We had been climbing for two hours and the late morning sun was beginning to burn fiercely. Our filtered water was rapidly disappearing as we attempted to keep our bodies cool. Getting back out of the Snowy river basin was hard work on the hottest and hardest day of the trip. There was little shelter and swims in the river were no longer available to cool our aching bodies as we climbed higher into the alpine landscape.
The Aussie high country is unique and special and I had been meaning to ride the Barry way for a long time. It’s the back road from NSW into the Gippsland, it’s all dirt and feels a bit like the outback, a feeling you don’t often get in Victoria. It would require a fair bit of food and water to get from Jindabyne down to Omeo, I also wanted Sophie to have just a light bikepacking setup given she had not had much riding in her legs recently. This mean’t my bike was pretty solidly loaded as riding over Christmas and Boxing day we were unsure what shops would be open east of the divide.
We had allowed ourselves nine days to get from the train in Wodonga to the train in Bairnsdale. An average of only 70km per day but with 10,000m of climbing we were expecting some long days of low average speeds.
As usual the mid summer temperatures were hot on the continental side of the divide and the rail trail didn’t offer much in the way of shade or respite. The thermometer had climbed past 40c by mid afternoon and we were relieved to find a shaded park to hang out in for a few hours.
Late that afternoon we rode out of town in into the mountains. The old railway continues but due to a few stubborn landowners the rail trail is yet to be completed. I set our sights on a bit of state forest as a place to rest our heads for the evening. By the time reached it we had made 70km in the afternoon under fairly intense heat and we were definitely feeling it.
A Stark contrast the following day saw the temperature half and torrential rain set for the whole day. We opted for a long lunch in Corryong and chatted with many who were very interested in where we were heading. We also decide some indoor accommodation and a pub meal in Khankoban for the night was a good idea.
We had a dry night in Khankoban and headed off into the Snowy mountains NP the following day. The clouds lifted mid morning making for some great riding. We climbed twice over 1100m and camped most of the way up Dead Horse gap so we could knock the climb off early the next morning.
All in all it was a good ride but the mid summer heat wave took its toll on us. 7 days over 30deg C and two days of rain along with the 10,300m of climbing left us feeling pretty tired on our return. Barry put up a good fight but we beat him in the end.