Day 36 :: Northcliffe to Gardener
Northcliffe feels like the divide between North and South Coast. Last night the lass said a storm was forecast for lunch, so we decided to get away early and try and beat the storm. The guidebook promises an intimate experience with the Gardner River: an attractive water course!
Initially we had to walk what felt like a well-worn track now, back into Northcliffe to get to the beginning of today's section (Roundtu-It is on the near-side of Northcliffe).Day 36 Google Earth Track
|Length||17.51 km||Day Length||4:41|
|Ascend||735 m||Descend||776 m|
Good sleep, but needed a wee at 3am. More of a hassle having to use facilities, but it was all OK. Dawn chorus loud, so no trouble waking this morning. Good to get up and going despite the heavy packs and we were speedily over the ground to Northcliffe and on to new territory. Initially a train track with orchids en route.
Walking along the Track up to Wheatley Road (for the first time today), we saw (or the first time today), three other back-packed walkers walking down Wheatley Road (rather than the Track). Wasn't sure what to make of that? We were expecting to see Jared, but we'd just been passed by a young American who said he and Jared had stayed in the same hotel that night and that Jared had got away early with the intention of double-hutting to Maringup (so that may be the last we see of Jared?). We ended up later having morning tea with Rod (who was one of the three back-packed walkers walking down Wheatley Road) and ended up hutting with them for a couple of days; but initially we concentrated on the beauty that was all around us and next to our boots.
The guidebook does say that the Track "winds out of town", and it certainly adds a couple of extra loops of Track walking to stay off the road; but we were very glad of that as if we'd taken the road 'short-cut' we'd have missed some wonderful floral displays! Eventually there is no other way around, and the Track joins Wheatley Road (or its verge) for a while, before turning off to walk beside Gardner River (intimately).
And the orchids have been amazing, enamels, flying ducks and various others. Really lovely and many other "new" for us others too. Very pleasant along the river, particularly as it is dry and it is a dry feeling river, not the fungus and moss of the Warren which almost felt like Dead Man's Swamp. Good to smell hot dry Eucalypt leaves on the ground again. Funny too, coming down to the river bridge where we had morning tea, there was a really strong smell like walking into the Food Co-op or such places with spice smells. Quite bizarre.
Whilst we were having a very pleasant morning tea beside the babbling waters of the Gardner, Rod walked up (who we'd unknowingly passed previously) and joined us, and took our morning tea photo for us.
After morning tea we strode off, crossing one creek then crossing over what the guidebook said was "three creeks in 50 metres": we were crossing lots of small creeks, and eventually we cross the Gardner back to the other side again.
The sticks on the track are tricky things: when they are not impersonating snakes (not very often), they are tripping you up (more often than you like).
It's amazing the songs that come into your head whilst you're walking. Some discussion later on in the walk with 'Mr. C' indicated that it was not an uncommon experience to have odd tunes enter your head and to add your own words. We wondered if it had something to do with the rhythm of your walking, which your brain mapped to a tune in your memory? Today I couldn't stop singing 'Horse with no name', but it morphed into 'Bibbulmun Track with my wife'...
To the tune of Horse with no name:
I've walked the Bibbulmun Track with my wife,
It felt good to get out of the town
On the Track, you can't remember the day
'cause it just wont help you along the way
La laa laaa la-la-la-la
la-la-la laaa laa
Halfway through the walk I realised I'd forgotten to empty the rubbish bag. Thankfully it has very little in it, but P wasn't impressed. Nor me either.
The Track eventually joins up with Laws Track, which takes us through a swampy area and along to the hut.
We beat the storm, yahoo!! Actually it hasn't come yet, but there are 6 clouds in the sky now and we've walked all the way with not one!
First job in camp was to get my wet clothes off, which were pretty sweaty, and then to have lunch: it's amazing to finish the day's walking before lunch time! Harry (one of the three back-packed walkers from Wheatley Road) said we had to go down to the creek for a wash, which we did after lunch.
Max, a young man from US, and Jared were well on their way this morning, but 3 older folk will share the hut, probably for the next nights (they're all having afternoon sleeps now). Great log across river at campsite, so crossed and washed. Lovely getting everything aired when we got into camp.
Gardner is certainly an awesome campsite, at a great location on the Gardner River which is particularly beautiful at that point. Sandi tried some more Soap Bush, and this time got some lather, so excitedly announced that fact to the others in the shelter who rushed down to also try. They were not successful with theirs, which raised some questions about which shrub was actually Soap Bush?
The rivers flow with Coco-cola down here! Wonder what tree does that? This is such a different feel of river -- much more open (not in a deep valley) and very sandy soil. Very different to walk beside; certainly don't go up and down so much when crossing the side creeks!
Northcliffe not only felt like the North / South divide, but it also felt like the alone / in company divide as well. We had felt a little nervous at the number of people we may be sharing the shelters with (after reading on-line material), but we'd been pleasantly surprised up until this point, as when we had shared it was very easy and the numbers few. My diary notes expressed our apprehension at the impending level of sharing that was coming up...
Wasn't sure if we were going to use a tent site tonight, but the snoring coming from the afternoon sleeps made it a "no brainer". Bit disappointed that they are travelling at exactly the same pace we are -- made us see if we could double-hut in front of them: but today was the best opportunity (and that's gone after a long lunch and wash) and it's probably good to let Jared get on without us?
Cloud update: More clouds, quite cool in the shade of them -- plenty of blue sky to go around! It's been great to sit in the sun! Very lazy -- get in to camp before mid-day and sit in the sun all afternoon :)
We obviously had a lot of time to talk with the others sharing the shelter, a couple who were very knowledgeable (Harry and Marg) shared lots of good information, some of which was just a little scary. Well, not too scary, as we'd come prepared for wading through inundation, but the depth and extent were the unknowns.
Been a bit of talk about the level of inundation over the next section -- will be interesting to see how much is there when we get there.
|Meal||Chicken Tikka Marsala||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.3|
So after another good meal (Harry and Marg both being good sports shared their ratings on their Back Country meal: Roast Lamb and Vegetables)
Harry: 4we headed off to bed in our tent in the quiet of the Australian bush after a very enjoyable, and speedily walked, day.
|Roundtu-It Holiday Park||0.0||7:08 AM||0:00||0.0|
|Northcliffe Visitor Centre||1.8||1.8||669.9||7:38 AM||0:30||0:30||187.0||3.6||3.6||3.6|
|Gardiner River||11.9||13.7||681.8||10:58 AM||3:20||3:20||190.3||3.6||4.1||3.6|
|Gardner Campsite||3.8||17.5||685.6||11:55 AM||0:57||4:17||191.2||4.0||4.1||3.6|
Created by • Last edit by on November 22nd, 2018
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