11/10: Everyone’s sleeping mats crunched loudly whenever someone moved on their mat. Must have been the flooring in the shelter, mine had never been so loud before. Had a sleep in to 5.10am & it was slightly drizzling with rain outside & very overcast. Not at all cold. Ambles was in a very slow mood & took ages to pack up saying he could stay here another day. My cold was a lot better but my body felt tired, my feet weren’t interested in any walking today. We had an 18km day ahead but hitting the sand meant it was going to be a challenge. I left just before Ambles & he quickly caught up, he walks so fast now, checks the time, realises he is doing 4.8 to 5km/hr & tries to slow down.
Mine seems to be 4.5 but today I was slower. Putting my feet back into wet boots that quickly turned my dry socks wet was no fun. I knew my feet were going to be wrinkly & prune like & start to hurt quickly into the walk. Rain came in but didn’t linger long. This whole section to Long Point is speculator for wildflowers & orchids. I could walk around the remaining puddles on the track before veering into stunning forest, blooming with colour, over granite mossy rocks that were wet & slippery giving me flashbacks to my Mt Cooke slide so I was extra cautious & slow through them. We were headed to the coast which was 10.5kms from Woolbales to the view over Mandalay Beach. The going started to toughen up climbing up & over sand dunes pass more amazing flowers. I could even see slivers of ocean blue. Ambles fast pace turned back into his old Ambling pace, no one can maintain a fast pace in soft sand. Well, not normal people anyway😂. When we arrived at the view spot in front of the ocean, Deb & Mel were there sitting on the seat & soaking it all in. It was an emotional moment, a huge milestone that we had walked all this way inland & arrived on the coast. From here on, we walk eastwards towards Albany along the ocean. Ambles let out a loud whoop!, truly a special moment I will remember forever more.🙂
Deb & Mel continued along as we soaked in the views. We had rain earlier, now we had blue skies, some light clouds & sunshine. You couldn’t ask for better! We continued down to the beach & walk 1 kilometre along Mandalay Beach. We instantly had flashbacks to trudging through soft sand along the Cape to Cape last year – joy o joy!😏While it was about 6kms to Long Point, the going was tough & a lot slower going. It was quite warm out on the exposed sand dunes. I saw only half a tiger snake heading into the bush. Not bad considering it was prime snake time. It was so hard trying to go up those soft sand dunes, I take a step & my foot slid backwards. I was breathing so loud & hard I reckon anyone from kilometres away would hear me. The views were absolutely stunning & I have so many photos! It didn’t feel like a good day when I started but boy! Turned out to be my most favourite! It took us to almost 1pm to get to camp. My feet were really hurting & I ran out of water in my water bladder as I drank so much water. Ambles knee was playing up again. Deb & Mel were chatting to a guy called Ali in the shelter. He is a nobo & was sleeping in his tent when they arrived. He came from Mt Clare, is a recovering drug addict trying to straighten up his life. He was packing up to move on as he wasn’t interested in a group of us sharing the shelter, rather wanted to be by himself. He carry’s all these tinned food, backpack looked pretty heavy as he took off at a sprint walk towards Woolbales. He was nice enough & reminded us of Wayne & Tim, similar personality & drug / alcohol recovering addicts.
The afternoon flew by quickly as Daisyfish, Drew & Elbow rolled in. The sun disappeared behind clouds & the temperature dropped as we all rugged ourselves up. Completely different to the warm evening yesterday. Whoever looks after this shelter really puts a lot of effort into it. So immaculate clean & tidy. New looking retaining walls & white gravel stones make up the floor. Smelt like the wood had all been treated with lacquer recently. The only issue being the toilet is back up the hill, a bit of a walk through soft sand. 8th toilet with no toilet paper.
So many side trip walks to beaches & coves but we have no energy to go exploring. Today was a huge day, we plan an early night tonight & an early start tomorrow – town day! But another big 22.5km walk to get there. Ambles was missing a campfire tonight, “Darn! All these dead back boys around! Could have a campfire & keep warm!” We can finish our vino off tonight but will there be more vino after Walpole? Ambles is threatening to drop vino weight from his backpack…..again…..
Snake sightings Ambles 3, Rose 4.5😂