12/10: The Bibbulmun Guide book read that Long Point to Walpole, skipping Mt Clare was a really tough strenuous walk but could be done by experienced fit determined hikers, barely but possible. So we had geared up for an 8 hour hike into town. I didn’t sleep well at all, heard Mel rummaging around in her tent taking pills around some late hour of the night. Every noise I heard & the moon hung bright in the sky. Deb set her alarm going off at 4am. We were up & at it, packing up & having breakfast, hitting the trail at a planned 6am. Today marks our 6th wedding anniversary as Deb sung us happy anniversary to the happy birthday tune. Can’t say that will ever happen again, was a lovely gesture! Everyone was going into Walpole besides Daisyfish whom was staying at Mt Clare today & going into Walpole tomorrow. With all our noises & lights shining, she gave up on staying in her sleeping bag & got up to join us. Drew was packing up his tent as we were heading off ahead of schedule at 5.45am.
The morning was cool but didn’t require extra layers of clothing. The sun was rising, peeking through the clouds as we set off. Perfect weather in fact & best time of day to start walking. We had prepared for a hard slog of 13kms into Mt Clare expected to arrive there at 10.30am. Whilst we were on sand, it wasn’t too bad the sand wasn’t really soft but the track in places was severely overgrown with bushes. I made the mistake of not wearing my gaiters & my lower legs got scratched up badly by all the prickly bushes I had to push through. By 7am, the sun was feeling warm, on sand dunes, you are exposed with no shade, the heat reflects off the sand & makes you hot, sweat & drink more. We pushed through at a slower 3.5km/hr but pretty good considering, the track wasn’t as bad as yesterday. We veer away from the ocean making our way back inland. Lots of birds & soaring eagles about. At times, the cool breeze spots along the track were a relief. We didn’t stop for a break until we got out of the exposed dunes & were under the cover of the forest. Immediately it was much cooler & made for pleasant easy walking. Then we just had a short but steep climb up to Mt Clare. Ambles had no trouble whatsoever & kept moving up. I struggled due to probably having had a cold, kept having to stop, break, slow my breathing back down & continue. At least I wasn’t having to blow my nose every 3 seconds anymore, was feeling better but tired. We arrived early at Mt Clare by 9.20am. Deb & Mel were there having a break. We took a break again, I was hot from the climb up but cooled down quickly, it was freezing cold there! But a beautiful spot, we are now in Tingle tree land. Amazing giant Red Tingle trees surrounded the shelter. Ambles was trying to hurry me up as I wrote in the trail logs book & took photos.
The last part into Walpole was 10kms, a gentle downhill into town through the cool forest. Ambles was focused on getting to the pub he took off, his speed increased & I had to keep texting him to slow down. He was on a mission & didn’t worry about leaving me behind to walk into town alone on our anniversary! Poor form I say!😆My feet were hurting as I kept having to walk faster to catch up & keep up. At least the day was perfect weather wise. Some clouds had rolled through & it was cool under the trees. We crossed Rest Point Road, Ambles looked right knowing his favourite place in the whole wide world was there – Rest Point Caravan Park. Cars zipped up & down towing Caravans & boats, he pulled a sad face as we continued into town. Through the golf course & over the Walpole River. The last kilometre truly sucked, on hard flat pavement around the new housing estate with very modern looking new homes. My feet hurt sooooo much! I just wanted to be sitting in the pub already! But we made it 12.20pm just in time for lunch – straight into the pub on the outskirts of town. Joined by Deb & Mel for lunch. They hadn’t showered yet but were staying there so had dumped their backpacks & boots in their room. Their meals arrived quickly but ours was delayed, & we ordered the same time. I sat waiting & waiting while watching Deb & Mel eat their meals. Torture! Eventually our meals came & I mowed down a BLT with chips. Ambles had a dozen oysters followed up with a small fish n chips. We all had pints of beer. Double lot of beers, except I chose a Bourbon & Coke after my first pint of beer.
Unfortunately we had to leave at some point & make our way across the small town to the Tree Top Walk Motel where we were booked to stay. It was a very slow shuffle with a belly full of grog & food & numbed feet over to the visitor centre to fill in the log book, another slow shuffle over to the motel. Drew & Elbow had arrived & were walking about. They were staying at the backpackers but couldn’t get in to 3.30pm. Well that truly sucked! Elbow was sitting & waiting outside the cafe / bakery with newspaper & drink while he waited. We were in our room by 2.30pm – we were at the pub awhile 😂.
Walpole was the southern terminus end of the Bibbulmun Track back in 1998. If that was the case today, we would have finished our journey. But now, only 2 weeks remain until we walk into Albany. 2 weeks today! So hard to believe. So we spent the afternoon soaking in our own spa bath filled with Epsom salts. Of course we showered the grime & funk off our bodies before we hopped in! Our bodies turned into wrinkly prunes before we got out. Felt well & truly cleaned. Ambles went to the IGA, came back with a fishing rod & bait didn’t he?! Plus extra fishing line to carry & go hand fishing along the track.😆 There was only one washing machine & dyer at the motel to use & had to wait my turn. Had all my clothes in so ended up eating in the restaurant there in my camp shorts, a bikini top with my mont-bell jacket over it. Classy😆. The restaurant was absolutely lovely. Had it to ourselves briefly before other couples rolled in. Had real golden oldie songs playing softly in the background. Sounded like from the 50 & 60’s. The food was so so good, but for the first time on this trip, I could not finish my meal! I was starting to feel unwell, sickish, sore tummy & I guess the day’s walk plus the other 9 days walking had caught up with me. I was feeling so tired & exhausted. It was our anniversary & all, but I ended up going to bed early after dinner, was totally worn out. So glad to have a couple of rest days to recharge & recover. Ambles stayed up longer enjoying another glass of vino & reading his newspaper – catching up on the news😁.