Balingup to Collie. After two days in Balingup sorting pictures and uploading my blog it’s back to the grind. I stayed at the post office for 3 nights, it’s cheap accommodation at the back of the post office in the old Post masters house. The place isn’t beautifully clean but I had it all to myself, there was clean linen in the cupboard a hot shower, kitchen, air conditioning to keep me warm and a TV which was a novelty. On my first night I discovered that a mail delivery happens at about 3 in the morning, boy they make some noise clanging around, I thought someone had broken in.
Saturday night was also moderately eventful when the alarm went off in the post office at about 11.30. I spent time wondering what to do as I had no contact details for anyone, would someone turn up eventually. By the time I got my ear plugs out and put them in the alarm stopped. So after a couple of wet days sitting around in moderate luxury the likes of which most would consider essentials, I packed up this morning and started walking.
I had to walk right by the cafe and couldn’t resist stopping for a big breakfast, which was way more than I should have eaten. I was stopping and burping for more than half the day as the breakfast sat heavy in my stomach and I still feel full after only a small dinner and a couple of museli bars while walking.
Great start to the day too, head out of town and come to an inpassable flooded section of track, I checked the map and found I could back track through town a bit to get around it on a bridge further up. Water seems to be a common theme for my hike. Ran into Raelean while I was back tracking and she wished me well for my walk.
Out of town along the river, there were a few places where it was soggy, I had my sandals on but I didn’t want to get wet if I could help it so this made it slow going dodging wet puddles. Then through a patch of lovely old pine trees before heading up a nice big hill.
From here on the day was fairly uneventful, all jarrah forest with some sections recently burnt. I ended up getting my feet wet at one point, there was no easy way around it so I traipsed through it, there had been a lot of rain over the past couple of days. Some long sections of the track were very slippery, the ground was all clay and I could see the Sheen of it and often a light green mould or moss growing. It slowef me down a little with a few minor slips but I managed to stay upright.
There was a fair bit of dirt bike action that had ripped up the tracks in some spots. A couple of farm dogs have me a big fright too, barking ferociously at me as I walked along the track beside their property I just hoped that the fence was going to hold them in (I later learned that they had got out and had a go at another hiker).
I had some degree of trepidation about this hut Grimwade, this is one of the huts I’d been warned about where pig hunters and dirt bike rides could turn up because the road basically comes right up to the hut. I was imagining all sorts of scenarios, but of course when I arrived here at about 4 there was no sign anyone had been there in a long time. In fact the last the last hiker was a week ago.
Oh well a quiet night. In fact it’s dead quiet, and I imagine it’s going to get fairly chilly tonight. Food is packed away from move and rats, watch a bit of TV then bed.
After an uneventful night by myself I headed off at a reasonable hour in the morning towards Noggerup hut. A varied day of walking predominantly through old jarrah forest, but old jarrah forest that has been logged so there were no big old trees left The day was a mix of roads, single trails and railway lines.
There was evidence of human activity everywhere throughout the forest during the day including many old loading ramps, a couple of these ramps were made using some huge old jarrah trees.
The hills weren’t too bad, nothing too large or steep. There were numerous small water crossing most with stepping Stones or strategically placed logs. I strategically placed a few logs myself and managed to keep my feet dry through the day. 20 km and I started to approach camp at about 4. I seems that a 20 km day takes me most of thr day with my usual scenic meandering, photo taking and general messing around along the way.
As I approached the hut I could smell smoke, someone was there but I couldn’t see anyone about. There was some movement on a top bunk and I heard “oh it’s you, what are you doing here Joel?” Followed by a loud laugh. It was David, I’d meet him way back at Franklin camp site with Ado. Since then he’d been chopping and changing doing different sections. We had an entertaining evening chatting and one of the latest nights in a long time going to bed well after 10.
I’m trying to time things so that I can try to get some more blog uploaded but it’s not easy. Almost all the huts along here and in the coming week or so have no reception.
Anyway I headed off out of camp along the old railway line for a while, them down past the mumbelup pub. Of course the”mumbi” is shut 1 day off the week Tuesday, guess what today is? Yeah no quick counter meal for me and I’d heard they were pretty good for such a quiet little pub in the middle of nowhere. Off up the road to Collie climbing a nice hill through the bush to the Glen Mervyn dam.
It’s a lovely body of water with a camping area on the west side. Hello, there’s reception as well, a plan forms. I have plenty of food from my big resupply when I was in Balingup, I’d just started my small gas bottle this morning so that’s good for about 4 days. I have 1 litre of rain water for drinking and a whole dam I can boil up for cooking. After a quick look around I pick a spot and set up camp right on the beach. I’m actually about 5m from the Bibb track too.
The sand aspect isn’t great but it’s a nice spot with reception, where as the next hut has none. Found myself a seat, if you can call it a seat. It’s been someone’s toilet in the past but it will do for me. An old milk crate with a toilet seat cable tied to the top, with the seat and a small tree stump beside me to act as a table, luxury. There’s supposed to be no rain but it’s looking a little ominous so I’d better get everything in the tent or vestibules just in case.
Some magpies came to visit me in the afternoon, it seems they love 2 minute noodles, I guess they look a little like worms. It was quite beautiful to sit and watch them with the sunset reflecting on the clouds over the water.
Ok now I regret my camp location. Yes it was something a little different and it was nice to sit there in the afternoon and watch the light of the setting sun play over the water surface, especially when the wind stopped and it all became very still. But then it rained off and on during the night, so much for the fine weather report. When I got up in the morning, things were pretty swamped and not only swamped but because I had quite foolishly camped on the sand at the edge of the water, the wet sand was sticking to everything. After getting up and having a quick coffee I started to pack things, ahh so much sand everywhere. And then it started to rain. Oh well, no sense in getting upset about it, everything I’m packing has its own “highly water resistant” bags so with a bit of luck most things still dry will remain dry. Like my mostly dry sleeping bag and mostly dry clothes.
I don’t mind the wet but the wet sand sticking to everything.. Aargh…!! Note to self never set up camp on sand again. I had a niggling thought in my head as I was setting up on the sand that I shouldn’t do it, but the romance of being right by the water rather than up in the bush further away on some leaf litter won out. Never again, sod the romance!
Now packed away I had a big day in front of me. Yes, looking back at the day I walked 30km in 8 hours, 46,000 steps, no wonder my feet are sore. Of course the reason I had a longer walk is because I was lazy setting up camp at the lake, still 5 km from the Bibb camp site. It rained off and on as I hiked towards the camp pretty flat terrain mainly on single trail. There were a few minor water hazards that I could make my way around and it was a fairly easy walk into Yabbarup hut passing one sectional walker on the way.
It’s an unusual experience for me to arrive at a hut around 9 in the morning. A bunk hut with table in the middle it’s pretty small and you wouldn’t want to have too many people trying to sleep here. Still as you leave the hut and continue towards Collie you walk down a hill and come to Lyalls hill campsite perhaps a kilometres away, not part of the Bibb as such but right there on the trail or perhaps 50m off the trail on a spur trail which leads to Wellington dam. This camp has toilets and a large covered area you could sleep under if it’s not occupied by a group.
I had considered going for a walk out to Wellington dam on the spur trail but at 18 km one way it’s a day out and then a day back and although I had enough food to do it, all be it very unexciting food, I decided that I’d rather get to Collie and dodge the bad weather on it’s way, 30mm and storms were due tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to getting my next food drop in Collie too. My last food buy had been limited, and I’ve been living on 2 minute noodles, sugary rubbish museli bars, Deb and cup a soup for the last few days. Really looking forward to getting back to my thought out daily ration packs with variety, real meals with vegetables.
But back to the day. The continuing walk towards Collie was fairly typical of the last few days, jarrah marri forest, the odd stand of sheok, some burnt, some not. There were a few small hills along the way and then I hit one of the strangest bits I’ve seen on the track yet. So the waugals pointed this way along the road. A bridge with no way across except walking on the road. Surely not. But there’s no other way and as I’m standing looking and thinking about it there’s a fair amount of traffic driving across it. Oh well stick to the side and walk hoping that I don’t get trucks coming across in both directions at the same time.
I did get cars coming in both directions but I made it across, just keep my elbows in and walk. I wonder if people get tempted to balance their way across the pipe on the side of the bridge? It would be nice to think they could perhaps paint a line along the road to give an idea to drivers that pedestrians walk across here as well. Very strange to think that this is part of the Bibb.
Closer in to town and there’s quite a lot of rubbish around, great to be back in civilisation. I like the last section of walk into town, there’s some lovely sheoak forest. Then boring walk into the actual town straight to the colliefields hotel. I had dropped off my food parcel there a while back and with the weather coming through and my feet/legs feeling the way they do, I’m looking forward to taking a couple of days off to rest and catch up with the blog.
If you’re stopping here for a day or more I’d highly recommend visiting the Golden Bowl Chinese restaurant, they have a buffet lunch for $13.50 which is great when you have a hiker appetite. I’ve been eating a big lunch there then a light dinner in my room later of bread, cheese, salami and cherry tomatoes. Continental breakfast is included at the backpackers along with tea and coffee so I’m making full use of this as well.
My last day in town today though, yesterday was sunny so I did my domestics, washed clothes then dried and cleaned out my tent, now I’d better do a test pack, I have my 6 days of food but still quite a bit of food left.
Looks like no Chinese buffet for me today, I need to eat some of this or leave it behind as I don’t want to carry all this extra food. I’d still like to go and grab an extra packet of Deb before I leave though, I still love my afternoon snack of Deb with cup a soup when I get to camp. More Deb, more cup a soup.
This next section to Dwellingup could be interesting with the crazy rainfall there’s been around W.A. rivers and streams are up and many have broken their banks in flood. Just a couple of days ago 2 Bibb walkers were rescued from some flood waters. They had tried to make a water crossing but ended up stuck, with one of them caught in blackberry in the water unable to free himself. Luckily someone drive past on a nearby road and saw them and arranged for a rescue. Another couple I heard about pulled out yesterday just one camp north of where I am now, asking if someone could come and pick them up as they were sick of it. Five days in the wet, wading through water up to waist deep they were spent and wanted out. I’ve checked the Bibb website and they mention the flooding in the next section I’m about to walk through specifically at 2 flooded creeks where –
Walkers may need to negotiate waist-deep and flowing cold water of up to 40m across.
Walkers should unbuckle their waist belt in case they lose their balance if attempting to cross the flooded areas.
Ah should be interesting. And it was only about a week ago that two people were attacked on the track when a car ran them down and the driver got out and attacked them with a shovel. It’s all fun out here.