Rame Head to Walpole. Had a very crappy night sleep just couldn’t get comfy and didn’t get to sleep until very late some time. I think I need to make a concerted effort not to go to bed too early otherwise it’s just too many hours on that little mattress and I wake about 3am and then every half hour after that feeling sore in the hips, legs and shoulders. So tonight I’m going to try and stay up until about 9. Ohh, 9 o’clock. Haha. Anyway where was I.
The others left early, they were up at 5 and then gone by 6. They wanted to try and make it all the way to boat harbour which is about 36km. I hope they make it, they don’t have a tent but they have youth on their side and after a couple of days warming up walking from Walpole it should be about right, even if they finish in the dark. They were from Melbourne and flew over here for a weeks walking, guess I’m pretty lucky with the track quite literally on my back door.
Listen to me talking it up after I only walked 17 kms today. A blow fly has started showing some interest in my pack explosion in the hut here and I’m watching to see what smell attracts it the most, what is the stinkiest thing I have with me, food rubbish bag, old socks in a pack pocket? Perhaps the socks I’ve just taken off after 3 days hiking in them. I think that’s perhaps the limit, 3 days, they’re fairly stinky. The fly has gone, it’s not interested after all.
Back to today. I left as the sun was rising, I think about 7.30 it was a pretty magnificent spot there being able to watch the sun rise over the rugged coastline I’d been walking along, seeing the mist hanging low in the coastal valleys, pretty special having a coffee and eating breakfast while watching it all. But then walking. The start of the day was similar country to what I’ve been walking for days coastal heath and scrub then down onto the beach at conspicuous cliffs.
The trail then does a dogleg and heads in, pretty much straight inland which makes for an interesting walk watching the vegetation change.
The weather was once again beautiful sun out, with not a cloud in the sky yet not too hot. Fairly quickly I was into varied wooded country which offered some protection from the sun.
Then the scenery changed markedly and I spent the next couple of hours walking through an area of burnt bush, I believe from some comments I just read that it may have been in June. The young couple had warned me about it saying that the trail was hard to follow as the markers were all burned but I found quite a few new markers.
Someone was going through today putting in new markers. Eventually you leave the burnt section and join the heritage trail trail for a bit, here I ran into the couple who maintain this section of track and the Giants hut and I have to say it’s the nicest hut yet. They warned me that I was headed towards a big hill with about 4kms to go and they were right. Beautiful Forest with some magnificent trees but for the moment I had to switch into low range and 4 leg drive. It was a breeze once I got my tempo just right, some music going in my ears, poles working and just a slow methodical pace so you can keep going. I’d rather keep a slow pace going than a faster stop/start pace when you need a breather.
Got to the peak then a couple more kms into camp. Cooked up some Deb and cup a soup then warmed the kettle for a shower.
Magnificent spot here at the Giants hut so peaceful. Well, well, so I was just sitting enjoying the atmosphere typing this out when I heard some voices. I looked around and saw a couple of people coming up the track looks like I will have company. Hang on, I have another look as they get closer and it’s Jacko and his wife Jan. I’d given Jacko a lift back down to Denmark a couple of weeks ago after he’d stopped hiking in Dwellingup. They handed me a foam container. It was fish and chips from peaceful bay, they had read a comment I made about missing out on fish and chips and decided to bring me some, knowing that it’s only a couple of KMS walk in from a road to this hut. Wow thanks guys still nice and hot too.
That was an unusual day. Many days I haven’t seen a soul on the track and sometimes that’s been for days at a time, but then today I ran into 4 people while walking the track and then 2 people at the Franklin’s River hut. The first person I saw was while walking through the tree top walk car park. He didn’t stop, he slowed and chatted quickly about not staying in huts, he was sick of huts they are all the same, got to make miles, see you later. Then as he walked off into the forest he began talking loudly along the lines of “it’s a beautiful day in the forest the sun is out and a little later I’ll get to the coast.” Perhaps he was recording something, unusual. I grabbed another coffee and a muffin at the tree top walk before meandering off down the trail.
This was an easy day only about 14 kms though magnificent karri tingle forest, across streams and rivers, just a magical little stroll.
I then ran into another end to ender. He stopped for a chat and told me about the guy I met earlier, saying that he’d fallen in love further back on the track with someone going in the opposite direction, so his slow hut to hut walk had now become a mad dash to get to the end, to finish and go and see her.
Just lovely through here. Then you arrive at the Frankland River hut, the”Queenslander” perched up on it’s stilts. It’s very different to all the other huts I’ve seen so far, wooden floor throughout and a verandah to boot. Perched right on the river this hut has a lot going for it. Though it is a long walk to the toilet, I guess that’s in case of flooding.
Ado and David were here for the night and it was a very entertaining evening they are both fairly intense people. David had done over 30 end to enders, while Ado was on his first. They were a real miss match pair walking together both double hitting doing some long days and we had a very entertaining evening. When Ado started his walk it was with real basics, slip on steel cap work boots, normal every day clothes, a plastic tarp for use as a rain coat, a back pack that looked more like a suitcase with shoulder straps. A stove top coffee percolator that doubled as his cook pot when he took out the percolator piece, and a big dented steel jug as a mug. It just goes to show that you don’t need fancy gear to walk the bib he’s only a few days from finishing his.
The night was filled with many laughs and they were both off in the dark early to try and double hut the next bit, about 32kms. Dave was telling me that he’d catch up with me further up the track, and with that many end to ends under his belt already I imagine that I will.
I left at a far more respectable time just after the sun was up as I only had a 17 km day into Walpole. The day began with a little bit of up and down through magic old growth forests before a long slow down hill for most of the day towards the coast. I was a little unsure where I was going at one stage where the trail merges with a short tourist walk complete with many information signs and boardwalks.
I then found the trail out the other side, 10km to Walpole. On the way down the hill I ran into Connor, a young woman on the last of her end to end. The boys had told me she’d be coming though in the next day or two. We stopped and chatted the usual trail talk, who we’d seem along the way, what good or bad bits were coming up for each other as we headed in opposite directions, and what weather was on the way. When you are out in the weather all day every day weather means so much more than most people living in suburbia.
I arrived at coal mine beach then it was a short walk into town straight to the bakery for a burger, chips and apple pie. Then off to the youth hostel, tingle all over. This was a lovely place to stay, old and basic but everything you need including use of a big kitchen with tea, coffee, bread and butter all provided, washing machine, towel (that I forget to use) and very comfy warm bed. There’s a large lounge room with warm fire of a night and the owner Peggy and her night manger were a delight, so friendly and welcoming. For $50 it was great value.
Picked up my food drop at the visitor center, it sucks having 7 days of food on board. I can really feel it on my feet while on the hard roads especially. A chance to get everything charged as well except it seems that somehow I don’t have the things needed to charge my battery, they left me one at the hostel but it was only 1a and wouldn’t charge my battery, so of to post office then chemist to fine a 2amp charger.
All good, had a great night, everything charged including my sleep bank, on my third coffee, had 4 bits of toast at the hostel now sitting at the bakery and had a sausage roll and toasted sandwich, I feel like a snooze. Lol. Going to drop into the post office and mail home the charger I brought with me now I have a new one that’s tested and works. Then it’s off up mount Clare. Ohhhhh with 7 days of food. Still it’s meant to be an easy walk up and only a 12 km day which is just as well considering it’s 10 already and I still have to go to the Post office.