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Kattamordo Heritage Trail; Mundaring to Orange Grove.

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Grade: easy but demanding due to distance length.

Approx 34kms long from Mundaring Weir Road (start in Sculpture Park Mundaring, no trailhead until 50 metres down the path alongside Mundaring Weir Road) to Bickley Reservoir, Hardinge Road Orange Grove. Again easy to start / finish at the Hardinge Road carpark 500 metres pass Trailhead at south end.

The Kattamordo Heritage Trail is one of many government funded Bicentennial projects created 30+ years ago then forgotten about & signage not maintained. A lot of the trail now shares mountain bike trails. The sign markers on trees & trailhead signs read Kattamorda but apparently this was a spelling mistake. I will refer to as Kattamordo not kattamorda. As you will see, the trail is poorly signed, the markers remaining are quite faded & falling off the trees. When I completed this trail only a couple of months ago, I did it in 4 parts, often getting lost, back tracking & guessing a lot which branch of trail to take. When I returned Wednesday 19th August to complete the track in one day, I have been pleasantly surprised to see well overdue track maintenance happening. A group called the friends of Kattamorda heritage trail are re-marking the trail with metal posts & orange ribbons making it much easier now not to get lost! There might even be talk of updating the tree sign markers!

So as close as we can get to the former heritage trail I chose to set off from the south end, starting at the Bickley Brook Reservoir on a very chilly 7.30am start. The first 4 odd kilometres of the Kattamordo Heritage Trail also share the same path as another bicentennial trail called the Bird & Mason Heritage Trail. The track is a wide flat 4WD road for the first kilometre. The Bickley Brook runs parallel to the track and at this time of year, I walk to the sounds of nature & water flowing along Bickley Brook close by. Little tracks spur off to the Brook as I watch the water gushing along. The first bit of history I come across is the oldest wooden tramway bridge left standing in Australia. This bridge is a feature of the Bird & Mason Heritage trail.

The trail then veers uphill over a very rocky ground pathway before smoothing out to a nice flat, firm narrower trail. Before the road there has been a burn in recent months with the area still noticeably burnt out. 1st section to the road crossing that leads to the Victoria Reservoir done & now I’m warmed up! Jacket & gloves are off as I traverse through section 2 to Canning Road. Now I am walking just the Kattamordo Heritage Trail. Another 4 kms along a very nice easy wide 4WD track through pleasant bush land in the Korung National Park. I spot my first Orchids; Hoffman’s Spider-Orchid & Jug Orchids. There are still remaining trail sign markers on some trees. It’s always a delight to find one & be assured you are still on the right track! But a trail head information board located near the Victoria Reservoir end points that you are at the corner of Pickering Brook road & Canning road which clearly you are not! So I believe the signage had been moved from its original location & not placed back.

The trail crosses close to the intersecting roads of Canning & Pickering Brook Road. There are a couple of Cafes & General store nearby, but recently I found them closed. When they do reopen in the future, it would be an awesome spot to dive in for a quick coffee or cake if one is feeling inclined! Maybe more so if heading north to south. I had only been walking just over 90 minutes so kept going into more bushland, part of the George Spriggs Reserve. It can get confusing at this point as new markers haven’t been placed & there is many bike trails going every which way. I look for the older faded orange ribbon I followed last time, doubted myself 200 metres along & turned back only to realise I was on the right track. That turn around was worth it as I happened to spot the only 2 Bird Orchids by the side of the path. More excitement at finding a new Orchid & lots of photos later, I continued along. Previous times out here I have passed mountain bikers but it was very quiet this day, it was just me, myself & I.

The trail shares another Kalamunda walk trail (Carmel trail) for a short ways down a long hill, along winding narrow goat tracks through some mud puddles & over big rocks. Not on the trail but to the left on a higher bike trail is an interesting disused wooden bike ladder circuit ramp that is no longer safe to use that has been nailed into a large fallen tree. Once at the bottom of the hill, the trail enters another variable landscape of vineyards, orchards, farms & large dam. This also signals the first real tough steep ascent. Once pass the farms, I turn right & straight up and up passing a house with a barking maremma looking dog to the left. Kangaroos enjoying the peace & solitude, upset by my arrival, hop across the wide 4WD track in front of me disappearing into the bushland.

I grab a protein ball snack at the top, catching my breath, before continuing to Gunjin Road through more narrow winding trails. I pass more clusters of Jug Orchids & Blue Fairy Orchids. Not to mention the various wildflowers also blooming! More cycle tracks but no one around. The sun has emerged & it is feeling quite warm. I cross onto now the Mundi Biddi cycle trail that shares a lot of the north half of the Kattamordo Heritage trail. Onto Gunjin Road, a wide & frequented road for 4WDrivers & especially mountain bikers where I finally see other people! A 4WD car approaches me & stops while I near it hoping the driver isn’t some weirdo. Well he wasn’t, just waiting for his dog to catch up whom is running behind on the road as he drives. He lets me know the dog is friendly & drives on. Another form of ‘walking your dog’! Gunjin Road may be considered the least favourite part of the trail, it’s long, & basically you walk along the dirt road that steadily climbs up to the top known as Mount Gunjin, second big ascent & almost the halfway point. Mount Gunjin use to be a fire lookout tower site back in 1921. Now base to a web of mountain bike trails. I take a second break & snack some more. Being a Wednesday, it is quiet up the top here. But weekends it is a busy hive of cyclists congregating before deciding which trail to tackle next. This day saw a small hub of cyclists taking a break. One van came up with a trailer of bikes. Out jumped a group of people, grabbing their bikes off the trailer & heading off down a trail. Yes, it can be tricky to share with cyclists, having to watch out for them & move out the way before they bowl you down. But I enjoy being part of the exciting atmosphere. Also the bike trails have such cool & funny names like dead cats tail, mo fo & muffin top.  The temperature drops, I start feeling chilled so put my jacket back on.

 

Heading downwards for section 3 now, watch for that orange ribbon to the left side of the road or you will continue down the road to somewhere else! Now the Kattamordo Heritage trail follows a bike trail called Little Oven Circuit, cutting through other bike tracks heading to The Dell on Mundaring Weir Road. Short, sweet & downhill. I pass an upside down, flattened red car that must have happened recently as was not there on my earlier hike in the area. This is where I noticed the signs stuck to trees at the intersection of bike trails that read out the friends of kattamorda heritage trail. Huh! They were not there before! The trail continues to the left of the popular Dell carpark where more cyclists congregate & take off on other bike trails. It’s after 12pm but I just recently stopped so decide to go further along before having my lunch. The trail continues along what use to be the route of a wooden railed tramway taking timber from the Dell to Mundaring Weir back in 1908. The line was discontinued eventually due to many accidents. The old Kattamordo sign markers on trees re emerge not seen since Gunjin road. The track is wide that descends gradually where it crosses another interesting old trail called the Winjan Track that I struggle to find information on, then the Bibbulmun Track. After this, it is a steep long descent down towards Helena River where the track almost reaches the river, goes right & follows the river from slightly above towards Mundaring Weir which is fairly close now. The traffic on Mundaring Weir Road is loud & noisy after being in the bush.  I stop for a well earned lunch on a large slab of rock overlooking the Helena River.

The pole markers & extra ribbons have not gone unnoticed, now more than ever I realised a fairy has been out working their magic re-marking the trail. There wasn’t this much signage 2 months ago! I continue across to the Mundaring Weir wall crossing the bridge. I believe the older bridge further down use to be the crossing point of the trail but now it is in ruins & sealed off. Unless this was the remains of the old Mundaring train line that use to bring city folk out to the Weir wall to see it after it was built. This train line was shut down in 1952. The whole area here is enriched with history. About the Weir Wall, the pipelines, to the Mundaring Weir Hotel where I stopped in for a hot drink before the last section to Sculpture Park! The friends of kattamorda heritage trail decided in the last two months that the trail goes up the stairs after crossing the bridge, all the way to the top, and crosses through the little fenced gated rose garden! Then across the lawn pass a mob of gangster kangaroos, then down to the Weir hotel. Well! 2 months ago those markers weren’t there & I like everyone else, guessed the trail follows the Bibbulmun track below the lookout & pass the Weir Hotel along the side. Well, we won’t know for sure as no original tree markers remain between the last marker near Helena river before you cross the bridge & then pass Jacoby park. I passed a hiker pair finally! I did expect to see more hikers on such a beautiful day. The clouds had come over, it was cool & just right hiking temperature yet no one was out hiking except me!

Section 4 & legs holding up well! I chatted to a friendly twenty eight parrot perched just outside the Mundaring Weir Hotel & enjoyed my chai latte before setting off towards Jacoby Park. This park has the oldest English Oak tree indeed planted in 1870 standing tall & majestic. Though I had a chuckle when I saw how bare it was, not one leaf on the gigantic stick tree! This tree is best viewed fully dressed, such as it was in May. I include a photo from May as the tree looked far more appealing than its current status. Onwards I marched, the Kattamordo Heritage trail now largely follows the two bike paths; Mundi Biddi & Kep Tracks, crossing Mundaring Weir Road 4 times heading north to Sculpture Park where the Mundi Biddi Northern Terminus lies.


The afternoon stays overcast, the sun peeking out of the clouds every so often very briefly. Still the trail continues to the right of the big water pipes, but the friends of kattamorda heritage trail have been busy here placing many pole markers & orange ribbon tied to them. The trail now goes above the old water pump number 2 station instead of through it where I had traversed earlier in the year. And I remember seeing the old trail head post & single tree marker off to the side of the trail and thinking well – the trail used to go in there but there was no tracks, just leaf litter covering the ground & bushes. I did a double take, a triple take, as I was caught out again! A path had been re-formed to go through the trees, pass the old markers & down to the Kep track path below. Scratching my head & thinking I was losing my marbles I was like but! This wasn’t here before! I swear! So I backtracked now on the new pathway just so I didn’t miss any part of the trail out. The tracks are wide, sometimes narrow single bike track, with slight elevation but relatively easy walking. I noticed interesting stuff in the bushes – an abandoned concrete staircase that had no trail running from it, sitting lost in the middle of vegetation with nature slowly reclaiming it, plants growing through all the gaps. Old concrete looking pillars on the ground that looked like they once held massive water pipes? My imagination runs away with me thinking what use to be there a long time ago. If I go walking in there exploring, who knows what I would find!

 

I pass a farm & someone’s house smack bang in the middle of all that bush. The pretty yellow & orange Donkey Orchids spring up everywhere along this section. Old sign markers appear sporadically along this final leg of the journey on the occasional tree. Just before reaching the road crossing into Sculpture Park, I pass another & final big trail head board for the Kattamordo Heritage Trail. Is this the northern terminus end? After this there is no further trail markings, nothing on the information boards in Sculpture Park to say that is the start / end point. But makes a nice finish anyway. Sculpture Park is homebase to the historic Railway Heritage Trail, another awesome trail following the old railway line out to Helena & beyond that no longer exists. From the park with nice grassy picnic spots, toilets & interesting Sculptures, the Mundaring Hotel is right across the road. So with somewhat tired legs & feet, I headed over for a well deserved beer before heading home. My personal best yet, the longest hike I have done in a day to date. The longest being 26kms until now. I can chalk up a 34km hike successfully completed with limbs still attached ☺️.

 

I used AllTrails app to record distance. App paused in recording one point pass the Dell. Wasn’t going to back track once discovered it hadn’t been recording. I started at Hardinge Road Carpark but didn’t start recording there. All trails app can be very helpful to not getting lost, however, for the Kattamordo Heritage Trail, they need to update their map as over half the time, it kept sending me alerts I was off route. Well, I was passing old sign markers so clearly wasn’t off route! You can walk either direction. I just liked going north & finishing at the pub! So what are you waiting for? Get out there & enjoy this marvellous trail right on our doorstep!
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Wungong Gorge Walk

A gruelling 14km walk graded ‘hard’ in the Wungong Regional Park off South West Hwy. There are many options to shorten or lengthen the walk with many goat trails running off here, there & everywhere. Most popular is the Wungong short gorge walk alongside the Wungong creek. Popular with families & dog walkers. This first kilometre starts nice, easy on wide 4WD, leads you into a false sense of ease thinking this aren’t bad, rather pleasant in fact (!) before you venture off to the right crossing the creek on logs & rocks onto the first of two loops – straight up! I would recommend going this way getting the hard part of this loop out the way first rather then at the end part of your walk.

It is important to note this walk is not sign marked at all except for some sporadic pink ribbon tied to trees I only saw on the first loop for the first 5kms then they disappeared. The only way to do this walk is to have something like the All Trails app, enables you to record your walk or just to keep track where you are on the map, it would alert me to when I had ventured off course which happened easily due to the many intersecting tracks.


The right side of loop one takes you up a long steep climb. Just when you think you are at the top on flat ground, the wide gravelly rocky path turns the corner – and oh! More climbing! Sweat running down my face I finally get to the top & begin the walk eastwards looking to the gorge, valley’s  & cityscape views. The wildflowers are poking their heads out & already there is lots of yellows, whites, pinks & reds. Then comes the steep long descent back down to the creek. Already it has taken me over an hour & a half to go 3 odd kms. The terrain is tricky & one benefits from taking walking poles to help with the ascents & descents. I decide to take a break down the bottom sitting on a rock watching the small creek with its running water. Not big at all, narrow but very tranquil & lovely.

As I continued onwards towards the second loop, I am distracted by two ducks drifting by on a makeshift trickle of a stream running across a 4WD track. A stream not existent during most of the year I’m sure. Those ducks made me chuckle as I hopped over the stream & found green hills with tracks running up them in all directions. Which one to take? Looking back at All Trails I noticed the trail continues back to my left so off I go retracing my steps to the walk & continue along.

Up a short uphill I turn right & start on the second loop, a nice meander along with the creek below to my right now. I emerge at a beautiful look out spot overlooking the valleys & hills it is so beautiful out here. Then I turn following the app taking me up my second bastard of a steep hill, on a narrow goat track winding through grass trees. Another option is to take the wide path around & up, may be a better option,  but I was following the map this time. Once at the top, red faced & sweaty Betty, relieved also, I continue along the goat trail now flat walking & pleasant through the bush.


The map is incorrect at the top of this loop saying it goes straight across. Yes you can bush bash through the parrot bush trees & such with no marked trail to follow. I couldn’t care for that so followed the now wide track down around and back to meet the trail. Here you reach the border with Bungendore Park with more trails in here.


Then what goes up must go down! The second loop finishes with a long steep downhill walk, a jumbled stack of rocks more than a path in places. Once down the bottom it joins the pleasant short gorge walk & the majority of hikers you will bump into. Not many people were seen up in the hills. Trail bikes could be heard, seen sometimes tearing up the dirt roads as they fly along with their noisy machines, breaking up the peace & tranquility. Sometimes a bike rider, I only saw one. What was a disappointment was the amount of rubbish discarded into the bush by people. Being pleased with the tough parts over with, I took my second break for a small lunch now above the creek looking up at the hills I had traversed through earlier.

The second half of the first loop meanders along a wide easy dirt road above the creek before descending gently down to cross the creek twice, passing the small dam wall & some old structure just off a short side trail. Couldn’t figure out what this was used for once upon a time. A perfect combo of hill climbs, views, varied terrain & the creek always a highlight. Certainly a winter / spring walk but not summer. I would be happy to return & explore different trails that run off the main track. There is so much to see & explore. In another few odd weeks, the wildflowers will be most abundant. You will see vibrant orange butterfly’s, birds, ducks, ants & fungi. Lots of everything! If you are up for a challenging walk, this one is it!

Wungong Regional Park, Roleystone

Not many people will know of this secret hidden little gem. Tucked away in a corner of Roleystone, Perth. You can google trails in the area, it won’t pop up. It won’t be seen listed on the trails websites or apps. Like it doesn’t exist which makes exploring this area more exciting. It doesn’t have a name actually, only that it is made up of 4 small walk trails called the Echidna, Kangaroo, Emu & Botanical walk trails located in the Churchman’s Bushland Reserve. A perfect day hike awaits!

Driving along Brookton Hwy you come to Stocker road. Nothing in it. Just a quiet no through road with farm houses coming off it. No sign saying “awesome walk trail this way”. Drive to the end across the small bridge over Canning River & you arrive at the cul de sac. A short dirt road leads up to locked gates but an open pedestrian gateway & your journey begins at Wungong Regional park. An old interesting shed still stands disused & slowly falling apart. Interesting contents inside from a bygone era. There is no trail signage, only 3 wide tracks leading off left, right & in the middle. Right goes to private property. I go left instead & it ends at the Canning River. So backtrack & take the middle Path pass the shed head straight up hill. Might as well get the heart rate up at the start! The track unmarked but well maintained, follows the Canning River from above, the sound of water rushing along below. Lots of kangaroos everywhere. They are not impressed by my presence. So much green from the rains. This area is so beautiful passing small creeks, moss growing on trees & that green cover over the ground with rocks poking up so photogenic this landscape!

After going 2 kms or so the track turns sharply to the right & the first trail markers indicating this is the Echidna trail marked with an orange triangle or orange ribbon. Steep climb commences. The trail turns into a goats trail, bushes overgrown I end up drenched wet from brushing pass wet foliage. I also can’t walk upright due to the branches in my face. I have to walk hunched over head butting my way through what a crazy trail it has become! I eventually come out face to face with an impressive 30m high huge granite rock face. Rock climbers come here for a party as is obvious by the metal hooks in the face wall. Awesome spot, must see to be admired as photos don’t do it justice. I go right, climb some man made stone steps up the side but they stop abruptly & I end up carefully picking my way up on hands & feet. More climbs! I play along the top, daring to peer over the edge to the long drop below. Scary. Not wanting to break my neck today I scrambled & climb back down to the bottom via the steps on the other side. After looking at every nook & cranny, feeling puffed & weary from the climbs already, I went back up the left side straight to the highest point of the walk where I reach the small dirt car part where the rock climbers access the rock face.

 

To the right the Echidna trail looks to continue on its loop. Ahead going west is a sign stating the other 3 trails going in the one forward direction. The path up here is wide again, pleasant, flat & different landscape altogether. The old hand drawing picture of this area made by a bloke called Bill,  shows an abandoned airstrip. Now covered in green lush grass I wouldn’t know it was an airstrip – used for something in a bygone era. Old white information markers are scattered along here but the words have faded away with very few readable at all. I encounter one other hiker that has also discovered this place. There are many skinny goat trails running here & there off the main path, sometimes I come across a marker with a kangaroo or emu picture so know I am still on the trail. This part of the walk reminds me of a part on the Bibbulmun track heading to Beraking from Waalegh campsite, as I stomp along enjoying the occasional wildflowers starting to bloom.

I reach the far end here again now changed to some skinny trees woodlands & out into a vast oval of lush open greenness. Farms skirt the edges as the track unmarked here can only go forward in a north direction completing its big loop back to the start. The track again is pleasant, flat, high above with views out to the surrounding farmlands & hills. I even took a right turn on purpose instead of left back to the start so I could do some more steep uphill climbing. The track rejoins the higher kangaroo track loop portion I had passed by earlier. Now with a visual map of the area in my head, I trotted back down the pea gravel track back to the start where I enjoyed a lunch break in the old shed. You can walk as far as you want on this one. So many options but is very hilly, so my total 12.5km hike felt double that. A very nice 3.5hr loop hike. The scenery is amazing here. I can only imagine how nice it will be in spring with the landscape  bursting with colours. But still right now is best time to go. The greens are amazing. Kangaroo central here, I must have seen at least 50 of them hopping across the trails in front of me.

Remember this place is our little secret!

 

Day Sixty Three: Sandpatch to Albany!

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😆😁.

 

 

 

 

 

Day Sixty Two: Mutton Bird to Sandpatch

26/10: Sleep eluded me for awhile. Ambles had an eventful trip to the toilet sometime in the early morning. Could not be a simple trip to the loo. It had started to drizzle when he went & while he was sitting in the toilet doing a big job, a gang of mozzies started biting him on any exposed piece of skin they found. Then his head torch battery indicated it was about to go completely flat with several warning flashes. He is slapping at the mozzies & as his light flashes he catches a glimpse of a big black spider coming out of nowhere catching a mozzie & eating it. Ambles was like, ‘I’m out of here!’ With his head torch flat now, he stumbles back in the dark & now the rain which was more than a drizzle, back to the shelter. I didn’t get up at all until after 5am. The sky is overcast but as morning wakes up, some blue skies start peeking through. Very briefly, then an annoying constant drizzle of rain starts & seems to have set in for the morning. Ambles fetches water from the tank & gets a spider come out of the tap into his bowl! He must be having an insect kind of day.😊

 

 

I lay cosy in my sleeping bag with my first cuppa until 6am. Then I get up with my second cuppa & start packing my stuff up. Before porridge, Deb & Ambles do their push up challenge. Ambles goes first & does 24 push-ups, not full ones the cheat! Deb does 25 – take that! But she pulls skin off her knuckles this time & decides she better not do any more. Ambles returns for another 24 push-ups, knees dropping, struggling with the effort. The trees close by the shelter become full of white tailed cockatoos, chattering away to each other, flying back & forth, the branches sagging under their weight. White tailed Cockatoos have a pleasant melodic call, unlike the screeching raucous that the red tailed cockatoos make.

 

 

We had all packed up & watching the rain, where did this weather come from?! Our weather apps mention no rain, cloudy with top of 20 degrees. We hang back procrastinating to go. The next campsite has no shelter as Sandpatch shelter was burnt down in May last year from a controlled burn that got out of control. Deb & Mel were even considering staying two nights here & walking 24kms to Albany tomorrow. We watched the cheeky magpie lark return & scavenge for any food scraps. By 8.30am, the rain was slowing down & a hint of blue sky could be seen. The rain stopped so we quickly packed & left camp leaving our northbound hiker whom his name is Tony we found out, behind. A lazy 12 kilometres to the next & last camp. It was humid to start with & flies buzzing about my face. We hadn’t gone a kilometre when we could see rain over the ocean coming in again. Before long our umbrellas come out as we walk along in the rain some good kilometres before it stops for the last time. Views are limited through the rain haze. It is what it is. We pass alongside the Albany wind farm, lots of wind turbines turning & turning. If they make a noise it must be a low hum as I hear the waves crashing louder in my ears than the turbines. The first wind turbine is broken & doesn’t move as if to say to the others, ‘Stuff Y’all I aren’t gonna work no way! Can’t make me!’ Another wind turbine further along has a missing head. The rain lifts & the views return as we walk into Sandpatch. Two men are getting ready for some hang gliding & Ambles stops to talk to them & explain what we are doing out there. Then we join tourists on the boardwalk around to Sandpatch beach, one tourist couple are brave to ask the stinky funky smelling hikers that is us to take their photo. I’m all obliging. Another hiker comes up behind us. A man whom carries a big pack & maybe he is a thur hiker as well. He must be triple hutting into Albany & came from Torbay I guess. He grunts a hello but doesn’t stop to chat. A man on a mission! We spot Mel sitting on a bench, she is waiting for Deb to return whom has gone down to check out the beach. They both set off to check out Sandpatch campsite & decide what they want to do. It’s midday as I go check out a lookout first, the guide book highly recommends it. So Ambles hangs around on the bench Mel was sitting at & I go check it out. It’s well worth it, with views over the whole wind farm & at the higher lookout, views over to Albany! The end goal is in sight! Now only 14kms away😁. I’m ecstatic as I head back down passing toilets & bins. Hence I head back up a second time to empty my rubbish bag!

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It’s an easy 2.6kms now to camp, entering the area that is rejuvenating after the May 2018 bushfire. And there’s so much flowers, a rainbow of colours & green bushes amongst the blackened trees. So we arrive a little after 1pm to a construction site where the foundation of a new shelter is being started. There’s a water tank & drop toilet. No trail log book to write in. No red book to read peoples comments & stories. The tent sites haven’t been maintained & have bushes growing all over them, unlevel ground & chunks of rock stuck in the ground. How they were ever tent sites I don’t know!😕We find the best one under the shade of a tree. It’s the only shelter we can find. Bit of a slope but it will do. There’s a lookout at top to watch the sunrise & sunset over the ocean. Unfortunately the ground up there is not good for a tent either. Mel hates the site, the whole place & Deb has called their accommodation place in Albany & booked tonight as well. They will continue on into Albany today.☹️We all sit on the ground & have lunch. Deb had a speech prepared as her farewell to us, she read out her speech which was lovely & touching. They really enjoyed sharing their journey with us. So Ambles did an impromptu speech. Just after 2pm, Deb & Mel walked back out to the track. And now for the second time on this trip, we will have the campsite to ourselves! I can see no one stays here. I’m sad to see Deb & Mel go, but will enjoy my last night on the track. We have some hard work preparing the ground & putting up our tent. It is harder without a picnic table, sitting on rocks on the ground preparing meals & cuppa teas. Almost like roughing it but we still have a water tank & toilet close by! The afternoon has warmed up, hopefully the rain now stays away!

 

 

We prepare dinner early so we can eat, clean up & be ready for bed. Then we can watch the last sunset before crawling into bed. Take our remaining vino up here & admire the glorious views. ☺️ Can hear the wind turbines now whirling loudly, sound right behind us but they are to the west of us so their sounds must be echoing through the valleys. I can hardly believe this is the final night! What a whirlwind of an adventure it has been!🤪

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Day Sixty One: Torbay to Mutton Bird

25/10: Ahhhhh…..tick tock, tick tock, it sounded like a loud ticking clock next to my head. After awhile I realised it was just the sound of dripping water on the outside of the shelter wall dripping from the roof to the ground. Went on all night. Rained a small amount too a couple of times. The winds had finally died down. Had to get up to relieve myself & looked up at the night sky on the way back from the toilet. It was a clear night & the sky was covered with impressive stars. Woke up after 5am stretching out leisurely in bed. No need to rush, an easy 12.4kms today. We originally were going to do 24kms but changed our plan as the sands were tougher to walk in & take us much longer. But they are easy this side of Denmark than the other side, much easier! Anyway, nice to enjoy our final last days on track instead of rushing it. Ambles had another wacky idea – instead of camping at Sandpatch tomorrow, walk into the outskirts of Albany & stay at a hotel on the track – this idea got quickly shot down in a ball of flames. Ambles is out numbered by three women to one man😂. I wonder if we will get any more End to Enders that started later than us, catching up at this end? Many people double hut through to Albany from Denmark. Ambles & Deb did their early morning push ups again while preparing breakfast cuppa. We did a real lazy pack up leaving camp after 7.45am, I was ready by 7.15am so sat & passed time watching the male & female wren birds chase each other through the foliage while waiting for Ambles to be ready.

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the walk today is on beach & the sand is firm enough making it easy to walk along. We had a short 2.7km walk out to Cosy Corner Beach where we start, finishing at Mutton Bird Beach. There is used / unused toilet paper heaps of it just dumped into the bushes on the side of the track. Reminds us of the Camino, 😆😆but very bad to leave that there when there is bins only a kilometre away! Somewhere in between there is Perkins Beach but there is no sign on the beach so unfortunately can not know when we were walking on a beach named after us!😂 Deb & Mel left earlier than us & scored a free car ride to the Cosy Corner Cafe which was up Cosy Corner Road some couple of kilometres. Shame it wasn’t closer at the beach, we didn’t feel like some 1.5 hours return walk for coffee. The only other person on the beach was a man & his dog. The weather was good, somewhat cloudy & cool, making good walking weather. Halfway along we have to scramble over rocks to the other side while the waves pound into the rocks, sea water spraying in the air. I really enjoyed this bit. Ambles was feeling tired & lacklustre of energy for beach walking. This is our last beach walk so I really enjoyed it, watching the birds, the waves, not much else to watch, no strange objects washed up on the beach, no dolphins, no bluebottle that Guthook says there is. This is where I guess Perkins Beach is – east or west side of Torbay Inlet.

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Torbay Inlet is closed again after being manually opened recently in the last week. Lucky we didn’t arrive earlier October, we would have to wade across ankle to knee deep water or take a 15 kilometre diversion around. Phew! Wading required only through 1cm of water sloshing across the sandbar from the ocean! A man with 5 dogs walked pass. Then it was less than 2 kilometres to the Mutton Bird Beach, back up some steps passing another guy & his dog. Seems to be man & his dog/s day today.😊The last few kilometres are easy back along the inside dune vegetation passing the rifle shooting range where Ambles thought about going in to have a shoot….then decided not to.😁It was very convenient today to have toilets to use & bins to chuck my rubbish into! We arrived at Mutton Bird Campsite shy of midday. Nestled in out of the wind but not having ocean views to look at. Some lazy person had dumped all their rubbish in the bucket beside the toilet. Poor form😡. The platforms in this shelter are narrower so our tent has to sit a different way inside. Deb & Mel came in at 12.30pm & told us about their awesome second breakfast they had at the cafe & had bought us a slice of cake to share between us which was very nice of them!

 

 

 

 

The sun has come out this afternoon & so have the trillions of annoying flies. There is a cheeky magpie lark that was wandering about outside camp looking for food, thought Mel’s Luci light might have been edible & knocked it off the post Mel had it on. Must be careful not to leave food out! A young man came through at 1pm having walked in from Albany this morning! Young & fast, he finished his end to end a month ago & was walking on this afternoon to Torbay or West Cape Howe. Just doing a section as he enjoys it so much.

 

 

 

 

 

The best thing way to pass the afternoon is hide in our tents from the flies & mozzies. Ambles has a Nana nap & all is quiet but for the buzzing of flies, the unseen ocean waves, crickets, the winds through the trees & the periodic crunching of sleeping mats as someone moves position. Very civilised!😊 perhaps we were all deep in thought about each of our own journey to this point. What it all meant & memories made. What will happen when we return to our homes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late afternoon sees another hiker join us. He has left Albany also today & section hiking to Denmark. Feeling not part of our group, the man sets up his tent outside. But joins us later while we have dinner. Ambles & Deb challenge each other with push ups again. Deb beating Ambles again 25 to Ambles 24 – close! Might be set match tomorrow! Our second last night on the track – exciting & sad at the same time!😊 Our last night in a shelter. I went searching for a good sunset, went back out on the track & found an old slightly overgrown goat track leading me out to the cliff edge about 200 metres where I soaked in my second last sunset out here watching the waves crashing far below, the sun setting on the horizon to the west & the wind farm to the east. Well worth the effort, I felt on top of the world. All this for free so to speak. Yes! It’s good to be me!😁

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Day Sixty: West Cape Howe to Torbay

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!

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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

 

 

 

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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Day Fifty Eight: Denmark Zero Day

My body thanked me for a Zero day. Didn’t even get out of bed for breakfast until 8am! Annie cooked us waffles with cream & fresh fruit. Plus egg on toast with avocado. Talk about getting spoiled! Clothes all got washed, re sorted the backpacks & ditched stuff out for Tim to take we no longer need. Organised 5 days of food for our final leg of the journey. Rested in bed a lot. Jacko put on some you tube hiking videos to watch & we had a simple light lunch. Today I weigh the same, guess I’ve lost fat weight but gained muscle weight. Ambles has lost 10kgs, now lighter than me at 64kgs.

 

Jacko dropped us in town after 3pm. It was off to the Bibbulmun Cafe for a coffee, IGA to get food & drink. And Ambles went off to the local barbershop to get a haircut. Pleased with his new hairdo, we set off to the pub. The lovely bartender lady says she can make us Cocktails so we have a Cocktail each to start with. Tim & Jules join us followed by the birthday girl Deb & Mel. Everyone is impressed by the new haircut on Ambles. I think he looks too smart to be a bush feral now!😁 Dinner is lip smacking good as I settle for Steak. Ambles can’t finish his Beef & Ribs. We go for dessert as well – why not?! Was a really nice evening at dinner, likes of chatting, sharing stories & laughter. Jacko picks us up too soon to take us back. We finish packing our backpacks & in bed late again. My feet feel better already  & my shoulders but tomorrow that won’t last long. Five more walking days until we reach Albany – at long last!

 

 

 

 

Day Fifty Seven: Parry’s Campgrounds / William Bay Road to Denmark

When I closed my eyes last night I must have gone out like a light, sleeping until after 4am, waiting for my alarm to go off at 4.30am. Ambles complained other campers nearby had kept him awake, having a fabulous time, being noisy, laughing, talking loudly, screaming & crying children up past 11pm. I slept through it all! We started packing up at 4.30am, joining Tim & Jules for breakfast at 5.30. Jules even made the special effort to get up early to help Tim with the bacon & eggs, getting us coffee & tea. Breakfast was so good! 😋 Much better than our daily porridge. Jules piled us up with extra food for the walk, little chocy bars & these breakfast cookies she made. So delicious with various fruit inside them.

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We were dropped back off at William Bay Road by 6.30am. There was that option to bypass the walk & drive straight to Denmark, but we couldn’t do that! So to start with, we had a kilometre hill ascent to William Bay Shelter. That quickly warmed us up! Arrived at the shelter by 7am, Deb & Mel had packed up & gone, the place was empty. So I stopped to fill in the trails log book & snap some photos while Ambles ambled along for me to catch up to him. This shelter was very bare, no added decorations, hand rails, sunroom, nothing. And as I left I found a side trail to the look out so went over to check it out. Clambered up these big boulders & stand on top of them, checking out the ocean view back over Greens Pool & where we came yesterday. Pretty nice views. It was already feeling warm in the sun as I set off down the track at 7.25am. More sand dune & ridge walking, lots of birds about, actually felt good to start with. Caught up with Ambles further on near some huge boulder, he had gone the wrong way & was returning to the track. We see more kangaroos, one of them kept staring at Ambles, hop along, stare, hop along, stare then dash right across the track in front of him. I saw yet another snake that was warming up on a flat granite top. Looked like a tiger snake, quickly slithering away back into the bushes. After 2 hours, we arrive at Light Beach carpark. Have a break, use the toilets. 2 cars turned up. One couple went down to the beach, the other couple were taking a walk along a walk trail. The lady was keen to know what track we were hiking, again amazed & impressed when we told her we started 8 weeks ago from Kalamunda.

 

The Bibbulmun Track follows some of this walk trail they were taking a walk on, a bitumen path. We missed the first Waugal turn off & found we had missed it when we walked the long way around & met the marker for north bound hikers. Almost walked pass the next one off the bitumen path as it is partially hidden by the bushes. It’s a narrow foot wide sand path with all the bushes growing over it. Great track for snakes to be lurking in! I preferred the bitumen path. We ended back on that path bumping into the couple again. The lady asked how many more days we had & wished us luck. From there I guess I was running out of stream & the warm sun was draining my energy. The flies again were pretty awful so we wore our head nets to keep them off our faces. We cross over private land before getting to Mt Hallowell. The first big hill climb in quite some time. This area has the most massive boulders I’ve ever seen, they were so huge! I like to do the side trips to the lookouts & there is two going up. Ambles was feeling tired & kept going up slowly to wait for me at the Hallowell summit trail. I ventured onto Monkey Rock not far upwards, out onto large flat granite slabs. It was cool & breezy, the views amazing. It was a 360 degrees of views stretching back far from where we came up the coast to where we were heading to, farmlands below & the trees growing up the side of Mt Hallowell. One of those spots where you could sit & soak up the views with a cuppa! 🙂 I continued along, passing a guy walking northwards. He had just started in Denmark, walking to Walpole. The climb was really starting to wear on me, so many large rocks to navigate over the track. At times it was confusing where the track continued. The bottom of my feet were hurting so the rocks & boulders did not help. I get to the almost top where Ambles had been waiting awhile. He goes, “Oh, I checked out the summit trail but it’s no good! The trees are in the way & there’s no views! You will be disappointed. I’ll amble on down.” I said I wanted us to walk down together so he said he would wait. I left my pack & went to the summit. Halfway up I come to a large slab of rock with trees covering the view. Well, this was the ‘summit’ Ambles had come to! The continued track wasn’t obvious but was to the right so I continued along & arriving at the actual summit over huge granite tops with 180 degrees view back where we came along the coast & farmlands. Not as good as Monkey Rock but nice nevertheless. I shot back down to find Ambles had already gone ahead. Was not impressed at all! Had to continue on my own for awhile trying to work out where the track went. Came across Ambles waiting halfway down. More rocks & boulders, the track started going up again! I was so annoyed & tired, my feet were hurting walking on this terrain. We meet two ladies on a stroll coming down, it’s already past midday & our progress has been very slow. In fact, Ambles has been enjoying Ambling today & doing well while I was suffering. I had drank all my water in my bladder, luckily I had collected extra water from Tim & Jules in my bottle but only like 600mls. We still had about 9kms to do. I stopped & emptied my bottle water into my bladder at the bottom of the hill in a thick haze of mozzie central. The evils kept trying to bite me as I hurried up & set off after Ambles.

 

The worst was over, no more hill climbs. Now we were on the outskirts of town with road walking & 4WD tracks. Ambles stopped at a perfect seat in front of Wilson Inlet. We had some tuna & crackers while dog owners came by. The dogs hanged around us as we had food, one very fat Beagle cross slurped up the tuna I had dropped on the ground. The dog hovered around us & the owner was getting annoyed with the dog, kept calling him to come but the dog wouldn’t bulge waiting for more food to drop! Eventually the dog trotted off. Ambles didn’t have much water either but there was nowhere to get water until we got into town so we were careful not to drink ourselves dry. We follow the Inlet edge for awhile then head back onto streets, passing beautiful looking homes. One guy was mowing his lawn & ran it over some water retic or something, water went squirting into the air & down the driveway onto the road. Ambles considered for a moment to race over & fill his water bottle from this instant fountain! Then decided to just move on. Hey – the trail provides again!😀 It was tedious walking to the rivermouth, then a kilometre along the river into the town centre. Ambles was fed up, we started 6.30am & got to the Denmark pub by 3.10pm. It had turned out to be a longer day than even the Peaceful Bay to Boat Habour. I was so tired, I couldn’t even walk properly as my feet were hurting so much. I had the bad case of ‘hiker hobble’. We grabbed a pint of beer at the pub. They weren’t serving any food so I had to hobble over to The Bakery, grab us pies & bring back to the pub. I wanted their amazing Lamb & Rosemary Pie but they were sold out. So just had a normal beef pie. There hardly seemed a point in showering yesterday as I smelt absolutely terrible, sweaty & stinky central. Tim & Jules were still in the area, still camping at Parry’s & been 4WDriving around the area. They stopped in to share a beer with us. I was so thankful for Tim driving me over to the visitor centre so I could sign the book register & collect our last box of re supply.

 

 

We normally stay in town but this time we were staying at Casa Libelula run by Jacko & Annie a Bed & Breakfast 20 kms out. Jacko came to pick us up & take us back to their home. A beautiful home on big property with Sheep walking around, Alpacas, chickens, roosters, 2 gorgeous dogs Luci & Belle. Two other guests are staying, friends of Annie’s that are returning home from a wedding in Manjimup. We have a lovely bedroom. I flopped onto the bed & it felt really good for my feet, I reluctantly got up to shower & start washing clothes. Then it was dinner time as Annie cooked up a home meal of lasagna with garlic bread, potatoes, veggies & salad. Followed with sticky date pudding with ice cream & cream. Jacko loves to talk hiking & chatted away about trails he had done, his gear – got a room full of hiking gear! Showed off all his fuel & cooking stoves – quite a number of different ones! The ladies had me join them in a card game. Stayed up way past hiker bedtime. I think it was after 9pm by the time I was in bed. Really very tired. So glad tomorrow is a Zero day.

 

Snake sightings: Ambles 4, Rose 5.5.