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Day Thirty: Blackwood to Gregory Brook

5am wake up start after a pretty good sleep actually but can’t rush, this campsite is too beautiful especially with thick fog below us in the valley. Frank & June were quick to leave – town day! Makes you get up lickerdy spit & get on the road. But they had no pub meal or pint of beer to look forward to. We left late almost 7am but Lindsay & John quickly overtook us on the steep slippery downhill descent called Cardiac Hill – more for going up than down. Ambles left knee had been good, but this hill made it start throbbing again & becoming swollen like before. And though he had tried to adjust the webbing on his backpack hip belt yesterday, it was still digging in & painful. So he wasn’t in for a good day.

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Down the bottom of the hill we pass through another farmland property. We are lucky that the owners allow Bibb hikers to go through. Their dog, a big white one, obviously use to hikers but still vocalises at everyone madly barking away first at me, then Ambles coming up the rear – following behind him still barking away. We soon leave the property going through a few gates, by the Blackwood river then over it. I knew there was a long uphill walk to do here so I left Ambles behind, choking on my dust, as I zoomed upwards over pea gravel, rocks & honkey nuts up that dirt road up, up, up, bloody hell! Up, up, up gotta be at the top shortly?! Up, up, up pass the top of Millstream Dam & up, up, up some bloody more! Had a break as soon as I was descending, needed it. Lisa & Geoff that hadn’t even packed their tent when we left camp went flying pass me here! Daisyfish caught up & so did Ambles surprising me how fast he went up that hill. But I quickly left them both behind, powering up for the rest of the 19kms to Gregory Brook Shelter.

The sun was out warming up the hike a tad too much. But the wildflowers here were amazing! So many different varieties, spotted more Jug Orchids, more cowslip orchids. Very, very pretty. Some more hill climbs but not as bad. Felt tired 2kms out, just kept thinking of dunking my hot feet in that cold water there at the shelter motivated me to keep going, arriving 12.20pm. John, Lindsay, Lisa & Geoff were all there laughing & chatting in their little Tramily we didn’t feel a part of yet. Went into the Gregory Brook creek below the shelter, stood in it a couple of minutes before my hot feet realised how icy cold the water was & started to protest. Went in 4 times, splashing cold water over me. Instantly felt better! Ambles came in 40 minutes later very sore, hot, frustrated & no mood to talk. Despite the Goanna Heat cream & knee brace, his left knee was swollen & painful. His backpack uncomfortable. Not a happy Ambles! He was almost going to stop & cook up his noodles on the track, but his knee was feeling better. Daisyfish  was not too far behind him, suffering as well with hot, sore feet.

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After our lunch, Ambles went into the Brook to ice his swollen knee in the water.  Everyone seem to collapse all retiring to their sleeping bags, it became a quiet afternoon. Only Ambles was out & about collecting firewood but wasn’t much around. A lot of that bad wood. But he got a fire going. Daisyfish offered to help him collect firewood, but when he turned around, she was out for the count, asleep in her sleeping bag. I helped him, finding some dead blackboy further up the track. I’m still moving about but really should go rest a bit. Read a bit. Long walk into DRV tomorrow so we will want an early start. And all these March flies are being dreadfully pesky. Hung my sweat clothes out to dry, they ended up covered in ants! Let’s hope Ambles knee is better tomorrow. 🤔

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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.

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