Monday, August 15, 2011

A COOLOOLA CLASSIC

First light on the river.

Even after coming to Cooloola at least once or twice a year since the early nineties this park still impresses me. I love everything about it, the still black water, grasstrees, huge scribbly gums and pure white sand. 

I started this day with the classic paddle/run from Elanda Point to the Cooloola sandpatch and back. This involves a 20km return paddle to Harry's Hut and a 24km return run from Harry's to the sandpatch. Lake Cootharaba was dead flat with not a breath of wind as I paddled  into the darkness, an almost full moon just setting behind me. It was light by the time I made it to the narrows with textbook reflections which I had to resist stopping to photograph constantly. Just as I pulled my boat up onto the bank opposite Harry's the rain belted down for maybe two minutes, long enough to soak me. I felt a little chilled so started the run pretty fast to warm up and before long I was climbing up towards the sandpatch. Although this little climb is low angled, the soft sand makes it feel much harder so I walked it to save my calves for the ride later on.

Looking back towards the lake from near the sandpatch.

I made good time on the mostly flat run back to Harry's and I was soon cruising through the narrows and across the lake, where I passed the only other paddlers I'd seen, finishing up right on 5hr30min.

After a very slow switch to the bike, Danno joined me for a 40ish km ride out through some of the Noosa trail network tracks, eventually finishing up in Noosa. We rode some really nice singletrack (mostly trail 4) as well as some dirt roads and bitumen. I'm keen to get back and explore the trails more in this area, some of which could be linked up with climbs of local peaks.

Looking south from Twin View lookout.

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