These king-in-a-carriage orchids reminded me of a pair of dancing Brolgas. Ok bird experts, perhaps not brolgas, though the photo certainly has an “Awwww” feel about it. This post is a pictorial of hammer and duck orchids, some were found in the Stirling Ranges while most came from a secret little location south of Mount Barker.
Yes this is a strange looking thing, exactly the same orchid as the previous posts first picture, a crab lipped spider orchid but with a genetic defect called hyperchromic or lutea, where the genes for colour are turned off and the only things showing are whites, greens and yellow. Essentially what we might call an albino. I’d found some magnificent spider orchids that had the same genetic condition, very impressive specimens and I kept going back to them over and over.
What sort of crazy alien thing is this? It’s a crab lipped spider orchid (Caladenia plicata), truly one of the weirdest flower I’ve seen in a long time. This year is shaping up to be a fantastic season for orchids and I’ve already done a trip out and around Albany and up to the Stirling Ranges where I’ve found lots of orchid variety including one of the most prized finds for orchid hunters….
A summary of over 2000km hiking
How to sum up over 3 months of hiking during one of W.A.’s wettest winters in decades? Wet! And cold! Perhaps a little predicable, it certainly added a degree of difficulty to the hike especially in area along the south coast like the Pingerup plains and the coastal beaches. Here’s a short video giving you an idea of what it’s like hiking the plains in winter.
Kalamunda to Albany, the return leg
You may wonder what this picture has to do with the hike, I spent two nights in Fremantle prison while I was in town. That was quite an experience. Part of the prison is now YHA accommodation where you can stay in an old cell. I stopped in the city for 3 days as I needed to sort out a few things, I had new sandals in Perth to pick up, I would look at getting a new sleeping pad as I had a slow leak and my stove had intermittent issues. Three days later I was set to go but it was pouring with rain so I took an extra day.
Dookanelly to Kalamunda
A late departure this morning, everything was soaked, not only soaked but the splash of the rain had covered everything with sand as well. Vestibules are not a safe place to store things unless the fly is cinched right down to the ground. Under my sleeping mat was also very wet guess I’ve got a leak in the floor though I’m not sure where or how. Still I remained dry in my bed and was today warm under my quilt even though it was only something like 4 degrees.
Northcliffe to Dookanelly
Up at 5.30 ready to high tail it into Northcliffe. The rain held off for the morning and leaving at 7 I made it into town well before 12. The track had minor ups and downs and was a bit sandy in places. It also gets very confusing when you get near the main road and you need to walk along the edge for a couple of sections. Still made it into town and signed off at the visitor center before heading off to the hotel, not open till 3.00, oh well. Walking back through town I found Ross, we went back to the visitor center to a lovely spot on the back verandah with chairs and tables and a lawn area, I grabbed out my tent and laid it in the sun.
Albany to Northcliffe
You might be wondering what a Yoyo hike is, it’s doing a hike all the way in one direction then turning around and walking back again, up then down. So I’m off, over 2000km to walk carrying everything I need for the trip, over 3 and a half months of walking. Leaving Albany on a short and easy day to sand patch hut only 13 km or so, arriving three hours later, way too early at about 1pm I’m tempted to keep walking all the way through to the next hut at mutton bird but it’s another 13 km and the rain is coming down so I decide to stay.
A big part of any Bibbulmun hike is food and there are a few ways to go about it. Many like to buy their food in towns along the way and are happy to do this for the whole hike. Personally I’ll be doing this for most sections when it’s only a three or four days between towns, but the majority of my food is pre-organized, pre-packed and dropped into visitor centres, accommodation in towns or in buckets along the track.
Time to do it again. The property where I’ve been staying off and on between traveling has been sold so it’s time to move on but I figure before I go I’ll have another crack at the Bibbulmun track, only this time I’m setting off planning to do it both ways, walking from Albany up to Perth and then walking back down to Albany, over 2000km all up and I’m estimating that it will take me about 4 months to complete. The picture above shows everything I’ll have with me except for my food, not a lot, but it’s a telling image when you think that this is really all you need to live for quite an extended period of time.