From sunlight to moonlight on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

Moonbeams on my shoulder. The crunch of gravel. Insects flicker in my headlight; a cone of light surrounded by black. Long grasses border the trail. They stand and sway like wayward sentinels, still drunk on the day’s heat. I know how they feel.

The night air is a kind reprieve. The sky sprinkled with a million stars. A gentle breeze drifts over dry paddocks. Occasionally, the dust is punctuated by the sweet scent of gum trees, warmed and resting.

I’m exhausted but in some strange way buoyed as well.

The evening sky began with a near full moon hole-punched into a mauve canvas. Trees became silhouettes. The afterglow of sunset left us tinted in yellow, orange and lilac. And relief. The close of the day meant the close of the heat.

We’d left Esk on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail at 3.30pm. The temperature was 33 degrees Celsius and would stay in the thirties until just before sunset at 6.11pm. Our destination was the Somerset Regional Art Gallery at Toogooloowah, about 20km away.

The gallery is known as The Condensery owing to its former life as a condensed milk factory packing shed.  Inspired by this history, The Bubble Bridge, was built to carry rail trailers across Cressbrook Creek and into Toogoolawah. The former bridge was destroyed in the severe floods engulfing this area in 2013.

Arriving at The Condensery, we enjoyed a sunset spread of cakes and canapés. Seventy riders turned up for the event organised by the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Association. Fed, watered and dosed with local hospitality, we returned by moonlight to Esk.

I shared the ride with Jane, Noel and Jen Cooper. No-one keen to race, we four rode slowly. Perhaps we were the last to arrive at Toogoolowah, and among the last to finish back at Esk. But we made it!

This was my second visit to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. Last time, I had to deal with cold temperatures and found myself facing some unexpected hazards… and childhood fears. This time it was the heat of the day and the occasional swallowing of swarming insects that buzzed in the warm night air.

20170311 IMG_8823 wheel and shadow20170311 IMG_8851 paddocks GR20170311 IMG_8813 rocky trail20170311 IMG_8821 3 of us20170311 IMG_8850 railway bridge BnW20170311 IMG_8824 trail JE

20170311 IMG_8854 bubble bridge

Arriving at Toogoolawah by The Bubble Bridge.

20170311 IMG_8804 gallery

Arriving at the Somerset Regional Gallery for sunset cakes and canapés.

20170311 IMG_8802 sunset

Sunset and it’s time to return to Esk.

20170311 IMG_8801 group

Jane, Jen, Noel and I: ready for the moonlight ride back to Esk.

20170311 IMG_3609 moonlight

A near full moon hole-punched into a mauve canvas.

20170311 IMG_8797 trail in dark

The view from my handlebars!


14 Comments on “From sunlight to moonlight on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

  1. Hi Gail Have read your blog and followed your ride enjoying the good photos Quite a rough track and in the heat Well done all And thank you for sharing Love Kirsten xxx

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kirsten, glad you enjoyed coming along for the ride 🙂 It was certainly a challenging ride with the heat but so very pleasant in the moonlight. xx Gail.


  2. Hello Gail You’ve nailed it, that’s just how it was 🙂 Love the photos. It was great to share the ride with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s great to know Jen, thanks! I had my senses on overload soaking up the night and swallowing a few insects along the way 😀 I’m really happy we could share the ride together.


  3. Sounds marvelous!
    There’s plenty to gain from taking it slow, enjoying the ride, the space you’re in, and the company of the people you’re with.
    Life isn’t just a race from go to woe. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Margaret, This event was a novel idea and great to share with friends. Fortunately, it took place before ex-cyclone Debbie came through (and also before I caught that horrid cold). I read that the trail suffered some damage from the heavy rains. Mainly fallen trees I believe.


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