Lithgow to Mittagong - Day 1
Lithgow to Mittagong Day 3 - Tuglow River Campground to Mittagong, 130kms.

Lithgow to Mittagong Day 2 - Lake Lyell to Tuglow River Campground, 73kms.

It hadn't been a great night in my new tent, with new sleep mat and new sleeping bag. There was a lot of nylon against nylon and as I hadn't pitched my tent level, I found myself pressing against one side and the end of the tent. There was a lot of condensation inside the tent, and a lot of dew outside. So I was generally damp, and not really ready for a long day.

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I tried wiping my tent and shaking the flysheet, but everything was so damp that I ended up waiting for the sun to rise and dry things off. I eventually got started just after 9am.

My journey today was almost all on sealed roads. There was about 3 kms of gravel just after the camp ground. I had fitted Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres to my 700c wheels. They are 1.75" or 47mm and about the widest tyres I could find for a 700c wheel. I had already purchased some Mondial Marathon 35c tyres for these wheels, but felt they were not wide enough. Today I was feeling that I could have been on 28mm tyres. 

I reached Jenolan Caves by about 12:30pm, lunch time. I took the opportunity to have a sit-down meal in the 'bistro' there. It was a nice hearty meal for a mere $12.50. Then before I set off up the long and winding road to the summit, and onto the Great Dividing Range, I decided to see whether I could stay at the Jenolan Cabins, which were about 11kms away, but probably a hour of cycling as the hill was rather steep.

I got a voicemail response, and left a message. Then I had a call back and the owner of the cabins said she would be away for about two hours as she had to meet someone at Mount Victoria. She said I could stay and wait outside the cabins. 

I headed up the hill, and even though it was long (4.3kms) and steep (average of 12%), I made it up and was feeling quite fresh. So I arrived at Jenolan Cabins within an hour at around 2:30pm, and decided that I'd rather get at least another hour of my journey out of the way than spend $125 on a dry room for the night. I kept cycling.

The Great Dividing Range

Gradually the sealed roads turned to flat gravel and then corrugated gravel and hard packed mud, then finally just old tracks in the state forest. I did not know where to camp on my route, but had Guidebook 10 from the Bicentennial National Trail and knew that there was a campground along the Tuglow river. Fortunately, I had digital topographic maps on my smartphone and had previously marked the exact location of the camp ground. So I cycled away from the conventional route and into the state forest (Vulcan or Gurnang - I'm not certain which). 

I reached the spot where my phone said the campsite should be, and it was just a small wood (copse) next to a stream. I could see animals had been corralled here, so assumed it was the right place and pitched my tent.  I was careful this time to find a flat spot. I decided not to cook a meal, but to just have a cup-a-soup and a cup of tea. I'd eaten a few hours earlier and it was getting dark rapidly, and cooling considerably. I was at about 1,05om and once the sun had gone it got dark and very cold quickly.

By 5:30pm I was snugly wrapped in my down sleeping bag and inside my tent. I listened to my iPod for about 20 minutes, before the battery ran too low. I had a general shortage of battery reserve on my phone and Garmin Edge 500 cycle computer. So decided to conserve energy and just sleep. The phone and Garmin were more than just lifestyle toys on this journey; I had the whole course saved on the Garmin, so that would get me to Mittagong Station, and I had my digitised topographic maps on the phone which also had GPS and a compass. I would need that to find my way back to the route saved on the Garmin.

The night was uneventful for the most part, but for somewhere in the middle of nowhere, it was surprisingly noisy. If I did not know otherwise, I would swear that I was surrounded by grazing livestock. Many of the native animals are nocturnal. I had already seen a few wombat holes, and unfortunately several wombat carcasses at the roadside, so I knew they were around.  My previous evening was punctuated with the sounds of ducks foraging for food all around my tent and inside my flysheet. Tonight was just as noisy. But I knew (and hoped) that the animals were harmless and did not consider me a threat.

  Lithgow to Mittagong Day 3

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