The Old Ghost Road. Gear to make the most of it:
For those not in the know, it’s an 85km trail on the west coast that may be mountain biked or walked. For those in the know, it’s 85km of awesomeness. There are enough blogs out there that cover the details of the trail, the huts, the highs, and the lows. And even better blogs filled with images of far higher quality than what I’m capable of producing when using my phone in the wet. So instead, the focus of this blog will be on the gear I packed and why.
The trail starts in Lyell. A once thriving gold town, all that is left is a campsite, cemetery and many many sandflies. If you forgot to pack the bug repellent, then you’ll be reminded of it almost immediately after arriving. And then again, each time you stop until you make it onto the ridgeline. I went for a mini-spray because of its weight and size.
Regardless of the time of year, you’ll need a decent waterproof. I packed an old biking jacket which was definitely not decent. Which was a shame as on the second day it chucked it down and within minutes I was soaked. I’d suggest either reproofing old faithful or investing in something a bit more trustworthy.
Or treat yourself to a new Montane Gortex lightweight jacket...
Because I was riding in summer, and because I was on the west coast, and because I didn’t have a great deal of faith in my waterproof jacket, I wanted to ride in something that would be comfortable in the heat but would keep me warm in the wet. I ended up packing two Primino 140 baselayers, one for each day. With the bonus that I could wear the clean one around the hut and sleep in it before setting off on the second day. This kept the weight down and morale up when the rains came.
(Note: We think that Ian could have just used the one Primino, and not taken two… they don’t smell even after a hard day riding in the rain!)
Have I mentioned that it rains a lot on the west coast? I packed most of my stuff into a standard rucksack strapped to my back. It wasn’t waterproof, so I lined the inside of the pack with a drybag. A simple but effective way to keep the precious cargo watertight.
What to eat once arriving at the hut is very much a personal choice, and there’s plenty of options out there. However, when out on the trail there is a need to strike a balance between sugar, carbs, and taste so you’re not living off lollies, gels or pasta the entire time. Having experimented with various trail snacks, I’ve found that the Em’s range ticks many of the boxes. A personal favorite is the Sports Cookie and Power Bites.
I hope that this helps your trip be a wee bit more comfortable than mine! But despite the sandflies and dodgy jacket, the trip was awesome… and in 10 years when I am telling my kids about it, that is likely the part I will remember the most!
Written by Ian Middleton, Further Faster ambassador and general all-round good guy.