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Day Fifty Nine: Denmark to West Cape Howe

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23/10: Today marks the start of the end stretch of our journey to Albany. Early start at 5am to dress & be packed. Annie cooked us bacon & eggs with toast, avocado & mushrooms. (Ambles got a double serving of mushrooms😆😆) Annie took a photo of us before we sped off back into town with Jacko. Picked up Deb & Mel & on the way out to drop us off, Jacko showed us the Wetlands Boardwalk. Not many people know it’s there, a beautiful bit of ancient looking swampland with Paperbark trees. I could imagine it look very different under thick fog – Alfred Hitchcock style setting.😳Jacko drops us off at a standard taxi point drop off next to the Bibbulmun track. The track actually starts about 8kms further north at the Nullaki Peninsula. There no longer is a ferry service so the only options are to walk a long road walk around of 26kms to this point we were dropped off. Walk the sandbar across & then walk to the peninsula via unmarked trails through swamp wetlands wading through water & reeds & avoiding the heavily dense population of tiger snakes! Or drop off at gate & do a 6km return walk to the peninsula & continue south. Basically it is a very grey area & really needs re-routing. It was originally this way as there always was a ferry service to drop Bibb walkers across to continue the trail, with no ferry / boat service it should have been changed years ago. So the Bibb foundation said it’s fine to blue blaze to the track further down & continue from there. I still felt like I was cheating & skipping 8kms of track which would have been nice along the Wilson Inlet edge but I hear is poorly maintained & overgrown & full of tiger snakes! Most hikers just choose to be dropped off while a few decide to walk extra non Bibbulmun kilometres. So….. off the 4 of us continued to Nullaki shelter, the easiest walk to a shelter yet of only 1.6kms.😊This one is full of mozzies, real bad, they set their evil eyes on me when I walked in. Already trying to find somewhere to bite on me. As always, I sit, write in the books, read some stories, take photos, use the toilet. Ambles doesn’t wait for me & continues on. Birdman writes an even bigger list of bird names he has seen. It’s very impressive. He is only one day ahead of us as he spent two nights here studying the bird life in the area. Lots of dedication!

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There isn’t much in the way of flowers, the usual coastal variety adding colour to the dunes. The morning is overcast & soon dark rain clouds close in & release their heavy burdens of water. So it’s windy, raining & the track is densely populated with vegetation, their wet branches & shrubbery making boots wet very quickly. Soon enough, I’m sloshing around in soaked socks & boots. Joy o joy.😣I use my umbrella but have to hang onto it, the wind blows the rain in sideways & my shorts & top get soaking wet anyway. For 2.5 hours I walk alone pushing my way through the wet bushes, getting cold. There are cute groves of peppermint thickets to help shield me from the rain at times. Otherwise the track is largely along sand hills exposed to the elements. Resigned to the fact Ambles can’t be bothered with us walking together. After he said we would walk together along the coastal stretch – that’s working out well!😆All the others we have met that walk in pairs do just that! They must have looked at us two thinking it strange we are always walking apart. I’m just as guilty at the start for racing off leaving Ambles behind. Now the tables have turned & he gets impatient waiting for me & continues ahead. I guess we will always be this way, this is our hiking style😏. There was only 2 days out of this trip we walked constantly together. It’s very bad! As I ponder all this as hiking alone makes your mind drift off thinking about such & such, Ambles appears standing on the side in the rain. He had dropped his backpack & came back a ways looking for me. The rain eventually eases off, my hands are cold, wet & wrinkled. Takes some time before warmth returns to them. Our hike is shy of 20kms & the sand dune walking is much easier in this section. The sand is mostly firm, the climbs short & gentle except the last 4 kms that remains a constant gradual slow ascent. Views of the ocean can be seen now the rain has lifted. Wasn’t much to see earlier. There is a lack of WaugaIs in fact I don’t see one for at least 4 kms. At the last hill climb I start ahead of Ambles on the last stretch as he stops to take off his rain jacket. Well, he will easily catch up anyway & speed ahead so I don’t bother waiting. I’m going up & all these day hikers appear walking the opposite way, 1..2….3…4……5…..6……7 like 10 of them pass me! Then Ambles comes charging up super fast to catch me. The day hikers with small backpacks were taken aback by this dude bulldozing his way up with a huge backpack – get out of the way!!

I’m sure glad to get to camp just after 1pm. Deb & Mel just arrived minutes before us. It’s lunchtime & I’m feeling hungry. First we all wring out the excess water from our socks & boot sole pads, there is no way anything will dry by tomorrow! We eat our cakes first I had got from the Denmark bakery – gonna have mine for afternoon tea but thought what the hell, eat cake then lunch😋. Ambles burns the black rubber O ring for the second time this trip in the trangia, & we don’t have a spare! The O ring is important for sealing the remainder of fuel for transport & re use on next cook up. So will see what idea Ambles comes up with to keep the fuel & not throw it out wasting precious cooking fuel! We do our usual camp chores. It’s cold, I would have loved some sunshine but aren’t getting any today. Ambles puts up the tent, finds dirt & dead flies inside, takes it down, turns it inside out, lays down exhausted by the effort, 20 odd minutes later puts it up a second time. Ambles has a way of making uncomplicated tasks complicated 😂😂. This shelter is nestled in a shallow valley dip. As Jacko said, it has the best outdoor picnic table on the whole Bibb. Just a short upwards walk takes you to the picnic table looking out east along the coast. It’s really good on a clear day, not so enjoyable today. There’s another spur trail lookout higher up with a bench to sit at & admire gorgeous coastal views from east to west. I wasn’t expecting to see any snakes due to the cold weather & I didn’t, but Mel almost stepped on a really big tiger snake on the path. Expect the unexpected always! Ambles grumbled about his soaked boots & socks saying the track is still testing us, throwing out challenges. Our good weather luck had to run out soon enough.🤨

Well it’s too bloody cold an afternoon to do much. The sun peeked out briefly before sunset. We are all rugged up like Eskimo people😆. An early dinner & snuggle up in the sleeping bag & read a book sounds like a plan! Ambles offers me a nightcap of whiskey before sleep but pours too much into the cups & struggles to finish his own! Now there is only a small portion left!😕

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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.

All posts by AmblingRose →

5 Comments

  1. witheyesandcuriosity October 24, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Doesn’t sound much fun. Let’s hope the weather improves for a sunny last couple of days to the bell for you all. My fingers are crossed as I sit here warm on my sofa. I am feeling a little happier about my own aborted ending. Baahaaa!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. It’s meant to warm up this weekend. I’m freezing! The winds must come from the oSouth Pole brrrrrr🥶 Can’t believe how close we are now to the finish!! Your blister infection healed now?

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      Reply

      1. witheyesandcuriosity October 24, 2019 at 3:32 pm

        Just had my last dressing removed. Dr says I can put shoes on and walk, so long as I don’t rub the brand new skin. Yay!!! She was surprised that it healed so quickly actually. Guess all that hiking has made me strong and healthy. Keep up the good work. Are you due to Albany Sat or Sun?

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      2. We all walking in Sunday morning. Doing 3 short days in. The forecast has changed going to be cooler now. Think I won’t get warm weather until I get back to Perth! So cold on the coast! Great to hear about your blister. Great news! You will be out walking soon.

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      3. witheyesandcuriosity October 24, 2019 at 5:53 pm

        That’s so exciting. I’m beyond jealous. You 4 are awesome. My infection was staph so very lucky I didn’t keep going and got proper treatment. It’s gonna be about 34 degrees in Perth.

        Liked by 1 person

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