Our final leg of this incredible journey. 12.5kms into Albany to the Southern Terminus sign. My mind was too active for sleep & spent the night rolling from left side to right side on my noisy sleeping pad. It was warm, the outside seem quiet besides a gentle breeze making the outer tent flap on my side blow inwards & outwards. Ambles at one point said he could hear something outside. But it was only the tent flap. Certainly by 4.30am the breeze was getting stronger, Ambles said, “uh-oh, there’s dark clouds coming!” But he had nothing to fear, besides a strong breeze, we had a perfect morning weather wise. Truly blessed. There were clouds rolling through & that was all. The winds had a chill to them. We had a quick breakfast & went up to the lookout top to brush our teeth & watch the sun rise. So lucky it wasn’t overcast & drizzling rain like yesterday morning! We had to fight the winds to pack up the tent being the only drama. By the time 6.30am rolled by, we had backpacks on for the final time. Mine felt super light, we had eaten most of the food. So as we started this journey together just the two of us, it was fitting we finish together, just the two of us. Everyone we had met had already finished in Albany or not on the track anymore. It was just us two still walking. Ambles quickly forgot about doing his daily push-ups to build his upper body. Not good enough! I think he was just too excited to get this other with!
We left the barren campsite behind & made our way onwards through some more sand hills, one last lookout to the ocean before we turn inwards & towards the outskirts of Albany. I spot one more snake just at the last minute it slithers away from my pole & boot & into the bush. Jolly early, I didn’t realise snakes would be active so early but now I do! Ambles pulls in front at times & I keep reminding him we must walk together the whole way today! Once we turn into Frenchman’s Bay, it’s bitumen footpath for awhile. Our feet don’t like this. Rubbish goes into the first bin we see.😆 Soon enough we turn onto more pleasant dirt track still skirting the waters edge before doing those silly Bibbulmun track round the mulberry bush, go left go right go around but oh – you could have just gone straight ahead!😏 It is feeling warm, the sun is out for the first time in awhile. It’s a Sunday so not many people are around. As we near the end back on street sidewalks, one cycling couple go pass us & say, “You are almost there!” So does a lady outside a cottage. The track goes pass a museum & a beautiful boat on display called the Amity. For the track to end there would be perfect. But we must continue along, cross the railway line & the main street where I pick out my parents & Kerry waiting for us! My mum plays my favourite ‘Giant’ song on her mobile phone as we finish our final steps to the southern terminus sign. It’s 9.30am. Job done! Almost! Mandatory photos at the sign then walk back & up the main street to the Visitor Centre. Along the way up we spot the familiar figures of Deb & Mel walking towards us. We greet, congratulate & hug each other. We will catch up later for a drink with them as we continue our way to the centre. Here I fill in the trail logs book as arrived & we ring the finishing bell together, I make sure my faithful little Galicia bell has its final ring too! Ambles next important port of call is to the pub across the road where we all have a drink even though it’s only after 10am!
We have eaten & drank well, showered ourselves clean & back in normal non hiking clothes. I’ve been so use to wearing the same clothes for 9 weeks. We have our congratulatory drinks with Deb & Mel late in the afternoon with a promise to catch up in Perth before they fly home. We only stay the night in Albany & pig out one last time – Razzlers steakhouse is highly recommended! Home with our funky smell-o backpacks early Monday morning. It will take some readjusting from living a simple life, out of a backpack for so long. I already miss the trail & can’t wait to go back & hike my favourite parts. Guess it will have to wait until Autumn next year. Without our trail angels, we would have survived yes but would not have been the same. Without my parents providing food drops in between sections means I would have had to carry up to 7 days of food for us both. And we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of catching up with them. They also were our back bone of support for all Ambles malfunctioning equipment, emergency aid. Thank you so much to my parents as they were amazing, a support we were so appreciative of. A huge thank you to amazing Kerry for helping with our food drops as well! It was always great, I was always excited to meet up with Kerry in our next trail town with our resupply box. And the surprise visit further down! To John & Kate that surprised us with their company in our first trail town of Dwellingup! For helping Ambles ‘stash’ some of his gear further up the track!😆 And Tim & Jules the joy of seeing you two walk into our camp unexpectedly especially after our long hard day slogging in the dunes! Those beers & your company truly a god send. And your hospitality feeding & transporting us to Parry’s & back to trail. Was a memorable night camping with you both at Parry’s. And the drinks & meal shared in Denmark. All our trail angels gave up their own time to meet & help us, it was awesome sharing our journey with you all!😁🤩 My biggest thank you to my partner in crime Ambles, you have been my rock & supportive all the way! 🥰
To everyone we met on the track, we will always remember meeting you all, if just one or two nights, or a week or more. Meeting other hikers is what makes the journey even more special. Daisyfish, Kirsty & Gijs, Veronique, Emu, Jeremy, Dave & Jayn, Wayne, Tristan (H), Simone, Deb & Mel, Lisa & Geoff, John & Lindsay, Sarah the author, Drew & Ray. The Essendon Bushwalking Club of Four, Birdman!
My list of good & not so good: Best Shelter for views: It’s a tie with Rame Head & Blackwood. Worst shelter: Yabberup (too dark & gloomy) Uneasy night Shelter: Yourdamung, Shelter on track with best swimming hole: Dog Pool! Best design Shelter: Frankland River, The only ‘hut’: Mt Wells, Worst rodent shelter: Tom Road, Shelter with the worst inside table: Grimwade, Shelter with the worst toilet: Woolbales, Shelter with the worst water tank tap: West Cape Howe, The most tidy & immaculate shelter: Long Point, best toilet amenities: all the new rammed earth king sized toilet rooms! Best single day walk: Woolbales to Long Point hands down for wildflowers, orchids & landscape varieties from granite rocks to forests to sand dunes & beaches! Worst single day walk: William Bay Road to Denmark, was the longest day walking, body tired feet really hurting especially on Mount Hallowell. Best section: Hmmmmmmm. Walpole to Peaceful Bay. Worst section: Peaceful Bay to Denmark. Three really hard days in soft sand horrid up n down dunes… Favourite town: Balingup hands down, so friendly & welcoming to hikers.😊Raelean Bailey I loved meeting you finally! Worst encounters on track: huge swamp puddles to wade through!!!
What’s more we had NO diversions the whole way! The best of the weather. We chose the right year & best time to go! Ambles made sure we had at least one cup of red wine each night on the track, sometimes 2 or whiskey as well! The track tested us physically, mentally & tested our relationship. We planned, organised & executed this dream! My dehydrated meals & food planning were on par, we ate very well on the track! I couldn’t be prouder of us both!🥰 Final Snake sightings: Ambles 5, Rose 6.5 Ambles insists to be called Mr D again & not Ambles! We thank the Bibbulmun Track Foundation & all the volunteers that maintain this track, they do an amazing job! We are forever grateful to have this track on our doorstep & free! So lucky are we! Next year we have lined up the Camino Portuguese coastal route & Overland Track in Tasmania. Stay tuned for future blogs😆😁.