Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wharfedale Hut return trip

I decided I needed to ride after the Christmas excess and having no takers to a  ride decided to head to the Wharfedale on my own.  It was a nice warm afternoon but the wind was threatening when I got to the View Hill carpark.  I big group of walkers were sitting around when I was getting ready and they had been up Mt Oxford but had a hour or 2 to wait to get picked up.  I took off up the trail going too fast to start realising that I wouldn't last long like that.  I passed a few more walkers which were the last I would see on the whole ride. The trail was nice and dry and clear mostly and progress was faster than usual without having to stop to clear trees off the track as per usual. Most of the trail has been tidied up where trees have fallen or slips have taken out the trail.  I made nice steady progress up until the last of the gorge creek crossings (the one with the steepest, longest climb out) where the track has been widened just before the hairpin that leads down into the creek itself.  I tried to ride the corner as usual but the loose material from widening the track is all on the lower part of the corner creating a slick soft grip free zone which sent me out over the bank towards the stream bed.  Luckily there was a small tree close enough to grab and it held my weight.  I managed to extract myself and walk down to the stream where I had a break a feed and a dip of the head in the cool water.  Refreshed somewhat I walked up the rock strewn climb out and up the the less steep part before heading up the last section towards the saddle.  I was expenting/hoping the switchback near the top would have been tidied up to clear the water and puddles but it is still about the same, although the dryness made it much easier to negoitiate.  I cleared it up the the second switchback where I lost balance on the steep pinch out of the corner.  The last swampy bit right at the top was almost dry so no muck to deal with for a change.  Quick break at the top and then the decent to the Wharfedale hut.  I started pretty slowly with some of the old trick sections being washed out, 1 requiring a walk over a 150mm ledge after a slip had removed the track.  After these the newly cleaned up track begins and the flow increases.  The copius water bars making for tiring decending as you had to pop them to avoid slowing down too much or even launching off the track at speed.  I got down pretty quickly, splashed through the river, pushed up the half washed out steep section then bounced down the other side to the empty hut. Again I was hoping this section might have been fixed up a little, although it is good to have some technical challenges along the way.  Another short break, feed and visit to the river and I turned around and headed back up.  Grinding at a steady pace I was surprised to be at the saddle again only 45mins after leaving.  I was expecting an hour or more.  The ride from the saddle back to view hill having the usual grunty climbs to contend with and long flowy sections but no major dramas.  I got back with time to spare before the sun dissapeared.  Total ride time of 3 hours 15 minutes.

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