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Bikepacking the Waterous Trail – A Revisit

A taste of the single track - Waterous Trail - October 2012

A taste of the single track – Waterous Trail – October 2012

I have been wanting to put my new Tubus Swing front rack on my Giant XTC 2 to the test and also to try out the Extrawheel Voyager behind the XTC 2 so I took the opportunity to revisit the Waterous Trail in October 2012 with rifraf from the Australian Cycling Forums. We completed the trail over two days, overnighting at the Bidjar Ngoulin campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail. In all honesty the Waterous Trail could be completed as a one day ride of about 63 km.

Day One on the Waterous Trail – Lake Navarino to Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail

Waterous Trail October 2012 Rifraf on his Moulton Land Rover

Rifraf on his Moulton Land Rover

As per my first ride of the Waterous Trail we drove down to Lake Navarino (we camped on the banks of the lake, not at the resort) (about two hours from Fremantle) and camped there Monday night in preparation for the ride on Tuesday. There are plenty of good camping spots at Lake Navarino with fire rings and toilets, but no picnic tables or one can opt for a touch more luxury at the resort.

Alcoa encroaches more and more - Waterous Trail October 2012

Alcoa encroaches more and more – Waterous Trail October 2012

Alcoa Conveyor Belt Waterous Trail October 2012

Alcoa Conveyor Belt

On the Tuesday we left Lake Navarino heading in a anti-clockwise direction around the Waterous Trail. Not much has changed since my first ride other than the track being a bit more overgrown, a lot of trees down across the single-track section between Waterous and where the Waterous Trail joins the Munda Biddi Trail and a diversion in place due to Alcoa mining operations. The diversion takes the Trail down Nanga Road a bit before cutting across to join the King Jarrah Form and the Munda Biddi Trail just to the south of the Bidjar Ngoulin campsite.   The Waterous “stop” on the Waterous Trail is still there, providing a toilet albeit one in need of some tender loving care and a picnic table in the middle of nowhere.

Waterous Trail October 2012 A welcome break at Waterous

A welcome break at Waterous

Waterous Trail October 2012 Waiting around at Waterous

Waiting around at Waterous

Waterous Trail October 2012 Singletrack Waterous Trail style

Single track Waterous Trail style

Waterous Trail October 2012 Refueling

Refueling

The only downside with this section, which has some fun single-track is the number of trees down across the Trail meaning one had to stop and portage the bike and trailer. I reckon we did this at least 10 times which really disrupted the flow of the ride and diminished the ride experience. It seems that the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) hasn’t been out for a year or two to check the Trail which is disappointing.

Giant XTC 2 and Extawheel Voyager Waterous Trail October 2012

Giant XTC 2 and Extawheel Voyager log climbing

Yep there is a track there somewhere Waterous Trail October 2012

Yep there is a track there somewhere

Mining infrastructure Waterous Trail October 2012

Mining infrastructure – Part of the Waterous Trail / Munda Biddi Trail diversion

Other than the climb Scarp Road climb (average 14.1 % grade over 900 metres of climb) the ride through to Bidjar Ngoulin campsite is a fairly easy ride, one good for those wishing to get a taste of bikepacking for example.

Total riding for the day was 30 km in a time three hours averaging 9.7 kilometres per hour.

Camping at Bidjar Ngoulin campsite – Munda Biddi Trail

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Creek at Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Up at the tent sites at Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite

Tarptent Scarp 1 at Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Tarptent Scarp 1 at one of the tent sites at Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite

 

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite – Front view with two picnic tables

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite – Looking back towards the water tank

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite – Bicycle repair stand

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite – Repair / storage area

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite sleeping platforms

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite sleeping platforms

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite – One of two picnic tables

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite – View from the loo

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite Waterous Trail October 2012

Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite – View from the loo

Bidjar Ngoulin campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail is one of the nicest campsites and it was good to see it in good condition. Just remember to bring your own loo paper and keep in mind that there is no mobile phone reception here.

Day Two on the Waterous Trail – Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail to Lake Navarino

The next day saw us break camp around 8:30 AM for the leisurely ride through to Nanga Mill and on back to Lake Navarino including passing the Waroona Dam. The riding today is again easy with the first section completing the descent to Nanga Mill camping area and the Murray River.

Waterous Trail October 2012

King Jarrah Form – Waterous Trail and Mundi Biddi Trail

 

It then toughens up for a moment for the lovely climb up Nanga Road (average 7.2% grade over 1.8 km with a nice dose of pea gravel to ensure the back wheel spins sweetly :)). Much to my frustration I had to walk the last 50 metres failing short of my objective of riding the hill. Still it is an improvement on my last effort which had me walking 250 metres.

From the top of the Nanga Road hill the Waterous Trail drops out on to the bitumen for a fair bit before again becoming single-track for the last dash to the dam. During this section I had my only fall for the ride, just catching the sight of a blue sign on a bit of single track off to the right which I tried to catch; of course the front slide out in the pea gravel. No damage to me or the bike thankfully. From here we came to a three cornered intersection sans a trail marker and I made the wrong call going left when we should have gone right. Not a big issue but it added about 1.5 kilometres to the ride. Something to watch for in case DEC don’t sort it.

From Waroona Dam the reminder of the ride is back on the bitumen.

Overall once the Nanga Road climb is over the Waterous Trail really looses it appeal along this section. In hindsight I think riding it clockwise might be more fun. Something for next time. That said, the section from Bidjar Ngoulin campsite to Nanga Mill campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail is differently a nice bit of muddy clay “road” to play on … time to hammer it here :)

Total riding for the day was 34 km in a time of four hours averaging 11.6 kilometres per hour. Overall we rode 64 kilometres in seven hours.

Your Turn To Talk About the Waterous Trail

I hope you found this ride report of the Waterous Trail a good read. Please do share your thoughts on Waterous Trail or this section of the Munda Biddi Trail with the rest of us by leaving a comment below :) How have you found the Waterous Trail? Have questions about riding this Trail? Leave a comment below.

6 Responses to Bikepacking the Waterous Trail – A Revisit

  1. Marty October 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM #

    I used to think that the Waterous Trail was named because it went through a wet area but a bit of research found that it was named after the Waterous Mill which was so called because it was powered by a Waterous Steam Engine, which was possibly made in Canada. Waterous was the name of the company. I also discovered recently that my mothers great uncles owned the Wood Brothers Engineering company which made steam engines in Sowerby Bridge, England. The company closed when the last brother died during the first world war. My mothers uncle got special leave from the military to wind up the company.

    • Aushiker October 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM #

      Thanks Marty. I never knew that. It is good to get some background history to the Waterous Trail.

  2. Marty October 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM #

    About a kilometre north of Hoffman Road the Waterous Loop goes past a grove of giant ferns. They have a prehistoric look, and you half expect a dinosaur to creep out from amongst them.

  3. Marty October 20, 2012 at 11:23 AM #

    I forgot to add that the Waterous Trail and the location of the giant ferns are on the OSM map.

  4. Jonathan October 21, 2012 at 11:10 PM #

    Good to know I’m not the only person using the Waterous trail, I’ve ridden it three times and met about 5 other cyclists in total. The singletrack section in the southernmost part can be a lot of fun when there are less trees down. I recommend riding it clockwise.

    • Aushiker October 22, 2012 at 7:22 PM #

      It does look a little un-ridden doesn’t it. With hindsight we should have ridden it clockwise as you suggest. Well there is always a next time :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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