24/10: It got wild & stormy last night. Lightening came close by the shelter then a huge CRACK, BOOM! Of thunder almost upon us it was so loud, woke us all. Deb said she jumped at the sound, straight off her sleeping pad! Then it poured heavily onto the shelter roof for a good hour or so. So lucky we didn’t walk in that! We had a lazy 16.4kms today, each day short & easy now to Albany. No hard long days any more. The best thing is we don’t have to pack super early, enjoy a more relaxed wake up, meander about getting breakfast & packing up. Ambles & Deb have way too much energy for early in the morning, challenging each other to how many full push ups each can do. Yes they have done this before! Deb is super strong doing push-ups on her knuckles while Ambles does normal hand ones. Then he throws out a challenge to how many sit ups can Deb do. The wooden platform is not ideal for this excerise & hurts the back. So Ambles thinks he is smart & does sit ups with his legs & knees straight out on the ground. But that’s pretty hard & not good for the back. Geez, he will be broken before he gets to Albany!😂We want to leave later like around 8am but as always are packed up ready by 7am. And we weren’t rushing!
It looks like more rain but luckily it’s not. Just very cold, cloudy & windy especially near the coast cliffs, a gusty southerly. We walk through some pretty recent controlled burns, at least not too much of the track goes through it. There was a diversion for some time & just recently got lifted. Have we managed to hike the whole Bibbulmun track without getting a diversion? Amazing! It smelt strongly of burnt still with a few sporadic flowers emerging & small amounts of green grass. The predominant colours being brown & black.😕Ambles actually did a better job of walking with me today, speeding away once for a few kilometres then waiting for me to catch up while watching 3 kangaroos that stood watching him. The kangaroos must be used to hikers & not too afraid. As I approached they also watched me not moving away as most do.
I caught up to Deb & Mel having a break & this day hiker lady was chatting to them. She walked off northwards & came across Ambles bringing up the rear. She goes to him, “Geez! There’s lots of you out here! There’s 3 more up ahead!” She sounded vastly disappointed that others were also out on the track not just her! In fact her first response to Mel saying they were thur hiking the Bibbulmun was, “So have you lost weight?!” We can see the wind turbines of the Albany wind farm in the hazy distance. Even further ahead is more day hikers as we climb up & along some steep cliff drop off point, the winds threatening to blow us off. There is another hike trail that follows the Bibb a short ways, a carpark far down below. So we found out where these people were coming from! At the Albany / Walpole signage, Ambles had to drop his pack. It wasn’t sitting right. He felt all the weight was on one side. So he emptied it out & re-packed. Then discovered his bottom pack rod do-dah thing had slipped out of its loop. He sighs & goes, “One of these days, I will get a decent backpack that doesn’t break & cost so much!”
The nice thing about today’s walk is that it is more varied. We move under paperbark trees then out onto granite slabs, along the coast ridge with gorgeous coastal views of Dingo Beach, the colour of the water & beach sand so postcard perfect. Back into more peppermint & small Jarrah trees. Ambles goes ahead & spots a huge brown & black snake on the track. It goes into the bush & scaredy-cat Ambles tells me to go ahead first pass the spot where the snake had been. The snake has gone the coast is clear as we finalise our walk into Torbay campsite re joining with Deb & Mel. Lucky they had been ahead of us & cleared most of the snakes off the path. Mel came across 4 big snakes in the last kilometre! Oooooh – horrible!😳
We had arrived just after midday so settled down for lunch & usual camp chores. Mel is going great, her foot problem is actually improving, great news! Ambles puts up the tent without all the drama this time. He didn’t need water filtered as he didn’t drink much at all – naughty naughty! The sky cleared up & the sun felt so warm & lovely, unfortunately the strong gusts of wind are downright chilly cold! This campsite is above again on top of the cliffs away from the water but still with lovely views out, especially from the outside picnic table which is further away up a short hill with views out to the ocean. Well, beautiful & warm when the winds aren’t blowing otherwise it’s freezing cold up there! Ambles tried to save the unused fuel by putting it back in the bottle but half of it spilled down the sides. So he will just burn off the remainder of fuel in the cap, wasting it. He reckons there’s enough fuel & there better be! Won’t be happy eating cold soak porridge!
So I’ll explain the picture on yesterday’s blog post of the hut sign with Waugal markers. So we didn’t know this & Jacko told us: most Waugal markers the tail tip points left, but a whole batch were made with the tail tip pointing right! So in that photo you see one of each Waugal. Now I know this, every time I come across a Waugal, I note which way the tail tip is! And today’s walk had lots more Waugal markers where yesterday there were hardly any along the track.
Lots of birds today, especially those cute blue wrens fluttering about, two male ones chasing after a female. Almost stepped on a lazy blue tongue lizard hiding amongst the bushes. Ambles thought I was talking to the flowers but no I was talking to the lizard! I do also talk to the flowers.😂 Oh dear it will be hard to re-adjust into society! We all speak some mad talk now, Ambles entertains us singing out corny songs & talking crazy like he reckoned that we could walk into Albany today – yeah just pump out a 50+ kilometre day! Sounds awesome but……NO! Deb came up with an hilarious tune to 99 bottles on the wall song as Ambles discusses how the lightening last night could have zapped us. I tweaked it slightly & goes like this, “There is four fried hikers laying in a hut, if one fried hiker should accidentally roll out, then there will be three fried hikers laying in a hut….”🎼
We spend the afternoon hiding in our tents but the cold winds blow straight in, I reckon those winds are coming from Antarctica! On goes every item of clothing we have. Ambles complains of a sore back…..from those sit-ups!😏 Nevertheless the challenge of push-ups still continued this late afternoon with Ambles smashing out 16 while Deb did 15. Ambles is not competitive – oh no!!😆
Hmmmmmm…. what for dinner tonight?! I have been feeling hungry all day today! Must be ‘hiker hunger’. We were enjoying our meals when a random lady jogged pass with her dog. Yep, don’t feel so isolated in the wilderness now, too close to civilisation! Nooooo!😧 Definitely going into bed early to read my book, too bloody cold outside the sleeping bag! At least that wind has died down somewhat. We have less than 40 kilometres left, the 26th of August seems a lifetime ago!
Snake sightings: Ambles 5, Rose 5.5
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.
Honeymoon Pool to Balingup
Chichester Range Camel Trail