1,021km over 54 days
It's taken 10 weeks after finishing the Bibbulmun Track to start to feel normal and productive enough to get some of our photos and reflections in order. The sheer enormity of the undertaking and effect of the experience has taken me by surprise: but we've managed to navigate those dangerous waters without doing anything totally crazy, and are now getting some of the product of the walk published. The numbers still boggle my brain:
|35||kg of food eaten|
|316||hours of walking|
|1,021||kilometers of track|
|49,036||metres skipped down|
|49,407||metres trudged up|
|90,919||GPS points recorded|
Over the 54 days of our trek, we took a portrait photo each morning before setting off on the day's walk and then each afternoon when we'd reached camp – often capturing the morning's optimism and then the afternoon's pain of the journey on our faces.
Over the period of the walk we compiled quite a lot of data that I've been using for my equipment reviews, which have produced some interesting graphics:
After what seemed like 6 months of intense planning, purchasing and lately training, we felt extremely well prepared. I had an extensive spreadsheet that calculated everything from intended walking durations and expected arrival times to food consumption, shopping lists and food drop labels! It had been checked and re-checked and we were comfortable that we were ready to trust it.
Packing for an interstate walk was extremely scary though, knowing that if we forgot anything it was going to be a long way away! Our standard packing process worked a treat: collect everything into the sun room, ticking it off on the list, then double tick as it gets packed into the pack. This time though it was complicated by all the other, non-walking stuff, we had to take as well: like clothes for before and after the walk.
The morning went well, we got everything packed and I got my hair cut, and before we knew it we were walking to the station to catch the train to the airport, feeling very odd to be walking with a pack and a jacket... or maybe the odd feeling was coming from embarking on something so long planned? Whatever, it was odd.
And here we found ourselves on the day of our departure into the unknown. It seemed amazing that we could have devoted so much time in planning this thing and yet standing on the threshold we had no idea what would really be install for us: if the planning was up to scratch, if our gear would work out... if we were actually up for the 2-month walk!
Anyway, today's plan was pretty simple:
- Get up and breakfast
- Return rental car
- Public transport to Kalamunda (2 buses)
- Start walk
We were starting the walk tired and run-down: I had a bad cold and we both were not sleeping very well. We were too short with each other too often: I think we just had too much in our heads too much of the time! Why we were starting a 1,000km walk in that condition I'm not really sure?
A comparative sleep in this morning, well a rare morning where we didn't have to rush out of bed and into a busy day... though shocked to find I left the GPS on overnight after recording the day's statistics... but our first day of waking up, walking and going to sleep all in the Western Australian bush! It's a good distance today: ~20km as we're "double-hutting" from Hewitt's Hill through Ball Creak to camp at Helena. But we've got the morning tea stop at Mundaring Weir (which is only 5km into the day) and a lunch break at Ball Creak -- so we're getting it pretty easy today really. Our packs are just about empty too! Well, until Mundaring Weir...
The aim today, initially, is to rinse our clothes: two days walking in warm sun is about enough! The guidebook mentions some significant sounding water courses in Chinaman Gully and Helena River, so we're fairly confident we'll find enough water in one of them to wash the sweat out of our clothes. It's a good sized walk today as we're doing two sections and "double-hutting" through Waalegh, where we'll have a lunch stop (all things going well).
Another double-hutter, this time we're planning to lunch at Mt Dale after checking out the view from the lookout on top of Mt Dale. Alec up and away early in his usual way, and we made a much more leisurely start to the day and walk after getting up earlier to catch the sunrise.
The guidebook gives Abyssinia Rock a big wrap: so we're intending to stop there for morning tea, though probably a little late and wait for lunch till we get to camp at Canning. It's a shorter day today, so we're planning to enjoy the extra-curricular locations!
We're looking forward to today after reading the Guidebook: broad swampy watercourse, massive paperbarks (which Sandi loves), a stand of virgin Jarrah, permanent billabong on the Canning River -- where we plan to have morning tea today... and a pretty short day: what more could you want in life?
We look forward to one of our longest, and probably hardest days today: yet another "double-hutter", but we were intent on thoroughly enjoying the "challenging and spectacular" Mt Cooke before the run into North Bannister (and our steak), on one of the flattest sections on the track. A last minute decision late last night to start early because of intended rain and to ensure we didn't miss closing time at Three-Ways Roadhouse meant that we set the alarm on Sandi's mobile phone.
This was one of Sandi's favourite days, once we got through the first horrid bit across the highway and past the plantation. Getting over the Albany Highway felt like a huge step on our journey, like losing sight of land when sailing off. We're planning to have morning tea on top of Boonerring Hill, which we'll climb without our packs.
Sandi is looking forward to the frogs and the ephemeral pools on top of White Horse Hills this morning... It's not a huge day today, which ends at Mt Wells. We'll be very interested to see the Mt Wells hut as it gets a lot of bad press amongst the walkers: it surely can't be as bad as they say?
The Guidebook promises "several attractive Wandoo creek flats" which is exciting: we really are loving the Wandoo; and "good displays of Orchids in Spring" that is very exciting! Another short day today, so all going well we plan to wait for lunch until we reach Chadoora.
Today promises a longish day, but one that should be relatively easy as it's so flat into Dwellingup. We're looking forward to some fresh food and hopefully we'll be able to fit afternoon tea in before Mass. We're pretty pleased that all our hard work has paid off and that we'll be able to get to Mass tonight! We have so much to be thankful for...
Today we head back out into the bush after being refuelled in spirit, soul, body and supplies. The Guidebook doesn't paint today in gorgeous colours: Pine Plantations, Blackberries and swamps all colour our expectations. But it certainly will be nice to leave town behind again. Looking forward to really using our new wet weather gear: I love walking in the rain when you're well protected.
Terry was right about the weather: it was a wild night where the storm woke me up it was so violent! And we got the greatest shock getting out of the tent to find that we were in the middle of an inland sea!
We head South again today. The Guidebook promised some delights today: two old rail formations and Murray River... but there were some gorgeous unexpected delights in store for us today as well! A day that threatened rain all day, but only really delivered right at the end.
It took quite a few readings of today's walk in the Guidebook before we realised that the Long Gully Bridge was not going to be crossed today (the photo is in today's section, rather than the next). The Guidebook does warn of slippery tracks, Marron fishermen and rain: so we'll need to be careful!. It's a shorter day today, and we intend to walk down to the river at Driver Road for lunch before ascending to Dookanelly campsite.
We are finally going to see the thing that has been making all that noise for days; still shudder at the thought of that lost Indian family blindly following this noise... and the Long Gully Bridge! There's certainly a bit of up and down today, the Guidebook describing it as "a degree of challenge" :)
The Guidebook gives the Plonkhole a bit of a wrap, or maybe we just love the swamp vegetation? And Harris River also sounded interesting. We weren't planning to put lunch off till camp, but we walked in good time so it worked out that way. It was a disappointing day for me today, as I seemed to be in a bad mood for most of it after missing a turn: silly; but the glorious flowers around Harris River and the Orchids at the campsite put me right again.
Beautiful morning with sun rising out of the mist over Opossum Spring to blue skies and fluffy white clouds.
It's a very short day today, and as the Guidebook says, this "provides an opportunity for walkers to relax at either campsite"... we naturally thought, why not both?
The original plan for today was to get to Collie in time for shopping and Mass on Sunday, but now it's is to get into Collie as early as possible: 1. to ensure we get to the shops before they close at 5PM, 2. hopefully get to the camping store, which we had a sneaking suspicion wouldn't be open in the afternoon. To this end, and to satisfy a curiosity created by Andre talking about night bushwalking, we decided to leave before dawn (and breakfast) and have breakfast on the way at Harris Dam.
Not such a great sleep last night, to bed pretty early I think we were quite excited abut our plans for the day. We had everything packed up, bar a few bits and the bedding. Awake early and rather cold at 4:45am. Called it quits and started warming clothes [Ed: in the sleeping bags] and dressing [Ed: in the sleeping bags]. A bit of frenetic activity had us on the way by 5:23am -- P in front with his headlight. The toe nail moon had been peeping through the trees when we woke.
Collie :: Rest Day
A rest day -- with nothing to do but to wander and relax and eat and have fun.
Great big breakfast of sausage, egg, beans, tomato and mushroom; and many, many cups of tea! Woke just before 6:00am and got up to do batteries and have a really wonderful hot, long shower: bliss.
Collie is an interesting camping ground (each one is quite different).: the kitchen is well stocked with everything you'd need (except a can opener or a grater) -- but the backpacker accommodation (which shares the kitchen) is somewhat less than what you'd expect. Tent site is great though, with good weed cover and early sun.
The weather forecast for today is for possible thunderstorm, but it's bright, clear blue skies at the moment. Monday is possible thunderstorm too and colder (25°c), with showers for the rest of the week -- looking forward to getting our rain jackets sussed tomorrow.
I was a little disappointed with my laksa yesterday -- although absolutely delicious, it lacked vegetables and had too much meat. I think I should have asked for something vegetarian instead -- I heard another patron ask, which is when I realised... must remember for the future cafe meals.
This morning we will, hopefully, finally sort out our wet weather gear and Sandi's socks. We'd had a wonderful break, but are excited to be heading back out again; very happy that we'd managed to hit our two time targets: it feels like the rest of the walk is a little more stress free.
After rising at 6pm to change batteries on the charger, the morning was spent sorting packs, making lunch and eating breakfast. In the end, all the batteries were fully charged, including the FUSE battery.
What a great snoogly night it was and not a bad sleep either, rained through the night pretty constantly, and kept raining.
We got going as the dawn chorus was in full swing. Got pretty organised, but in the end still had to walk into town in the rain. Bought P camp socks from Coles, turned out Explorer wool blend seemed the best option.
Camping store sorted out my socks: one pair even half price. We chose ponchos: waterproof nylon long size and hopefully. Set off, sun now peeping out.
I think we woke up with the smell of hamburger in our nostrils: amazing what not being able to have something does to your desires... So Mumby Pub has to be the main goal today. Bron has briefed us with her stories... and we can't wait!
I got up early during a break in the morning showers and took a couple of photos while Sandi slept. We eventually got away in pretty good time, under heavy skies, to walk the even grade through lovely Jarrah forest down to Glen Mervyn Dam.
It's a pretty level day today, through attractive forests, according to the Guidebook: so we were looking forward to the ~22 kms when reading about it the night before. The night was very cold though and the morning the coldest of the walk (I reckon)...
What a cold night and morning!
It's interesting what captures your imagination and what you look forward to, especially after the calming effect of 3 weeks on the Bibbulmun Track. After reading the Guidebook last night I'm really looking forward to the Balingup Brook footbridge, which is reputed to be an "outstanding blend of function and aesthetics": sounds delightful - can hardly wait!
For some reason it felt a little odd putting everything back into the pack again: it was almost like starting again. Had a real 'gulp' at all our stuff on the picnic table. But we have what the lady at the Alpaca shop said is the best view on the Track coming up this morning, and a pretty stiff climb at the end of the day.
The glory of yesterday's weather seemed to overflow into today: no wonder many people say that Blackwood is their favourite campsite! We have another diversion today, and the Guidebook has promised the first Karri as the vegetation slowly changes to more damp communities as we head South.
Halfway day: halfway in time and halfway in distance -- not sure if the glass is half full or half empty at the moment, but that's what we're hoping for is that we will remain in the moment. It's a fairly easy walk today, and we have Donnelly River Village at the end of it, where we're aiming for a bought afternoon tea :) We were in for a few surprises today though: not all of them appreciated either.
It was crazy to think that we were now halfway through our trek: both wonderful and scary. It was certainly amazing to realise that we were actually achieving it -- and terrifying that the result of our continued success would be the end of the walk. We were all ready for a fast get-away this morning as we'd packed the night before with everything folded, set up for breakfast and under control.
4:30am: P got up to go to the toilet and locked the key in so then turned around and broke back in through the kitchen window: bare bot, bare bot...
It was when I was leaving the kitchen / toilet: the light was off (I didn't turn it on when entering), and I had this funny feeling I was forgetting something. I put the key on the microwave when going in, at the time thinking I MUST remember to pick it up again on the way out... it wasn't until I got back into bed and Sandi said, "You remembered the key didn't you?" that I did remember it. I didn't want it to delay us in the morning, so I immediately got up to look for a way in. Thankfully someone else had not shut the kitchen window properly and I was able to climb in. The only issue was that I hadn't put my pants on for all of this... which only seemed to make it more funny to Sandi which she immortalised in a cartoon (The "I'm in" reference is to the movie "The Matrix".)
Today's section follows the Donnelly River all day, with many crossings. We're planning to have morning tea at the cafe marked on the maps at One Tree Bridge, which is a little late in the day for morning tea, but hopefully it will make up for the wait...
John yesterday said that DEC in this area (manjimup) had decided to make the track accessible by 4-wheel bike (emergencies) and something else that they use to carry things like chainsaws and other equipment. This has turned the bush track into a bush highway -- very wide. Some bridges were not 4-wheel friendly either. Generally, despite the obvious benefits, I didn't like the look, or that bike tracks can be seen all along the track now.
Today's elevation profile and map track paints in pretty graphic detail what the book calls a 'Challenging day': one winding in around the Donnelly River and up, over and down various valleys - though the book does promise 'marvellous' views and the 'best old-growth Karri'!. Got away in pretty good time, conscious that we didn't want to muck about on one of the more difficult days.
Today! Where do I start? Took a couple of paracetamol before bed last night, that headache shadow was there. Managed to get a pretty good sleep, we had the tent inner under the hut shelter again. A lazy start to the day, I felt a bit nervous about how I would go, particularly my knees.
Found a stick yesterday and today have found it very helpful on very steep descents particularly, but also the ascents. A real gift from God. P wants to now buy me fan-dangled walking sticks, but I think I like my one from God.
Today we take our leave from the Donnelly River, which we've spent the last three days walking beside. Jared tells us that we have the option of a coffee at the Karri Valley Resort today, though it is a diversion, and the Guidebook talks up the Beedelup Falls. Before that though we'll aim to have lunch at Carey Brook Falls, which sound nice (though understated in the book); and nothing has jumped out at us for morning tea today :(
Town days can be interesting, not always brilliant: maybe that's because we have too much expectation? We've found that we generally like to get into town early, which takes the pressure off shopping and gets us to the shops before they close... so we've set the alarm to get going early today as it's a lengthy day anyway, although fairly level. We're looking forward to the Arboretum, and hope to lunch at Big Brook Dam. When planning the walk I found it impossible to discern the Track on Google Earth with the Guidebook: today I guess we'll see it foot to ground [see our track here], I hope it's not too confusing (the Track has a habit of getting confusing close to town)!
Today turned out to be one of the rare wet (for most of the day) days, so the diary is quite different and rather photo-deficient: but it was a wonderful opportunity to wander in the rain and put our gear to the test, although some bits failed.
The wonderfully generous Jared sheltered us in his chalet overnight, with red wine and cheese. Got away early, nearly before Jared got up. Started in light drizzle, which over time generally got heavier and rained most of the day.
After a wet and cold yesterday it was wonderful to be warm and dry in our sleeping bags, and a wonderful surprise to see a more fine day dawning this morning. Today we have half of the day beside the Warren River, then as the Guidebook says, we "turn South", which feels like the final turn in toward the Southern Coast and the Great Southern Ocean: a bitter-sweat thought.
Once P was warm he fell asleep and missed hearing a tree, or a very large branch, fall down. Lovely comfy night.
A super-short day today, but we've decided to still get away in good time and get to town by lunch (a bought lunch today - which we are very much looking forward to!). The Guidebook describes the Northcliffe Forest Park that as "a jewel": we should have plenty of time to spend time exploring as requested. It will be very interesting to finally experience Roundtu-It Holiday Park: It doesn't get rave reviews in the Track Log Book.
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).
The Guidebook promises us a treat at the end of the day, what it describes as "one of the jewels of the Track": so we're pretty excited! Our fellow co-walkers have been pretty certain about the wading coming up, and sure that we'll be hitting it over the next couple of days: so we're a little unsure, but hopeful that our planning and Keen Sandals will do the job for us :) And today we get very close to the Southern Coast, which signals the end of our Southern journey and the start of our Eastward trek toward Albany.
Encouraged by the Guidebook that the "Sunrise over Lake Maringup will surely be a memorable experience" we set the alarm to ensure that we were up for the memories. Today is a relatively flat section, which the Guidebook warns and our co-walkers confirmed, will be quite wet. David said last night that we should be able to get through to Chesapeake Road in our boots, so we're planning to have morning tea there and change our footwear.
Woke just after 5am with the alarm to the alarming sound of rain on the tent -- lay for just a little while while wondering if I really should get up and see the dawn before remembering our mantra: "We're only here once". So I hurriedly got up and dressed and left Sandi dozing in her warm little bag and headed down to the Lake edge with my trusty camera.
Harry says that if we enjoyed yesterday we'll love today: so that's got us looking forward to the day. It's another day that the Guidebook describes as a "transition zone", the hummocks of Karri or Jarrah set amidst open reddy swamps sounds absolutely fascinating!
Slept in after a tiddle at 3 am and got into a good deep sleep, so were late up. P told everyone it was Sunday! They were all ready to head, it was overcast but not raining, hard to predict what it will do. We pottered round, had a good wash, got packed and got away just before 9:00 am: one of our latest ever!!
The Guidebook warns that today will be dominated by water, and Harry said yesterday that we'll definitely be getting our feet wet today: so we're pretty pumped for the use of our sandals. Harry also says that the view from the hill behind Woolbales is the best of the South (we're planning to head up Mt Pingerup for morning tea), and we have a reprise of the Pingerup Plains today as well, so have a lot to look forward to, with the Guidebook promising lots of flowers in the swampy areas.
I'd been getting uncomfortable thighs at night, so we'd bought some Deep Heat at Northcliffe. I hadn't till last night, but it seemed to 'work': though I'm not sure what I mean by that because I'm not sure what the problem was -- not quite a cramp but very uncomfortable and difficult to sleep through (though I could if I set my mind to it). We'd set the alarm last night to ensure that we'd be up early enough for the sunrise...
We woke at 2:30am and P did his deep heat with quite good results. I had a tiddle and then we both got back to sleep again. The alarm woke us in time for sunrise of the rock and that was very nice and not too cold. A couple of showers overnight made the granite a little slippery, plus boots not as grippy as sandals.
Up just after 5am to try and catch the sunrise and managed to also catch the moonset. The Guidebook mentions 'watermelon rock' which has intrigued us: can't wait to see it. We'll finally get to the South Coast today, after 40 days of walking, it will be interesting to see how difficult it is to walk: the Guidebook has lots of cautionary comments. We've all agreed to collect extra water from Mandalay Beach because numerous people have noted in the book that there is a problem with the tank.
We had a surprising end to the day today, which precluded us from writing our journal in the usual manner. Instead, we wrote notes about today's highlights in our tent by torchlight. But well before that the phone alarm went off at 5am and we headed up to the top of the hill behind Woolbales for the sunrise. As the sun rose the storm clouds circled me and threw flashes of lightning into the sky: an awesome and foreboding outlook.
Dawn photos - Sandi had packed up by the time I'd got back
Today we have another 'double-hutter', which will combine Sections 45 & part of Section 46 to leave us at Rest Point Caravan Park. When doing the itinerary this section was problematic in that we needed a food drop (this is the 7th day of this section), and I didn't think we could walk through Walpole to Gardiner picking up a food parcel on the way, so we also needed a place to stay. Rest Point Caravan Park was ideally situated on the near side of Walpole (shortening the day), and also provided a very lazy day through Walpole (for which we developed a plan), as we'd also elected to stay at Coalmine Beach on the way out: this (I had convinced Sandi) would be just as good as a rest day :)
Today is essentially a rest day in which we wander 10km from one Caravan Park to the next, with a hopefully enjoyable stop in the Walpole's cafés: we developed a plan a couple of days ago in an attempt to assure that the experience is a good one... Though the day started early with leg pain which drove me from the tent...
After going to bed under starry skies, and going toilet in the early morning to see feathery clouds and stars, at least one cloud decided to dump its contents in a persistent drizzle later on! By 5am I couldn't stand the ache in my legs and feet any longer, and as it was getting light and the magpies were beginning to sing, I decided to get up and rub some deep heat into my legs and drink tea. Thankfully it wasn't raining, so getting from tent to kitchen (where we left the packs and camera charging) was easy and dry. Skies were overcast and 30 minutes later it started to rain. What will this do to our Walpole plan? Walking through the rain to Walpole has very little appeal.
Today we'll finish the Track's Section 47, which we started yesterday. The Guidebook says to make a prompt start this morning (always get a little nervous with those words as it indicates a more difficult day), but promises some of the "best Karri / Tingle / Sheoak forest in the South-West": so we are very excited about that and can hardly wait. We had a note on our ToDo List for the Walpole area to confirm our crossing with MadFish Charters, which we'd booked a couple of months ago: we'd sent a SMS and are now waiting for a reply (hopefully).
Now today. A good sleep for P and for me, barring a couple of hours in the middle of the night in which I fiddled with a limerick and song for Tracy [a workmate of Sandi's] and sent via SMS! Also thought that number for Claire in phone was wrong and looked at that and it appears to be problem. Bit relieved to have sorted that. Will put down limerick before I forget them...
The Guidebook warns not to linger too long in the sun, and it really was difficult to tear ourselves away... but we had a short day with the promise of magnificent Jarrah / Marri forest and more of the local Karri / Tingle / Sheoak forests, with a visit to the Valley of the Giants Tree-Top walk (which we're not sure if we'll do again or not).
The Guidebook says this section is another transition zone: we have very fond memories of previous transitions, so thin we have a lot to look forward to! We have a very short beach walk today, though if it's anything like previous days, the firm sand will make very enjoyable. Sandi is also excited about the possibility of spying some whales from the lookout above Conspicuous Beach (which is where we're planning to have lunch).
Had a lousy sleep with really weird dreams when I did sleep. P also.
Another cold night (I had the flap open this time) – didn't sleep well – or did, but woke often feeling cold.
Finally got up quite early to find all in the hut had had a bad night too with rats everywhere and they'd chewed into Adrian's bum bag (leather), where he had an apple and scroggin. Horrible. Relieved our packs were all right. Most of our food is sealed, but scroggin and muesli not.
Looking at our intended walk today, it really is 'Round the Ragged Rocks' to Peaceful Bay – but the Track does this: it takes us out to special places. Today's special place is Castle Rock, the summit of Point Irwin, which the Guidebook promises will "provide breathtaking views". Today's menu is also extremely odd: a miscalculation a couple of days ago meant that we're a breakfast short, and we have Isobel's chocolate bars extra for morning tea – then we have lunch and dinner at Peaceful Bay Caravan Park. Not one of those meals was planned!!
Woke to the alarm early after a good night's sleep, which made me wonder if the soft sandy ground added to the comfort of the NeoAir Mattresses? Certainly worked!
Much better sleep, though it was pretty humid and we had the sleeping bags open, worked OK too. The campsite for tents was great, just like a maze, the very dense bushes were like a hedge all growing to same height and the tracks just cut into it. Fabulous. Turned out to be quite a lovely sunrise and a half moon still up. We were up and into it. Beef curry OK for breakfast, quite surprising.
Sandi has been looking forward to this day, and the canoe crossing since reading through the Guidebook during the planning stage! The Guidebook warns that "this is a long and challenging section that may appear more so in either very warm or stormy weather": I'm not sure I'd call today "stormy", but it was getting close and certainly impacted on the day; not that we knew that at the Caravan Park: we were just looking forward to the canoe crossing and walking through The Showgrounds that follow it.
At 12:15am P woke up and thought it was 3am, but checked and I was relieved as I hadn't got to sleep yet. Thankfully after that I did get off and we slept OK until about 5:30am. Then we got ourselves organised and tent fairly dry, so great after a windy night with many showers. The three boys (Michael, Steven and John) were up and happening too.
We've been wondering, somewhat nervously, about Mazzoletti Beach since first finding it in the Guidebook six months before setting out on the Track (it's described as "challenging at the best of times"); and today we'll walk its 7km length! We also have a wee additional section up to Hillier Trig, and a diversion at the end of the day: not a huge day length wise, but probably quite challenging :)
Started the day not so early after a pretty good sleep (P put the inner in shelter) So pleased to get back to sleep after a wee. It really poured rain overnight, but not a drop all day since. So thankful!
We'd decided the night before to get away early again for the run into town (this ensures that the shopping can be done properly, and also enables clothes washing / drying); so we were away at a very early 6am, pretty much in the mists of pre-dawn. The Guidebook has given us quite a few things to look forward to today: Monkey Rock sounds intriguing.
Hopeless sleep for me but P fared better. Snoring firstly in hut (no names) then mice scurrying around and some squeaking plus a little plastic bag rattling. Had been a spot concerned as there is a food bin in the hut but all seemed fine in the morning, despite not using it. some of the scurrying was awfully close to us, but I determined to ignore it. Finally did nod off as snoring abated.
In morning awake just as the grey light of dawn came creeping in, so quickly up and away by 6am. The boys were also up and happening.
This is our last double-hutter today, and one of the biggest days of our walk. Time constraints necessitated trimming a day, and Isabel, our Foundation Helper, first suggestion was to bypass Nullaki (as a mosquito infested stop, anyway). We also have quite a few kilometres in a motor boat today: we set up Mad Fish Charters a month or so before starting the walk, and I'm very pleased too, as the YHA boys were saying that he was not available to take them across. But it's an early start as he's got lots of other work to do after us: which suits us as it's a very long day today – the length of the day tempers the excitement of the boat ride ;)
We'd left batteries charging overnight and the boots stuffed with newspaper, trying to dry them (we were very happy with the results!). I eventually got up about 5am to make sure all the batteries were topped up (including the FUSE battery – which is an extremely handy feature of this gadget).
Not a brilliant sleep, but good enough. P got up early and I got an extra 10-20 minutes which made a big difference. We quickly moved the tent under cover as it wasn't wet and went through packing everything up. The honey butter crumpets were fabulous, P did a brilliant job cooking them perfectly. The new muesli was very tasty, so we're pretty pleased (no soap powder: yeh!!)
The Guidebook uses words like "superb", "panoramic vistas", "dramatic views": so we have a high degree of expectation for today :) It's a short walk today as well, which worked out well because it was a very relaxed start! After breakfast (we are still enjoying the muesli), We wandered up the hill between showers to catch the post-dawn view and try for mobile reception again.
Had the most amazing sleep: right through to 7am (with a pee break at some point). Funny to get up and everyone else is ready to set off!!
Showers came through over breakfast and we rushed out to grab the tent and carry it complete into the shelter: a free standing tent really does have awesome abilities (not the first time we've needed to do this).
We know we've got a diversion today: there's been quite a bit written in the books -- a lot of soft sand and aching legs. Also another 7km beach walk, with the crossing of Torbay Inlet: which we know had only been opened in the last couple of days. So there are quite a few unknowns today and we're wondering how we'll go.
Somehow we've managed to get ourselves to this point: the last day of our 54 Day walk to Albany (generally by putting one foot in front of the other 1.2 million times) – it is a very odd feeling, and as Sandi noted: "Funny in the hut last night: everyone retreated to their own possies quite early and there was silence and it reminded me of the change room scene in "Chariots of Fire" before the big races at the Olympics. Quite interesting, everyone psyching up for the final day today." It was hard to concentrate on what the Guidebook was preparing us for today, but we're determined to enjoy the day for everything that it is.
Not our best sleep last night. P looked at the time somewhere about 11:45pm and said could he write in the book and I was wide awake so we chatted an he wrote and it was all rather neat and bizarre. We got a game plan for Albany sussed and shopping and to-do lists. Really pretty satisfying and then we both managed to drop off to sleep again and woke again at about 5am and launched into packing action.
This walk took a lot of planning... I'm not sure how long it takes other folks, but all up we were planning and training for about six months prior to starting the walk. This included trialing our gear on shorter walks (Mittagong to Katoomba) and training closer to departure time (Week -4, Week -3, Week -2 & Week -1); not to mention the huge spreadsheet I developed to manage every aspect of the walk from the Itinerary through to the parcel labels for the food drops.
And now, at time of writing, it's 8 months since finishing the walk, 10 months after starting the walk and an amazing 16 months since starting the planning. As indicated in Our Walk in Numbers we recorded 44,416 words and 9,621 photographs on the track: these have been turned into 58 Blog Posts with 99,500 words and 4,359 photographs (no wonder it's taken 8 months).
The SPOT2 Messenger is a Satellite GPS Messenger that provides a unique line of communication with friends and family when you want it, and emergency assistance when you need it. Using 100% satellite technology, the SPOT works virtually anywhere in the world, even where cell phones don't – all with the push of a button. This review looks at how the device performed over 54 days on the Bibbulmun Track in the South-West of Western Australia.
- Small, light device: Treat with care
- Use with discretion: Like all GPS Devices it wont work everywhere
- Messages are one way only: No receipt of successful delivery available
- Customer service may be less than satisfactory: Tread carefully