30/9: We had a mischievous night critter in our midst last night. Larger than a mouse, possibly a possum, I heard my rubbish bag fall off the picnic table seat & dragged across the ground. Then I heard something moving about, wasn’t keen on shining my head torch on it, so I stayed quiet listening to its antics. Suddenly thought: my ZPacks front pouch with the camera has my trail mix & bar inside! It will find it knock it to the ground & wreck the camera! So I quickly reached up, grabbed my ZPacks pouch tucking it safely inside my sleeping bag. Later when I got up for the toilet I was shit! Where’s my rubbish bag gone? It’s disappeared! In the morning, we found this critter has a fetish for gross yucky stuff that smells like food. Our greasy fatty bacterial & who knows what else harbouring dishwashing scourer must have been a prized steal as was Daisyfish‘s chux cloth as both had vanished off the table with my rubbish. I had to nudge Ambles whom didn’t stir after his 5am alarm had gone off. He was wearing ear plugs now & had slept well.
As we were packing up, Deb found my rubbish, the critter had dragged my bag under the steps & pulled all my rubbish out leaving it all scattered along the length of the log underneath. Lucky I had emptied the bag yesterday & there wasn’t much in it. Ambles empty goon bags were strewn about, that critter must have been pissed (no pun intended😂) to find them empty of liquid. Then Ambles couldn’t find his hat. I told him he probably packed it already but he reckoned that critter had stolen it, making a cozy nest bed somewhere with his hat & the dirty scourer. Well we left at 6.30am to kick ass on today’s hike of 25kms into Pemberton. Why do they make it such a long walk into town?! I AM NOT IMPRESSED!! We farewelled Deb & Mel whom were the last there enjoying a coffee before hitting the track. Yep, walk pass the shelter, turn left & straight up a nice steep incline, no mucking about warming us up first! The weather was overcast, sort of like mist but not, and humid. Rain was forecasted from midday onwards. It is magnificent these Karri trees, a photo just cannot capture the impressive length, these trees grow straight as a ruler high to the sky. The birds were chirping & I was feeling good today. My feet were better, my ankle not as sore. Despite Ambles having some cold, a nasty cough, he was cranking it up big time, we were moving at 4.5kms an hour. He finds now if he walks fast, his knee doesn’t hurt. If he ambles, his knee starts hurting. But he says he can’t go fast all the time. The walking poles he never used as he claimed they changed his gait. Now he uses his poles every day & finds they help him to walk faster. Well everyone he met in the past did tell him that!
Most of the walk today is through more forest with an easy flat gradient. Weaving through different forest areas including a short walk through another farmers paddock. We arrived at the Big Brook Arboretum to have a lengthy 30 minute break after doing 15kms. I was starting to slow, the bottoms of my feet hurting trying to keep up with Ambles. I’m in trouble now he has found his new fast speed! On we went pass the Big Brook Dam, the pavement was harsh on our feet. We were glad to get off it for the second long hill incline of the day. We were prepared to eat on the track but with less than 4kms to go by 11.30, we thought nah! Get into town & have lunch at the pub instead! Those last few kilometres were taxing but, our feet were hot & hurting. The sun had come out & Ambles was complaining his head & neck were getting sunburnt without his cap. We passed two male hikers going north & they said they were heading to Donnelly Village over the next couple of days. Not sure if they realise the length of the section to there & that it was midday & they had over 20kms to get to Beedelup Shelter? They reckon they would get there in 3 hours but they were meandering when we saw them. We were tired so just kept plugging away, left foot, right foot, repeat….
It certainly was warm with blue skies when we hit the main road of Pemberton. And another record breaking of 25kms in 6 hours! Go Ambles! We may have to change his name from Ambling 😆. Plus he is sick so an amazing effort! We stopped in at the Visitor Centre first, then the pharmacy which was closed, so Ambles hotfooted (still no pun intended 😂) over to IGA to find cough mixture for his cold. Then we checked in and made sure we got a 3rd night. Ambles decided on two rest days, so he can recover from his ailments & our battered bodies recover from that last whole challenging section! We grabbed lunch, quickly joined by Deb & Mel whom had just arrived still with their backpacks on, John & Lindsay, Geoff Lisa all four refreshed, showered & clean while us four smelt funky as! John ordered a large pizza eating the whole lot! And I thought I had a big appetite 😂. I ordered my standard BLT with a pint of beer, went down a treat alright. Ambles ordered a big T Bone steak and pint of Guinness. The weather quickly changed as Deb & Mel left to go up the road to their accommodation & in no time it was cold & raining! All we had to do was grab our backpacks & retire to our room to scrub & clean ourselves head to toe. My clothes are so gross I already set to washing them! Mind you, after washing my tops, the stink & sweat has ingrained into the fabric around the armpits, I could still smell it but not as strong. And Ambles found his cap – was sitting in one of his front pouches! So it would have been easy to get it out & put it on without stopping had he known!
John booked a table for all 9 of us for dinner in the pub. Our last catch up as our group we had become over the last week. Ambles had slicked back his unruly long growing hair with hair wax I got for him earlier, was keen to see if anyone noticed but no one did or if they did, didn’t say anything. We all stayed up way pass hiker bedtime, enjoying this last evening together before we part ways. Yet some of us may bump into each other further along the track – who knows? This journey is full of surprises, joy, new friendships & magical moments.