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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. 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.

Day Fifty Six: Boat Habour to William Bay Road / Parry Inlet Campgrounds

20/10: Woke up 3.30am, waiting for Deb’s alarm to go off at 4am. It was a warm early morning. The mozzies were particularly bad, the little evils were biting me on my bare bum as I sat on the toilet. Neil put up with us 4 making noise packing up, he got up 5.30am as Ambles & I were ready to leave early at 5.45am, ahead of Deb & Mel. Ambles had already off loaded his fishing rod – that didn’t last long!☺️ The other hiker was still in his tent as we set off. If only I had known I would have gone for a swim yesterday, maybe, maybe not I was exhausted. Only 400 metres down from the campsite we cross the 4WD track that Tim & Jules must have visited us from & onto Boat Habour Beach Bay. Beautiful swimming hole sheltered from the ocean’s rough surf. Darn! On the other side there were two camp grounds, each with a fireplace. Ambles pouted at them. He has been missing his camp fires. I turned & said to Ambles as we walked along this beach, “How lucky are we??!”

 

 

 

We had 10.6kms to Parry’s Campgrounds, another 9 odd kms to William Bay Road after. The first 10.6kms took us 3 & a half hours. It was more of yesterday’s end walk, up & down sand dunes, along narrow, sometimes overgrown tracks. Soft sand, semi soft sand. I was tired, we both were from yesterday. Even as we started I could feel the day warming up. The sun was bright, warm & in my face the whole time. There was flies, flies, flies! After 2 hours, I got tired of swatting them away from my face, stopped & put my head net on. The first time I have used it on this walk. After that, the flies didn’t bother me. That sharp pain came back in my shoulders, especially if I turned to see where Ambles was. It was a slow process. More kangaroo poop everywhere but didn’t see any kangaroos. Only bird life, there was lots of birds flitting from bush to bush, chattering away to each other. Ambles took the lead halfway & it was he that stumbled across a big bad boy black snake, laying in the track that didn’t want to move. It was only 8am as well! Eventually it slithered off into the bush allowing him through. We were 3kms out & spotted someone in the distance on top of a hill. It was Tim that had walked in to meet us! This was the Mt Hillier trig point with 360 degrees views all around. From there we had 2.7kms walking in with Tim whom had an idea to use his drone & video us walking along the sandy ridge from above. The footage is going to look amazing once complete! It sure was getting hot at almost 25 degrees. I was relieved to walk into the Campgrounds where it was cool & shady under the trees.

 

 

We had a much needed break at Tim & Jules Campsite. Jules had scones jam & cream ready for us. I lost count how many I had! They were delicious! And cold coke went down a treat as Ambles had a coffee then pinched my coke the cheeky bugger! Deb & Mel came through & sat out in the front entrance to the Campgrounds under the warm sun at a picnic table to eat their trail mix & bars. We were spoilt & I felt bad being a greedy gutso. I also took a few items out of my backpack before leaving for the second stretch. It was hot after 10am & we had to make tracks.

 

A 7km walk along Mazzoletti Beach. Aimed with more food from Jules, chocy twirl bars & a fresh apple for extra energy!😁It was great, far easier than the first stretch. Most of the sand was firm or slightly soft. Was easy, cool winds blew off the ocean. Flies disappeared. My backpack was lighter than normal, felt awesome. Wish it was always this light! I was use to my bell, & couldn’t hear it ringing. Darn! The bell fell off in the grass when I emptied some of my stuff.😕There was a hive of activity along the beach in parts. Many 4WD’s, families, swimming, camping, dogs running through the water. Perfect time of year to walk this stretch. Again there is an alternative route inland if the beach is at high tide. Parry’s Inlet has a full wide sandbar across it so no problems with getting through.

 

We could see two tiny figures in the distance which had to be Deb & Mel. We were gaining on them & caught up just before Greens Pool. Mel was in pain today & really struggling. They have about 3 more kms to make, probably just under that. Ambles offered to share his banana that Jules gave him. They both accepted a piece each & enjoyed it by the looks on their faces. It’s funny how you love the foods you don’t get on the track. Fresh fruit is one of those luxuries. The alternative route is a short cut to William Bay Road but we settled on the proper Bibbulmun track route, continuing onto Greens Pool, across, up the stairs & onto William Bay Road there. My idea was to cool off with a quick dip on the far side of Greens Pool away from everyone else. Ambles was not impressed, hot from the walk, he turned into a grumpy old man, told me off for wanting to make this a holiday & walked off to the meeting point to be picked up by Tim. We thought this stretch would take 3 hours but only took under 2 hours so we were ahead of schedule. The water was worth it! Highly refreshing, sheltered again by the huge boulders in the water making it a bay, weakening the waves coming in. Far better than the busy packed shallow Greens Pool further along. After my quick swim, I set off again with my sarong wrapped around me, throngs on my feet, carrying my hiking poles in one hand, boots in the other.

 

Tim & Jules came down to meet me bypassing Ambles whom they must have just missed. So they drove back to the arranged pick up point where Ambles had gone. I continued on my own from the carpark otherwise I would miss a small section & can’t have that! It didn’t seem right that the hikers have to walk 300 odd metres along William Bay Road. It was pretty busy with traffic. Loads of people were flocking to Greens Pool for a swim on this warm spring day. I had to double check my guide book. Soon enough I was sitting in Tim’s car speeding back to Parry’s Campground where our tent was waiting for us, already set up by Tim & Ambles before we left. Had another dip at Parry’s beach before lunch but that beach is full of crashing waves & seaweed. Wasn’t as good. Party Pies for lunch & hot shower after to freshen up. Quite a few campers here, lovely Campgrounds. Feeling dog tired. Have had two really early morning wake ups & lack of sleep & physically demanding days are catching up to me. Glad to be going in to Denmark tomorrow & have a rest day. We get dropped off back on William Bay Road with a kilometre walk in to the campsite we were meant to stay at, then another 20kms to Denmark rivermouth.

 

Spent some time laying in the tent. Felt so good to be laying horizontal, alleviating my feet as the bottoms of them ache so much. My shoulders are still killing me. Tim & Jules have been amazing, offering so much to us, their food, drinks, bringing us back here to share a night with them, their awesome company. It has been so lovely, a highlight to this trip! And Tim wants to be mentioned at having completed this section of the Bibbulmun track (via foot & car!).😄

 

Tim & Jules hosted us with dinner they prepared which included the steaks Ambles had asked for! Followed up by fruit yummy salad & toasting marshmallows by the campfire Tim got going. Washed down with vino.😊What a wonderful night! Dehydrated food we didn’t have to cook up. A warm campfire we had been missing. Laughs & stories until way past hiker bedtime. We appreciate so much all our trail angels have done for us. Giving up their time to assist us, feed us, company us, support us, help out with emergencies due to equipment malfunction .☺️

 

Lots of campers are still up, laughing, talking, enjoying their fires, enjoying each other’s company. It’s after 8pm when we crawl into bed. They don’t have to get up before sunrise, pack up a tent, heave on a heavy backpack & walk 22kms tomorrow. Their kind of holidays I miss. Still, when I’m on the track tomorrow, I will be loving the views, the landscapes, the flowers, the everything. Tomorrow is another day full of new experiences, of more memories being created & I feel so lucky to be able to experience & do this! Keep it together body – you got this!

 

Snake sightings: Ambles 4, Rose 4.5

Day Fifty Five: Peaceful Bay to Boat Habour

19/10: The lady at the fish n chip shop told Deb & Mel last night a cheeky short cut they could take on the way out, up the beach to Irwin Inlet cutting off 2kms. Uh, thanks but no thanks! Wonder how many hikers she suggests this to? Apparently doing this means avoiding going pass the rubbish tip. We follow the Waugal, no short cuts! We had the alarm set for 4am for a quick early getaway. Today being a 23km hike with canoe crossing & day temperatures reaching 25 degrees, we wanted to put behind many kms before the heat & snakes came out. Had off & on sleep, Ambles set up the tent close by the road so cars driving pass had their headlights on beaming into our tent. We packed inside the tent first then joined Deb & Mel at the camp kitchen for our breakfast. Then off to pack up the tent as it was light enough. The ducks came back over to supervise our pack up.😊Our tent wasn’t wet from condensation so that worked in our flavour. A lady went by on a morning walk, goes “Oooooo, are you two walking the Bibbulmun Track?!” She was excited about our trip, wished us luck & continued on not wanting to hold us up. Packing up took us over 2 hours before we got going! I was ready shy of 6am but Ambles wasn’t until 6.20am. Darn! Lost some cool hiking time.

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It was quite pleasant & cool when we finally set off pass the fish n chip shop, leaving Peaceful Bay behind. Not long into the walk I spotted a new Orchid! The Slipper Orchid, there was only one. I squealed in delight & started taking photos. Ambles got impatient with me & kept on walking. So I continued on slowly to still if I could spot any more, only Cowslip & Donkey Orchids. Ambles came back looking for me saying, “C’mon! We got a long day ahead of us!” So off I trotted very happy, building up speed, turned to the right – enormous huge swamp puddle. NOOOO! Deb & Mel were on the other side. Deb yells out there’s no way around it, they already wasted time looking. And they would have avoided it if they could. Mel had to stop, remove boots, socks & strapping tape on her foot, put on sandals, go across, dry feet, re-strap up foot, put socks & boots back on. A real annoyance. So after procrastinating, I stomped through, the water coming up pass my calves. Boots & socks sodden wet again! Cursed away. Ambles catches up on the other side to us now, looks & goes, “I’m not going through that!” Deb said the same thing but off he went, tried to get through the tangled condensed vegetation & trees, gave up, went back to the spot, procrastinated some more like me, with a sigh of resignation he stomped through cursing as well, slipped & almost went in the drink. Deb goes, “Well, maybe that’s why the shop owner mentioned the short cut!” So we continued as we had to with heavy wet boots now & I picked up speed, went pass the rubbish tip where rubbish had blown over the track. Passed a bunch of croaking loud frogs in the swamp. Pressed on to Irwin Inlet to the canoe crossing 7.5kms from Peaceful Bay.

When I arrived there ahead of Ambles, I see one canoe! The other 5 on the other side! Well, not impressed! Whoever came through before us did not follow the instructions in the shed so thanks very much whoever that was!😡 So Ambles had to canoe across to the other side to bring back 2. What made it worse was the strong easterly blowing him down river coming back, he made it to the bank where I grabbed the rope & he got out in the water – well boots already wet! And walked them back up to the shed. Mel & Deb had caught up & were watching & waiting. Mel looked at the situation & was worried about making it across & keeping her boots dry. I said to Ambles to take her across, you can have 2 people or 1 person & backpack in a canoe. So Ambles rowed back over with Mel sitting in the front. I followed in another with Deb in the 3rd. It was easy to get across the winds blew me down to it, I just had to make sure I didn’t continue down the Inlet to the ocean! Once we were across, we had one backpack on the other side plus we had to leave canoes over there for the next hikers coming through. So Ambles & Deb went back across with a spare canoe each. Deb struggled against the wind getting blown down. Mel & I watched helplessly on the other side. But she made it to the other bank side, got out & walked the canoes up to the shed. Ambles had the clever idea to leave 3 canoes there which is the requirement but no one does it! He returned in one with Deb & backpack, the combined weight would have been one adult as Deb is petite & lightweight anyway.😊We were pleased. Did the right thing. Was 9.30am. We had only covered 7.8kms with still 14 odd kms to go! And now it was warm. As we left we noticed fishermen not far away in their dinghy. Must have been laughing at us!😏

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We move into an area known as the ‘Showgrounds’, the Quarram Nature Reserve. An unique interesting & picturesque scenery of rolling hills, sparsely placed trees, abundance of yellow & purple flowers. 40 odd kangaroos hopping about, the biggest red kangaroos we have seen & loads of midgees like clouds of them following us. And unrelenting sand hills, up, down, up, down. Deb & Mel stop for a break shielding faces with fly nets. Ambles gallops ahead, way ahead. I take many photos. See two complete kangaroo skeleton bone remains. I hope I don’t parish out here & join the skeletons of Quarram Reserve. Out of nowhere, a couple of big reds hop across the track in front of me, followed by an Emu! They disappear as quickly as they came. I’m getting tired in the sand but make it out onto Big Quarram Beach joining Ambles. Very low tide so easy to walk the 3kms along it, interrupted by some dune climbs in between where we take a break. I need a break. I can see why there is an alternative route inland when the beach is at high tide. You can see the waves reach up to the dunes, swallowing the sand of beach we walk along. Interesting stuff are washed up on the beach. Always a light globe? Interesting.

Deb & Mel catch up as we walk close together to Middle Quarram Beach. Beautiful coastline. Again I love watching the waves break & wash up the sand. It’s warm, a swim would be refreshing but we move on, leaving the beach walking behind. Beach walking is easy, firm sand. Into the sand dunes is not. Soft & hotter inside the dunes, no shade. Surprisedly no snakes. Deb & Mel stop for lunch, it’s past 12.30pm already. Still a ways to go. I struggle, getting tired. Too tired to eat but very thirsty. There’s a friggin long wooden staircase to climb. The steps go on forever. Ambles huffs & puffs louder than me. I take the lead for awhile. We continue the last 4kms, the longest 4kms. There is kangaroo poo everywhere! All over the track. The path is narrow with bushes growing in to our path. I worry about snakes but then too tired to care. It’s past lunchtime but I’m not hungry just bone weary tired. I will myself to keep moving. I have pain in my shoulders, my knees, my wet feet. Ambles takes the lead in the last 1.5kms. We arrive so grateful 2pm at the shelter! Today has been the longest, hardest day imaginable. The shelter is nestled into the valley if you walk slightly north or south of the shelter, then gorgeous views of the ocean & coastline below can be admired. Simple with a beach theme – shells hanging from the roof, another sunroom. It’s blowing cold wind into the shelter blowing stuff not tied down away. Deb & Mel make it in, relieved & happy to be here. We have a late lunch, do our chores. Neil turns up, a guy doing a small part of the walk, came from Parry Beach Campgrounds. He doesn’t have a tent & bunks in the shelter between Deb & Mel. First hiker we have seen since leaving Walpole! Deb comes back from the toilet. There’s a resident frog inside! She thought it wasn’t moving, maybe it’s not real. She touched it & it felt soft. Later when I went, it had moved to the cleaner container by the toilet, it obviously waits until nighttime to be on the move. Ambles pours wine for Deb & Mel, they don’t say no, are grateful for the wine indulgence after a hard day of 9 hours walking. So good we didn’t leave any later!😏

Another male hiker shows up, he has a tent & goes set up his tent outside. I don’t find out where he has come from as we get surprised……by Ambles brother, Tim & Jules! They drove & walked a short way in with food & beer for us! My face lit up, was it so good to see them or what after today! We ate, we drunk & discussed tomorrow, where we plan on spending a night camping with them at Parry’s Campgrounds. So tomorrow we pass their camp early for coffee & Jules will also have scones ready for us! Continue on to almost William Bay Campsite, 1km short of it, get picked up & taken back via Tim’s car to Parry’s. Can’t wait! It’s going to be hotter so we have to move early again, hopefully it won’t be as hard as today in the sand dunes. After they left, we had dinner but Ambles was pretty full so only had a small portion. All four of us finished off the vino as there is no need for Ambles to carry it tomorrow! Deb & Mel mentioned how it was going to be strange not having us there at the next campsite. They will miss our company! We really have become a combined group us four, Ambling Rose & the Poncho Thieves! Well, not many nights left together on the track now. In 2 nights we will be in Denmark, sort of – 20kms out of Denmark at a BnB anyway. We are all very tired, not sure why?! But it’s early bedtime tonight. I have stabs of pain going through my shoulders & need to rest. Hopefully I feel recharged in the morning.😊I doze off listening to a very tired Ambles snoring in my ear.☺️

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Day Fifty Four: Rame Head to Peaceful Bay

18/10: You would be pleased to know that no spiritual encounters or anything spooky happened at Rame Head shelter. Ambles did encounter a pair of kangaroos with a young one hanging out by the toilet when he went during the night. We all slept in to 5.20am! But that was ok, we only had an easy 11.5km walk into Peaceful Bay. The morning was very overcast & cool when we left after 7am. Kangaroos not far out of camp, they even let us walk very close to them, they might be the ones that linger around the campsite.

 

 

 

The track today is easy, winds around dunes, little bump hills, wide flat sandy tracks through gorgeous abundant vegetation. So many flowers, very colourful. Lots of Yellows & Pinks with purple, blue, orange colours thrown in sporadically. Few orchids mainly wildflowers but lovely nevertheless. Then the track leads out onto a beach & we get the stunning ocean, the waves coming in pounding onto the jumble of big rocks. It is hard to walk fast, I meander along, stopping often to admire the ocean, the flowers, everything, stop & take photo after photo. Ambles is a real smart pants now he goes faster with no effort & leaves me behind but I don’t care, I’m enjoying every minute out here! Ha! And he said we were going to walk together from now on! Deb & Mel catch up to me & Mel greets me with, “Hi Jingle Bells!” I must have a new trail name now😆. On I go seeing Ambles far ahead as soon as I close the gap, I find something else to stop & admire. We clamber up Castle Rock but I can’t see why it is called that then across to Beautiful little Beach another interesting name for a little cove off the beach sheltered by rocks. I see more kangaroos but these hop away long before I get anywhere close to them.

 

 

 

I walk along the beach now only a kilometre out & catch up with Ambles whom took the hard way up above on very soft sand while I walked on the firmer sand by the shore, just means when a big wave comes in I quickly hot foot it away into the soft sand before my boots get washed over with the sea salty water. I was having a blast! We arrived in to Peaceful Bay about 11am. Here the only accommodation is being in your caravan or tent. So Ambles paid for a tent site & put orders in for fish n chips! Generally this is the menu besides a hamburger or nuggets, they are famous for their fish n chips. Armed with a coffee each, we set up our tent with the tent fly for the first time. Our tent looks very smart! Deb & Mel arrived not far behind us, Mel was happy, no problems with foot pain, even in the soft sand! Our tents are widely spaced apart from each other which feels odd after nights of bunching in together! We dine on Snapper & Chips with Coke. Tasted pretty awesome actually, been hearing so many great reviews from other hikers.

 

 

 

Even though today was on the cool side, with chilly winds blowing through, I set off for a swim by myself. Was so lovely, what bliss! So nice in the bay sheltered by the rough surf coming in. The clouds had cleared somewhat & the sun came out for a little while. I stayed in as long as possible enjoying a decent swim for a change. Being able to see the bottom also! When I started getting too cold, came out onto the sand that felt toasty warm between my toes. How lucky are we?! I really love today😊. Went for a hot shower in the ablutions block, actually lovely & hot! Felt so clean afterwards & celebrated with an ice cream. Ambles didn’t shower, was resting up in the tent before buying some bait & heading off to the jetty at 3pm, fishing rod in hand. Lucky I swam earlier as the afternoon became overcast & cooler. There is a few odd holidaymakers here but fairly quiet. Lucky we came in today as I reckon it will be busy here this weekend.

 

 

We have a couple of warm days coming, hard to believe as it has been so cold. I’ve got myself organised for tomorrow, picked up our resupply box from the store. My light food bag just gained some weight 😆.

 

 

After doing some quick clothes washing as my hanky in particular was in dire needs of a good wash, I joined Ambles on the jetty to see how he was going. Saw a big stingray swimming around down below & thought, lucky I didn’t see one when I was swimming earlier!!! He had caught one fish which wasn’t enough to feed 4 of us so threw it back in…..unfortunately the stingray gobbled him up. Ambles happy enough with his fishing, packed up & headed back. He was freezing cold anyway, losing his hands to frostbite😆, awfully cold out there on the jetty.

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Off we go to dinner in our pjs as Mel says.😊 Had Hamburgers us & Mel, & fish n chips Deb, with more vino Ambles snuck into our cups. Well we were sitting outside the cafe. 😉 Magpies turned up eyeing off our chips so Ambles ran after them throwing his gloves at them to go away. More late Caravans turned up, it’s kind of cool hanging out with the ‘non hiking’ folk in the Campgrounds, something different.😊 A spot I would like to come back to. We called an early night heading back to our respective tents. We had two ducks waddle over to ours to check out Ambles & the tent. It’s feeling cold outside but lovely & warm inside our tent, so cosy! Time for shut eye – got a long hard day tomorrow.😏

 

Day Fifty Three: Giants to Rame Head

17/10: Ambles nudged me during the night. “Do you hear a cow?” He asks. “No” says I as I roll over & go back to sleep. Woke up 4.30am, lay there for awhile & decided to get up. We all got moving early & ready to roll by 6.30am. There was a cow mooing a couple of times, the guide book does say the shelter is close to farmland. We had a big 18.4km day leaving the Tingle forest & heading back out to the ocean. I was expecting soft sand walking by the latter half of the walk. Ambles took off ahead & disappeared as I meandered along admiring the gorgeous big Tingle trees. Another beauty of a king Red Tingle tree with the buttress base still intact. There actually isn’t many like this, most have their stumps hollowed out. I crossed the highway & continued along an old railway track, bumping into a man walking his 4 big dogs. Ambles was returning towards me worried as the dogs were barking & growling at him & Deb & Mel so was making sure I was ok! I was more upset I had missed a new Orchid! Wanted to go back to see it. But Ambles said it was too far back. Deb had even left me a big arrow but I missed it somehow! Then I cursed my camera again trying to take an orchid photo, but it was all blurry. Should have invested in a macro lens before the trip!

The track veers out to the ocean going through swampland, was getting bored with this landscape. Guess I was eager to get to the coast. Out to the sand dunes full of vegetation & flowers galore, lots of donkey & cowslip orchids. The weather had been good but now dark clouds loomed & some light drizzle of rain started falling as we were exposed on top of a sand dune ridge. Ambles got out his umbrella but it was quite windy & the wind blew his umbrella into the bushes so he had to go bushbashing to retrieve it. We made it to conspicuous cliff beach & found a sheltered picnic table to have a break at. Deb & Mel we passed couple of times came by, Deb hears me coming saying, “here comes jingle bells!” She said this time, “What you two doing slacking off?!” But they joined us, & in perfect timing. More ominous clouds came rolling in, Ambles said, “We better hold off, some rain is coming!” & sure enough, a heavy squally downpour of rain came & went. Off we went again after a break in the clouds. Only a short 3.2km walk in to the shelter, nothing as terrible as the sand dune walk into Long Point. Ambles told us off cheating as we went via the sand dunes not on the beach for the first 50 metres. At least I didn’t do a bum slide down the dune like Ambles😊. We made quick time the sand was firm thanks to the rain. Some sweating & puffing up some hills, not too bad, was expecting worse. Ambles wanted to prove he could walk in full wets so was wearing his rain pants & rain jacket even when the sun came out. Good on him!😆😆 Don’t care that I didn’t do the same! Arrived at camp just after midday. Deb & Mel arrived just as another dose of rain came down. How lucky we were to miss the rain today! And it wasn’t forecasted until later😊. Ambles had struggled lost his mojo, was lagging behind for awhile today but found his speed again at the end. The gusty winds tried to take his hat without success.

We enjoyed the brief sun we got at camp before the clouds closed back in & more rain came. Lucky the shelter was not facing into the cold winds. Nice shelter with extra hand rails, hooks, artwork & a sunroom attached to the side. Spectacular views of the ocean & Irwin Inlet & surrounds. And it’s all free! We spent time hunkering down in our tents & putting every layer of clothing on to keep warm. I bet it gets very wild & rough out here! Today is probably a tame day😆. Ambles offered more Whiskey around, there was no objections. Offered red wine around after, still no objections 😆! Once he had plastered us with alcohol, we were ready for an early night. It had turned out a very good day indeed 😁.

Still we haven’t seen any other hikers not even section or day hikers. Ambles kept suggesting to us, “Let’s go to Peaceful Bay now! It’s only 12kms, easy without our packs. We can go in, get fish n chips & come back!” Sometimes I think he has been out in the bush too long & going mad!😆“Sure” we said, “you race in get the food & hurry back before it gets cold!” Was hoping the clouds would clear & they did for a small sunset, nothing spectacular but nice to watch the sun go down, watch the ocean below. This place is truly amazing! A lodge in the same spot would be charging big $$$ to stay & admire the views. Truly I feel blessed to share this gorgeous spot, right now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! Mel is in love with the campsite saying it’s the best one on the whole track. Some people have written in the book that it is haunted here. Think that’s a load of rubbish! But I’ll let you know in the morning😉. We saw a bush rat running along the rafters just before bed, good to know we got some rodents sharing the shelter with us tonight😁.

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Day Fifty Two: Frankland River to Giants

16/10: After an initial period of laying in the dark listening to the mice or bush rats scratching away in their hideaway spot behind the Bibbulmun track signage board, I drifted off to sleep until 2am. The rain came pouring down outside, so convenient while we are snug warm & dry in our beds! Then I slept on & off until 5am. Today was a mere 15kms, some ups & downs but nothing too bad. The morning was humid & cool. No rain forecasted but cloudy skies. We set off after Deb & Mel still getting back into our hiking groove.

Wasn’t much to talk about, more of the same like yesterday, Karri & big impressive Tingle trees, small flowing creeks, many little bridges, hardly any flowers. We were coming up to the Tree Top Walk, could hear cars close by zipping along the highway. I chanced upon a cute little creature that was sitting in the middle of the path. I couldn’t figure what it was but later decided it must be a quokka as it looked like one, just slightly bigger than the Rottnest Island ones & they are known to live around this area. Fat little critter with reddish brown short fur & tiny pointy ears. It looked at me & scampered into the bush. I walked along to where it had been sitting & saw it in the bush, eyed me off a second time then disappeared before I could get a photo of it. We arrived outside the Tree Top Walk close to 11am. The Bibbulmun runs right pass the entrance. And there’s a coffee van every day to 3pm. Ambles was hanging out for a cappuccino so he promptly ordered one, I had a Chai latte. I wasn’t hungry for sweets but that was all they served. Ambles wanted a coconut slice, ordered two thinking they were small pieces & he would eat both. But they were huge so gave me one to eat. Well I was all sugared out after that! Once we stopped, the chill set in. It was so cold sitting in my shorts & t-shirt! We looked odd amongst all the tourists that were turning up fully rugged up. A whole bus load of people came in. One guy walked pass me & said, “You want my jacket?!!” I heard someone else mention ‘that lady is only in shorts & a top!’ So quickly pulled out my puffer jacket. The lady inside the centre remarked on my jacket, “Wow! Hello lady in the bright colour jacket! That’s like those high vis for sure!” We became celebrities when an older couple sat close by. The woman started asking questions, I told her about our walk, how long we had been walking & where we were finishing. She was so amazed, so impressed, telling her husband & their friends about us. There is 2 types of people, those that are excited about what you are doing & those that stare at you like you have gone mad, you are not part of society or the human race anymore.😆

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Ambles didn’t want to do the tree top walk, we had come here years before in a car😊. So different coming into these same places on foot! I tipped out our rubbish bag which is so satisfying before we went around looking for the south exit of the track, walking through the car parks looking lost until we found the trail head. Then it was only 1.5kms to Giants. We were a lot slower again with lengthy breaks but still got to camp just after midday. Deb & Mel heard me coming long before seeing me as my little bell rang away loudly coming down the descent into camp. “We can hear you!” Calls out Deb. Mel looked happy, had a better walk today, less pain. Deb was keen to walk back & do the tree top walk so after our lunch, I joined her & we set off back down the track. Going in the afternoon was far better, it was warmer & not many tourists around. The tree top walk is suspended up to 50 metres above ground, most of the trees still tower above us, but it’s pretty cool looking at trees from above & not the ground. We also did the Ancient Empire walk & learnt the difference between tree types. Had a refreshing juice drink & made our way back to camp. A fun way to kill some time in the afternoon. Got back where Ambles was worried as we had been gone almost 2 hours.😆Almost was going to go back looking for us – yeah right! I spotted a Quokka & he had spotted green poop on the ground shaped like a human fist. He was so impressed with this find, he took a photo. Yeah…. no one wants to see it!😂

He offered Deb whiskey again tonight, last night she said no, today she said no again. Mel piped up from her tent, “I wouldn’t mind a whiskey! I can finally use my shot glass!” (Mel has a sea to summit collapsible shot size cup which is so unbearably cute!) So then Deb succumbed to having one as well. With news that Dave & Jayne finished in Albany today, we clinked our whiskey cups in celebration for them. Ambles entertained us all as we sat down just the 4 of us again for dinner at our cosy campsite. Isn’t much of a glamorous shelter but has ample tent sites all around the shelter. A standard Deep South design shelter with wood chip flooring. Unlike the last shelter, this one has heaps of hanging hooks, ropes with pegs even! I heard something big crashing through the bushes close by but was after dark. Can feel a little unnerving not knowing what is out there in the bush. It’s definitely colder than last night as we tucked ourselves into our sleeping bags. Ambles been talking with his youngest brother & looks like we will get to catch up soon before Denmark on the track so really looking forward to catching up with family. It is always good to have something like meeting friends & family to look forward to. Breaks up the normality of day to day life on the track. Ambles has already put in his food order to his brother & is excited😊. Time for shut eye.

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Day Fifty One: Walpole to Frankland River

15/10: Hi Ho, Hi Ho…..it’s off to Frankland River we go! I was ready to leave Walpole, had a solid sleep to 5am where Ambles had been up & down to the toilet 20 odd times. My shoulders & feet no longer ached & hurt after the two zero days as I reluctantly heaved my heavy backpack back on – loaded up with food & water. Ambles no longer felt like walking proclaiming he is over this walk now. It’s hard to get back in the hiking groove as we set off at a slow sluggish amble of 3km/hr. The day was cool & overcast with rain clouds looming in the sky above us. Over to Coalmine Beach Caravan Park that sits on the banks of the Nornalup Inlet. A popular spot for Caravans, swimming & fishing.

Ambles takes in the final views of his beloved area before we head inland through Karri & Tingle forest. There isn’t much in the way of flowers, it is more about the Tingle trees & the views back out to the ocean & Inlet. We walk through the popular tourist area where the giant red Tingle tree attracts thousands of people every year, the tree is spilt wide open that a small car can park inside it. We time our photos well, encountering early tourists on the way out.

While we seem to be going slow, we still make good time. Ambles has trouble dealing with the weight again & needs to stop for a rest while I continue slowly ahead. He catches up to me eating a banana. Where did he get that? He smiles happily saying, “The trail provides! I was walking along & found this banana just laying there on the ground. Thought it might be yours. Peeled the skin back & the banana only had one bruise on it! Fresh as! Someone would have been upset to have lost it then!” I hadn’t even noticed a banana on the ground when I passed through myself! 18.4kms hike to our campsite. Small ups & downs but otherwise reasonably easy pathways. We join the Mundi Biddi on a wide track a little ways before  heading off on a separate track to our campsite, arriving just as a light rain shower started to fall. Took us just over 5 hours of walking, finishing at midday in time for lunch. This campsite is pretty, the first thing I notice is that it is on stilts, has an undercover decking patio with wooden floorboards, no sand, gravel or wood chips as a floor base right near our sleeping areas. Makes it much cleaner. Also has a resident cheeky mouse & bush rats living here hence another big container to lock your food in & a deterrent system set up on the poles above where we can hang stuff so rodents can’t climb & reach personal items hanging. Should make for an interesting night.😏 The other box has the biggest, fattest book in it – no wonder someone left it behind! Birdman had been through 2 days ago & wrote an extensive list of bird names he had seen on the track to date, but as Ambles pointed out, not in alphabetical order!😆 And the Frankland River runs right next to the shelter, a peaceful lovely little spot. The only problem is the toilet is so far away!

Deb & Mel arrived barely 5 minutes after we had & we all tucked into lunch. Ambles was keen on an afternoon of fishing as the rain kept coming on & off, light rain but annoying if you wanted to sit by the river. If it was a warm day, would have been perfect for a dip in the water. Ambles’s fishing rod kept getting caught in the low branches on the track as it stood out so high, above the backpack like an antenna, so after all that effort, he was going fishing regardless of the rain! Found a decent path to the rivers edge, hopped onto a rock & cast a line. There are too many rocks & stuff in the water so he quickly started losing his hooks as they kept getting snagged. While Ambles tried to fish, the rest of us relaxed in our tents. Mel’s feet are still hurting so much, she hobbles around camp after her horrible walk in & is just happy to have made it to the campsite. One day closer to Albany she says, very determined to get to the end & putting up with her painful condition. My feet were fine today but after stopping, my ankles get swollen & sore, stiffen up, leaving me to hobble about until they warm & loosen up. Ambles called it quits by wine o clock time. Had a couple of bites but nothing exciting on the end of his fishing line. He can try again at Peaceful Bay.😄 The rain finally blew over & we caught the last warm rays of sunshine before the day ended. Another gourmet dehydrated meal for dinner, chocolate for dessert then book reading in bed until shut eye time. We may have found ourselves in between the bubble of thur hikers. Finally getting a quiet shelter to ourselves. It is very quiet tonight with the four of us, no other hikers seen at all today.

Day Forty Nine & Fifty: Walpole Zero Days

More Zero days. Really needed those. The first day I was still unwell, appetite diminished. Couldn’t sleep well at all, my feet kept hurting every time I had to roll over. Had a day of resting with feet up mostly in bed. Rained on & off outside so happy not to be walking. The Cafe / Bakery here opens at 7am, had breakfast scones jam & cream, went back later for a meat pie. Hardly felt like eating, again so unlike me! Finished reading my book while completing laundry duties. Ambles had planned to go fishing but decided to stay inside watching the rain. The town was pretty quiet, only the pub, IGA & Cafe / Bakery was open. A guy rushed into the IGA while we were there telling the staff there had been a terrible car accident & the ambulance needed calling. Found out later a child called Max had been injured in the car accident & flown to Perth Hospital. We met up with Deb, Mel & Daisyfish for dinner over at the pub, it was the only place open for dinner so the restaurant was booked out. However Ambles managed to sweet talk the waitress into getting a table for us. Daisyfish arrived in Walpole same day as us & didn’t stay at Mt Clare. Got there early & found the shelter cold with no views & decided to just continue into town, which was a good decision. She has developed an infected huge blister on her heel Sunday morning so waiting to see the doctors tomorrow. Our meals were delicious, the wine flowed well & freely, some of us were getting tipsy😂😂. Elbow & Drew came in with their bush walking group as they head off the next morning we said our goodbyes.

Today was another relaxing day, feeling more better, my feet not hurting. Got a good nights sleep. Enjoyed an early morning spa bath before my parents came with our re supply. We organised our Peaceful Bay & Denmark boxes, as they were dropping them off this morning. Next time we see them will be in Albany🤞. Got me a new book to read called Bewildered – a lady thur hiking NZ’s 3000km Te Araroa trail just to give me more ideas 😂😆😂. Today we were joining Deb & Mel on the WOW boat cruise in the Walpole & Nornalup Inlets, however Mel stayed back not wanting to walk any extra mileage due to her foot issues. The cruise was highly entertaining with a very eccentric Garry, knew so much about the history of the area & really loves Walpole. He was hilariously funny & couldn’t sit still for a second as we went pass Rest Point Caravan Park up to the Inlet mouth where it meets the ocean – The Pacific Ocean water comes into Nornalup Inlet we learnt. Then we did a short walk where Ambles stayed back by the boat, over to a beach & back. Everything that goes in the ocean seems to end up washed up on the shores around here. We were picking up bits of plastic & netting washed up on the beach that have come from Perth or even an overseas country. Today was another wet raining day, we had timed our zero days well as the sun comes out tomorrow. Mel was staying in their hotel room all day & having dinner at their pub not keen on walking far. We wanted a change & ended up going for Thai at our restaurant, Monday nights being Thai buffet special. Felt like a change from the pub food, we had fish n chips for lunch at the pub earlier. Ambles decided not to go fishing again after carrying his fishing rod & bait onto the boat cruise, to the pub then back to our room! He wanted to pack his backpack, if it is all too heavy, then the goon bag was going! Luckily the goon bag is alright & heading out to Frankland River along with the fishing rod & bait tomorrow. 😆

Caught up with Daisyfish where the news was all bad. Had her infected blister lanced, cleaned up & bandaged with a course dose of Antibiotics. Strongly advised not to continue walking. May be alright in a week but Daisyfish has called it an end (for now) on her journey to Albany. Heading home tomorrow. I felt so sad for her & will miss us all reaching Albany together. But she has done an amazing job of making it here to Walpole, not many people can say they have done what we all have done so far. We will miss her on the track but it’s not over as I said, the Bibbulmun is not going anywhere, & when she is ready, can come back & finish this last section to Albany & ring that finishing bell! We joined Daisyfish for our last meal together in the restaurant. Ambles sweet talked as he does so well, asking the lovely lady there for 3 scoops of ice cream. Not normal menu tonight so not allowed. Batted his eyelashes & got his vanilla ice cream 😆. And afterwards one more spa bath….for good measure before we head back out again for probably the toughest part of this walk to come!

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Day Forty Eight: Long Point to Walpole

12/10: The Bibbulmun Guide book read that Long Point to Walpole, skipping Mt Clare was a really tough strenuous walk but could be done by experienced fit determined hikers, barely but possible. So we had geared up for an 8 hour hike into town. I didn’t sleep well at all, heard Mel rummaging around in her tent taking pills around some late hour of the night. Every noise I heard & the moon hung bright in the sky. Deb set her alarm going off at 4am. We were up & at it, packing up & having breakfast, hitting the trail at a planned 6am. Today marks our 6th wedding anniversary as Deb sung us happy anniversary to the happy birthday tune. Can’t say that will ever happen again, was a lovely gesture! Everyone was going into Walpole besides Daisyfish whom was staying at Mt Clare today & going into Walpole tomorrow. With all our noises & lights shining, she gave up on staying in her sleeping bag & got up to join us. Drew was packing up his tent as we were heading off ahead of schedule at 5.45am.

The morning was cool but didn’t require extra layers of clothing. The sun was rising, peeking through the clouds as we set off. Perfect weather in fact & best time of day to start walking. We had prepared for a hard slog of 13kms into Mt Clare expected to arrive there at 10.30am. Whilst we were on sand, it wasn’t too bad the sand wasn’t really soft but the track in places was severely overgrown with bushes. I made the mistake of not wearing my gaiters & my lower legs got scratched up badly by all the prickly bushes I had to push through. By 7am, the sun was feeling warm, on sand dunes, you are exposed with no shade, the heat reflects off the sand & makes you hot, sweat & drink more. We pushed through at a slower 3.5km/hr but pretty good considering, the track wasn’t as bad as yesterday. We veer away from the ocean making our way back inland. Lots of birds & soaring eagles about. At times, the cool breeze spots along the track were a relief. We didn’t stop for a break until we got out of the exposed dunes & were under the cover of the forest. Immediately it was much cooler & made for pleasant easy walking. Then we just had a short but steep climb up to Mt Clare. Ambles had no trouble whatsoever & kept moving up. I struggled due to probably having had a cold, kept having to stop, break, slow my breathing back down & continue. At least I wasn’t having to blow my nose every 3 seconds anymore, was feeling better but tired. We arrived early at Mt Clare by 9.20am. Deb & Mel were there having a break. We took a break again, I was hot from the climb up but cooled down quickly, it was freezing cold there! But a beautiful spot, we are now in Tingle tree land. Amazing giant Red Tingle trees surrounded the shelter. Ambles was trying to hurry me up as I wrote in the trail logs book & took photos.

The last part into Walpole was 10kms, a gentle downhill into town through the cool forest. Ambles was focused on getting to the pub he took off, his speed increased & I had to keep texting him to slow down. He was on a mission & didn’t worry about leaving me behind to walk into town alone on our anniversary! Poor form I say!😆My feet were hurting as I kept having to walk faster to catch up & keep up. At least the day was perfect weather wise. Some clouds had rolled through & it was cool under the trees. We crossed Rest Point Road, Ambles looked right knowing his favourite place in the whole wide world was there – Rest Point Caravan Park. Cars zipped up & down towing Caravans & boats, he pulled a sad face as we continued into town. Through the golf course & over the Walpole River. The last kilometre truly sucked, on hard flat pavement around the new housing estate with very modern looking new homes. My feet hurt sooooo much! I just wanted to be sitting in the pub already! But we made it 12.20pm just in time for lunch – straight into the pub on the outskirts of town. Joined by Deb & Mel for lunch. They hadn’t showered yet but were staying there so had dumped their backpacks & boots in their room. Their meals arrived quickly but ours was delayed, & we ordered the same time. I sat waiting & waiting while watching Deb & Mel eat their meals. Torture! Eventually our meals came & I mowed down a BLT with chips. Ambles had a dozen oysters followed up with a small fish n chips. We all had pints of beer. Double lot of beers, except I chose a Bourbon & Coke after my first pint of beer.

Unfortunately we had to leave at some point & make our way across the small town to the Tree Top Walk Motel where we were booked to stay. It was a very slow shuffle with a belly full of grog & food & numbed feet over to the visitor centre to fill in the log book, another slow shuffle over to the motel. Drew & Elbow had arrived & were walking about. They were staying at the backpackers but couldn’t get in to 3.30pm. Well that truly sucked! Elbow was sitting & waiting outside the cafe / bakery with newspaper & drink while he waited. We were in our room by 2.30pm – we were at the pub awhile 😂.

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Walpole was the southern terminus end of the Bibbulmun Track back in 1998. If that was the case today, we would have finished our journey. But now, only 2 weeks remain until we walk into Albany. 2 weeks today! So hard to believe. So we spent the afternoon soaking in our own spa bath filled with Epsom salts. Of course we showered the grime & funk off our bodies before we hopped in! Our bodies turned into wrinkly prunes before we got out. Felt well & truly cleaned. Ambles went to the IGA, came back with a fishing rod & bait didn’t he?! Plus extra fishing line to carry & go hand fishing along the track.😆 There was only one washing machine & dyer at the motel to use & had to wait my turn. Had all my clothes in so ended up eating in the restaurant there in my camp shorts, a bikini top with my mont-bell jacket over it. Classy😆. The restaurant was absolutely lovely. Had it to ourselves briefly before other couples rolled in. Had real golden oldie songs playing softly in the background. Sounded like from the 50 & 60’s. The food was so so good, but for the first time on this trip, I could not finish my meal! I was starting to feel unwell, sickish, sore tummy & I guess the day’s walk plus the other 9 days walking had caught up with me. I was feeling so tired & exhausted. It was our anniversary & all, but I ended up going to bed early after dinner, was totally worn out. So glad to have a couple of rest days to recharge & recover. Ambles stayed up longer enjoying another glass of vino & reading his newspaper – catching up on the news😁.

Day Forty Seven: Woolbales to Long Point

11/10: Everyone’s sleeping mats crunched loudly whenever someone moved on their mat. Must have been the flooring in the shelter, mine had never been so loud before. Had a sleep in to 5.10am & it was slightly drizzling with rain outside & very overcast. Not at all cold. Ambles was in a very slow mood & took ages to pack up saying he could stay here another day. My cold was a lot better but my body felt tired, my feet weren’t interested in any walking today. We had an 18km day ahead but hitting the sand meant it was going to be a challenge. I left just before Ambles & he quickly caught up, he walks so fast now, checks the time, realises he is doing 4.8 to 5km/hr & tries to slow down.

Mine seems to be 4.5 but today I was slower. Putting my feet back into wet boots that quickly turned my dry socks wet was no fun. I knew my feet were going to be wrinkly & prune like & start to hurt quickly into the walk. Rain came in but didn’t linger long. This whole section to Long Point is speculator for wildflowers & orchids. I could walk around the remaining puddles on the track before veering into stunning forest, blooming with colour, over granite mossy rocks that were wet & slippery giving me flashbacks to my Mt Cooke slide so I was extra cautious & slow through them. We were headed to the coast which was 10.5kms from Woolbales to the view over Mandalay Beach. The going started to toughen up climbing up & over sand dunes pass more amazing flowers. I could even see slivers of ocean blue. Ambles fast pace turned back into his old Ambling pace, no one can maintain a fast pace in soft sand. Well, not normal people anyway😂. When we arrived at the view spot in front of the ocean, Deb & Mel were there sitting on the seat & soaking it all in. It was an emotional moment, a huge milestone that we had walked all this way inland & arrived on the coast. From here on, we walk eastwards towards Albany along the ocean. Ambles let out a loud whoop!, truly a special moment I will remember forever more.🙂

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Deb & Mel continued along as we soaked in the views. We had rain earlier, now we had blue skies, some light clouds & sunshine. You couldn’t ask for better! We continued down to the beach & walk 1 kilometre along Mandalay Beach. We instantly had flashbacks to trudging through soft sand along the Cape to Cape last year – joy o joy!😏While it was about 6kms to Long Point, the going was tough & a lot slower going. It was quite warm out on the exposed sand dunes. I saw only half a tiger snake heading into the bush. Not bad considering it was prime snake time. It was so hard trying to go up those soft sand dunes, I take a step & my foot slid backwards. I was breathing so loud & hard I reckon anyone from kilometres away would hear me. The views were absolutely stunning & I have so many photos! It didn’t feel like a good day when I started but boy! Turned out to be my most favourite! It took us to almost 1pm to get to camp. My feet were really hurting & I ran out of water in my water bladder as I drank so much water. Ambles knee was playing up again. Deb & Mel were chatting to a guy called Ali in the shelter. He is a nobo & was sleeping in his tent when they arrived. He came from Mt Clare, is a recovering drug addict trying to straighten up his life. He was packing up to move on as he wasn’t interested in a group of us sharing the shelter, rather wanted to be by himself. He carry’s all these tinned food, backpack looked pretty heavy as he took off at a sprint walk towards Woolbales. He was nice enough & reminded us of Wayne & Tim, similar personality & drug / alcohol recovering addicts.

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The afternoon flew by quickly as Daisyfish, Drew & Elbow rolled in. The sun disappeared behind clouds & the temperature dropped as we all rugged ourselves up. Completely different to the warm evening yesterday. Whoever looks after this shelter really puts a lot of effort into it. So immaculate clean & tidy. New looking retaining walls & white gravel stones make up the floor. Smelt like the wood had all been treated with lacquer recently. The only issue being the toilet is back up the hill, a bit of a walk through soft sand. 8th toilet with no toilet paper.

So many side trip walks to beaches & coves but we have no energy to go exploring. Today was a huge day, we plan an early night tonight & an early start tomorrow – town day! But another big 22.5km walk to get there. Ambles was missing a campfire tonight, “Darn! All these dead back boys around! Could have a campfire & keep warm!” We can finish our vino off tonight but will there be more vino after Walpole? Ambles is threatening to drop vino weight from his backpack…..again…..

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Snake sightings Ambles 3, Rose 4.5😂