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.
An OK walk today lots of prickles and I walked a fair way on the road as I missed the turn off for the track at one stage but the road ran right by the hut. Some silly bugger last night had shoved one of the logs meant for seating around the fire, into the fire and it was still smouldering when I arrived.. easy night had a good fire and I spent the afternoon drying things. Set my tent up under a tree I was half thinking might fall if the wind picks up but around here there aren’t a lot of choices, the camp sites all look at risk of falling timber.
The next day to swamp oak, OK I’m stretching things here trying to remember because I already left Dwellingup. Ahh that’s right swamp oak, last time I was there 3 years ago they were preparing to work on the hut and it’s surrounds so this time I get to experience there new expanded hut and facilities which were very nice, the camp sites were all very hard lumpy gravel, I tell you in some of these spots I’m tempted to make my own site.
We had a an amusing afternoon, I went to make a cup of tea in the afternoon and there was a mouse into one of my food bags, he was gnawing through the plastic bag and it was only about 3 in the afternoon, broad daylight. We spent quite a while watching the mouse antics as it searched the hut methodically going over the whole area including the raised sleeping platforms as well as Ross tent, he climbed all over that. There were a few moments where he just sat up and looked at us only a meter or two away as if to say “what you looking at?”.
Up and into dwellingup the next morning, lovely arrived there before 11 as it’s such a short day. Straight into the iga for some food then onto the caravan park. There hiker accommodation here is ok, just little rooms in a donga, hey a real bed and power and a heater them toilet shower close by along with a huge camp kitchen. Spent a lazy day organizing things, washing, picked up my food supply box which is 4 days when I really only need 3. Sit around the cafe, sit around the room laying on the bed, off to the pub for dinner, very relaxing.
But, this is a walk and not a sit, left this morning with some trepidation, there is a bypass around mt wells coming up tomorrow because of a fire that’s been through so there’s no choice but to double hut perhaps a 28 km day all the way to white horse hills which is also supposed to be shut as it’s being renovated. And there’s 20 to 30mm of rain forecast for that day. raising miles along a power line access track in the pouring rain.. it seems that everyone we speak to who had come south had ignored the bypass and walked the track anyway. We also just heard that a while group of school kids were taken through there by their teacher a day or two ago, these kids all arrived at the caravan park yesterday. Pretty irresponsible of a teacher to do that with kids.. Oh well, Ross and I being such law abiding citizens will walk the detour in the rain.
The walk out today to Chadoora was easy, almost 20 km, left at 7 got here around 12, lit a fire, now trying to save battery for this long section, though the section will now be shorter in overall days because of this detour. A guy stopped here heading south and we were really unfair on him, he was half considering going on to town though he wouldn’t get there till after dark. We talked about warm beds, a shower, the pub, good food… He had no hope, he left for another 20 km walk into dwellingup after already walking about 15 though most of that is down hill. Hmm I can hear thunder in the distance, the rain she’s coming… Good might drown out there sound of my sleeping mat.
Not a great nights sleep, damn that noisy mattress. Up and off about 7 to tackle the diversion day, 8 or 9 km on the trail before hitting the power line then about 15 kms or more along a dead straight line up and down hills an incredibly boring walk didn’t see a waugals anywhere along the diversion, lucky I had the app and could work out where to get on and off the power line because there were no markings, and neither myself or Ross saw the temporary camp that was meant to have water and a toilet. Oh well, made it to white horse after a long hard day walking, set a good speed too as I got in around 1.30. the hut here looks great with the new works, very impressive. Another nice couple here on their way south, they looked so wet and bedraggled when they arrived. Lol
Nicer easier day to Gringerhut even though there was a bit of climb over Boonerang hill, why do they call it a hill when it’s the same height as the mountains coming up? Anyway with promises of little to no rain I headed off towards the roadhouse to find my resupply bucket. Oh dear, the bush all looks the same here. As I searched, the heavens opened up and it poured, luckily I’d grabbed the brolly but my tent fly is laid out on the table to dry back at camp, it wasn’t going to get dry.
Finally found the bucket thanks to the fact that I took a photo and was able to work it out from the photos location on the GPS. So I’d arrived at Gringer with 2 full days of food and now I was supposed to pick up another 4 when I only need 4. I shuffled around food picking the ones I liked, drank the small can of wine and ate three little packets of chips leaving food behind, I hid the bucket again. Easy flat walk to Nerang the next day without much to say about it. Elly and Dazza arrived over the afternoon Dazza being quite late, it ends up that he had double hutted over 3 mountains to get there.. Now Dazza didn’t exactly look like a fit bloke, he had a heavy pack and was wearing long shearing pants. He then told us how he’d had a cyst cut from his foot and was a bit worried what the long walk may have done to it. He took off his shoes and socks peeling back a plaster on the bottom ball of his foot to show us all a large hole and rather horrible raw bit of flesh on the bottom of his foot..
Now is been pushing the idea to Ross that perhaps we should just walk the 13km over Mt cook in the morning rather than push through 26km and 3 mountains with a double hut. I was struggling to see this as an option now that a fairly ill prepared, unfit guy with a foot injury had just done the 3 mountains.. oh well three mountains it is then.
Set off early and yes it was a slog, I got into camp around 3 pretty tired but then an hour or two later a guy rocked up and he’d walked all the way from Gringer hut, what had taken us a whole extra day… Crazy, the guy was carrying hardly anything and doing long days to finish there track in 30 days.. phew… After dark Mark then rolled in after dark of course, we’d met him back before Collie.
Walk to Canning was easy a nice short 15 km day. Ohh whoops.. Canning, umm what was canning like, I’m now about 3 days further on at my last night for this first leg camped at ball creek… We’ll just leave it as Canning was nice. Then a double hut through to Mount Dale picking up my food drop at Brooklyn hwy. The bucket was easier to find than my last one and the walk was ok through to Mount Dale. I love the Mount Dale hut nestled in the grass trees at the foot of mount dale. The box here was also full of food, small long life milk containers, giant marshmallows, muesli bars, cup a soups a tube of condensed milk. We lit a great fire here, Ross and I are getting pretty proficient at the fire wood collection. He collects wood, I get grass trees.
The next day is a walk past Beraking before heading onto Waalegh for the night. You have to love these huts, right on the edge of an escarpment the views are magnificent and the walking isn’t too hard. Ran into a couple here who were doing an E2E, they had been following us all the way from Albany and it was great to catch up with information about people that we’d passed along the way and people who were walking in the opposite direction. They were also excited to catch up with us after reading and hearing about us from others along the way. It was a great night and a bright clear sky so I decided to sleep in just my tent inner.
Cool what a great idea… I noticed when I went to bed that my sleeping bag was just beginning to feel a little damp, oh well, she’ll be right. I woke a few times during the night and I could feel wetness all around me, the top of my quilt, the sides of my tent, everything was feeling wet. In the early hours when I woke I could feel the wet seeping through the quilt.. yuck.. the dew and condensation when I finally got up was shocking. Man. Everything was soaked and now I had to pack it up and stick it in my bag. Shocking, the silly things I do..
A day of hills walking to ball creek. Passed a fair few people before visiting Mt Helena, man the people. There were so many people. Passed at least a couple of dozen people on the walk getting here and now I’d say there were about 12 people camped around the area of the hut.Thats what happens when you arrive at the northern end of the track on a long weekend.
Looking forward to the walk out tomorrow and visiting the town before going into the Airbnb for a night, then off to sort out things in Perth, have a couple of days off, then back heading south.