After reading that the Stanhope section of the Girgarre-Stanhope rail trail was almost ready for its official opening, I decided to try it out on an early morning walk.
My last visit here was a year ago on a ride with Chris, just after I bought my e-bike. What a disaster! The track was full of bindii and while my tyres were brand new and puncture proof, Chris ended up having to do multiple repairs. I picked about 50 prickles out of my tyres when we got home, while Chris was still finding holes in his.
Mala and I set off around 7am to beat the heat. This part of the trail has virtually no tree cover. A grant has enabled two new bridges to be completed. And there are new plantings along about half of the section from Mason Road to Stanhope. It will be years, of course, before these provide any shade or barrier from the road.
While the track surface is in pretty good condition, there are still a lot of bindiis. We were walking and didn’t get any in our feet, but they are growing thickly on either side of the track, particularly in a section extending about 500m south of Morrissey Road. And there were a few small patches in the middle of the track.
Flies were a bigger problem – no surprises there, being in the middle of dairy farming district. I must remember to take a fly net to wear over my hat next time.
At 3.3 km, this section is longer than the Girgarre section (under 2 km).