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.
Eat, drink a little, watch some Netflix. Another hiker arrives shortly followed by two more hikers. I’m left to tell them the terrible need that the inlet at Torbay has been opened today. Oh oh…! It was supposed to be opened next week but someone had changed their mind and it’s open.
This means that for all hikers it’s an 19 km detour walking on roads all the way around the inlet. Not nice! Reports I’ve read about the best time to cross the inlet are mixed, one person says high tide, Bib website says low tide, the website also says that the flow is too fast for a few days after initial opening.
Hmmm…. High tide is the middle of the day, lower tide is at about 5 in the morning. What do you do?
The walk tomorrow to the next hut is only 12km. Then it’s about another 6 km to the inlet just to go and look if it’s passable or not.. Then if it’s not, it’s 19 km around the diversion or another 6 back too the Mutton Bird hut.
There’s nothing you can do thought, I’m trying to make decisions about thighs way out of my control, no sense in even thinking about it really. It’s also 4.30 and I’m eating dinner because I put dehydrated veggies and jerky into my pot to soak and now I’d really like a cup of tea but can’t have one till I eat my dinner.
In the morning, word has it that perhaps the sandbar has closed the inlet again and you could get passed, one walker has walked across heading north to south. So I set out along the beach to the inlet, where I could see an excavator and a work ute. Water was flowing out at a great rate through the cut. It had closed but they had come back and dug it out again. The guys got out of the ute and wandered over to see me and we chatted across the canal they had just dug. After some banter one of them said hang on! He wandered over and started the big excavator then drive down near the ocean where the water was shallowest and drive across through the water. I jumped on and he drove back getting me across. Yay
… Damn I was so happy……
I stopped at cosy corner and had a cold outdoor shower which made me feel a lot better then headed up to the Torbay hut. Briony, Ross and 2 more people here then a mother and her daughter arrived. Busy, busy, busy on the trail.. I’m tenting it tonight, lousy sleep last night in the hut with 3 others. Mozzies are shocking. Found 2 ticks on me though neither were attached luckily. Ate dinner at a far more respectable time, 5.30.
Tonight is getting even better 630 and I haven’t eaten dinner yet, it’s cooked just staying warm. A good day with a few of us hiking and swapping positions, still feeling a little sore at the ends of the day especially my legs, they worked hard considering it’s only about 16 km. Damn dinner smalls so good, the old standard of noodles veg and beef, I’ve had it 3 nights in a row and in not complaining, yet. Must admit that I’m not eating anywhere near all my food, it will be interesting to see what’s left at the end of this section but I could save some weight by taking less food and not suffering.
Saw 5 snakes today, you have to love that when you’re hiking in sandals. I am tempted to leave the trail runners behind as I wore them on day 1 and me feet were a little sore then been in sandals ever since. Camped out in the tent last night at torbay so there’s a bit of condensation so I’m hanging the tent in the sun today trying to dry it out. They were pretty horrible tent sites at Torbay but magnificent tent sites here at West Cape Howe and with no rain forecast I’ve only set up the mesh inner. I hope there’s no rain. Magic sunset.. There are 5 of us here tonight plus one extra hiking in for a one nighter.
Ross has set up his proof of concept mouse stopper using 2 old meal packets as a barricade on one of the over head rods. There’s been a cheeky mouse come into the hut at least twice while we’ve all been here, bold as brass and this is the exact same hut where I had a mouse chewing on my bag at 6 in the evening on my last hike.
I walked onto the nulaki hut the next day, a fairly straight forward day but only a quick stop for lunch before continuing on to a pick up at Eden Rd then into Denmark for the night, made my first town.
Anyway, at William Bay with Ross tonight after a good day hiking up over Mt Hallowel and along the coast. Tomorrow is a big day though to Boat Harbour, raining now though, sipping on a glass of red in the hut as I’d stashed a bottle here, life could be worse..
Time is flying, Boat Harbour was a long walk but it was a great day. Perfect really, the day was cloudy in the morning while walking parry’s beach then after that the sun came out and it warmed up and I was getting pretty sweaty but stopped for a swim in the water at Boat Harbour before rinsing myself off with fresh water from one of the natural creeks along the beach, water bottles have multiple uses.
The mozzies are absolutely crazy around the hut thousands and they didn’t let up at all. I pitched my tent out in the black sand tent site. Pru made it in sometimes in the afternoon and a German girl came in late after a 34 km day. The weather report was good, to the following day was going to have a little rain starting sometime after 8 in the morning. I woke during the night and the sleeping bag felt damp I then woke later feeling water on my face. Damn, rain… It was 4 in the morning, I had said the night before that I might have an early start and I figured I really should get up and start packing in case it started to pour. Still had a fairly slow pack up leaving just after 6, there was a magnificent sun rise as I walked up the hill.
The day started fine but the clouds began rolling in and I quickly realized that the little fold up brolly just may not cut it so I slipped on the rain coat which was a good thing, the rain started to pour as I walked along the coast. Lots of beach walking, in the rain. I took a gamble, I wasn’t going to do the canoes this time so around it was just beach walking for about 10 km, not too bad as it was mostly reasonably firm once you picked the right path. Often this involved walking along the tire tracks which sounds easy but actually takes some practice and effort to do it for kilometer after kilometer. A natural walking stance doesn’t have you’re feet walking in a narrow line so you need to use the poles to balance as you go..
Anyway wet and bedraggled I walked into peaceful bay. It was still before midday and I got in an early order for fish and chips. Now I have to say, everyone raves about the fish and chips here but for $25 a serve it was a bit of a rip off, I mean it was ok, nice to eat but I didn’t find it memorable in any way, except for the price.
The caravan park was ok at peaceful bay occupied the camp kitchen for most of the night after seeing up the tent under the trees. A chance for a much needed shower. The general store is really lacking as well, perhaps as it’s after school holidays though. A couple of packet pasta side dishes, small tin of tuna, box off bbq shapes, maggi 2 minute noodles, block of chocolate, and a small bag of chips plus 1 serve of fish n chips cost $50. Because the food choices were pretty poor I went and raided my hidden food bucket, it’s meant to be supplies for the way back so now I need to remember that I’ve taken a day out of the bucket.
Left peaceful bay at a reasonable hour, the seas today we’re huge, lovely big swells that made some of the coastal sections here perhaps the most dramatic I’ve seen anywhere along the coast and it made for some careful timing when crossing some sections of rock and beach. One in particular was quite tricky with waves washing right up to the back of the beach..
Ran into another couple at pb, they are heading the same way and they will be hut to hurt so there will be at least 4 of us all the way to walpole each night and another couple of nights at least. This is such a different experience to my last hike where I rarely saw people and never followed along with anyone, it was only ever hello good bye.
Beautiful spot at Rame Head… But it’s an early start heading to conspicuous cliffs before leaving the coast for a couple of days while heading towards Walpole. Nothing much too add about the day, got into giants at around 1.00 decided to walk onto the tree top walk with Ross for a coffee as it’s only 1.6 km away.. You can tell it hasn’t been a serious day when you arrive into camp at lunch time and you’re happy to walk an extra 3 kilometres for a coffee. now slapping together a feed of macaroni cheese with a small tin of tuna added, the macaroni cheese was a poor quality packet mix and not much improved by adding the tuna.
Lovely night at giants hut, the first without lots of mosquitoes in a long time. Left camp around 7.30 for a magnificent walk through the big karri and tingle trees, such a lovely section with some sections of old growth forest. Arrived in Frankland River camp around 12.30, I guess technically I should be double hutting, I’m averaging 3km an hour over the day.
Up just after 5 in the morning leaving at 7, it’s always an exciting day when you’re heading into town. Sandals no socks again today it started, with a bit of up down through the forest before a long downhill, then walk around the inlet to walpole. Finished in town at the bakery well before midday, not bad for an 18 km day starting to average closer to 4 km/h.. Ate a nice big breakfast at the bakery before heading off to the, Tingle All Over hostel, nothing much had changed here except that as of 5 days ago there is a new owner. I was sitting on the back lawn on a seat in the shade after having a shower and unpacking things when the owners big dog walked behind me. Next thing I felt a dampness on the back of my shorts. Bloody hell the dog had just peed on me, my only semi clean clothes now covered in dog wee… The original owner and the new owner were sitting not far away and they came over while I made a b-line for the shower, my second for the day.
The ladies were most apologetic and gave me the $4 for a waking machine load. Hmm. Real food, ham and salad wraps with beer and then yoghurt with fresh fruit before sinking into a soft clean bed with real pillows. A late wake up in the morning then a full day off to clean, wash and prepare. Checked my pack liners and there are leaks in all of them so I walked into town and got some gaffs tape. It hasn’t fixed it all but I will rearrange some gear and put essentials into bags. My food bag can go into one of the front packs as an extra layer of protection for first aid and electronics, food can just go into a shopping bag in the pack. Going to cook up some sausages tonight for tea then make some wraps for tomorrow’s walk.
Will be good to get away from town in a way because it’s too comfy and I need to stop visiting the bakery…
I left Walpole quite proud of the fact that I walked straight passed the bakery without stopping. I was told that it opened at 7.30 but it was open just after 7. Still I’d had 3 cups of coffee and a couple of slices of toast plus I’d made food for the walk. The food worked well, it was the same thing I had for dinner some Viennese style frankfurters cooked up in the fry pan then I cooked some strips of capsicum, I wish I’d had some onion to add as well but sausage, capsicum and cucumber in a wrap with a bit of mayo was good for dinner and then I made up 3 more wraps for the next day. The walk up the hill to mount Clare was great, didn’t take too long, then the walk down the other side and out into the sand dunes where the sun came out started to get really hot. I almost ran out of water walking through the dunes but made it to long point.
Up and off at a reasonable time tackling a fair few more sandy hills before descending down onto Mandalay beach. A walk along the sand before up into dunes and entering the Pingerup plains. A few km in there’s a great drop down from scrubby dunes into karri forest. Very nice to be in the plains just sad that it’s so dry but you can smell blossoms on the breeze. Pulled into the hut just after 1 and there were 5 other people along with Ross including a 10 year old girl. Wow, I decided to tent out again with so many people here.
I had an ant invasion for some reason within only an hour or two of setting my tent up I noticed small black ants crawling on it, looking around the back to one of the vestibules there was a thick trail of ants out of the bush heading up my tent peg then onto the tent fly, they seemed to be setting up under the fold of fabric. I tried flicking then away but one but me and it hurt for such a tiny ant. How could I deal with them, I don’t have any ant spray. I tried moving the tent peg but of course they found it and I got another bite and stinky crushed ant on my hand.. Hmmm thinking.. The simple answer, they communicate with smell, I need to confuse their communications.. I had a small can of deodorant I’d hardly used so grabbed that and sprayed it around the area. Worked a treat..
Early morning again some were moving around about 4 I got up just after 5. There was a front on the way supposed to hit around lunch time so I was off before 7. Lovely walk through the scrubby plains and pockets of karri. A 20 km day and at 10km I had to get food from my resupply bucket. Just before the bucket I ran into a guy who was moving quickly, he was wanting to double hut, evidently he’d spent the last 3 nights going hut to hut with 2 groups of 6 women. He didn’t sound very happy and this was his first chance to do a double hut to get away from them even though it’s a35 km day with lots of dunes.
Found my resupply box, loaded up food and headed off, argh packs heavy again..
I ran in to the first group of girls, all young, marching along together and chatting most of them didn’t even look up at me as they passed and didn’t respond to my questions and greetings. Ran into more ladies further on all spread out, they were older and were quite chatty as I passed.
Anyway, finished my 20 km arriving in camp just before midday just as a few spots of rain were dropping. Before long it started bucketing down, thunder and lightning and rather blowy. The rain kept up most of the afternoon and my thoughts turned to the people at the hut I’d just left. All those ladies would have been caught in the rain, not just a bit of rain the really heavy stuff, then a dozen of them will have arrived at the hut all wanting shelter, all wanting to hang up their wet stuff, all wanting to use the table all wanting to set up a bed. Damn 12 of them in the tiny hut.
Then a worse thought poor old Ian and Carol who I’d traveled with for a few days, they were a day behind and a bit slower walking, they would be arriving at the hut wet and tired in the pouring rain and there’s a dozen people already in there. I feel almost guilty as it’s just Ross and I here at Mount Chance, a whole hut to ourselves and we didn’t even get wet. I stripped off and had a nice wash behind the hut now warm n cozy in my thermals, with lots of food, just ate one of my standard meals of jerky, veggies and noodles. Going to leisurely boil a cup of tea, got some chocolate and dried fruit, things aren’t bad in this hut.
Wasn’t in too much of a hurry to leave Mt Chance hut in the morning it was a straight forward 19km day off mostly flat stuff and a lot of road walking.
Left at about 8 and got into dog pool hut around 1.00. I’d started off fairly slowly taking photos of flowers and fungi while on the walk trail but once I got on the roads things were a little boring it just became a case of head down and walk. You tend to get a rhythm going with a set pace on the long boring stretches and I guess my pace isn’t too bad as I averaged close to 4 km/h over the day. Ran into 4 people walking the other direction during the day.
In the hut now and lit a fire, the first fire allowed heading north. Lovely sitting here typing this in the cool crisp air, glowing coals in front of me and the water gurgling in the background. Got to be a favorite hut this one.
Long day tomorrow to lake maringup at 25 km though reasonably flat and mainly roads if I remember correctly. Hmm 7.30pm and I’m waning.
Yes the walk to lake maringup was a long one set out about 7 in the morning from dog pool and got into camp around 2 so 7 hours of pretty constant walking. I only stopped briefly a few times to take photos, of and once to collect some rocks. Yeah I know, rocks? Some pretty clear quartz though. So an average speed of just over 3.5km/h over the day. Sandals of course, starting to wonder why I’m carrying the trail runners, there’s over 600g I could perhaps do without and a fair bit of bulk in my pack.
Felt a bit stiff and sore when I got in and I had a wash in the lake and something to eat, now I feel pretty good, no real pain anywhere.. Ok revise that, I got up and went to wash my pot and I’m a little stuff and sore but only after sitting still for a while. I did get a tick somewhere before mt chance though and removed it with tweezers and now it’s a bit red swollen and itchy.
Took a gamble last night sleeping out at dog pool, no reception so didn’t know what the weather was going to do, but I’ve taken an even bigger gamble tonight, there’s patchy reception here and the forecast is for rain and I’m sleeping out in the tent again, time to test it out see how it goes in the wet. I’ve slept out in the tent every night except 3 nights when it was raining, the first night at Sand Patch, then William Bay and 2 nights ago at Mt Chance when it poured. There’s a good chance it will pour at some stage tonight as tomorrow is forecast for 35mm of rain.
Finding it more comfortable sleeping out in the tent away from the hut noises where I can make noise at will without being concerned about waking others. Damn these noisy blow up mattresses.
Quite beautiful sitting here listening to the chorus of frogs with the distance ocean noises, then the odd duck or swam joining in.
Nice sleep, up at my usual of around 5 to 5.30 trying to be quiet to let Ross sleep in.
It is a shortish walk to gardener hut, I there’s no hurry to leave, finally hitting the track just after 8. Rained perhaps half the day after leaving then again later in the day as I pressed on towards the hut. Ran into 5 people along the way and a big black pig scared me jumping out about 10m in front of me grunting, running across the track into the bush grunting and snorting.. Now I know there’s something about black cats crossing your path, how about black pigs? I was looking over my shoulder for the next 500m or so.
The walk was ok only small hills but they were fairly sandy in places. I know it’s quite a lovely walk along the river normally but I didn’t see too much of it because of the rain. Arrived at the hut one other person here and if course Ross has been here for hours, damn he’s fast.
My battery has lasted well over the 7 days, by using flight mode and battery saver mode on the phone to the point where I’m walking out tomorrow while my external battery is dead and my phone currently has 84% charge. I’ve listened to audio books every day while walking with bluetooth headphones, the headphones have needed charging generally only ever second day though they ran out on me one afternoon about half an hour from the hut. I’ve taken lots of photos and videos along the way, kept up this blog/diary each day and watched some downloaded netflix every night as well as surfing the net when available and regular checking of the map during the day. I won’t be watching anything tonight, in fact I think I’ll turn the phone off tonight.. 83%. Ahh it’s only a short 17km day tomorrow into town.
And tomorrow Ross double huts through town so he’ll be leaving me. He’ll have a big day at almost 30km but he had his schedule and accommodation booked around it.
Right I’ve set the tent up and it’s pouring with rain… Hmmm… I had been saying I really need to test it in there rain and the best time is the day before heading into a town. I really hope we don’t get the thunder storms that have been forecast, I did hear some thunder to the south a little while ago. Also my tent site is in a bit of a depression and there’s a bit of a flood line.. Could be an interesting night.
Ok it’s 6.00 almost completely dark and it’s been raining close to an hour, I’m starting to wonder about my idea of sleeping in the tent.. I’m starting to wonder if it’s still dry in there, my bed is set up…. Ahhhhhhh..!
Right 7.00 now, pitch black, the rain has only eased off for a few minutes then came in even heavier and more constant. Went and looked at the tent, it looks like a bedraggled sodden mess sitting in a pool of water. I’m just hoping that the tub of the tent is still water tight and there’s a break in the rain soon so that I can dash up and grab my sleeping bag and mat and bring it back here.
Got my gear, set up in the hut now. Well I have my mat and sleeping bag, I’ll worry about the tent tomorrow.