Was another cold & misty morning at 5am in Balingup. Ambles was up early cooking up a steak for his breakfast 😆. The bed felt so good I reluctantly got out at 5.30 & had my normal staple breakfast I have at home, porridge & fresh strawberries. I could easily stay another day, and then another day….. but we had to keep going, so I farewelled our cosy cottage with the fireplace still going, closing the door at 7am & heading off after Ambles into town. Daisyfish was saying goodbye to her Kirby & Tim as we walked by & quickly joined us as we walked out of town & through the lovely Golden Tree Valley Park.
Legs felt slow & sluggish as Daisyfish & I took the lead chatting & walking along. We even spotted another Orchid to my delight. The White Spider Orchid! I saw two of them. We stopped for a 10 minute break at the bench with a view – view of rolling farmlands & so much greenery. Ambles caught up & kept going. Well Ambles must have strapped a rocket to his backpack & I didn’t catch him until the cow paddocks 3kms from the Shelter. I had become the ambler today!😊 We did this section south to north so I enjoyed going back through the opposite way. And it felt like yesterday when we were last here. We follow some of the Greenbushes loop trail along the way. Magpies threatened to swoop me couple of times as I was passing moo cows in the paddocks by the road. I stuck my poles up in the air waved them about to show those Magpies I meant business!
I remembered last time walking through the farmers paddock was a highlight as the cows greeted me. Today they didn’t want to know me keeping far down the paddock & all I got was dodging their sloppy diarrhoea poos all over the track. Then the hill climb started, man I was tired today, struggletown on those hills. Caught up to Ambles whom then got a phone call from DRV about the accommodation & so he paid over the phone standing in a cow paddock as you do. We continued up, up, up through the pine plantation now, all lovely. But warm, 24 degrees kind of glaring & cloudy but sunny weather. Sweated up the final hill to the top. Managed to scratch up my left leg on some sharp sticks by the path, must be tired🤔. Ambles was so pleased with himself, “18.6kms in 5 hours! With no break!” And I may add he arrived at Blackwood Shelter first with me right behind him 12.10pm.
This guy called Frank was already there. He said he could hear a tinkle noise well before he saw us was trying to work out where it came from then saw my little noisy bell hanging off my backpack. Ambles left his bell with his old backpack. I’m very disappointed with him doing that! My bell feels lonely now😂. Frank is middle aged 50 odd I’m guessing, started in Pemberton & heading north to Kalamunda. Frank likes to talk so Ambles quickly moved away feeling annoyed by him. And Frank likes opera music, playing it out loud for awhile. I’m not a fan of Opera / classical music just saying😏. I prefer the sounds of the bush, birds talking & crickets cricketing. So I moved quickly away too. Daisyfish wasn’t too far behind us arriving & got settled in, she told me off for putting too much vegemite on my bread! Out here, I squeeze some vegemite straight from the tube onto my finger eating it straight! Tastes good😁. 73 year old June came in next walking north to Collie. Then our other Sobo’s (southbounders) Lindsay & John turned up at 2pm.
We were all settled in the Shelter & now that I was here, it felt cool. I’m guessing this place gets windy as one side wall has a barrier up to stop the wind somewhat. I remembered one year ago we were here. I met this lady thur hiking, really felt inspired by her. I told her we had plans to thur hike the following year & she said, “Yeah, you can do it most definitely!” Now here I am actually doing it! Feels surreal. Feels good to be out here. I’m pumped for the challenges that lay ahead. And feel so lucky to be able to do this together with Ambles🙂. Deb & Mel left a hello message for us & Daisyfish in the red book & in 2 days we will be seeing them again. Daisyfish reckons she is going to change my name from Rose to Tinkerbell because of my bell & green clothing😂.
I rested my cankle, (swollen left ankle) reading my book out in the lovely sunshine. It had been so cold, I was totally sucking in all the warmth I could get. And we have gorgeous views down into the valley, rolling hills & pine plantations below. Ambles Aarn was better but still not right so he was on face time, with a specialist in NZ, playing with the hip belt, actually cutting off pieces with scissors while he waits for a new hip belt piece to come from NZ. Geez! My Osprey is so much simpler! We watched Lindsay practice his golf swings with his hiking pole. Someone was snoring. Frank had stopped talking. And we found out the Balingup Tavern is closed due to a fire starting in the kitchen last night! No business for the next month or so due to the fire damage. That is terrible news! What a shame indeed☹️. At least the owner is ok only had smoke inhalation & been treated.
Ambles is counting, this one is the 4th Shelter toilet with no loo paper. The old Blackwood Shelter burned down years ago, use to be surrounded by trees but they have all been cut down after the fire so now it is very barren up here. No camp fires allowed here as you can guess! So dinner early as normal & then off to bed! Just on 5pm we had two late hikers roll in Geoff & Lisa from Wellington NZ. Packed house tonight! Lindsay commented to Ambles, “I better not be with you guys when you reach Walpole as Wayne wants to be joining you for the rest of the way!” We also hope Wayne won’t be joining us😏. We got a great sunset before retiring to bed😊.