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.