With just over 350 km of riding for the week and two races under my belt so far, my tummy is starting to get hungry again. Today's venture was out to Humevale via Plenty Valley. The first part of the ride is situated in the suburbs of melbourne, but by about 15 km out, the population density decreased and the cattle dotted the landscape. It was nice to get out of the city. It was also a reminder of how serious fires are in heavily forested areas and that a careless toss of a cigarette butt can do massive destruction. In 2009 a bush fire desecrated the area. I was expecting a burn similar to what I have seen in Washington and California - one with what were once trees now matchsticks - but it was completely different than that. This fire wiped out all of the leaves, leaving the trees still standing and very much alive and growing. I had to take off my glasses to really see the impact at the top of the ridge. It looked like burnt kale.
But you could smell it, underneath the distinct smell of a eucalyptus trees. A faint scent, even though the forest and already begun the process of recovery. Almost like smelling a sweatshirt you wore to bonfire that no matter how many times you wash it, the musty fire smell is still there. That fire killed over 170 people, destroying houses and anything that stood in its way. It leapt from tree to tree, barreling down acre after acre of bush.
Instead of watch for deer signs, here there are signs for kangaroos and wallabies. As I zoomed back down the ridge, I hoped to see some wildlife but to no avail. Even when we went to a park in Dunboora, the Roos were hard to spot. They still provided some laughs though - tripoding with their massive tails, rabbit like hind legs and t-Rex upper arms (mainly used for scratching their bellies). As one mother scurried off, I caught glimpse of her joey tucked safely in her pouch.
Only a few days left in this cool part of the world. Big shout out to monique, Ewin and Amelie who are letting me stay at their house. It's so relaxing and fun to catch up with them. And it's been awesome to get to know the area by my favorite mode: biking. I love disconnecting from routine and seeing the world through a different lens.