To circle Mount Tuggeranong, that was the goal. I’d managed half way two days previous and it seemed feasible according to maps on the internet and the one I’d garnered from the tourist office. Framed by a gorgeous autumn day I pedalled up the pinch to gain the main trail and turned left onto the dirt road that circled the hill, maintained, one suspects, in case of fire.
Soon I was at an intersection where there’s an electrical sub-station. Hitherto, I’d gone to the right, today I opted for the left and found myself on a moderate slope above the suburb of Theodore but, it was merely the precursor to the next two climbs that necessitated finding granny gear and puffing my way skyward.
Traffic noise was foremost now. I’d stumbled on the Monaro Highway just the other side of the barbed wire fence that defined the reserve. Then the dirt road I was on, such as it was, petered out and became a wide, rocky, walking track peppered with jagged edged rocks. Not good for traction.
Cresting the climb I’d reached a point where a narrow trail led off at right angles to a rounded grassy peak, devoid of any significant vegetation. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to ride the whole way was but a momentary deterrent. Half way up I dismounted in a distinctly ungainly manner, losing traction and control on a conglomeration of large pebbles. It was getting ugly so I started walking and eventually summited.
Though the hill I’d sought to climb appears to be nameless, it’s part of the Rob Roy Range; a series of rolling hills to the south of the A.C.T. The view from the top was extensive, genuine 360 degrees. The overall layout of Canberra alternated between shade and sun as the big cotton balls of cumulus moved ever so slowly across the sky.
That others had been before was highlighted by the crude but effective seat that featured a wooden plank inserted into a prominent rock. Just the place to relax and wallow in the view with glimpses of autumn in the flashes of leafy deciduous colour throughout the distant suburbs. Layers of mountain ranges rode the distant horizon in various shades of dull blue.
Somehow you feel like you’re in another world as rolling over the bald hill the cooling breeze caresses your cheeks and your mind drifts this way and that as your eyes absorb the vista before you. Varied thoughts cross your mind as you wander into nothingness and it’s so relaxing.
Eventually I moved, regained the bike and gingerly, with much trepidation, started the crumbling descent and made the main trail before an ill-advised gear shift caused me to stop. I worked on the chain to retrieve the situation, overseen by a mob of eastern greys who gazed quizzically from the ridge above.
In gear again, I decided that might do me for the day, Lake Tuggeranong could wait till tomorrow. Still, I’d had some serious exercise.