27/9: Hmmmmmmm, first shelter I’ve come across so far with a vermin problem. Failed to get much sleep due to a mouse epidemic. Mice trying to get into my rubbish bag on the picnic table several times, knocking over Lindsay’s cooking pot with a loud clang. Scurrying across the roof & sounded like something was gnawing or scratching wood loudly. Daisyfish flashed her head torch about couple of times to pinpoint the culprits. Only kept us two awake. Deb was fast asleep in the middle. Ambles was dead to the world as was Lindsay & the other culprit keeping me awake was John snoring loudly below me constantly for the better part of the night. Then I also had to get up to go to the toilet twice.
When I finally dozed off, probably only got a few hours sleep in, then Ambles nudged me at 5am. Nope! Wasn’t getting up, was tired & grumpy, stayed in bed another 20 minutes. The sleeping bag liner is much more constricted. I can barely move now, & it doesn’t have a hood so I used my food bags to stop my pillow from wandering off. But yes, it is a lot warmer inside my liner now. So in our group we have Lindsay, whom we first thought odd guy, but we have gotten to know him & he’s a pretty nice bloke we have conversations about walks in NZ and the Camino. He started on his own & met John, whom is from Goondiwindi hiking on his own. They both formed a friendship & have now been travelling together. Lindsay is always first to be ready, backpack on, poles in hand, full balaclava on face, dressed head to toe, waits for John, then off they go, usually don’t catch up to them until the next campsite. John is a pretty nice easy going guy, easy to talk to & joke with. The mice managed to chew a hole in his food bag unfortunately at least they didn’t get to his food. The two guys left first, followed by Daisyfish keen on an early start. We left before Deb & Mel, both inspiring women to meet, Deb is actually planning on doing the Bicentennial walk 5000kms from Qld to Victoria in the coming years. Will take her 8 months! Last out is Lisa & Geoff from Welly, NZ. They are comfortable tenters which I wish we were, we don’t see much of them. They are either at their tent enjoying their privacy or passing us on the track. Sometimes they join us at the picnic table & are friendly to chat with. Then you have me & Ambles in the mix, our trail group compliments each other nicely.
So I was happy to meander along today. It was a too long 24.2kms so knew it was going to be a painfully long day. Ambles complained he was getting a cold & it must be from me after my cold 4 weeks ago! Yeah right 😆My backpack felt full of bricks, even after I offloaded some food to Ambles whom offered to take extra weight. Spotted two new Orchid flowers & was snapping photos. Got me Orchid eyes on now😊. Then Ambles continued ahead, didn’t catch him for like 2 odd hours. Was walking alone, enjoying the cool morning, pleasant forest walk. Didn’t see anyone until I got to the lovely Green Island camping grounds where Daisyfish was taking a break. She asked did I see her arrows pointing to the orchids? I noticed Orchids but not her arrows. I’m so observant sometimes 😏. This is common for hikers in front to leave arrows pointing to something of interest or a turn in the track not clearly marked. I continued onwards into the marshes on a narrow goat trail right by the river. Ended up seeing Ambles at One Tree Bridge, which is a display of the remains of One Tree Bridge, a fallen Karri made into a bridge. Also had toilets there & picnic table so I had a break, Ambles kept going mumbling about walking on his own, but he chose to not take a break & he is walking too fast! I had too much a break, Daisyfish had gone by followed by a loud crashing sound of some tree or large branch falling down somewhere nearby & I was taking up the rear as I increased speed to catch up. Low & behold – I spotted Ambles lying on his mattress he had blown up right in front of the halfway sign. Daisyfish had also put down her ground sheet taking a rest. Ambles was like, “Well I was waiting 15 minutes!” We had made it halfway – 501kms! We only another 501kms to go!😁
We cracked open the two small bottles of sparkling white wine & consumed these over lunch. Then Daisyfish & I were crawled up on our mats resting as I hijacked Ambles mattress! Could stay all afternoon. But we had another 8kms so we had to press on. Daisyfish took off before us as we leisurely packed up. Only 600 metres down the track still stands the old half way marker without the signs attached. Seems silly actually. That last section was a killer. Ambles felt tired & started slowing down to his normal Ambling speed so I took off in front. Most of the track was flat & lacking in Waugal markers that frustrated me. But I knew I was on track. There were more branches, fallen logs, twigs & more to dodge again. So many branches & trees fall down right across the path! The river is always close with the track going near & away from it, so pretty to look at when you get glimpses. This section is the nicest in my book. Then there is the normal hill ascent & descents right near the end. By then you have run out of juice, feet are hurting so much, you bend right over your poles dragging yourself upwards with a slow shuffle. Looking like a 100 year old woman😂. Caught up & surprised Daisyfish whom was singing out loud listening to her music. Had 2 more kms, my feet felt every step, my heels really sore. Pass over the beautiful Karri log bridge after another little pimply climb & walk 200 metres off a spur trail into the lovely Boarding House Campsite where everyone else had been already a couple of hours. Started walking at 7am & arrived at 3pm – super long day😕. I went down to the river on a short side trail where John was dunking his swollen feet into the cold water. I did the same to my feet, then as I smelt so bad, took my change of clothes & stripped off washing the cold water over me. Damn felt so good! That part of the river was full of rocks & shallow so could only swat in there splashing water over myself. Ambles had not been so far away turning up 10 minutes later. He said he saw his first snake on the track. He stopped, stared at the snake, the snake stared back at him. Then he pulled out his phone to take a video & the snake was like, ‘Piss off! I’m not your free entertainment!’ and quickly slithered off into the bushes.
Two more hikers are staying here both travelling north. The first was this overweight big guy, just doing a section to DRV I think. Really exhausted, staggered in looking delirious, like death on legs, he slurred his words when he spoke. Lindsay gave up his spot & bunked with John. The guy put down his sleeping bag crawled inside & was out like a light. Woke up later at 6.30pm, went to the toilet making some terrible vomiting sounds, returned & passed out again. The other guy, Brad, is a nobo end to ender, a minimalist hiker that double huts & had double hutted today coming in at 5pm – looked like he didn’t even raise a sweat on those jigsaw teeth climbs we got tomorrow. He was fortunate to get the remaining spot next to the other new guy that was snoring loudly. He has 30 days to do the whole track & was on day 15. Deb & Mel beat even the boys in but chose to tent as does Geoff & Lisa. Still full tonight with 11 of us.
Ambles & I chatted with Mel whom joined us for a bit on this seat overlooking the river. Mel had done the Mundi Biddi 5 years ago. And doing very well considering she broke two of her ribs in May this year mountain biking, now hiking the Bibbulmun Track with a full backpack. Her doctor advised her to delay the walk, but here she is, going great guns, no problems at all. But she had trouble keeping up with Deb today whom was a mega machine, not just her normal machine self! Ambles was too tired to start a campfire, again this campsite is equipped with an Axe & storage area containing lots of chopped up firewood. Daisyfish told him she will do the fire – & she did! Got it started & looked after it. Ambles was grateful & impressed. Everyone called it an early night at only 6.30pm! I stayed back on my own by the campfire for a bit longer. Sure had been a tough day.