Donnely River Village to Balingup. I left DRV before the shop opened, no nice coffee or toasted sandwich for me. It was quite beautiful leaving the little settlement, and I understand why it’s a popular spot for people to visit. Reading about the history is interesting even though it’s quite recent history in the scheme of things unlike some of the other timber town which had been around much longer.
Another reasonably straight forward day today, not much in the way of hills just 22 km of rolling forested country side beginning with karri but as the day progresses it’s more jarrah redgum forest. I was in no great hurry today, ran into a young guy who was keen to get into DRV then shortly after a more elderly man who was dripping with sweat. I mean really saturated and running with sweat, he must have been pushing it. Had a nice chat with both of them before carrying on. Walking through some burnt areas which are regrowing nicely, the contrast of the black against the new green growth was lovely and often had me stopping to take in my surroundings especially when the sun peaked through to light up the new green growth.
Arrived in at Gregory Brook hut around 3. My feet are still feeling very ginger. Every now and then when I step on a gumnut I involuntarily whince in pain. I walked in sandals today after many days in my shoes and once in camp I put shoes on.
The shoes felt very uncomfortable and sore on my feet so I’ve swapped back to sandals for the evening. With less pressure on my feet the sandals are far more comfortable, I guess I’ll hike in them again tomorrow. I think that I’ll need to give my feet a rest soon in the hope that this will improve things. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. Only 18 km but there are a some hills including a doozy, called cardiac hill. just before the blackwood camp.
The weather report hasn’t improved either, looks like I’m going to be hiking in the pouring rain tomorrow with chances of storms then early storms the morning after. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it’s all part of the experience and although I’ll be wet cold and uncomfortable it’s just adding to the adventure. I mean hey, if I’m going to stay in the most exposed camp on the track (blackwood) why would you want to be there on a still day, that doesn’t give you any great stories to tell. Not quite dark yet but the cold is biting already. This camp, Gregory Brook is not one of my favorites. It’s very small with red dirt/mud all around though the sound of the Brook is nice with a chorus of frogs. The water here in the tank is quite tanin effected as well but tastes ok.
I really hope that these sore feet improve, I’d hate to have to pull out because of something like sore feet. One of the guys today warned me that the up and coming hills were very slippery even though it hadn’t rained, could be a muddy quagmire by the time I tackle them tomorrow. Ah 18 km tomorrow and then 17 into balingup the next day there’s something to look forward too, slightly shorter walks even if it is hilly, I’ll be taking it slow.
The toilet here at Gregory Brook looks alarmingly full. It’s a different long drop to the others I’ve seen with a very long “poop chute” and the deposits are sitting in the chute. I thought it may be a temporary blockage so got a long stick and tried to push it down but no. It’s solid. That means there’s only enough space left for about 3 feet of filling the chute up to the seat. Oops.. I’d better report this, see what i can do about it when I get reception. I might take a picture of it in the morning. Eughh…!
So Blackwood camp, it’s quite infamous and within half an hour of me arriving, there was a big squal and it hailed with water and hail stones blowing in. The hut is perched ontop of a huge hill and all the trees had been cleared around it since being damaged by fire.
The walk here was reasonably easy until just before hitting the hill up to the hut. Before the hill you pass through a few private properties that required gates being opened and closed behind you, I’d heard that there was a huge Clydesdale horse somewhere along here but I didn’t see it, it had rained off and on along the walk over the day that was mostly along roads for the first half of the day along with some small trails through the bush in areas.
There’s also a fairly yucky bit along the side of the river, at least it’s yucky when it’s wet, the track turns into a river itself with blackberry either side so there’s no escaping getting wet feet yet again.
The track up the hill is muddy and slippery as I was warned, though was’nt as bad as I thought it would be. Perhaps it was the fairly constant rain on the way up that meant I didn’t notice how bad it was. I was climbing it with brolly in one hand and 2 walking poles in the other hand, pretty lucky I didn’t slip up.
There’s phone reception up here so that’s an upside. Someone in the Facebook group had posted a weather warning for the south west from BOM, gales, storms and heavy rain I mentionef what hut I’m staying at and many offer their commiserations.
A little later I had a message from Raelean, the woman who works at the visitor centre in Balingup offering to come and pick me up. Naaa.. thanks so much for the offer but this is all part of the experience. So I tough it out and set my tent up in the hut and it starts to get really cold and wet. I’m wearing all my clothes and cooking food in a little corner of the hut that’s protected behind my tent.
Ahh cold. I’m in my bed by 6 because I need to keep warm. When the squalls blow the hut shakes and the tin on the roof rattles while the rain blows right into the hut. After watching some TV I put my earplugs in and sleep.
The morning is cold…… But I get up and do my things I need to get going, I’m out of porridge but have pasta with tuna for breakfast.
The tent is filled with condensation so I try to dry it a little before packing up and leaving. The walk from here is down through pine forest and then onto roads. Now I get a little lost, both of my map apps show the track heading in a different direction to the waugals but we must always follow the snake so I do.
Once again a little bit of walking over private property today through a cow paddock, then up some roads and into the bush. Mild hills follow them down onto flats walking through some lovely gardens before hitting town.
I head straight to the visitor centre and say g’day to Raelean. She then went way above and beyond to help me out. I won’t go into details but she is a true legend and you must go say hello.
Bookef into the post office backpackers and here I have stayed for the past 2 days trying to update my blog. It’s been 3 nights and 2 days of mostly rain while I’ve sat in the accommodation and at various cafes entering some blog posts, I had many days to catch up.
I was sitting in a cafe updating my blog when a group of half a dozen people walked in they were chatting and ordering coffees. I looked twice as they had on what could perhaps be hiker clothes, though you never know, could just be holiday makers they were very clean, and walking upright with ease. And they smelt nice. But then I heard them mention a campsite or two on the track. Ahh section walkers. I heard one of them say something about Gregory Brook and how she’d heard the toilet was bubbling out the top. Haha, how quickly stories get around and morf themselves. I’d posted about the full toilet on Facebook only a couple of days ago.