I was already awake early as Mr D turned over & said, “It’s 6am, lets get up”. The cold breeze kept blowing the outer tent flaps about all night. I kept waking up, coughing, turning one side then the other. By early morning I had zipped my sleeping bag right up & covered my head underneath. Mr D on the other hand was feeling hot & tossed everything off, including his bedclothes 😮.
So we got up & made ourselves porridge & indulged in 2 cups of tea for me & 2 coffee for Mr D. One of the two men had used the last of the toilet roll in the dunny & not changed the roll! Mr D was not fessing up to that. There were 8 spare toilet rolls hanging up. Not going to run out of toilet paper any time soon! Our calf muscles were feeling so tight & sore from yesterday’s sand walking & dune climbing. The Campsite was lovely & you had a great view of the ocean & dunes. I wasn’t impressed that the water tank was right next to the drop toilet. The toilet smells was so off putting as I used the water tap to get water & clean the dishes. Ben joined us for breakfast & had packed up & headed off well before us. We need to be more like Ben – organised, fast & efficient. He was hiking on to Ellensbrook Campsite, well over 20kms away. There was no way we could do another day like yesterday. Even through he was hating it, he was determined to finish the track, so all the best to him, we are unlikely to meet up again. Today was a short day – 14.5kms. We were thankful for that.
It was 8.45am by the time we left camp. Not as early as we would like. I was delighted that my hips didn’t hurt when I put the backpack on – maybe they had gone numb! My shoulders were slightly sore but much better than yesterday. The tightness in the calf muscles eased up too. Always the first days are the hardest to getting use to the physical demands on the body. We both were in greater spirits as the track winded down soft sand dunes, through coastal vegetation & down to Willyabrup Beach & Brook. I was really enjoying stopping to watch the waves come in & crash into the rocks & beach while waiting for Mr D to catch up to me.
It is a good idea to walk this time of year. I imagine it would be horrible to cross those brooks that have broke through to the ocean during winter & early spring. You would have to cross through water! So another sandbar crossing & passing a couple of men that had turned up to go surfing, one had really expensive camera gear with him. Then we had our first sand dune climb of the day up to the carpark.
Then it was more pleasant walking up the top of the cliffs through narrow vegetation that threatened to take over the path. If anyone happened to come the other way, one would have to step into the bushes to allow them through. We didn’t have that problem at least. We saw only one trail runner dude. Still enjoying ourselves we were taking a slow pace. We may very well make a short day into a long day, so we upped the pace. The track as usual, went back down onto a beach called Cullen’s Beach. It was hard walking through the ultra soft sand before veering back up another sand dune & continuing along the cliff tops again. All I would see regarding animal life was these small birds & tiny lizards that would run across the track in front of me every 100 meters or so. And one pretty little white butterfly.
There were more surfers out & about, the waves looked huge. Some people had driven out to the lookouts & were checking it all out. We didn’t see any hikers. Besides Ben, we haven’t met anyone else doing the walk. The track led to another 4WD track down to the water again. This time the area we walked through had huge boulders & rocks everywhere. It was quite a spectacle watching the waves hit the rocks & the spray flying high up in the air before crashing down. Sometimes even I would see rainbow colours through the spray. The Boulders were all different shapes & I liked to give them a name. Mr D named one huge Boulder that had two smaller ones sitting on top of it, “I give this rock a name – Two Shoes!” he declared merrily.
By 12pm I was feeling very tired & needed a rest. So by 12.25 Mr D had found a suitable spot. He too had crashed & burned & needed shade & rest. So we had our wraps & a cuppa while the ants were crawling all through my rubbish as I was too tired & left it all out attracting the ants. I later found one had crawled into my backpack & was still alive & moving when I pulled my stuff out. At least it was only a tiny one. After lunch Mr D looked at his Garmin map & was so excited, “We are only 2kms away from Gracetown!” We were thinking we had another 2 hours of walking so we were so happy at this!
Away we went arriving at North Point shortly after. There the trail seemed to vanish down the treacherous cliff face. We bush bashed to another trail & saw the markers down below. Somehow we missed the turn but it didn’t look safe going down there anyway. We were right outside Gracetown so we walked the road into town. Not much to Gracetown. Went into Gracie’s General store. The lady behind the counter said, “This is Gracetown – this store! There is nothing around. The Caravan Park is 2.5kms back where you came!” We were tired & didn’t want to walk backwards! I got us two cokes to quench our thirst. There was no phone reception either. Mr D went out to the payphone out the front & called the Gracetown Caravan Park. The bloke said he would pick us up & bring us back. It’s a service he does for free. He also drops hikers back off at the track. We were so happy we quickly organised takeaway curry dinner from the store & Mr D grabbed a bottle of vino.
It sure was a long drive out to the Caravan Park & sure glad we didn’t walk it! We arrived just after 3pm. Such a nice spot set amongst the bush & trees, Kangaroos hopping about. The blokes wife was at reception & so helpful & lovely. She gave us two options as the Caravan Park was almost full. A cabin with no bathroom or an onsite Caravan with ensuite bathroom. It was right at the back but we chose the Caravan after inspecting both. Better than going to the public toilets all the time! I love Caravans. This one so simple but homely & lots of space. There were two single beds & table in the added room attached to the Caravan so we could spread all our stuff out. I did the clothes washing & drying while Mr D organised accommodation in Prevelly in 2 nights time. We showered & cleaned ourselves up. Mr D showed me all his cuts & bruises from yesterday’s fall down his legs. ☹️Then we settled down with vino & our curry dinners we had heated up. The curry tasted very nice but Mr D’s complaint was it was vegetarian with no meat. He sure must be tired as he had 2 small glasses of vino & retired to bed without finishing the bottle! Tomorrow is another short day as we head to another Campsite to practice setting up our tent again.
About the author AmblingRose
We are keen hikers based in Perth, Western Australia. We have hiked 7 New Zealand multi-day walk trails, the 800km Camino Frances in Spain, the Cape to Cape in WA, Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia. We have hiked sections of the 1003 km Bibbulmun Track in WA with plans to complete an end to end this year in Spring, 2019.
Honeymoon Pool to Balingup
Chichester Range Camel Trail
As the last Moses did you guys are on the match to the promised vineyard. More drinking and less walking is prescribed for those minor ailments. As our friend Johny would say. Keep walking
Having a well deserved beer in Prevelly – still trooping along!