we decided to take five in the camping area and take a walk around to see what else this stunning place had to offer. Turns out quite a bit for the average nature lover. From walking tracks, horse back riding trails, picnic areas to abseiling, there is a little of something for everyone here, although some areas are only accessible via four-wheel drive. While that’s all very interesting I couldn’t help but be interested in the abseiling. I’ve never tried it but I’m sure once I lost my footing I could snap some interesting photos hanging upside down – definitely something I’ll have to look into.
One thing is for sure, the Mapleton National Park is incredibly diverse with some amazing mountain scenery, numerous creeks, waterfalls, rocky outcrops with expansive views, lush forests and definitely worth exploring, even without a combustion engine between your legs. For more information on the Park and the Gheerulla Trail itself visit the NPRSR website for all you need to know.