- Day 28 :: Donnelly River to Tom Road
- Day 26 :: Blackwood to Gregory Brook
Day 27 :: Gregory Brook to Donnelly River
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.
Day 27 Google Earth Track
Gregory Brook Donnelly River
|Length||21.49 km||Day Length||6:17|
|Ascend||812 m||Descend||847 m|
There was a light sprinkle last night at 1pm, but not much after that, and the morning was dry. Mainly condensation on the tent I think, which I put into a separate bag ([an old] garbage used for the food drops).
We were up and away in good time, looking forward to a hot afternoon tea at Donnelly River. It was still overcast, and looked quite light. We were going to start in our thermals, but thought better of it and took them off before leaving. Walked a good distance, on easy track, before the rain came -- first as a slight drizzle (that prompted donning the poncho and tightening gaiters) and very slowly got heavier.
Had a lovely mix of yellow Pattersonias and Hovea and wattle prior to rain coming. Saw some of those funny orchids I think they are, green-striped quite small and with "horns", or like a sack of spuds. So we went through this mix where the path closed with water bush to a corridor or opened up with hovea, etc. Quite lovely forest and some nice flowing creeks.
The Track passes within 200m of the Karri Gully picnic area, which excited us when reading ahead in the Guidebook, but we didn't investigate as it was way too early for morning tea. But the presence of "Karri" was certainly becoming evident in the plant communities we were walking through. Over the days ahead we were to repeat ourselves ad nauseam that here was "another huge tree"... but they were huge and we repeated ourselves everyday! The rain forced our ponchos after crossing the Brockman Highway.
Wet, and at times, unpleasant today, but just amazing in that we'd walked through the tunnels of water / soap bush that would've been horrid hanging wet and having to push through. So very thankful about that. Also we got great warning with the rain and were able to don appropriate garments in time. Hoped we'd be able to find a picnic shelter at Willow Springs picnic area to put on our wet weather pants, but there were tables but no shelters or toilets. Remembered that pine are often quite dry underneath and sure enough found this wonderful possie under a pine with a dry log to sit on where we could safely off boots and on pants and also have morning tea. Very, very blessed.
At morning tea (Willow Springs) we'd decided to put on wet weather pants too, as it was only 15-20 minutes there, and maybe there'd be shelters or a toilet. Nothing but a garbage bin and 2 tables -- but we did find something dry under some pines (that shed rain outwards) and had morning tea.
After morning tea I had wooden legs: I thought a rest was meant to revitalise you? A couple of lollies helps a great deal though.
Nice to walk along rail formations today. Karri forest has very hectic leaf litter underfoot, nice and soft but quite a few trip hazards.
For some odd reason I thought that I wanted to wait until we'd turned onto Snake Road before we stopped for lunch: probably something like wanting to get to camp before the rain came... In the end this only meant that we walked through dry weather, lunched sitting in the rain and marched off cranky and cold (not me)...
P needed a lunch break, it'd been mostly fine since morning tea, just trees dripping, but we waited for last lap and very dark clouds produced some pretty heavy rain and though we managed keeping packs under ponchos and getting lunch ready under ponchos, I eventually got pretty wet and then somewhat cold and fairly predictably stopped enjoying it. P was very excited at this point, and so as you might imagine is blessed to be alive! His cheerfulness did not cheer me up, though once I warmed up a bit it was more infectious.
The showers came and went until lunch, when it came down very heavily as soon as we'd sat down. This necessitated compiling lunch UNDER the poncho, which was protecting self and pack. All worked well, though Sandi, who refuses to use her poncho hood, was getting water down her shirt. Had to work very hard to both warm her body and her soul as we set off again (almost had me beat).
The rain eased off and in fact so much so that we were able to walk the rest of the way without our ponchos, which is much easier. They can be somewhat entangling around the legs doing that wet shower curtain, clinging thing.
The walk into Donnelly River had the bush draped in Hovea, which when growing with the wattle and water bush was just spectacular. At times it felt like a bridal trail: walking on the water bush leaves like confetti. The last 3km into Donnelly seemed to take forever and the pack, which should have been feather light, seemed first day heavy -- how much water does a wet pack hold anyway??
When we arrived all the children were out tearing round like they'd been cooped up inside while it was raining, so rather a joyous cacophony (School holidays now). We headed to [the old] school and unpacked our gear on the veranda. Everything was locked and shelters were substandard in terms of obvious facilities. We changed and headed to the shop to sort out what was what.
Successfully picked up our food parcel, but also unfortunately successfully got into a bad mood over the costing of the accommodation, which took the shine off the hot afternoon tea.
Quite disappointed at Donnelly to discover that we had to pay for the old school accommodation. $25/person. When I rang there was no mention of this (at least I can't remember), but we decided that the kitchen and bathroom was worth it -- especially as the shelters left a lot to be desired. When I rang up and discussed accommodation and food parcel, I was definitely NOT told that the bunk house cost money. It's incredible that the purchaser has to mine the information and it's not given freely. Balingup was similar: only quoting the powered site. Disappointed in the shop's provisions too: but I wasn't in a good mood, and we had to use a lot of creativity to construct dinner and tomorrow's lunch.
Afternoon tea very nice. I had Lemon Myrtle cheesecake and it was lovely. P had cheese and herb scone with proper coffee.
|Restaurant / Cafe||Total||S||P||S||P||S||P|
|Donnelly River Store||4.3||5||4||4||5||4||4|
No phone reception here, ended up putting wet rinsed clothes from Gregory Brook through dryer 1 cycle then upon realising there was a blow heater here, washed our clothes which were already wet in the kitchen sink with dreaded soap powder and have them set up drying whilst we eat, shower, pack, etc. Even risked doing the shorts, as they were putrid! Such a relief to know we'll have the clothes dry and it's been lovely not rugged up so much this evening.
It's pretty budget accommodation too: maybe Balingup backpackers is extra good value? -- but we are definitely making good use of the hot showers and the kitchen!! We've got our rinsed washing drying and washed today's clothes in the sink and drying it well too.
|Donnelly River Village||28.4|
|Showers / Toilet||4.5|
|Shop / Close to Town / Shops||3.3|
|Dining / Activity||4.0|
|Close to Town||-|
Very pleased no punky washing powder in this food drop, so no contamination of anything. Bought a quiche florentine and lorraine for tomorrow's lunch, so should be interesting.
Donnelly River has a free movie on tonight, but we haven't gone.
Have decided toilet paper, soap and insect spray can wait for replenishing until Pemberton.
Recently hot showered, camp clothed and waiting for a hot dinner: yum!!
As mentioned the Donnelly shop was a little less than what we thought or hoped it would be, and we had to be pretty creative to put together our meals. It certainly took a deal of thinking and discussion. We ended up with:
- Soup: Country Ladel: Pumpkin
- Mains: Sanatarium Vege-Burgers & Dolmio's Tomato Sauce + Parmesan Cheese
- Goulburn Valley Plums & Mundella yoghurt
Dinner was nice, some good flavours and altogether enough to fill us, if not a little bizarre, but a 3 course meal.
Well, not exactly the day we were expecting today. It's always a little disappointing when it rains as it curtails the photography somewhat. But we've ended up clean, dry, warm and full: so it's hard to argue with that amount of comfort. By the time it we were ready to toddle off down the veranda to our sleeping quarters the washing was dry and folded ready to put on in the morning, and everything else was packed ready to go (we'd just left our breakfasts out) so that we can get an early get away.
|Gregory Brook Campsite||8:05 AM||0.0|
|Brockman Highway||4.8||470.5||9:22 AM||1:17||1:17||137.2||3.7||3.7||3.4|
|Willow Springs||5.1||9.9||475.6||10:40 AM||11:15 AM||1:18||2:35||138.5||3.9||3.8||3.4|
|Demo Road||5.7||15.6||481.3||12:39 PM||1:24||3:59||139.9||4.1||3.9||3.4|
|Donnelly River Village||5.9||21.5||487.2||2:25 PM||1:46||5:45||141.7||3.3||3.7||3.4|
Created by • Last edit by on Nov 22 2018