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Day Nineteen: Dookanelly to Possum Springs

(Here we go second time around writing this as I had written it all took over an hour & saved it as I went along but WordPress then deleted the whole blog post thanks WordPress – you suck!)

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13/9 – It was going to be a gruelling long day of 22.7kms  following the new realignment path that goes from Dookanelly to the new suspension bridge called Bilya Djena Bidi 4 kms from the Shelter, crossing over Murray River than following a long firebreak dirt road down to HQ road where it rejoins the old route for the last 8kms to Possum Springs. The track use to go up & down 3 hills for 12kms before reaching the beautiful old historic Long Gully railway bridge that was completely destroying in the 2015 bushfire which then took you onto HQ road. This new realignment is in fact longer & hard on your feet. So we were up at 5am & leaving at 6.30am waving goodbye to Wayne whom was enjoying his morning coffee. It was pleasant & cool but didn’t take long for the day to warm up. Ambles was in the mood for some blues, playing his music through his phone, happy faced & singing away.

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Along the long road there are turn offs to sweet little camping spots by the rivers edge. We missed a waugal marker that wasn’t very obvious, Wayne & Jeremy did the same, and we went up some horrible long incline hill & down the steep other side to find to my dismay a waugal marker pointing right for northbound hikers along a nice pathway along the river. Man was I so pissed off about going up & down that hill unnecessarily. Along we went, starting to get too warm for our liking. Met Tim, a northbound thur hiker with a big backpack on him & a whole heap of stuff hanging off it. He said we only had one big hill coming up then nice & easy. But there was two actually. He said he had already done one end to end in Summer – nuts! Ambles got to the point of needing a break as he hadn’t had one so we stopped at one of those sweet cool shady areas by the river. I heard this noise over & over, “Whoot!…..Whoot!……..Whoot!” I watched this duck on the water, every time it’s back tail lifted it propelled forward with a Whoot! Like it was farting along! I must have been out bush to long going crazy in the head but I had a good chuckle over that. Wayne later said must of been its mating call.

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So we get to HQ road, our trail angels had tied a pink ribbon on the Bibbulmun track sign so we knew they would be waiting with our resupply stuff closer to the Shelter. We had another 6 odd kms to do but before then & it was feeling so hot like 30 degrees, probably was 25 or something. I was feeling awfully tired & hot. We opened our umbrellas to get some shade but I still felt hot & sweaty. Ambles missed another turn, “Um… where are you going?!” Going up the hill was his reply as he turned around. Then it was my turn to somehow miss the path & take some steep path down into a dead end of thick bushes. And it was worse having to come back up it yes oh yes not happy. I slowly made my way up to the noisy loud Conveyor belt that goes into Collie. Under it & up the hill on the other side. Got to the top & the Conveyor stopped! Thanks.

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At one point I noticed a big Emu watching me, it would run away, circle back to watch me more. Ambles came along with his piano blues serenading the Emu saying, “The Emu likes the music see?!” 😂 Really probably was a male Emu with his offspring close by & being protective. We moved on pass Emu. Then I rounded a corner and the bushes next to me suddenly shook & snorted. What I startled had startled me! I freaked out thinking some wild pig gonna run out of those bushes right for me. Ambles went through no problems so said animal had taken off very quickly. It was nearing 1pm, I was losing my cool & there was no cool to lose. I was hot. Tired. My feet burning. Sore. Aching. Sweaty. Done. Grumpy as! The road finally came up & there were our trail angels waiting for us😁. My parents had some yummy fresh salad buns with chocolate mudcake from the Harvey Bakery. And what I had been craving – coke! Two each. Ambles said, “Any beer?!” My dad said, “You didn’t ask for beer!” I downed my first coke in an instant. My lunch not touching the sides on the way down. Then I decided to swap out my Lowa boots for my Hoka One One trail boots. They are probably a size too big but hopefully better. As soon as my feet slipped in – heavenly goodness. My feet like breathed a sigh of relief if feet could, they honestly felt awesome floating on sweet air cushions. Then we picked up our resupply & were on our way 1 km to go!

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It was 2.30 when we arrived. The old Possum Springs Shelter was destroyed all but the toilet the smelliest toilet I ever came across that even the fire didn’t want to go near it. So now looks different with a rammed earth Shelter just like Brookton with the matching king sized dunny throne. And on a warm day, the walls are so cool, it actually started to cool down once we got there. Moments later, Wayne came, looking shattered. We greeted him, but for the first time, he was speechless! Took him a good 5 minutes before he found his voice again. Then Jeremy, then Dave & Jayn all arrived. We all had a very long day all very much exhausted. Wayne decided he smelt bad & needed a wash, so for half an hour he told us how he was preparing for his wash, going through step by step what he needed before finally going & then coming back & saying exactly how he had washed himself. He says to Ambles, “You wouldn’t believe this mate but you know how heavy my pack is? I’m carrying around $12 in coins! Look!” Then he fishes out all these coins from his bag. “Oh man! I can feel all the toxins pouring out of my body! All those drugs & alcohol! This is a great detox shit yeah!” Wayne was feeling better alright. We sat around the cold campfire pit as no one had any energy to start one. Ambles offered around his chocolate mudcake. And we all joked about going back to Dookanelly & sabotaging Tim’s hike stealing one of his boots & socks & stuff. That Tim had made no friends. Wayne met him still by Murray River & Tim said “Yeah man not much further to go!” Then when he met Dave & Jayn, was giving them a prep talk about taking lots of breaks coz it’s hot you know & they are from Melbourne & not use to it you know! Veronique had written in the trails log book she had somehow found the markers to the old track followed them to the river where the old bridge use to be. Rang the BTF utterly confused, they probably never had someone go the old way unintentionally. She probably gave them a good serve about leaving the markers still up. Then she had to go back 12kms to the new bridge & chalked up 44kms arriving at 6.30pm at the Shelter! Yeah, don’t think she was a happy camper that day. I actually was so tired I didn’t bother washing myself as I normally do. Just was so happy to crawl into my sleeping bag early. Ambles was grumbling that the full moon brightness was right in his eyes, he had to pull his beanie down over his eyes. I meanwhile was already drifting off to sleep then BOOM! Some loud crash sound not too far away from a huge tree branch falling down. Well it was a Black Friday & a Full Moon.

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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.

All posts by AmblingRose →

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