I have made a routine now to pack all my day hiking clothes into my sleeping bag at night, this helps keep them warm as there is nothing worse than getting out of a warm sleeping bag, into the crisp cold morning air & putting cold, sometimes damp clothes on. Ambles has taken Sarah’s advice & smothers Eucalyptus oil into his feet every evening before bed, making the whole shelter smell of Eucalyptus. Today we had a 20km day into town, which is pretty flat the whole way, but Ambles was dreading the kms. Wanted to start early & get up at 5am. So he nudged me at 5am, I was like, “It’s cold! I will get up at 5.30!” and rolled over. Ambles got up anyway & started packing. Then at 5.30 he reminded me again. Ok ok! Veronique stirred into life around 6.30 & as we prepared to go at 7.15am, Kirsty & Gijs were up organising their breakfast.
And so we set off into more dead woodlands, no bird life as everything was burnt out. It was so overcast it felt like a drizzle but the day quickly warmed up. I was in front when I came across a man & woman cutting up tree logs for firewood, their car right in the middle of the road. They were yelling at each other than they noticed me. “Oh, out for a stroll?” The guy goes probably not realising the Bibbulmun track runs along this road. Ambles came through later but they had already left & one must have peed on the road as Ambles asked me when he caught up, “Did you pee in the middle of the road back there?” I said, “Excuse me! I do not! I go into the bush behind a log!” Ambles was so proud of himself saying, “We have done 10kms by 10am! That’s great!” But Kirsty & Gijs then came stomping through. Kirsty said, “It’s surprising how a pub beer & meal makes you move quicker!” I said to Ambles we might as well say our goodbyes now as no chance we will catch them at the pub, they would be long gone in their car driving back to Perth. He said, “No, we will see them at the pub!” He called out to them, “Where’s Grandma?!” Kirsty goes, “She isn’t far behind!” I was right, we didn’t see them again. Then Veronique comes marching along with ease saying, “Oh I can’t wait for my pint of beer at the pub!” I wondered why she made walking look so effortless, yes her tiny front pack & her small backpack helps, but I noticed at Chadoora she wears Hoka One One trail shoes – that’s why! She is springing along on pillows of air under her feet. That made me miss my trusty Hoka’s at home, so comfy they are. But they have done so much mileage I decided to take my Lowa’s that are meant to be the bees knees. I have worn these boots for the Cape to Cape & multi day hikes no problems. But this trip my feet are suffering. After 10 odd kms, my toes & heels start rubbing against the inside of the boots making them sore & walking not so pleasant. Now I have to consider swapping over to a larger size Hoka’s different trail boot sitting in Ambles car with other emergency back ups, in hope they will be better. I want my old ones! ☹️
The Waugal markers are lacking in the last few kms, making it frustrating. We go down to the railway tracks but then there is no marker to leave the track so Ambles keeps on walking right on the railway track. I said this aren’t right we meant to be back up on the dirt road beside it. He goes well he will keep walking on the railway line into Dwellingup. But the steam engine train still runs along it on the weekends. So I check the path above & find a Waugal up there. The track also tends to go off a wide 4WD road & back on a couple of times. But going off it is narrow & overgrown. At one point, some large ass tree had fallen down across the narrow trail, we had to bush bash around & over logs risking a tick jumping on us, while less than 10 feet away was the road! A drone filming us from above would have shown how ridiculous the whole thing was! Back in 2016 as we walked south to north in pouring rain, we had missed a turn off. Today we didn’t miss it, but it was overgrown & yucky, besides going besides the railway track which is why I think the Bibbulmun organisation planned these goat trail detours from the road. So in pouring rain, we would have been drenched completely. And again the Waugal marker wasn’t placed well at the south end so it was no wonder we had missed the turn off back then!
As it was 20kms, we stopped for a quick cous cous, tuna & beans lunch I had pre soaked. I wanted a nice spot but Ambles was so knackered he wanted to stop & rest on one of those goat trails overgrown with bushes. As we finished lunch, along came Dave & Jayn. Dave said, “Hey! Thought you two would be at the pub by now!” Ambles watched them walk off noticing they carry 38 / 40 litre little backpacks as well. He said, “What the hell?! They come from Melbourne & they carry small backpacks?!! What do they carry? Am I the stupid one out here with my big heavy 22kg backpack?!!” Well we know they do have a tent & a small stove similar to a jet boil. Poor Ambles was feeling defeated. He had asked Veronique at camp did she think he could go all the way to Albany with his load he carries. She had said, “Sure, sure!” So the first ones up & started walking were the last to arrive in town. Hence our trail name. Ambles still angry goes, “And what is it about getting to the pub early?!” Then he realised they all don’t carry red wine to consume each night or have a sneaky sip of honey whiskey over the campfire! 😁
My feet were hurting & we were 2.5kms to go when Ambles became desperate for the toilet. He asked if there was a toilet on track. I laughed at that. Said there is one in 2.5kms, but he couldn’t wait so he dropped his load & flew into the bushes. I was fed up & said that I will keep going so I did, the second last person to arrive in town. My friend Kerry was there waiting with our resupply box. She grabbed a chair from her car, I happily sat down, ripping off my boots & socks. My poor red feet. Ambles came like 15 or 20 minutes later. We headed over to our motel room but had to get the keys from the pub. There were so many people there, but we were the only two smelly hikers that stood out. We got surprised as Derek’s brother John, & wife Kate had come for the weekend & were waiting outside the pub! After dumping our packs in our room, we attended to the second most important thing – pint of beer at the pub! So we sat outside, with two other friendly guys that had joined John & Kate. One pulled out his guitar & harmonica, played us a tune. We watched as the crowds of people all took off back home. We spilt our food box & sent stuff back with Kerry for my parents to bring halfway between Dwellingup & Collie. John & Kate were going to catch up with us tomorrow. Kerry had to head back home, was great seeing her once again!
The visitor centre had closed so we will have to go & register in the trails log book tomorrow. Our motel is simple but luxurious compared to the shelter life we have in the bush. I reckon my hot shower went for 30 minutes as I scrubbed & cleaned myself head to toe. Tomorrow we need to get all our clothes cleaned. Oh for clean clothes! Our room stinks badly from our gear! Dave walked pass our motel spotting Ambles sitting out front with a red wine. Dave & Jayn are staying somewhere 800 metres away, Jayn didn’t want to go out for dinner so Dave was off to buy some food to cook up. We planned it perfect staying next door to the Pub! Then it was off to the Dwelly Pub for dinner. My steak n chips I had been drooling over in my head for the past two weeks finally in front of me! Ambles eyes were bigger than his stomach as he ordered oysters & a big lamb shank meal he couldn’t finish. Veronique was there with Deb & Mel, two other End to Enders from QLD. We all sat together. Veronique said she had a huge burger & Beer at midday sitting with Kirsty & Gijs that waited for us. But then they had to leave. Deb & Mel started the same day as us & saw Ambles when he had got lost & didn’t know if I was still behind or in front. So they sent the message down the track of have you seen the lost woman in green shorts? One said to Ambles, “You have lost some weight from the first day we saw you!” They are both in their 60’s & while they were in front, took 2 whole rest days in Dwellingup & are heading out tomorrow. Really nice ladies, we will meet again in Collie as they have another 2 whole rest days there. Veronique is heading straight out again tomorrow, so we won’t see her again. She was saying if she has time, she will do the Cape to Cape after, her plane leaves on the 25th of October. Deb & Mel were like, “We aim to get into Albany on the 25th of October!” Veronique was saying how there is no phone signal throughout this next section. Damn! Just have to go without the internet, read a book & enjoy the bush for the next 7 days on track! By 8pm, it was well past our bedtime & we were both exhausted. We all wished each other happy trails & went to sleep in a proper bed! With proper pillows & blankets! 😊