Day Two we left Mundaring Weir Hotel after our big bowls of Pea n Ham soup from the chefs kitchen. It was a cool early start 7am. Mr D, AKA Ambles, gets his name as at the start of the walk he shuffles along so slowly like a snail, head down, stopping every 10 seconds to check his Garmin. I start off at a brisk pace trying to warm up. But I get cold stopping & waiting for him to catch up. At least after a couple of hours, he speeds up to a more tortoise pace & sometimes we even walk together!
It was an easy short climb up to Hills Forest discovery centre where I stopped to speak to a worker vac blowing the outside gazebo area. He was keen to hear where I was traveling too. When Ambles caught up he turned & said, “Geez! You are going slow there! But I’m guessing your backpack weighs more than hers!” I will also point out that Ambles got lost again missing a sign to the right, came to a dead end & went back. He grumbled at me saying the signs aren’t noticeable. Maybe to him they aren’t! 🤣
It was another easy 2.5km stroll to the second shelter ‘Ball Creek’. There I surprised a lone woman packing her stuff up to head off. It was around 9am by this time. Her trail name is Daisyfish, she started the day before us & also heading to Albany on her own. She said, “Hey! You are that woman in the green shorts that was lost yesterday!” I corrected her on that but seems I’ve gained the title of ‘that lady in green shorts that got lost’ Hmmmmmmm! I was never lost! 😖
As we finished our breakfast bar – well Ambles had a bun with butter, we set off again, Ambles saying, “Damn! My backpack feels like a bad sack of potatoes!” I would say mine also felt heavy but probably only weighing around 16kgs! We headed through an overgrown goat trail, dodging rocks, branches, ditches right in the centre of the trail & other trip hazards. There was some nice parts where we passed flowing streams & puddles of water only seen at this time of year. Ambles was struggletown so much we took a short break before entering steep horrible road climbs that went on forever. And it was hot again. Little shade as the January 2018 bushfire had burnt away so much land & trees were just starting to rejuvenate with new life.
Coming into Helena after a 14.1km hike is painful it feels like you trudge along a wide dirt road up more than down, taking forever to get there. But the new Helena Shelter just opened July this year, is huge! A rammed earth Shelter that sleeps 28 people. But the toilet is still up the bloody hill! Over pea gravel road. The new dunny is fit for a king & is massive! I remembered the old Helena & how beautiful it was. Still a lovely view just less trees. But the new Shelter is missing it’s name! I’m sure the BTF is putting one together to nail up on the wall.
Daisyfish likes to tent & was setting herself up when I arrived about 1pm. Ambles come in close behind me looking completely shattered & hot. We decided to sleep in the Shelter & I insisted on the top bunk. Ambles wasn’t happy about this but we had it all to ourselves. Lots more people came in, there ended up being 13 odd people. Another 2 young girls came that are also End to Enders. We didn’t speak to them but found out they were vegan eaters. Everyone else was section hiking.
My spaghetti bol went down a treat for dinner. Ambles was so impressed he didn’t even add any chilli powder to it! He normally has Tabasco with everything but hell, I’m not carrying a bottle of that! Then we washed it down with red wine, I have to help him bring the weight of his backpack down! Everyone sat around the fireplace, it was great sharing stories & laughes. One strange man didn’t think much of Ambles carrying red wine, commented, “Well that will change soon!” I think he was put out Ambles didn’t offer him any but 😉.
We were in bed by 7.30pm, exhausted. Slept on and off, listening to the people below snoring, farting or turning about in their sleeping bags. Daisyfish had left her GPS device by the Shelter & it started making noises that Ambles plodded me thinking I had left something on. She heard it from her tent eventually & quickly took it back with her. And some douce guy got up twice in the night, flashing his head torch about on normal glaring white light, loudly crunched over to the front of the Shelter, feet away from all of us & proceeded to loudly pee on the spot, on the ground we all will be walking on the next day! Some people need a lesson on etiquette out in the bush!