Walpole to Mt Chance. Ok I’m feeling guilty about today now. On my way up My Clare I was thinking perhaps I could double hut and I could have and should have. As it is I’m dressed ready for bed, my camp is set up ready, food in the mouse box, I’m on my second cup of tea, checked the weather for the next week, and the next huts that are coming up, had some nibbles, read the red book and writen out a long comment, filled in the green log book, now I’m thinking about watching some Netflix while I have reception. It’s 2.00 in the afternoon. I can’t go to bed because too long laying down and I’ll wake at 2 in the morning with sore hips. Hmm, if I’d left before 10.00 I would have definitely double hutted, as it’s only 13km to the next hut at long point. Though then again, even with the short day today I’m really feeling the extra weight in my feet. The climb up mt Clare from town is very slow and gradual and really a breeze but I would estimate that my pack weight has gone up about 7 kg from yesterday.
Started out at about 7.30 just as the sun was coming up. The decent of Mt Clare on the other side is quite steep and slippery through the dense forest, so glad I didn’t come up this side with a full pack.
Then down through changing coastal forest slowly opening up to become the more familiar coastal heath and scrub I’ve seen for so much of the walk so far.
The rest of today’s walk is through mainly burnt out coastal area. Vast swathes of black desolation slowly starting to come back to life.
Perhaps 2 hours in I came across a girl walking the other way, Elsa, a 29 year old French girl who was walking an end to end she was only quite small and had a large pack. She was hunkered down in her rain coat pacing along the track while for now I only had the Brolly out as the rain was fairly light. We stopped and chatted, she told me the plains ahead were up to her calves in some areas. Hmm and I’m thinking about that now as I’m in the hut with rain pelting down outside, it will only get deeper the more rain we get and I believe some of the deepest bits are still 4 or 5 days away near lake Maringup.
When it gets too bad they close a section of track going into lake Maringup camp, it would be disappointing if I miss that camp as I’ve heard it’s nice. She also told me that she hasn’t seen another person since leaving Northcliffe.
Anyway, another short day today, only 13 km through some fairly easy walking, mainly low coastal scrubby dunes, none that are too steep or too boggy. It seemed that all the country was burnt except for the prickle bushes right on the track. I got to camp about 1, the day had drizzled off and on but now it cleared and the sun came out. There’s a 1km walk behind the camp down to the ocean so I took advantage of the weather dropping my pack and headed down for a look.
Lovely rugged coastline down here with a heavy swell pounding and surging it was nice just to watch the waves for a while. Back to the hut to unpack and have lunch. Hang things to dry let the feet air. I was wearing the sandals and socks again today keeping my shoes packed and dry. With the wet plains coming up I figured the sandals will be on for the next 5 days or so.
Then the onslaught began in broad daylight, mozzies!!! Wow mozzies, I killed about 20 while making lunch. Cup a soup with ripped up flat bread thrown in and the last bit of a Deb packet to help thicken it a bit more.. some kind person had left a large gas bottle here in the hut box which translates to many cups of tea and a warm shower for me. I’d thought about going easy on the gas just in case as this is a fairly long stretch at 7 nights, plus it’s nasty weather the whole way so I want to have warm food and drinks at the end of each day.
The mozzies continue, reading the red book someone said they were kept awake all night because of the mozzies. Another walker wanted to stay but kept going because of them. I’m now cleaned up a bit and I have multiple layers on so hopefully they can’t bite through. There have been heavy showers for the past couple of hours, I’m glad to be sitting in the shelter warm and dry even if the mozzies are relentless.
Over 18km to woolbales tomorrow, starting to stretch out the distances, there’s a 25 km day into the lake which could be interesting. Chris arrived at the hut late in the afternoon after he’d just done a 40km double hut in less than ideal weather, nice to have someone to chat with.
BOB….!!! Booooooooob…….!!!! Said in the style of Tom Hanks on Castaway. BOOOOOOOOOB…… It seems that Bob decided it was all just too hard and he didn’t want to do any more of this walking stuff. I haven’t seen him since leaving Walpole so it looks like I’m on my own now.
What a surprise day it was today. Leaving long point there’s the typical up and down dunes and a section along the beach. Before departing the ocean for good. That’s it no more beach sand for the rest of my journey as I head inland. After leaving the beach I crossed through many different types of vegetation.
Firstly it was the standard coastal heath if been through the day before, though it seemed that there were more varieties of prickles. I looked down at my shins, they were pretty horrible, they looked diseased with red spots all over them from all the prickles the day before.
Now they were getting worse and the prickle bushes were getting worse, my shins were stinging. Had to stop in the rain to put long pants on, them off course about 200m later the track had been cleared.
Shortly after the trail delved down into some lush karri forest. The walking became easier as it had all been recently cleaned up.
Is it wrong that I love the look of a zamia Palm bleeding?
From karri down into tea tree swamp, out onto granite outcrops, then through jarrah marri forest, it was a multitude of landscapes and often a turn around a corner would leave me “wow”ing at the change in scenery.
The rain rarely eased during the day with some very heavy showers coming through. I was soaked on the bottom half this is why I don’t like long pants in the rain. Still, inside my raincoat I had music playing in my ears and I was dry and warm. I couldn’t help but stop and take photos of every little thing I saw. Only 70 photos and 8 videos for the day, no wonder my phone went flat fairly quickly. I’d love to do this again in spring with my real camera and macro lens.
I arrived at the woolbales around 3 after the last couple of kilometres being on a formed car track with lots of puddles and mud, puddles that couldn’t be dodged.
I guess this is a sign of things to come. I’ve heard mixed reports about what is coming up, the couple tonight said it’s still not too bad up ahead, no wading. But then they came through the worst bit 3 to 4 days ago and there’s been a fair bit of rain, and there will be more rain before I get there in 3 or 4 days. I hope there’s some wading to do.
I left woolbales about 7.30 after an average sleep. Within half an hour it started to rain and this set the tune for the rest of the day, it rained fairly constantly for most of the day often heavy driving rain with some horrible winds to go along with it. It seems that I should be careful what I with for because shortly after the rain started I came to the first big puddle there was no getting around. Oh well time to get wet, it was half way up my shins.
The day varied from flooded swamp to raised karri forest. I spent many hours traipsing along the plains on the track with my feet constantly in water.
Usually only an inch or so deep but there were regular dunkings in puddles over ankle deep. Usually the water was flowing, on a couple of the hills it was like walking up a stream bed.
I pulled into mount chance hut around 2 feeling very wet, cold, hungry and uncomfortable. Everything was soaked. I opened my pack and found that water had got into the bottom again, some further investigation of the liner and I found a poor seal in the bottom. Quite an obvious little defect and when it buckets down all day like it did today it’s enough to let in a fair bit of water. I’ll have to try and patch it I guess. Not really happy as I have returned a belt which started to split and now the liner. Oh well tomorrow’s rain won’t be as bad so perhaps I’ll be ok. I have super glue with me but I’m not sure how it will go on the flexi liner. I also have a patch for my mattress but I’d rather save that for the mattress.
I don’t like this campsite either I think it’s aa prett poor choice of location. The hut is perhaps a couple of hundred metres off the track, the track was back down in the jarrah marri trees near the swamp but they obviously wanted to get the hut further up the hill at the base of the huge granite rock. That’s all good but it’s right in the karri here and in this blustery gale winds they are swaying around menacingly. I’ve lived among karri and don’t really trust them. Yeah I don’t like staying here. Just listening to little nuts and branches dropping on the roof in the gusts, waiting for a big one..
Enough of that. My food rations are working pretty well, this stretch was a real test with 7 nights in the one drop. Sometimes I have a couple of things left over at the end of a day and these can stretch out over a few days. Only once did I sneak into advanced rations, one evening I got stuck into the crackers of a future days lunch, that was today’s lunch where I missed out on crackers but I still had some flat bread from a couple of days ago. I often have a spare porridge that I haven’t eaten if I get really hungry. I’m still carrying some chocolate from peaceful bay.
Above is my standard afternoon when I arrive at camp, a cup of tea, Deb potatoes flavoured with a cup a soup while reading the books.
It’s quite an experience to set off for a week away from any civilization hoping that you have enough food and gas and power. I really am miles from anywhere here and relying on the fact that I have everything I need. Must remember to pack more tea bags, that’s twice I’ve run out of tea bags. I just did a quick check of food stocks, all good, 3 full days / nights then 2 extra porridge a 3 extra museli bars for the last short day into town. In the morning I’ll try and fix the leak in my pack liner with super glue, not ideal but there’s more rain coming and I really don’t want wet gear. If my sleeping bag wasn’t in a separate waterproof bag I’d be in trouble about now.
Just put on a huge pot of pasta with salami, sun-dried tomatoes, and vegetables, poured myself a Brandy. It’s started raining again. I think I have enough battery to sit down and watch a movie seeing that I’m all alone here tonight.