Rob 'n BOB on the BNT


Mossman, Qld - 25 November 2003


HELLO!  To all of you who are following our Bikin' boy Rob 'n his BOB on the
Bicentennial National Trail inland from the eastern coast of Australia!

The following portions of Robert's travel from Cooktown to Collinsville, Queensland,
were prepared by Rob's wife, Gwen, in Osoyoos (at the Southern end of the
Okanagan Valley) in British Columbia, Canada.  Rob had a great long "story" all ready
for transmission on a computer  that he was using in the Shire office in Collinsville,
when, much to his despair,  a "glitch" in the "machinery" caused his work to fly off
into "electronic heaven"!  Since he was keen to get back on the trail, after being in
Collinsville for more than 24hrs., he appealed to me to compose a "journal" from
the news told me in his many phone calls of the past month. 
So, here goes, with second hand news!


Cooktown to Mossman, Queensland, on the BNT

After spending a few enjoyable days in the historic gold rush town of Cooktown (a 100 years ago there was a population of 30,000 people and now it's about 1,500!) "munching" mangoes in the lovely Botanic Garden, revelling in eating delicious Barramundi and a bottle of Seaview at "Grumpy's", and, tenting in the garden at Pam's Place hostel, Rob headed out on the BNT!  At long last, he was able to start at the very northernmost point on the trail and head south!

Archer PointIt took Rob about 4 days to bike the track to Mossman, from Cooktown, but what days they were!  Full of surprises!  First of all, he found lots of payphones along the "rather populated" route.  And then, up the CREB track between Bloomfield and Daintree (near Osborne Creek, I think he said), the Crocodile Trophy Mountain Bike Race blew by him on their last day of racing!  This 9-day race is organized out of AUSTRIA, if you can imagine it!  So, you can see that the BNT is becoming known world-wide!  That night Rob camped with a group of 60  cyclists in Daintree and enjoyed dinner and breakfast with the group.  Scarcely isolated territory, SO FAR!  Rob's summation of those bikers  --  "WOW, were those guys fit!"  At this point in his trip he was still "finding his legs", and, the CREB Track is certainly a test  --  AWFUL hills - SO steep - went up and down over a 1000m, had to carry his BOB up and THEN his bike, at one point, should have taken the "bypass" he said.  Thinks he wouldn't be "keen" to bike the CREB Track a second time!

In addition to his initial biking "familiarizations", he had the discomfort of getting "entangled with a lawyer vine" (a nasty little piece of Nature's botanical wonders to be found in those Tropical climes!).  But, there were crystal clear blue skies and the water was OK and lots of creeks so far.  He treats all his drinking water and it tastes like herbal tea, he says.  However, in this area, the water seemed a bit "sour".  He thinks it's alkaline but has a "different Ph" (whatever THAT means!?)  The air temperature was 35C and HUMID!

CREB TrackThe most heart-warming part of the CREB Track for me, Robert's wife, was an email sent by Adrian John Barber along with a picture of Robert, his bike, his BOB, AND, some views of the terrain he covered!  Adrian (from the Atherton Tablelands, not too far from Cairns) and a few mates were out for a 4 wheel trip that day and came across Rob.  Adrian was able to report that Rob was in good health and on their way out of the area at the end of the day they saw Rob again, making progress just outside of the Township of Daintree.  What a JOY to know many other eyes are looking out for and taking a kindly interest in our dear Rob!

After that gruelling start on the trail, the comforts of Mossman and the Bicentennial Municipal Park and campground were a DISTINCT pleasure  --  the Olympic sized swimming pool which is open 6am to 6 or 7pm to give comfort from the "hanging heat", once the daytime wind stops blowing, a "river outing tour",  campsite right by the Mossman River, tonnes of lively singing lorikeets and MANY other species of birds to watch and listen to, many ripe, fallen mangoes to be eaten, beautiful Mossman Gorge to visit, 4 or 5 pubs at which good, inexpensive "Pub Grub"CREB
          Track can be enjoyed (AS WELL AS the BEER, of course!), and, best of all, a few "days off", to get ready for the next set of high "hills"!  Communication "matters" (email, phonecard, payphone, etc.) were given "fine tuning" here, also!  Emailing done in the comfort of a nice, quiet, air-conditioned Library! 

As Robert rode the track from Cooktown to Mossman, it went in and out of the rainforest.  He said that even the rainforest looked brown, dry and leafless, in places.  It looked as though it was almost dormant.  A lot of creeks are dry -- Baird Creek had only some puddles, but, Osborne Creek actually had flowing water.  Rob crossed the Daintree river in only ankle-high water.  Maybe that was good, as it discouraged crocodiles from being in the immediate area of the river ford!  As yet he has no worries of bush fires.

Photo by Adrian Barber on the CREB Track



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