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.
Ross headed off to the next hut while I found a laundromat in town, time for domestic duties. Back to the hotel for check in and a shower then before heading downstairs for a huge rib eye steak and a beer.
Slept no better in the soft bed than in a hut on my mat and awake before 5. Thought I was locked in the hotel till I found the sneaky downstairs back door and I headed to the naughty noodle bar just down the street. Pen had only been open about 6 weeks, it’s a quirky little second hand shop that has a small window around the side into her kitchen. She had no real set menu and it’s pretty much a case of “what would you like?” She gives you a quick run down, “I’ve got some lovely locally cured bacon, some cheese and vegemite sausages made by the local butcher, sounds strange but they are lovely. You can have a full English breakfast, a toasted sandwich, something lighter, I could cook you a vegetarian breakfast an omelet? what do you feel like?” So I ordered bacon and eggs, a coffee and a cheese and vegemite sausages toasty for the track. She made my coffee then my bacon and eggs before coming out a few minutes later with her own breakfast to sit and chat. A very quirky little place, lovely, she told me that she hated it to get busy because she can’t then chat with customers.
Hit the trail late, I think it was closer to 9, ran into a walker only about 100m in all dressed in army gear, he had been up at 4 so he could get to town to catch a bus. He kept looking at my sandals before finally saying, I have to ask, you’re not walking in them are you? I looked at his army boots laced half way up his calf’s. And felt like doubling back at him, you’re not walking in them are you?” Lol. Yep, sure am…!
Got into Schafer hut just after 1, only a 15 km day, one guy was in camp though he wasn’t stopping, he was heading into town so I set about all the usual camp things, make a cup of tea, eat, read the red and green books, hang up my wet socks discovered my little micro thin towel wasn’t dry when I put it away last and it stunk so give it a wash and set up a washing line, hang towel up to dry. Lay out the footprint of the tent, dry it, sweep off the sand. Check food supply, check map, plan the next days. Make another cup of tea, clean out tent, set it up, blow up mattress, fluff up quilt lay it out. Organize new rubbish bag sort rubbish into that, take most things out of the pack and hang out in the sun to dry/air, need to make the most of these dry days. Check tent fly is properly dry after drying it yesterday, put shoes out to dry as I wore them in camp the other day when it rained, empty all storage bags trying to get rid of sand, now I’m leaving the coast so hopefully there will be a little less sand. Turn socks inside out they aren’t going to dry completely but will be close. Write this. Check forecast, damn no reception.
Left camp at 7 and arrived at Warren hut by 2.30, the average speed has dropped right down to about 2.6 km/h for this section with the hills. Lovely walk though apart from the hills, walking along the river for much of it. And near the end crossing over a lovely big old bridge. Looks like 3 others arriving in camp tonight so I’ve set the tent up again.
Packed my tent early and got on the track about 7 or just before. Average kind of day with mostly undulating track along old logging roads with a few hills thrown in to keep you awake. I got into the Glouster tree at about midday and with reception available I rang the Glouster motel and booked a room. I really should have stayed at the Best Western, the motel is really on its way out lights not working bit rusty, though the beds were clean and there was a fridge, tea coffee etc. There were a lot of Islanders staying there, I guess working on local farms and at one stage in the late afternoon they all started singing as a choir, sounded lovely. Grabbed my resupply in town and with 5 days food plus a few extra bits damn things were heavy.
The day was long after leaving at 7 got in here at 2.30 though the track was reasonably easy and mainly flat. I feel fairly good and ready for the hills coming up. Now sitting at the lovely Beedelup hut by the river or rather creek, sipping on a scotch after walking 25 km with a heavy pack. Caught up with Ross again after he had a rest day in town yesterday. Tent again as the weather is not looking too bad tonight, in fact it’s not looking too bad coming up for the next few days with the worst days being only 2mm at the moment. Not a lot of phone reception coming up though in this section so let’s hope the weather doesn’t change suddenly.
Wow just looking at the veins in my calf muscle on my leg. Where did that come from? Big knobbly veins…!
Don’t trust the weather report. It rained quite a bit over night, well not really heavy just a couple of showers enough to wet everything really well. I ended up with a little water in the tent, not sure how whether my mistake is mainly just from the pack up stage, getting the fly off the tent when it’s covered with condensation on the inside and rain on the outside without getting water on the inside of the tent is not easy. So here I am at the next Hut with all bits of tent laying around trying to dry them. The joys of hiking and tenting in not perfect weather.. The hike today was 19 odd kilometres, a longish day with some good hills, though I managed to knock it off in 6 hours.
The hills are only going to continue as this section is known I believe as the roller coaster because of all the hills.
Oh yeah, hills..!
They were some rippers today some serious ups and downs that had the heart pumping and the sweat flowing.
Apart from the crazy hills the day ended with a long slow flat section into the hut except for the fact that the hut closed due to works. Stopped to have a bit of a look but the hut was a complete worksite and there’s no way you would want to camp there. There were some jerry cans for water resupply and then a notice suggesting people should walk an extra 1 km to a camping/picnic spot further along the track. We walked here and it’s a lovely spot on the side of the river. I’m really free camping here apart from a picnic table I’m not using any sort of shelter so I’ll have to hang my food bag on a tree and stick my pack in the vestibules in case of rain. I only have 2 litres of water so i need to save those for tomorrow’s hiking and all my cooking and cups of tea n coffee are using water from the river. There’s the odd little spot of rain but hopefully it holds off.
Lovely little spot by the side of the river to camp and interesting free camping there. I did end up leaving my pack in the shelter and it rained a little. Today was a long day passed the half way mark, well the 1/4 mark for me. Things are still so dry.. Was a beautiful walk today, fairly long at over 20 km but some lovely forest along the way and nothing you difficult. Didn’t see another walker today and it looks like no more at the camp site tonight either. Now all I’m thinking about is hitting donnely river tomorrow. 16km to get there, I’m leaving early going to get washing done and have a nice rest over the afternoon.
Left early walking at 5.30 I was packed and had left by 6. The answer to an early leave is not too have breakfast, and to pack all gear the night before then you just get up, pack the bed and tent, get changed and leave nibbling on a muesli bar for breakfast. I made it into Donnely River Village 16 km away by 10.30 which gave me an hour to have a cup of coffee and a BLT, plus shop for the next 3 days food before I had to find the reception spot up near the old school to wait for an 11.30 phone call. The walk was fairly ordinary, nothing unusual, no shocking hills. You can see the bush is slowly converting from karri into jarrah mari. Drv hasn’t changed since I was here last, crazy emu’s and kangaroos everywhere, I discovered that it’s best not to walk around the streets eating anything as a heard of emu’s came running at me..
Camping in the huts at the old school here what a bargain $5 for a clean towel and access to the shower and kitchen. I don’t mind this as I seem to remember the bunk room being a little average when I stayed there last and I’m getting quite comfy with my bed in the tent having mostly great sleeps with minimal soreness and only waking 2 or 3 times during the night.
Left DRV at standard sorry of time and had a fairly flat and easy day walking to Gregory brook. Two other guys doing N2S hikes joined us in the hut, it was a nice night chatting in front of the fire. At some stage early on the morning, perhaps 4 or 5 I heard someone walk off up the hill passed me and I figured it was someone going to the toilet. When I got up one of the guys asked if I’d come down to the hut earlier, no. None of these others had got up either. Checking the book, pack animal had come through and signed there book. Haha, I’d been expecting to see him, I’d even said to Ross about a week ago after hearing he was down on the pingerup plains that I would expect to see him within the next 2 weeks. He had left Drv around midnight evidently.
Oh well, set off for Blackwood, the hut on the hill. Passed a guy who mentioned that pack animal had got into the camp about about 7.30am, a little while later I passed a women who asked, are you Joel? A message for you, something about a nice sunny day. lol
Arrived at blackwood just before 1 and yes pack animal was there. Good to catch up with him again after 3 years and sitting here now it’s surprised at the number of mice there are. We had heard horror stories about the mice getting into people’s packs, biting someone’s finger while asleep, another getting inside someone’s tent in the hut, the stories had been flowing down the trail. Now I’m sitting here I can hear the little things scurrying around, we’ve seen a few from the minute it got dark. Oh well I have my tent set up a long way up the hill, my food is all in the box and the pack is hanging safely, might be time for bed leave Ross and pack animal to enjoy the mice.
The walk into Balingup was fairly uneventful, I love walking through the park just to the south of the town though.
Balingup to grimwade a 22 km day, after gorging yesterday on a pie and large sausage roll I didn’t make any dinner but had a few drinks with the boys sitting around chatting. The new accommodation at the post office is nice but it’s really small and theses silly codes you have to enter at every door is a bit annoying. Your room has a 6 digit code, the outside door had one, to go to the laundry you need to go through one code door and then through another code door into the laundry.
The walk today was pretty easy only the one big hill really, the rest was fairly flat. Now in camp and there’s the 5 of us from yesterday and now another couple here as well.
These days are becoming very similar, the track is all very similar through the jarrah mari bush, few small hills along the way nothing too long nothing too steep. More signs of people, dirt bikes today and people chopping wood others just driving around little tracks in the forest. Left at 7 this morning after a pack up of less than 1 hour, making porridge is the killer, it takes time to cook, time to eat and then clean up so this morning I just left and ate an oat bar on the way out of camp then munched on other bits as I walked. Arrived in camp at 1 after walking 22km, not too bad averaging over 3.6km/h. Then tent set up and onto my standard Deb cup a soup mix with a sachet of tuna added for good measure and a cup of tea. Now it’s 2 in the afternoon and I’m relaxing. I hadn’t take many pictures along here, so here’s me in my sexy socks and sandals.
20km walk to Yabberup today, nice walk down passed the Mumbulup pub and then the Glen Mervyn dam. According to the bib website the hut was being worked on and would be closed but it was all open for business when I arrived. Still there’s a campsite only 300m further on with a large covered area to pitch a tent a rain water tank and toilets. Now it’s a couple of hours later and a large front has passed over, lots of thunder and lightning and pouring rain. Damn that was perfect timing to arrive at this place for the rain, weather had been lovely for the past few days and I’ve been tenting it as usual, now technically I’m still tenting it just under a tin roof, I’m not in a hut as such, still sleeping on the dirt.
Tomorrow is the walk into collie, yay, probably close to 20 km to get into town, very long spur trail off the track of about 3km.
Walk into collie was relatively unexciting I left early walking in the dark around 6 and was in town just after 11, walking in the dark with headlamp on was interesting, it was very foggy and the little droplets of water making up the fog were highlighted so there were a myriad of bright little droplets shining in the light as they swirl and sway around. Rest day in collie and as I got there so early in the day I have a chance to get a lot of things done over the afternoon. Pack sealer a clear rubbery goo in a tube to seal my liners, a cotton sleeping bag liner to try and cover my noisy mattress, some tea tree oil as I’d had another tick, pick up my resupply box, do washing and hang out all on the fence because that’s the only place for it…
I discovered that my sandals were starting to blow out, a solid plate in the sole is starting to poke through and I can feel it on the sole of my foot, bugger… Bought some gaffa tape to at least cover it up and then the day I was leaving I waited till the camping store was open, no sandals there. The day of leaving I was suffering a bit too, pizza hangover. The night before Dave was off to pick up a pizza from the shop only about 4 doors down, sounded like a good idea so I headed down and bought a large, then polished off most of it leaving one piece for breakfast.. At the Colliefields breakfast is provided so I pigged on muesli with yoghurt and a banana, then a couple of bits of toast and a slice of cold pizza. I waddled out of town with a full belly and a full pack. I’d somehow packed a days extra food supply in my box, I had 7 full days when the section is only 6 nights, must try and remember that in future because you only need rations for the nights you are hutting. So I packed one days ration back in the box along with leftovers I had been carrying, some tuna, muesli bars a pack of Deb, then I went and did a little shopping and now I have an almost complete resupply box ready for the Return trip.
Walk to Harris dam hut was as expected just the one big hill near the hut once passed the dam. Tenting it again as usual.
Then onto Yourdamung the next day, a ridiculous 15km and looks like the nasty front is still holding off till tomorrow.
So up early the next morning rain is due between 1 an 2 in the afternoon. A 19 km day Ross was off just before 7 and I wasn’t far behind, 3 or 4 km out of camp I could hear a couple of dogs going crazy barking, I checked the map, no private property for miles only forest, it must be hunters. I could hear the direction it was coming from and the dogs weren’t letting up but as I got closer the dogs changed and weren’t barking as much then someone began calling out over and over. Obviously the e dogs had done a runner off after something and the guy was after them.
Some careful examination of the map, mayhem happening forwards too the left, exactly where the bib track was heading. Road heading off to the right crossing high voltage power line, the power liner went about 10km parallel to the bib then another road could get me back to the bib so off I went in the opposite direction, away from the barking and the calling out… I powered along the track them up the power line track, no audio books no snacking, I was trying to put miles between myself and the commotion. If he had lost his dogs and they are out running in the bush hunting and he can’t get them back, they could be anywhere. Every noise I was turning to look, planning how I could scale a power pylon of need be. Lol Oh how would poor old Ross be, he was right over in that direction.. Power walked into possum springs at 11. Oh wow, I think id walked further than the normal track so averaged about 5 km/h. Surprising what a little motivation can do. Bloody pig hunters… Grrr. And yes it’s Saturday so that adds up.
Oh well, now many hours to kill at the hut, the rain has started, no more people and Ross didn’t see any today, and of course neither did I as I want on the track most of the day.. Lol
A fairly boring walk today, nice to begin with through the misty forest but then it’s out and under the noisy conveyor and down along the river through all the 4×4 areas and tracks. A long day too over 22 km, my lower back was getting a little sore which is something new, need to stretch more before and after walking. Rained a bit during the day though forecast was for not too much over night. 2 other guys arrived from the north, another cold soaker, I gave him a cup of tea. We lit a fire between rain showers and then spent most of the night hiding under the shelter unable to enjoy the fire because of the rain. I set my tent up between showers sure that it would slow down but now at 7.30 I’m laying in my tent listening to the rain hoping that I remain reasonably dry.. My air mattress is up against the end of the tent and water is dripping down onto the tent there, so basically hitting the air mattress and I can hear it echoing through the mattress and my blow up pillow.. Nice though, hearing the rain on the tent, of course it’s going to be a bugger packing up tomorrow with everything wet, but that’s just part of what you have to deal with on the track. Tomorrow is only about 17 km and I believe it’s going to be fine all afternoon so I’ll be able to dry things at camp with a bit of luck.