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Day Sixty Three: Sandpatch to Albany!

Our final leg of this incredible journey. 12.5kms into Albany to the Southern Terminus sign. My mind was too active for sleep & spent the night rolling from left side to right side on my noisy sleeping pad. It was warm, the outside seem quiet besides a gentle breeze making the outer tent flap on my side blow inwards & outwards. Ambles at one point said he could hear something outside. But it was only the tent flap. Certainly by 4.30am the breeze was getting stronger, Ambles said, “uh-oh, there’s dark clouds coming!” But he had nothing to fear, besides a strong breeze, we had a perfect morning weather wise. Truly blessed. There were clouds rolling through & that was all. The winds had a chill to them. We had a quick breakfast & went up to the lookout top to brush our teeth & watch the sun rise. So lucky it wasn’t overcast & drizzling rain like yesterday morning! We had to fight the winds to pack up the tent being the only drama. By the time 6.30am rolled by, we had backpacks on for the final time. Mine felt super light, we had eaten most of the food. So as we started this journey together just the two of us, it was fitting we finish together, just the two of us. Everyone we had met had already finished in Albany or not on the track anymore. It was just us two still walking. Ambles quickly forgot about doing his daily push-ups to build his upper body. Not good enough! I think he was just too excited to get this other with!

 

 

 

We left the barren campsite behind & made our way onwards through some more sand hills, one last lookout to the ocean before we turn inwards & towards the outskirts of Albany. I spot one more snake just at the last minute it slithers away from my pole & boot & into the bush. Jolly early, I didn’t realise snakes would be active so early but now I do! Ambles pulls in front at times & I keep reminding him we must walk together the whole way today! Once we turn into Frenchman’s Bay, it’s bitumen footpath for awhile. Our feet don’t like this. Rubbish goes into the first bin we see.😆 Soon enough we turn onto more pleasant dirt track still skirting the waters edge before doing those silly Bibbulmun track round the mulberry bush, go left go right go around but oh – you could have just gone straight ahead!😏 It is feeling warm, the sun is out for the first time in awhile. It’s a Sunday so not many people are around. As we near the end back on street sidewalks, one cycling couple go pass us & say, “You are almost there!” So does a lady outside a cottage. The track goes pass a museum & a beautiful boat on display called the Amity.  For the track to end there would be perfect. But we must continue along, cross the railway line & the main street where I pick out my parents & Kerry waiting for us! My mum plays my favourite ‘Giant’ song on her mobile phone as we finish our final steps to the southern terminus sign. It’s 9.30am. Job done! Almost! Mandatory photos at the sign then walk back & up the main street to the Visitor Centre. Along the way up we spot the familiar figures of Deb & Mel walking towards us. We greet, congratulate & hug each other. We will catch up later for a drink with them as we continue our way to the centre. Here I fill in the trail logs book as arrived & we ring the finishing bell together, I make sure my faithful little Galicia bell has its final ring too! Ambles next important port of call is to the pub across the road where we all have a drink even though it’s only after 10am!

 

 

We have eaten & drank well, showered ourselves clean & back in normal non hiking clothes. I’ve been so use to wearing the same clothes for 9 weeks. We have our congratulatory drinks with Deb & Mel late in the afternoon with a promise to catch up in Perth before they fly home. We only stay the night in Albany & pig out one last time – Razzlers steakhouse is highly recommended! Home with our funky smell-o backpacks early Monday morning. It will take some readjusting from living a simple life, out of a backpack for so long. I already miss the trail & can’t wait to go back & hike my favourite parts. Guess it will have to wait until Autumn next year. Without our trail angels, we would have survived yes but would not have been the same. Without my parents providing food drops in between sections means I would have had to carry up to 7 days of food for us both. And we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of catching up with them. They also were our back bone of support for all Ambles malfunctioning equipment, emergency aid. Thank you so much to my parents as they were amazing, a support we were so appreciative of. A huge thank you to amazing Kerry for helping with our food drops as well! It was always great, I was always excited to meet up with Kerry in our next trail town with our resupply box. And the surprise visit further down! To John & Kate that surprised us with their company in our first trail town of Dwellingup! For helping Ambles ‘stash’ some of his gear further up the track!😆 And Tim & Jules the joy of seeing you two walk into our camp unexpectedly especially after our long hard day slogging in the dunes! Those beers & your company truly a god send. And your hospitality feeding & transporting us to Parry’s & back to trail. Was a memorable night camping with you both at Parry’s. And the drinks & meal shared in Denmark. All our trail angels gave up their own time to meet & help us, it was awesome sharing our journey with you all!😁🤩 My biggest thank you to my partner in crime Ambles, you have been my rock & supportive all the way! 🥰

 

 

To everyone we met on the track, we will always remember meeting you all, if just one or two nights, or a week or more. Meeting other hikers is what makes the journey even more special. Daisyfish, Kirsty & Gijs, Veronique, Emu, Jeremy, Dave & Jayn, Wayne, Tristan (H), Simone, Deb & Mel, Lisa & Geoff, John & Lindsay, Sarah the author, Drew & Ray. The Essendon Bushwalking Club of Four, Birdman!

 

 

My list of good & not so good: Best Shelter for views: It’s a tie with Rame Head & Blackwood. Worst shelter: Yabberup (too dark & gloomy) Uneasy night Shelter: Yourdamung, Shelter on track with best swimming hole: Dog Pool! Best design Shelter: Frankland River, The only ‘hut’: Mt Wells, Worst rodent shelter: Tom Road, Shelter with the worst inside table: Grimwade, Shelter with the worst toilet: Woolbales, Shelter with the worst water tank tap: West Cape Howe, The most tidy & immaculate shelter: Long Point, best toilet amenities: all the new rammed earth king sized toilet rooms! Best single day walk: Woolbales to Long Point hands down for wildflowers, orchids & landscape varieties from granite rocks to forests to sand dunes & beaches! Worst single day walk: William Bay Road to Denmark, was the longest day walking, body tired feet really hurting especially on Mount Hallowell. Best section: Hmmmmmmm. Walpole to Peaceful Bay. Worst section: Peaceful Bay to Denmark. Three really hard days in soft sand horrid up n down dunes… Favourite town: Balingup hands down, so friendly & welcoming to hikers.😊Raelean Bailey I loved meeting you finally! Worst encounters on track: huge swamp puddles to wade through!!!

 

 

What’s more we had NO diversions the whole way! The best of the weather. We chose the right year & best time to go! Ambles made sure we had at least one cup of red wine each night on the track, sometimes 2 or whiskey as well! The track tested us physically, mentally & tested our relationship. We planned, organised & executed this dream! My dehydrated meals & food planning were on par, we ate very well on the track! I couldn’t be prouder of us both!🥰 Final Snake sightings: Ambles 5, Rose 6.5 Ambles insists to be called Mr D again & not Ambles! We thank the Bibbulmun Track Foundation & all the volunteers that maintain this track, they do an amazing job! We are forever grateful to have this track on our doorstep & free! So lucky are we! Next year we have lined up the Camino Portuguese coastal route & Overland Track in Tasmania. Stay tuned for future blogs😆😁.

 

 

 

 

 

Day Sixty Two: Mutton Bird to Sandpatch

26/10: Sleep eluded me for awhile. Ambles had an eventful trip to the toilet sometime in the early morning. Could not be a simple trip to the loo. It had started to drizzle when he went & while he was sitting in the toilet doing a big job, a gang of mozzies started biting him on any exposed piece of skin they found. Then his head torch battery indicated it was about to go completely flat with several warning flashes. He is slapping at the mozzies & as his light flashes he catches a glimpse of a big black spider coming out of nowhere catching a mozzie & eating it. Ambles was like, ‘I’m out of here!’ With his head torch flat now, he stumbles back in the dark & now the rain which was more than a drizzle, back to the shelter. I didn’t get up at all until after 5am. The sky is overcast but as morning wakes up, some blue skies start peeking through. Very briefly, then an annoying constant drizzle of rain starts & seems to have set in for the morning. Ambles fetches water from the tank & gets a spider come out of the tap into his bowl! He must be having an insect kind of day.😊

 

 

I lay cosy in my sleeping bag with my first cuppa until 6am. Then I get up with my second cuppa & start packing my stuff up. Before porridge, Deb & Ambles do their push up challenge. Ambles goes first & does 24 push-ups, not full ones the cheat! Deb does 25 – take that! But she pulls skin off her knuckles this time & decides she better not do any more. Ambles returns for another 24 push-ups, knees dropping, struggling with the effort. The trees close by the shelter become full of white tailed cockatoos, chattering away to each other, flying back & forth, the branches sagging under their weight. White tailed Cockatoos have a pleasant melodic call, unlike the screeching raucous that the red tailed cockatoos make.

 

 

We had all packed up & watching the rain, where did this weather come from?! Our weather apps mention no rain, cloudy with top of 20 degrees. We hang back procrastinating to go. The next campsite has no shelter as Sandpatch shelter was burnt down in May last year from a controlled burn that got out of control. Deb & Mel were even considering staying two nights here & walking 24kms to Albany tomorrow. We watched the cheeky magpie lark return & scavenge for any food scraps. By 8.30am, the rain was slowing down & a hint of blue sky could be seen. The rain stopped so we quickly packed & left camp leaving our northbound hiker whom his name is Tony we found out, behind. A lazy 12 kilometres to the next & last camp. It was humid to start with & flies buzzing about my face. We hadn’t gone a kilometre when we could see rain over the ocean coming in again. Before long our umbrellas come out as we walk along in the rain some good kilometres before it stops for the last time. Views are limited through the rain haze. It is what it is. We pass alongside the Albany wind farm, lots of wind turbines turning & turning. If they make a noise it must be a low hum as I hear the waves crashing louder in my ears than the turbines. The first wind turbine is broken & doesn’t move as if to say to the others, ‘Stuff Y’all I aren’t gonna work no way! Can’t make me!’ Another wind turbine further along has a missing head. The rain lifts & the views return as we walk into Sandpatch. Two men are getting ready for some hang gliding & Ambles stops to talk to them & explain what we are doing out there. Then we join tourists on the boardwalk around to Sandpatch beach, one tourist couple are brave to ask the stinky funky smelling hikers that is us to take their photo. I’m all obliging. Another hiker comes up behind us. A man whom carries a big pack & maybe he is a thur hiker as well. He must be triple hutting into Albany & came from Torbay I guess. He grunts a hello but doesn’t stop to chat. A man on a mission! We spot Mel sitting on a bench, she is waiting for Deb to return whom has gone down to check out the beach. They both set off to check out Sandpatch campsite & decide what they want to do. It’s midday as I go check out a lookout first, the guide book highly recommends it. So Ambles hangs around on the bench Mel was sitting at & I go check it out. It’s well worth it, with views over the whole wind farm & at the higher lookout, views over to Albany! The end goal is in sight! Now only 14kms away😁. I’m ecstatic as I head back down passing toilets & bins. Hence I head back up a second time to empty my rubbish bag!

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It’s an easy 2.6kms now to camp, entering the area that is rejuvenating after the May 2018 bushfire. And there’s so much flowers, a rainbow of colours & green bushes amongst the blackened trees. So we arrive a little after 1pm to a construction site where the foundation of a new shelter is being started. There’s a water tank & drop toilet. No trail log book to write in. No red book to read peoples comments & stories. The tent sites haven’t been maintained & have bushes growing all over them, unlevel ground & chunks of rock stuck in the ground. How they were ever tent sites I don’t know!😕We find the best one under the shade of a tree. It’s the only shelter we can find. Bit of a slope but it will do. There’s a lookout at top to watch the sunrise & sunset over the ocean. Unfortunately the ground up there is not good for a tent either. Mel hates the site, the whole place & Deb has called their accommodation place in Albany & booked tonight as well. They will continue on into Albany today.☹️We all sit on the ground & have lunch. Deb had a speech prepared as her farewell to us, she read out her speech which was lovely & touching. They really enjoyed sharing their journey with us. So Ambles did an impromptu speech. Just after 2pm, Deb & Mel walked back out to the track. And now for the second time on this trip, we will have the campsite to ourselves! I can see no one stays here. I’m sad to see Deb & Mel go, but will enjoy my last night on the track. We have some hard work preparing the ground & putting up our tent. It is harder without a picnic table, sitting on rocks on the ground preparing meals & cuppa teas. Almost like roughing it but we still have a water tank & toilet close by! The afternoon has warmed up, hopefully the rain now stays away!

 

 

We prepare dinner early so we can eat, clean up & be ready for bed. Then we can watch the last sunset before crawling into bed. Take our remaining vino up here & admire the glorious views. ☺️ Can hear the wind turbines now whirling loudly, sound right behind us but they are to the west of us so their sounds must be echoing through the valleys. I can hardly believe this is the final night! What a whirlwind of an adventure it has been!🤪

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Day Sixty One: Torbay to Mutton Bird

25/10: Ahhhhh…..tick tock, tick tock, it sounded like a loud ticking clock next to my head. After awhile I realised it was just the sound of dripping water on the outside of the shelter wall dripping from the roof to the ground. Went on all night. Rained a small amount too a couple of times. The winds had finally died down. Had to get up to relieve myself & looked up at the night sky on the way back from the toilet. It was a clear night & the sky was covered with impressive stars. Woke up after 5am stretching out leisurely in bed. No need to rush, an easy 12.4kms today. We originally were going to do 24kms but changed our plan as the sands were tougher to walk in & take us much longer. But they are easy this side of Denmark than the other side, much easier! Anyway, nice to enjoy our final last days on track instead of rushing it. Ambles had another wacky idea – instead of camping at Sandpatch tomorrow, walk into the outskirts of Albany & stay at a hotel on the track – this idea got quickly shot down in a ball of flames. Ambles is out numbered by three women to one man😂. I wonder if we will get any more End to Enders that started later than us, catching up at this end? Many people double hut through to Albany from Denmark. Ambles & Deb did their early morning push ups again while preparing breakfast cuppa. We did a real lazy pack up leaving camp after 7.45am, I was ready by 7.15am so sat & passed time watching the male & female wren birds chase each other through the foliage while waiting for Ambles to be ready.

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the walk today is on beach & the sand is firm enough making it easy to walk along. We had a short 2.7km walk out to Cosy Corner Beach where we start, finishing at Mutton Bird Beach. There is used / unused toilet paper heaps of it just dumped into the bushes on the side of the track. Reminds us of the Camino, 😆😆but very bad to leave that there when there is bins only a kilometre away! Somewhere in between there is Perkins Beach but there is no sign on the beach so unfortunately can not know when we were walking on a beach named after us!😂 Deb & Mel left earlier than us & scored a free car ride to the Cosy Corner Cafe which was up Cosy Corner Road some couple of kilometres. Shame it wasn’t closer at the beach, we didn’t feel like some 1.5 hours return walk for coffee. The only other person on the beach was a man & his dog. The weather was good, somewhat cloudy & cool, making good walking weather. Halfway along we have to scramble over rocks to the other side while the waves pound into the rocks, sea water spraying in the air. I really enjoyed this bit. Ambles was feeling tired & lacklustre of energy for beach walking. This is our last beach walk so I really enjoyed it, watching the birds, the waves, not much else to watch, no strange objects washed up on the beach, no dolphins, no bluebottle that Guthook says there is. This is where I guess Perkins Beach is – east or west side of Torbay Inlet.

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Torbay Inlet is closed again after being manually opened recently in the last week. Lucky we didn’t arrive earlier October, we would have to wade across ankle to knee deep water or take a 15 kilometre diversion around. Phew! Wading required only through 1cm of water sloshing across the sandbar from the ocean! A man with 5 dogs walked pass. Then it was less than 2 kilometres to the Mutton Bird Beach, back up some steps passing another guy & his dog. Seems to be man & his dog/s day today.😊The last few kilometres are easy back along the inside dune vegetation passing the rifle shooting range where Ambles thought about going in to have a shoot….then decided not to.😁It was very convenient today to have toilets to use & bins to chuck my rubbish into! We arrived at Mutton Bird Campsite shy of midday. Nestled in out of the wind but not having ocean views to look at. Some lazy person had dumped all their rubbish in the bucket beside the toilet. Poor form😡. The platforms in this shelter are narrower so our tent has to sit a different way inside. Deb & Mel came in at 12.30pm & told us about their awesome second breakfast they had at the cafe & had bought us a slice of cake to share between us which was very nice of them!

 

 

 

 

The sun has come out this afternoon & so have the trillions of annoying flies. There is a cheeky magpie lark that was wandering about outside camp looking for food, thought Mel’s Luci light might have been edible & knocked it off the post Mel had it on. Must be careful not to leave food out! A young man came through at 1pm having walked in from Albany this morning! Young & fast, he finished his end to end a month ago & was walking on this afternoon to Torbay or West Cape Howe. Just doing a section as he enjoys it so much.

 

 

 

 

 

The best thing way to pass the afternoon is hide in our tents from the flies & mozzies. Ambles has a Nana nap & all is quiet but for the buzzing of flies, the unseen ocean waves, crickets, the winds through the trees & the periodic crunching of sleeping mats as someone moves position. Very civilised!😊 perhaps we were all deep in thought about each of our own journey to this point. What it all meant & memories made. What will happen when we return to our homes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late afternoon sees another hiker join us. He has left Albany also today & section hiking to Denmark. Feeling not part of our group, the man sets up his tent outside. But joins us later while we have dinner. Ambles & Deb challenge each other with push ups again. Deb beating Ambles again 25 to Ambles 24 – close! Might be set match tomorrow! Our second last night on the track – exciting & sad at the same time!😊 Our last night in a shelter. I went searching for a good sunset, went back out on the track & found an old slightly overgrown goat track leading me out to the cliff edge about 200 metres where I soaked in my second last sunset out here watching the waves crashing far below, the sun setting on the horizon to the west & the wind farm to the east. Well worth the effort, I felt on top of the world. All this for free so to speak. Yes! It’s good to be me!😁

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Day Sixty: West Cape Howe to Torbay

24/10: It got wild & stormy last night. Lightening came close by the shelter then a huge CRACK, BOOM! Of thunder almost upon us it was so loud, woke us all. Deb said she jumped at the sound, straight off her sleeping pad! Then it poured heavily onto the shelter roof for a good hour or so. So lucky we didn’t walk in that! We had a lazy 16.4kms today, each day short & easy now to Albany. No hard long days any more. The best thing is we don’t have to pack super early, enjoy a more relaxed wake up, meander about getting breakfast & packing up. Ambles & Deb have way too much energy for early in the morning, challenging each other to how many full push ups each can do. Yes they have done this before! Deb is super strong doing push-ups on her knuckles while Ambles does normal hand ones. Then he throws out a challenge to how many sit ups can Deb do. The wooden platform is not ideal for this excerise & hurts the back. So Ambles thinks he is smart & does sit ups with his legs & knees straight out on the ground. But that’s pretty hard & not good for the back. Geez, he will be broken before he gets to Albany!😂We want to leave later like around 8am but as always are packed up ready by 7am. And we weren’t rushing!

 

 

It looks like more rain but luckily it’s not. Just very cold, cloudy & windy especially near the coast cliffs, a gusty southerly. We walk through some pretty recent controlled burns, at least not too much of the track goes through it. There was a diversion for some time & just recently got lifted. Have we managed to hike the whole  Bibbulmun track without getting a diversion? Amazing! It smelt strongly of burnt still with a few sporadic flowers emerging & small amounts of green grass. The predominant colours being brown & black.😕Ambles actually did a better job of walking with me today, speeding away once for a few kilometres then waiting for me to catch up while watching 3 kangaroos that stood watching him. The kangaroos must be used to hikers & not too afraid. As I approached they also watched me not moving away as most do.

 

 

I caught up to Deb & Mel having a break & this day hiker lady was chatting to them. She walked off northwards & came across Ambles bringing up the rear. She goes to him, “Geez! There’s lots of you out here! There’s 3 more up ahead!” She sounded vastly disappointed that others were also out on the track not just her! In fact her first response to Mel saying they were thur hiking the Bibbulmun was, “So have you lost weight?!” We can see the wind turbines of the Albany wind farm in the hazy distance. Even further ahead is more day hikers as we climb up & along some steep cliff drop off point, the winds threatening to blow us off. There is another hike trail that follows the Bibb a short ways, a carpark far down below. So we found out where these people were coming from! At the Albany / Walpole signage, Ambles had to drop his pack. It wasn’t sitting right. He felt all the weight was on one side. So he emptied it out & re-packed. Then discovered his bottom pack rod do-dah thing had slipped out of its loop. He sighs & goes, “One of these days, I will get a decent backpack that doesn’t break & cost so much!”

 

 

The nice thing about today’s walk is that it is more varied. We move under paperbark trees then out onto granite slabs, along the coast ridge with gorgeous coastal views of Dingo Beach, the colour of the water & beach sand so postcard perfect. Back into more peppermint & small Jarrah trees. Ambles goes ahead & spots a huge brown & black snake on the track. It goes into the bush & scaredy-cat Ambles tells me to go ahead first pass the spot where the snake had been. The snake has gone the coast is clear as we finalise our walk into Torbay campsite re joining with Deb & Mel. Lucky they had been ahead of us & cleared most of the snakes off the path. Mel came across 4 big snakes in the last kilometre! Oooooh – horrible!😳

 

 

We had arrived just after midday so settled down for lunch & usual camp chores. Mel is going great, her foot problem is actually improving, great news! Ambles puts up the tent without all the drama this time. He didn’t need water filtered as he didn’t drink much at all – naughty naughty! The sky cleared up & the sun felt so warm & lovely, unfortunately the strong gusts of wind are downright chilly cold! This campsite is above again on top of the cliffs away from the water but still with lovely views out, especially from the outside picnic table which is further away up a short hill with views out to the ocean. Well, beautiful & warm when the winds aren’t blowing otherwise it’s freezing cold up there! Ambles tried to save the unused fuel by putting it back in the bottle but half of it spilled down the sides. So he will just burn off the remainder of fuel in the cap, wasting it. He reckons there’s enough fuel & there better be! Won’t be happy eating cold soak porridge!

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So I’ll explain the picture on yesterday’s blog post of the hut sign with Waugal markers. So we didn’t know this & Jacko told us: most Waugal markers the tail tip points left, but a whole batch were made with the tail tip pointing right! So in that photo you see one of each Waugal. Now I know this, every time I come across a Waugal, I note which way the tail tip is! And today’s walk had lots more Waugal markers where yesterday there were hardly any along the track.

 

 

Lots of birds today, especially those cute blue wrens fluttering about, two male ones chasing after a female. Almost stepped on a lazy blue tongue lizard hiding amongst the bushes. Ambles thought I was talking to the flowers but no I was talking to the lizard! I do also talk to the flowers.😂 Oh dear it will be hard to re-adjust into society! We all speak some mad talk now, Ambles entertains us singing out corny songs & talking crazy like he reckoned that we could walk into Albany today – yeah just pump out a 50+ kilometre day! Sounds awesome but……NO! Deb came up with an hilarious tune to 99 bottles on the wall song as Ambles discusses how the lightening last night could have zapped us. I tweaked it slightly & goes like this, “There is four fried hikers laying in a hut, if one fried hiker should accidentally roll out, then there will be three fried hikers laying in a hut….”🎼

 

 

We spend the afternoon hiding in our tents but the cold winds blow straight in, I reckon those winds are coming from Antarctica! On goes every item of clothing we have. Ambles complains of a sore back…..from those sit-ups!😏 Nevertheless the challenge of push-ups still continued this late afternoon with Ambles smashing out 16 while Deb did 15. Ambles is not competitive – oh no!!😆

 

 

Hmmmmmm…. what for dinner tonight?! I have been feeling hungry all day today! Must be ‘hiker hunger’. We were enjoying our meals when a random lady jogged pass with her dog. Yep, don’t feel so isolated in the wilderness now, too close to civilisation! Nooooo!😧 Definitely going into bed early to read my book, too bloody cold outside the sleeping bag! At least that wind has died down somewhat. We have less than 40 kilometres left, the 26th of August seems a lifetime ago!

Snake sightings: Ambles 5, Rose 5.5

 

 

 

Day Fifty Nine: Denmark to West Cape Howe

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23/10: Today marks the start of the end stretch of our journey to Albany. Early start at 5am to dress & be packed. Annie cooked us bacon & eggs with toast, avocado & mushrooms. (Ambles got a double serving of mushrooms😆😆) Annie took a photo of us before we sped off back into town with Jacko. Picked up Deb & Mel & on the way out to drop us off, Jacko showed us the Wetlands Boardwalk. Not many people know it’s there, a beautiful bit of ancient looking swampland with Paperbark trees. I could imagine it look very different under thick fog – Alfred Hitchcock style setting.😳Jacko drops us off at a standard taxi point drop off next to the Bibbulmun track. The track actually starts about 8kms further north at the Nullaki Peninsula. There no longer is a ferry service so the only options are to walk a long road walk around of 26kms to this point we were dropped off. Walk the sandbar across & then walk to the peninsula via unmarked trails through swamp wetlands wading through water & reeds & avoiding the heavily dense population of tiger snakes! Or drop off at gate & do a 6km return walk to the peninsula & continue south. Basically it is a very grey area & really needs re-routing. It was originally this way as there always was a ferry service to drop Bibb walkers across to continue the trail, with no ferry / boat service it should have been changed years ago. So the Bibb foundation said it’s fine to blue blaze to the track further down & continue from there. I still felt like I was cheating & skipping 8kms of track which would have been nice along the Wilson Inlet edge but I hear is poorly maintained & overgrown & full of tiger snakes! Most hikers just choose to be dropped off while a few decide to walk extra non Bibbulmun kilometres. So….. off the 4 of us continued to Nullaki shelter, the easiest walk to a shelter yet of only 1.6kms.😊This one is full of mozzies, real bad, they set their evil eyes on me when I walked in. Already trying to find somewhere to bite on me. As always, I sit, write in the books, read some stories, take photos, use the toilet. Ambles doesn’t wait for me & continues on. Birdman writes an even bigger list of bird names he has seen. It’s very impressive. He is only one day ahead of us as he spent two nights here studying the bird life in the area. Lots of dedication!

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There isn’t much in the way of flowers, the usual coastal variety adding colour to the dunes. The morning is overcast & soon dark rain clouds close in & release their heavy burdens of water. So it’s windy, raining & the track is densely populated with vegetation, their wet branches & shrubbery making boots wet very quickly. Soon enough, I’m sloshing around in soaked socks & boots. Joy o joy.😣I use my umbrella but have to hang onto it, the wind blows the rain in sideways & my shorts & top get soaking wet anyway. For 2.5 hours I walk alone pushing my way through the wet bushes, getting cold. There are cute groves of peppermint thickets to help shield me from the rain at times. Otherwise the track is largely along sand hills exposed to the elements. Resigned to the fact Ambles can’t be bothered with us walking together. After he said we would walk together along the coastal stretch – that’s working out well!😆All the others we have met that walk in pairs do just that! They must have looked at us two thinking it strange we are always walking apart. I’m just as guilty at the start for racing off leaving Ambles behind. Now the tables have turned & he gets impatient waiting for me & continues ahead. I guess we will always be this way, this is our hiking style😏. There was only 2 days out of this trip we walked constantly together. It’s very bad! As I ponder all this as hiking alone makes your mind drift off thinking about such & such, Ambles appears standing on the side in the rain. He had dropped his backpack & came back a ways looking for me. The rain eventually eases off, my hands are cold, wet & wrinkled. Takes some time before warmth returns to them. Our hike is shy of 20kms & the sand dune walking is much easier in this section. The sand is mostly firm, the climbs short & gentle except the last 4 kms that remains a constant gradual slow ascent. Views of the ocean can be seen now the rain has lifted. Wasn’t much to see earlier. There is a lack of WaugaIs in fact I don’t see one for at least 4 kms. At the last hill climb I start ahead of Ambles on the last stretch as he stops to take off his rain jacket. Well, he will easily catch up anyway & speed ahead so I don’t bother waiting. I’m going up & all these day hikers appear walking the opposite way, 1..2….3…4……5…..6……7 like 10 of them pass me! Then Ambles comes charging up super fast to catch me. The day hikers with small backpacks were taken aback by this dude bulldozing his way up with a huge backpack – get out of the way!!

I’m sure glad to get to camp just after 1pm. Deb & Mel just arrived minutes before us. It’s lunchtime & I’m feeling hungry. First we all wring out the excess water from our socks & boot sole pads, there is no way anything will dry by tomorrow! We eat our cakes first I had got from the Denmark bakery – gonna have mine for afternoon tea but thought what the hell, eat cake then lunch😋. Ambles burns the black rubber O ring for the second time this trip in the trangia, & we don’t have a spare! The O ring is important for sealing the remainder of fuel for transport & re use on next cook up. So will see what idea Ambles comes up with to keep the fuel & not throw it out wasting precious cooking fuel! We do our usual camp chores. It’s cold, I would have loved some sunshine but aren’t getting any today. Ambles puts up the tent, finds dirt & dead flies inside, takes it down, turns it inside out, lays down exhausted by the effort, 20 odd minutes later puts it up a second time. Ambles has a way of making uncomplicated tasks complicated 😂😂. This shelter is nestled in a shallow valley dip. As Jacko said, it has the best outdoor picnic table on the whole Bibb. Just a short upwards walk takes you to the picnic table looking out east along the coast. It’s really good on a clear day, not so enjoyable today. There’s another spur trail lookout higher up with a bench to sit at & admire gorgeous coastal views from east to west. I wasn’t expecting to see any snakes due to the cold weather & I didn’t, but Mel almost stepped on a really big tiger snake on the path. Expect the unexpected always! Ambles grumbled about his soaked boots & socks saying the track is still testing us, throwing out challenges. Our good weather luck had to run out soon enough.🤨

Well it’s too bloody cold an afternoon to do much. The sun peeked out briefly before sunset. We are all rugged up like Eskimo people😆. An early dinner & snuggle up in the sleeping bag & read a book sounds like a plan! Ambles offers me a nightcap of whiskey before sleep but pours too much into the cups & struggles to finish his own! Now there is only a small portion left!😕

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Day Fifty Eight: Denmark Zero Day

My body thanked me for a Zero day. Didn’t even get out of bed for breakfast until 8am! Annie cooked us waffles with cream & fresh fruit. Plus egg on toast with avocado. Talk about getting spoiled! Clothes all got washed, re sorted the backpacks & ditched stuff out for Tim to take we no longer need. Organised 5 days of food for our final leg of the journey. Rested in bed a lot. Jacko put on some you tube hiking videos to watch & we had a simple light lunch. Today I weigh the same, guess I’ve lost fat weight but gained muscle weight. Ambles has lost 10kgs, now lighter than me at 64kgs.

 

Jacko dropped us in town after 3pm. It was off to the Bibbulmun Cafe for a coffee, IGA to get food & drink. And Ambles went off to the local barbershop to get a haircut. Pleased with his new hairdo, we set off to the pub. The lovely bartender lady says she can make us Cocktails so we have a Cocktail each to start with. Tim & Jules join us followed by the birthday girl Deb & Mel. Everyone is impressed by the new haircut on Ambles. I think he looks too smart to be a bush feral now!😁 Dinner is lip smacking good as I settle for Steak. Ambles can’t finish his Beef & Ribs. We go for dessert as well – why not?! Was a really nice evening at dinner, likes of chatting, sharing stories & laughter. Jacko picks us up too soon to take us back. We finish packing our backpacks & in bed late again. My feet feel better already  & my shoulders but tomorrow that won’t last long. Five more walking days until we reach Albany – at long last!

 

 

 

 

Day Fifty Seven: Parry’s Campgrounds / William Bay Road to Denmark

When I closed my eyes last night I must have gone out like a light, sleeping until after 4am, waiting for my alarm to go off at 4.30am. Ambles complained other campers nearby had kept him awake, having a fabulous time, being noisy, laughing, talking loudly, screaming & crying children up past 11pm. I slept through it all! We started packing up at 4.30am, joining Tim & Jules for breakfast at 5.30. Jules even made the special effort to get up early to help Tim with the bacon & eggs, getting us coffee & tea. Breakfast was so good! 😋 Much better than our daily porridge. Jules piled us up with extra food for the walk, little chocy bars & these breakfast cookies she made. So delicious with various fruit inside them.

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We were dropped back off at William Bay Road by 6.30am. There was that option to bypass the walk & drive straight to Denmark, but we couldn’t do that! So to start with, we had a kilometre hill ascent to William Bay Shelter. That quickly warmed us up! Arrived at the shelter by 7am, Deb & Mel had packed up & gone, the place was empty. So I stopped to fill in the trails log book & snap some photos while Ambles ambled along for me to catch up to him. This shelter was very bare, no added decorations, hand rails, sunroom, nothing. And as I left I found a side trail to the look out so went over to check it out. Clambered up these big boulders & stand on top of them, checking out the ocean view back over Greens Pool & where we came yesterday. Pretty nice views. It was already feeling warm in the sun as I set off down the track at 7.25am. More sand dune & ridge walking, lots of birds about, actually felt good to start with. Caught up with Ambles further on near some huge boulder, he had gone the wrong way & was returning to the track. We see more kangaroos, one of them kept staring at Ambles, hop along, stare, hop along, stare then dash right across the track in front of him. I saw yet another snake that was warming up on a flat granite top. Looked like a tiger snake, quickly slithering away back into the bushes. After 2 hours, we arrive at Light Beach carpark. Have a break, use the toilets. 2 cars turned up. One couple went down to the beach, the other couple were taking a walk along a walk trail. The lady was keen to know what track we were hiking, again amazed & impressed when we told her we started 8 weeks ago from Kalamunda.

 

The Bibbulmun Track follows some of this walk trail they were taking a walk on, a bitumen path. We missed the first Waugal turn off & found we had missed it when we walked the long way around & met the marker for north bound hikers. Almost walked pass the next one off the bitumen path as it is partially hidden by the bushes. It’s a narrow foot wide sand path with all the bushes growing over it. Great track for snakes to be lurking in! I preferred the bitumen path. We ended back on that path bumping into the couple again. The lady asked how many more days we had & wished us luck. From there I guess I was running out of stream & the warm sun was draining my energy. The flies again were pretty awful so we wore our head nets to keep them off our faces. We cross over private land before getting to Mt Hallowell. The first big hill climb in quite some time. This area has the most massive boulders I’ve ever seen, they were so huge! I like to do the side trips to the lookouts & there is two going up. Ambles was feeling tired & kept going up slowly to wait for me at the Hallowell summit trail. I ventured onto Monkey Rock not far upwards, out onto large flat granite slabs. It was cool & breezy, the views amazing. It was a 360 degrees of views stretching back far from where we came up the coast to where we were heading to, farmlands below & the trees growing up the side of Mt Hallowell. One of those spots where you could sit & soak up the views with a cuppa! 🙂 I continued along, passing a guy walking northwards. He had just started in Denmark, walking to Walpole. The climb was really starting to wear on me, so many large rocks to navigate over the track. At times it was confusing where the track continued. The bottom of my feet were hurting so the rocks & boulders did not help. I get to the almost top where Ambles had been waiting awhile. He goes, “Oh, I checked out the summit trail but it’s no good! The trees are in the way & there’s no views! You will be disappointed. I’ll amble on down.” I said I wanted us to walk down together so he said he would wait. I left my pack & went to the summit. Halfway up I come to a large slab of rock with trees covering the view. Well, this was the ‘summit’ Ambles had come to! The continued track wasn’t obvious but was to the right so I continued along & arriving at the actual summit over huge granite tops with 180 degrees view back where we came along the coast & farmlands. Not as good as Monkey Rock but nice nevertheless. I shot back down to find Ambles had already gone ahead. Was not impressed at all! Had to continue on my own for awhile trying to work out where the track went. Came across Ambles waiting halfway down. More rocks & boulders, the track started going up again! I was so annoyed & tired, my feet were hurting walking on this terrain. We meet two ladies on a stroll coming down, it’s already past midday & our progress has been very slow. In fact, Ambles has been enjoying Ambling today & doing well while I was suffering. I had drank all my water in my bladder, luckily I had collected extra water from Tim & Jules in my bottle but only like 600mls. We still had about 9kms to do. I stopped & emptied my bottle water into my bladder at the bottom of the hill in a thick haze of mozzie central. The evils kept trying to bite me as I hurried up & set off after Ambles.

 

The worst was over, no more hill climbs. Now we were on the outskirts of town with road walking & 4WD tracks. Ambles stopped at a perfect seat in front of Wilson Inlet. We had some tuna & crackers while dog owners came by. The dogs hanged around us as we had food, one very fat Beagle cross slurped up the tuna I had dropped on the ground. The dog hovered around us & the owner was getting annoyed with the dog, kept calling him to come but the dog wouldn’t bulge waiting for more food to drop! Eventually the dog trotted off. Ambles didn’t have much water either but there was nowhere to get water until we got into town so we were careful not to drink ourselves dry. We follow the Inlet edge for awhile then head back onto streets, passing beautiful looking homes. One guy was mowing his lawn & ran it over some water retic or something, water went squirting into the air & down the driveway onto the road. Ambles considered for a moment to race over & fill his water bottle from this instant fountain! Then decided to just move on. Hey – the trail provides again!😀 It was tedious walking to the rivermouth, then a kilometre along the river into the town centre. Ambles was fed up, we started 6.30am & got to the Denmark pub by 3.10pm. It had turned out to be a longer day than even the Peaceful Bay to Boat Habour. I was so tired, I couldn’t even walk properly as my feet were hurting so much. I had the bad case of ‘hiker hobble’. We grabbed a pint of beer at the pub. They weren’t serving any food so I had to hobble over to The Bakery, grab us pies & bring back to the pub. I wanted their amazing Lamb & Rosemary Pie but they were sold out. So just had a normal beef pie. There hardly seemed a point in showering yesterday as I smelt absolutely terrible, sweaty & stinky central. Tim & Jules were still in the area, still camping at Parry’s & been 4WDriving around the area. They stopped in to share a beer with us. I was so thankful for Tim driving me over to the visitor centre so I could sign the book register & collect our last box of re supply.

 

 

We normally stay in town but this time we were staying at Casa Libelula run by Jacko & Annie a Bed & Breakfast 20 kms out. Jacko came to pick us up & take us back to their home. A beautiful home on big property with Sheep walking around, Alpacas, chickens, roosters, 2 gorgeous dogs Luci & Belle. Two other guests are staying, friends of Annie’s that are returning home from a wedding in Manjimup. We have a lovely bedroom. I flopped onto the bed & it felt really good for my feet, I reluctantly got up to shower & start washing clothes. Then it was dinner time as Annie cooked up a home meal of lasagna with garlic bread, potatoes, veggies & salad. Followed with sticky date pudding with ice cream & cream. Jacko loves to talk hiking & chatted away about trails he had done, his gear – got a room full of hiking gear! Showed off all his fuel & cooking stoves – quite a number of different ones! The ladies had me join them in a card game. Stayed up way past hiker bedtime. I think it was after 9pm by the time I was in bed. Really very tired. So glad tomorrow is a Zero day.

 

Snake sightings: Ambles 4, Rose 5.5.

Day Fifty Six: Boat Habour to William Bay Road / Parry Inlet Campgrounds

20/10: Woke up 3.30am, waiting for Deb’s alarm to go off at 4am. It was a warm early morning. The mozzies were particularly bad, the little evils were biting me on my bare bum as I sat on the toilet. Neil put up with us 4 making noise packing up, he got up 5.30am as Ambles & I were ready to leave early at 5.45am, ahead of Deb & Mel. Ambles had already off loaded his fishing rod – that didn’t last long!☺️ The other hiker was still in his tent as we set off. If only I had known I would have gone for a swim yesterday, maybe, maybe not I was exhausted. Only 400 metres down from the campsite we cross the 4WD track that Tim & Jules must have visited us from & onto Boat Habour Beach Bay. Beautiful swimming hole sheltered from the ocean’s rough surf. Darn! On the other side there were two camp grounds, each with a fireplace. Ambles pouted at them. He has been missing his camp fires. I turned & said to Ambles as we walked along this beach, “How lucky are we??!”

 

 

 

We had 10.6kms to Parry’s Campgrounds, another 9 odd kms to William Bay Road after. The first 10.6kms took us 3 & a half hours. It was more of yesterday’s end walk, up & down sand dunes, along narrow, sometimes overgrown tracks. Soft sand, semi soft sand. I was tired, we both were from yesterday. Even as we started I could feel the day warming up. The sun was bright, warm & in my face the whole time. There was flies, flies, flies! After 2 hours, I got tired of swatting them away from my face, stopped & put my head net on. The first time I have used it on this walk. After that, the flies didn’t bother me. That sharp pain came back in my shoulders, especially if I turned to see where Ambles was. It was a slow process. More kangaroo poop everywhere but didn’t see any kangaroos. Only bird life, there was lots of birds flitting from bush to bush, chattering away to each other. Ambles took the lead halfway & it was he that stumbled across a big bad boy black snake, laying in the track that didn’t want to move. It was only 8am as well! Eventually it slithered off into the bush allowing him through. We were 3kms out & spotted someone in the distance on top of a hill. It was Tim that had walked in to meet us! This was the Mt Hillier trig point with 360 degrees views all around. From there we had 2.7kms walking in with Tim whom had an idea to use his drone & video us walking along the sandy ridge from above. The footage is going to look amazing once complete! It sure was getting hot at almost 25 degrees. I was relieved to walk into the Campgrounds where it was cool & shady under the trees.

 

 

We had a much needed break at Tim & Jules Campsite. Jules had scones jam & cream ready for us. I lost count how many I had! They were delicious! And cold coke went down a treat as Ambles had a coffee then pinched my coke the cheeky bugger! Deb & Mel came through & sat out in the front entrance to the Campgrounds under the warm sun at a picnic table to eat their trail mix & bars. We were spoilt & I felt bad being a greedy gutso. I also took a few items out of my backpack before leaving for the second stretch. It was hot after 10am & we had to make tracks.

 

A 7km walk along Mazzoletti Beach. Aimed with more food from Jules, chocy twirl bars & a fresh apple for extra energy!😁It was great, far easier than the first stretch. Most of the sand was firm or slightly soft. Was easy, cool winds blew off the ocean. Flies disappeared. My backpack was lighter than normal, felt awesome. Wish it was always this light! I was use to my bell, & couldn’t hear it ringing. Darn! The bell fell off in the grass when I emptied some of my stuff.😕There was a hive of activity along the beach in parts. Many 4WD’s, families, swimming, camping, dogs running through the water. Perfect time of year to walk this stretch. Again there is an alternative route inland if the beach is at high tide. Parry’s Inlet has a full wide sandbar across it so no problems with getting through.

 

We could see two tiny figures in the distance which had to be Deb & Mel. We were gaining on them & caught up just before Greens Pool. Mel was in pain today & really struggling. They have about 3 more kms to make, probably just under that. Ambles offered to share his banana that Jules gave him. They both accepted a piece each & enjoyed it by the looks on their faces. It’s funny how you love the foods you don’t get on the track. Fresh fruit is one of those luxuries. The alternative route is a short cut to William Bay Road but we settled on the proper Bibbulmun track route, continuing onto Greens Pool, across, up the stairs & onto William Bay Road there. My idea was to cool off with a quick dip on the far side of Greens Pool away from everyone else. Ambles was not impressed, hot from the walk, he turned into a grumpy old man, told me off for wanting to make this a holiday & walked off to the meeting point to be picked up by Tim. We thought this stretch would take 3 hours but only took under 2 hours so we were ahead of schedule. The water was worth it! Highly refreshing, sheltered again by the huge boulders in the water making it a bay, weakening the waves coming in. Far better than the busy packed shallow Greens Pool further along. After my quick swim, I set off again with my sarong wrapped around me, throngs on my feet, carrying my hiking poles in one hand, boots in the other.

 

Tim & Jules came down to meet me bypassing Ambles whom they must have just missed. So they drove back to the arranged pick up point where Ambles had gone. I continued on my own from the carpark otherwise I would miss a small section & can’t have that! It didn’t seem right that the hikers have to walk 300 odd metres along William Bay Road. It was pretty busy with traffic. Loads of people were flocking to Greens Pool for a swim on this warm spring day. I had to double check my guide book. Soon enough I was sitting in Tim’s car speeding back to Parry’s Campground where our tent was waiting for us, already set up by Tim & Ambles before we left. Had another dip at Parry’s beach before lunch but that beach is full of crashing waves & seaweed. Wasn’t as good. Party Pies for lunch & hot shower after to freshen up. Quite a few campers here, lovely Campgrounds. Feeling dog tired. Have had two really early morning wake ups & lack of sleep & physically demanding days are catching up to me. Glad to be going in to Denmark tomorrow & have a rest day. We get dropped off back on William Bay Road with a kilometre walk in to the campsite we were meant to stay at, then another 20kms to Denmark rivermouth.

 

Spent some time laying in the tent. Felt so good to be laying horizontal, alleviating my feet as the bottoms of them ache so much. My shoulders are still killing me. Tim & Jules have been amazing, offering so much to us, their food, drinks, bringing us back here to share a night with them, their awesome company. It has been so lovely, a highlight to this trip! And Tim wants to be mentioned at having completed this section of the Bibbulmun track (via foot & car!).😄

 

Tim & Jules hosted us with dinner they prepared which included the steaks Ambles had asked for! Followed up by fruit yummy salad & toasting marshmallows by the campfire Tim got going. Washed down with vino.😊What a wonderful night! Dehydrated food we didn’t have to cook up. A warm campfire we had been missing. Laughs & stories until way past hiker bedtime. We appreciate so much all our trail angels have done for us. Giving up their time to assist us, feed us, company us, support us, help out with emergencies due to equipment malfunction .☺️

 

Lots of campers are still up, laughing, talking, enjoying their fires, enjoying each other’s company. It’s after 8pm when we crawl into bed. They don’t have to get up before sunrise, pack up a tent, heave on a heavy backpack & walk 22kms tomorrow. Their kind of holidays I miss. Still, when I’m on the track tomorrow, I will be loving the views, the landscapes, the flowers, the everything. Tomorrow is another day full of new experiences, of more memories being created & I feel so lucky to be able to experience & do this! Keep it together body – you got this!

 

Snake sightings: Ambles 4, Rose 4.5

Day Fifty Five: Peaceful Bay to Boat Habour

We 19/10: The lady at the fish n chip shop told Deb & Mel last night a cheeky short cut they could take on the way out, up the beach to Irwin Inlet cutting off 2kms. Uh, thanks but no thanks! Wonder how many hikers she suggests this to? Apparently doing this means avoiding going pass the rubbish tip. We follow the Waugal, no short cuts! We had the alarm set for 4am for a quick early getaway. Today being a 23km hike with canoe crossing & day temperatures reaching 25 degrees, we wanted to put behind many kms before the heat & snakes came out. Had off & on sleep, Ambles set up the tent close by the road so cars driving pass had their headlights on beaming into our tent. We packed inside the tent first then joined Deb & Mel at the camp kitchen for our breakfast. Then off to pack up the tent as it was light enough. The ducks came back over to supervise our pack up.😊Our tent wasn’t wet from condensation so that worked in our flavour. A lady went by on a morning walk, goes “Oooooo, are you two walking the Bibbulmun Track?!” She was excited about our trip, wished us luck & continued on not wanting to hold us up. Packing up took us over 2 hours before we got going! I was ready shy of 6am but Ambles wasn’t until 6.20am. Darn! Lost some cool hiking time.

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It was quite pleasant & cool when we finally set off pass the fish n chip shop, leaving Peaceful Bay behind. Not long into the walk I spotted a new Orchid! The Slipper Orchid, there was only one. I squealed in delight & started taking photos. Ambles got impatient with me & kept on walking. So I continued on slowly to still if I could spot any more, only Cowslip & Donkey Orchids. Ambles came back looking for me saying, “C’mon! We got a long day ahead of us!” So off I trotted very happy, building up speed, turned to the right – enormous huge swamp puddle. NOOOO! Deb & Mel were on the other side. Deb yells out there’s no way around it, they already wasted time looking. And they would have avoided it if they could. Mel had to stop, remove boots, socks & strapping tape on her foot, put on sandals, go across, dry feet, re-strap up foot, put socks & boots back on. A real annoyance. So after procrastinating, I stomped through, the water coming up pass my calves. Boots & socks sodden wet again! Cursed away. Ambles catches up on the other side to us now, looks & goes, “I’m not going through that!” Deb said the same thing but off he went, tried to get through the tangled condensed vegetation & trees, gave up, went back to the spot, procrastinated some more like me, with a sigh of resignation he stomped through cursing as well, slipped & almost went in the drink. Deb goes, “Well, maybe that’s why the shop owner mentioned the short cut!” So we continued as we had to with heavy wet boots now & I picked up speed, went pass the rubbish tip where rubbish had blown over the track. Passed a bunch of croaking loud frogs in the swamp. Pressed on to Irwin Inlet to the canoe crossing 7.5kms from Peaceful Bay.

 

When I arrived there ahead of Ambles, I see one canoe! The other 5 on the other side! Well, not impressed! Whoever came through before us did not follow the instructions in the shed so thanks very much whoever that was!😡 So Ambles had to canoe across to the other side to bring back 2. What made it worse was the strong easterly blowing him down river coming back, he made it to the bank where I grabbed the rope & he got out in the water – well boots already wet! And walked them back up to the shed. Mel & Deb had caught up & were watching & waiting. Mel looked at the situation & was worried about making it across & keeping her boots dry. I said to Ambles to take her across, you can have 2 people or 1 person & backpack in a canoe. So Ambles rowed back over with Mel sitting in the front. I followed in another with Deb in the 3rd. It was easy to get across the winds blew me down to it, I just had to make sure I didn’t continue down the Inlet to the ocean! Once we were across, we had one backpack on the other side plus we had to leave canoes over there for the next hikers coming through. So Ambles & Deb went back across with a spare canoe each. Deb struggled against the wind getting blown down. Mel & I watched helplessly on the other side. But she made it to the other bank side, got out & walked the canoes up to the shed. Ambles had the clever idea to leave 3 canoes there which is the requirement but no one does it! He returned in one with Deb & backpack, the combined weight would have been one adult as Deb is petite & lightweight anyway.😊We were pleased. Did the right thing. Was 9.30am. We had only covered 7.8kms with still 14 odd kms to go! And now it was warm. As we left we noticed fishermen not far away in their dinghy. Must have been laughing at us!😏

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We move into an area known as the ‘Showgrounds’, the Quarram Nature Reserve. An unique interesting & picturesque scenery of rolling hills, sparsely placed trees, abundance of yellow & purple flowers. 40 odd kangaroos hopping about, the biggest red kangaroos we have seen & loads of midgees like clouds of them following us. And unrelenting sand hills, up, down, up, down. Deb & Mel stop for a break shielding faces with fly nets. Ambles gallops ahead, way ahead. I take many photos. See two complete kangaroo skeleton bone remains. I hope I don’t parish out here & join the skeletons of Quarram Reserve. Out of nowhere, a couple of big reds hop across the track in front of me, followed by an Emu! They disappear as quickly as they came. I’m getting tired in the sand but make it out onto Big Quarram Beach joining Ambles. Very low tide so easy to walk the 3kms along it, interrupted by some dune climbs in between where we take a break. I need a break. I can see why there is an alternative route inland when the beach is at high tide. You can see the waves reach up to the dunes, swallowing the sand of beach we walk along. Interesting stuff are washed up on the beach. Always a light globe? Interesting.

 

Deb & Mel catch up as we walk close together to Middle Quarram Beach. Beautiful coastline. Again I love watching the waves break & wash up the sand. It’s warm, a swim would be refreshing but we move on, leaving the beach walking behind. Beach walking is easy, firm sand. Into the sand dunes is not. Soft & hotter inside the dunes, no shade. Surprisedly no snakes. Deb & Mel stop for lunch, it’s past 12.30pm already. Still a ways to go. I struggle, getting tired. Too tired to eat but very thirsty. There’s a friggin long wooden staircase to climb. The steps go on forever. Ambles huffs & puffs louder than me. I take the lead for awhile. We continue the last 4kms, the longest 4kms. There is kangaroo poo everywhere! All over the track. The path is narrow with bushes growing in to our path. I worry about snakes but then too tired to care. It’s past lunchtime but I’m not hungry just bone weary tired. I will myself to keep moving. I have pain in my shoulders, my knees, my wet feet. Ambles takes the lead in the last 1.5kms. We arrive so grateful 2pm at the shelter! Today has been the longest, hardest day imaginable. The shelter is nestled into the valley if you walk slightly north or south of the shelter, then gorgeous views of the ocean & coastline below can be admired. Simple with a beach theme – shells hanging from the roof, another sunroom. It’s blowing cold wind into the shelter blowing stuff not tied down away. Deb & Mel make it in, relieved & happy to be here. We have a late lunch, do our chores. Neil turns up, a guy doing a small part of the walk, came from Parry Beach Campgrounds. He doesn’t have a tent & bunks in the shelter between Deb & Mel. First hiker we have seen since leaving Walpole! Deb comes back from the toilet. There’s a resident frog inside! She thought it wasn’t moving, maybe it’s not real. She touched it & it felt soft. Later when I went, it had moved to the cleaner container by the toilet, it obviously waits until nighttime to be on the move. Ambles pours wine for Deb & Mel, they don’t say no, are grateful for the wine indulgence after a hard day of 9 hours walking. So good we didn’t leave any later!😏

 

 

 

Another male hiker shows up, he has a tent & goes set up his tent outside. I don’t find out where he has come from as we get surprised……by Ambles brother, Tim & Jules! They drove & walked a short way in with food & beer for us! My face lit up, was it so good to see them or what after today! We ate, we drunk & discussed tomorrow, where we plan on spending a night camping with them at Parry’s Campgrounds. So tomorrow we pass their camp early for coffee & Jules will also have scones ready for us! Continue on to almost William Bay Campsite, 1km short of it, get picked up & taken back via Tim’s car to Parry’s. Can’t wait! It’s going to be hotter so we have to move early again, hopefully it won’t be as hard as today in the sand dunes. After they left, we had dinner but Ambles was pretty full so only had a small portion. All four of us finished off the vino as there is no need for Ambles to carry it tomorrow! Deb & Mel mentioned how it was going to be strange not having us there at the next campsite. They will miss our company! We really have become a combined group us four, Ambling Rose & the Poncho Thieves! Well, not many nights left together on the track now. In 2 nights we will be in Denmark, sort of – 20kms out of Denmark at a BnB anyway. We are all very tired, not sure why?! But it’s early bedtime tonight. I have stabs of pain going through my shoulders & need to rest. Hopefully I feel recharged in the morning.😊I doze off listening to a very tired Ambles snoring in my ear.☺️

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Day Fifty Four: Rame Head to Peaceful Bay

18/10: You would be pleased to know that no spiritual encounters or anything spooky happened at Rame Head shelter. Ambles did encounter a pair of kangaroos with a young one hanging out by the toilet when he went during the night. We all slept in to 5.20am! But that was ok, we only had an easy 11.5km walk into Peaceful Bay. The morning was very overcast & cool when we left after 7am. Kangaroos not far out of camp, they even let us walk very close to them, they might be the ones that linger around the campsite.

 

 

 

The track today is easy, winds around dunes, little bump hills, wide flat sandy tracks through gorgeous abundant vegetation. So many flowers, very colourful. Lots of Yellows & Pinks with purple, blue, orange colours thrown in sporadically. Few orchids mainly wildflowers but lovely nevertheless. Then the track leads out onto a beach & we get the stunning ocean, the waves coming in pounding onto the jumble of big rocks. It is hard to walk fast, I meander along, stopping often to admire the ocean, the flowers, everything, stop & take photo after photo. Ambles is a real smart pants now he goes faster with no effort & leaves me behind but I don’t care, I’m enjoying every minute out here! Ha! And he said we were going to walk together from now on! Deb & Mel catch up to me & Mel greets me with, “Hi Jingle Bells!” I must have a new trail name now😆. On I go seeing Ambles far ahead as soon as I close the gap, I find something else to stop & admire. We clamber up Castle Rock but I can’t see why it is called that then across to Beautiful little Beach another interesting name for a little cove off the beach sheltered by rocks. I see more kangaroos but these hop away long before I get anywhere close to them.

 

 

 

I walk along the beach now only a kilometre out & catch up with Ambles whom took the hard way up above on very soft sand while I walked on the firmer sand by the shore, just means when a big wave comes in I quickly hot foot it away into the soft sand before my boots get washed over with the sea salty water. I was having a blast! We arrived in to Peaceful Bay about 11am. Here the only accommodation is being in your caravan or tent. So Ambles paid for a tent site & put orders in for fish n chips! Generally this is the menu besides a hamburger or nuggets, they are famous for their fish n chips. Armed with a coffee each, we set up our tent with the tent fly for the first time. Our tent looks very smart! Deb & Mel arrived not far behind us, Mel was happy, no problems with foot pain, even in the soft sand! Our tents are widely spaced apart from each other which feels odd after nights of bunching in together! We dine on Snapper & Chips with Coke. Tasted pretty awesome actually, been hearing so many great reviews from other hikers.

 

 

 

Even though today was on the cool side, with chilly winds blowing through, I set off for a swim by myself. Was so lovely, what bliss! So nice in the bay sheltered by the rough surf coming in. The clouds had cleared somewhat & the sun came out for a little while. I stayed in as long as possible enjoying a decent swim for a change. Being able to see the bottom also! When I started getting too cold, came out onto the sand that felt toasty warm between my toes. How lucky are we?! I really love today😊. Went for a hot shower in the ablutions block, actually lovely & hot! Felt so clean afterwards & celebrated with an ice cream. Ambles didn’t shower, was resting up in the tent before buying some bait & heading off to the jetty at 3pm, fishing rod in hand. Lucky I swam earlier as the afternoon became overcast & cooler. There is a few odd holidaymakers here but fairly quiet. Lucky we came in today as I reckon it will be busy here this weekend.

 

 

We have a couple of warm days coming, hard to believe as it has been so cold. I’ve got myself organised for tomorrow, picked up our resupply box from the store. My light food bag just gained some weight 😆.

 

 

After doing some quick clothes washing as my hanky in particular was in dire needs of a good wash, I joined Ambles on the jetty to see how he was going. Saw a big stingray swimming around down below & thought, lucky I didn’t see one when I was swimming earlier!!! He had caught one fish which wasn’t enough to feed 4 of us so threw it back in…..unfortunately the stingray gobbled him up. Ambles happy enough with his fishing, packed up & headed back. He was freezing cold anyway, losing his hands to frostbite😆, awfully cold out there on the jetty.

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Off we go to dinner in our pjs as Mel says.😊 Had Hamburgers us & Mel, & fish n chips Deb, with more vino Ambles snuck into our cups. Well we were sitting outside the cafe. 😉 Magpies turned up eyeing off our chips so Ambles ran after them throwing his gloves at them to go away. More late Caravans turned up, it’s kind of cool hanging out with the ‘non hiking’ folk in the Campgrounds, something different.😊 A spot I would like to come back to. We called an early night heading back to our respective tents. We had two ducks waddle over to ours to check out Ambles & the tent. It’s feeling cold outside but lovely & warm inside our tent, so cosy! Time for shut eye – got a long hard day tomorrow.😏