Pemberton to Donnelly River Village. Leaving Pemberton it’s a small walk through town passing the trout hatchery then on. On through mainly karri the whole way except for a bit of an old arboretum with an assortment of trees. Aargghh… Just melted my shoe a bit on the fire trying to dry them out, something I try to be very careful of but it’s so easy to do. Should be ok I think I got it in time. Where was I? Walking through karri, what better place to be. I was surprised by today, 25 km is a long day but it wasn’t too bad. There were a couple of smallish hills though I know bigger are coming up in the next few days. My feet are sore but this is because my pack was heavy after a restock with 6 days of food, a half bottle of medicinal Brandy and 2 fuel canisters I was heavy.
The second fuel canister was a just in case thing after running out on my last leg. Well not really a just in case, for some reason I’d only packed a small canister in my resupply box when I had at least 6 days ahead, really it’s 8 nights till I hit balingup with Donnelly river in-between. I’m not sure what Donnelly river has in the way of supplies, I know they have some food to eat there and limited supplies to take, maybe they have gas? Anyway I bought a large fuel canister in Pemby so I should be able to survive all the way to Collie no problem at all, 11 nights between here and Collie.
Part of today was a section along big Brook dam, this was a bitumen path and popular with the local walkers for loop walking as I ran into 5 people. No sign of anyone on the track though. I did walk past a guy yesterday in town who had a pack on and looked very grotty, I was tempted to stop for a chat assuming he was walking the bib but he had an “I love Trump” t-shirt on, so I just have him a cursory gday and he didn’t respond. I’m thinking that he is perhaps not on the bib as no one has been at this hut for many days and the last ones here were day walkers from karri valley resort.
Some delightful person left fire lighters here and some fine chopped kindling, I was careful to only use 1 fire lighter and thankfully the rain has held off. The day has been beautiful with just a few very light showers I had no raincoat on, only reaching for the Brolly a couple of times generally it was so light that I kept walking through it.
Shoes are nearly dry same with my socks. They got wet only a couple of kilometres back. I was very surprised that is stayed dry most of the day after the rain yesterday with most of the puddles and track streams being so shallow I could walk through them or skirt around them. Except for one flowing section about ankle deep. There was a branch on the track and I tried dropping it in as a bit of a bridge but it was too small. When I dropped it in the water small Marron went scattering and as I tried moving the branch there were many Marron with bodies the size of my thumb moving around in the water, nice to see them in the water.
Almost 6 starting to get dark. I arrived here hungry so ate a pack of 2 minute noodles then a cup a soup now I know there’s pasta and veggies in tomato soup for dinner but I’m not so hungry. Still there are many reasons to eat it now. Less weight to carry and easier to cook now than later when I feel hungry near bed time. If I don’t eat it I’ll probably get hungry later and just have a cup a soup and Deb, I should have a substantial meal with veggies now. Hard to move though, you get stiff once you sit for a while.
This camp at Beedelup is pretty magnificent the sound of running water should put me to sleep well.
Drinking hot chocolate by the fire, the Moon is full and the sky has a light veil of cloud, enough to keep away the worst of the cold. I’m in the middle of the karri forest where a creek gurgles just a few feet from me. Warm and dry with a full belly my body feels like I’ve worked it, I’m concious and aware of my body and it’s sore but not broken.
Soon I’ll sleep well in warmth on a soft air mattress, I’ll wake well rested before dawn and sip hot coffee peering into the dark Misty forest as the first dim light of dawn filters through the trees. Sweet porridge with fruit and nuts cooking on the stove. I’ll be walking again today, not quite as far but with more hills to test my body further, push it harder. It makes me feel alive. In pain, exhausted but alive.
Beedelup I’ve skipped a day, two days have happened without me writing an update and I blame that all on the brothers grim. Leaving beedelup was nice, a short walk through the karri before arriving at beedelup falls where you mix it up with the common tourists. Not that I saw any while I was there, I think perhaps it was too early for most tourists, plus the weather wasn’t brilliant with light showers, these kept up for much of the day including a more heavy period in the afternoon. Walking past the lake you can see karri valley resort on the far bank, they have many looping walks through the area crossing the bib until you turn off and away from the lake and the people, heading up into the bush. Most of the walking throughout the day is along larger tracks, crossing through some jarrah areas but predominantly nice karri.
Now if I’d written this last light as I should have, then I would have complained about the terrible hills that I experienced, however after today’s hills, yesterday’s were nothing, pathetic little lumps. Back to yesterday though. As with most of my days it seems that I spend the first half of the day meandering, taking photos enjoying views trying to get some nice bits of video, talking more photos. Then usually about 1 o’clock I see how far away the next hut is and decide that well over half my day is gone yet I have perhaps only walked half or sometimes perhaps less of the distance required. So it’s time to knuckle down and do miles. Stop getting sidetracked by flowers and fungi and just walk. One foot after the other and don’t stop.
I ran into two people while I was walking, first was a woman doing an end to end Ellie I think, we chatted about things coming up in each direction and our experiences. She told me I’d be seeing a guy coming up in the next few days she’d seen off and on. Told me to check her experiences she’d written about at blackwood, warmed me of pig hunters at an up and coming hut that had disturbed her in the middle of the night. Suggesting I don’t camp there Friday or Saturday, of course I checked and I’m sure to arrive there Friday night.. oh well.
Arrived at Beavis camp to find the three brothers Grimm set up in camp with a roaring fire going. It’s a lovely campsite here with more trickling water. Started chatting with then about what they are doing which is a sectional end to end and for now they were doing a 4 night section. Come dinner time and this is where things get interesting. Firstly I noticed some potatoes sitting on the table outside, this is the first time is seen potatoes anywhere on the trail, but this was just a start in a night of firsts.
Then they pull out the scotch fillet streaks, oh yeah, they were going to have steak and potatoes. One of them was drinking red wine, surely that’s a bit heavy isn’t it I ask? It was when I started with 5 bottles worth….. The others were drinking scotch, they had a speaker playing music and they nibbled on a large bag of cherries while setting up for cooking. A punnet of cherry tomatoes, half a pound of butter, boil the spuds then drop in a big knob of butter, cook the cherry tomatoes in the pan, then take them out to cook the steak in the little pan with a knob of butter. They all had enormous gas canisters and I commented about that being for all the extravagant cooking, no that was for heating water for their 4 litre showers they each have every day. The smell of their steak cooking was hard to deal with and I commented that I bet they were unpopular with many in camps having such luxuries. One of them said “mainly in the morning when we’re cooking the bacon and eggs.” Oh yeah the next morning they got up and cooked toast with bacon and eggs for breakfast and then decided to fly the drone above the camp to get some nice footage.
It was an interesting evening, only one of them sleeps in the hut the other 2 sleep in tents out in the weather, I’m not sure why I think perhaps because of snoring. During the evening and morning they told me repeatedly of the horrible hills I would be traveling in the next section. This of course meant that I left the camp with trepidation as I walked around each corner I was expecting giant steep slippery hills and for most of the morning I was disappointed, or should that be happy to find no major hills, just the standard rolling karri country. But then it happened I came to the first big one, it just kept going and going and as promised there were a few slippery bits too. Then the steep down then up, this was an absolute shocker a real V shaped valley though it had a rather lovely log crossing at the bottom.
On through similar country, once again I’d reached the stage where I just have to hunker down and walk, not get side tracked, I knew the last few kilometres were fairly straight forward mainly along old trail trails, just had to do them.
I do love rail trails because it means no major hills. Just starting to get some nice hovea flowering in the last few hundred metres into boarding house camp, lovely. I don’t think much of this hut design, very cramped compared with the open L shaped floor I’m so used to.
Chatted to a guy here, he’s doing a sectional end to end.. oh man 8.40 I really need to get to bed it was a long day with those hills, just over 6 hours of walking for 22 km and tomorrow is 25 km but a lot flatter. I am so looking forward to a wash, I’ve sweated like crazy today and haven’t even so much as wiped myself down, just eat and on with the thermals, chat, eat, now I must sleep it’s getting cold.
Tom road. Ok there’s tired and there’s exhausted and then there’s this!!! I think these long days are catching up with me and I’m exhausted. My ears are ringing and I’m just sitting starting at the water feeling almost unable to move. A little nauseous and light headed. I ate some Deb and cup a soup and nibbled trail mix not long before that, I wee’d not long ago and it looked ok so I’m not too dehydrated.
I think it’s a lack of electrolytes. I should have been more careful and popped a tablet into my water bottle knowing it was a long day. After drinking half a litre of water with a tablet in it I’m starting to feel a little better. The ringing in my ears it’s begining to quieten a bit and no more nausea or light headedness, just feeling really exhausted. I pushed it today. Well I say that I pushed it but everyone who does an end to end had to do the same distance I just did and many do it in warmer weather.
It was a 25 km day which took me 7 hours, much of the last half of that I’d put my foot down because I knew it was “rain increasing” and I wanted to get into camp before it hit, getting in around 3.30 it looks like I may be the only one here. I’ve done about 93 km in the last 4 days with much of that being hilly, some of it like yesterday, horridly hilly. All days having a reasonable level of climbing through, in, and around branches and trees across the track. Luckily tomorrow is a short day, only 15 km into Donnelly river village. hmmm real bed, hopefully do some washing and a shower oh how I need a shower, I stink after many days sweating without any washing. I might have a day off to do washing and try to update the blog tomorrow or rather the following day.
Today’s walk though. For most of the day it’s following the Donnelly river with a fair whack of the day on some nice rail tracks so today was flatter than previous day’s, just longer in distance. Some beautiful patches of Hovea along the way adding splashes of blue/purple to the bush. Passed a couple of lovely little camp spots along the river which had me dreaming of bringing the troopy back to the area one day. Passed through Greens island camp area, this looks like it would be quite busy on holidays.
I started to get a sore foot about half way through the day still nothing you can do about it, you try and adjust your walking style to take the pressure of the bits that hurt but towards the end of the day I had intense concentration focused on the track before me picking a path between gum nuts, sticks and rocks as stepping on any of these was painful. There was some very brief phone reception at some stage but nothing reliable, 5th day without reception and DRV says “very weak” reception, hopefully they will have wifi.
There was enough reception for me to get a weather update today and it doesn’t look good. I’ve heard some first hand horror stories about Blackwood hut in bad weather. Perched on a bare hill it’s open to the incoming weather. Sunday today, I would be due to get there Wednesday and the forecast had increased to 35mm and storms.
The rain is really coming down now, I’m glad I’m in a hut it’s cold.
But the most important aspect of today……. Half way there!!!! Yay it’s all down hill from here, that’s it I’m over half way. It’s absolutely bucketing down at the moment but I’ve made it past the half way point even if some bugger had ripped off the sign at the mid point.
This is perhaps my favourite meal while hiking, instant noodles one of the ones with good flavour sachets like a Mi goreng. Then dehydrated veggies, this one has peas, cabbage and onions, a packet of biltong soaked for a while at the start with the veggies so it softens up.
Donnelly river village. A nice short day around 16 km into DRV today not a lot of hills and again a mix of single trail as well as roads, mainly roads. The day was mainly fine with only a few light bits of rain. I ran into a guy with a long mullet, a real mullet one of those tight clipped tops with long straight hair down the back. He was hiking in thongs, those old surfy thongs from my child hood, I didn’t know they still made them, the ones that flared out on the base. We stopped and chatted for a bit and I made a comment about his thongs. Yeah started hiking once in shoes and hated it so swapped to thongs, way better. I finished an end to end 2 years ago in thongs and I’ll never hike in anything else. Wow, had me thinking of these people who say you need to hike in boots with ankle support, it’s the only way, I’m hiking in my trail runners and then in my sandals with socks feeling like they are just to minimal even with socks, here’s a guy in thongs, the whole way. People get far too hung up about their gear and worried about what they have and what they need. Shortly after him I ran into a young woman quite a diminutive, shy, little thing I’m guessing only early 20s and she’s doing an end to end. We chatted for a long time on the trail about all things Bibb. A lovely chat, she admitted that she was quite clumsy and had fallen over many times and tripped over her own walking pole more than once. .
Walked into DRV, what a crazy place, Soo peaceful with kangaroos birds and emus every where, and so tame. At first it’s a little off putting as I’d always been a little cautious of emus but here they wander through the gardens and interact with everyone it’s part of the daily routine, with special feed available for the roof and emu’s.
The place was so quiet and peaceful, I imagine a far cry from during it’s hey day when it was a bustling timber town. Now it’s a tourist place for holiday makers and although I had an image in my mind of what it would be like the little community exceeded the image I had. I made a b line for the general store they run it all from here, the hiker accommodation is booked here and all things seem to be centered around the store. I paid for my bed, some washing/drying, carrot cake and an assortment of food including some junk as well as up and coming days of food needed for the next 3 days, and a lasagne and salad that I would be back for in an hour or so after I dropped off my pack and got a little sorted.
The accommodation is at the old school, there is an empty shed hiker’s can sleep in as well as toilets and I believe that for 5 or 6 dollars you can have a towel and access to the shower, I think next time I’m here I’ll take the shower option because that also gives you access to the indoor sitting area and kitchen. For my 25 extra I get the bunk room which has 3 double Ikea bunks in a tiny room, all the beds have a well slept in look about them, this isn’t a clean sheet and pillow cases type situation. All good, there’s a heater in the room and I’ll just throw my ground sheet over the bed then sleep as normal without my mattress. Though as I say I think next time I’ll just pay for the shower and sleep in the shed/hut, there are power points in the kitchen/shower area to charge things up.
My lasagna and salad was both enormous and delicious and this wasn’t just because I was hiker hungry, top scores with a huge salad with olives and avocado, I was very happy. Wandering back to my room up at the school I vaguely heard someone call “Excuse me. Hello”. I turned and a woman asked if I’d like to come and say hello, have wine. I wandered over, I’d spoken with her other half earlier while he was out in the street trying to get phone reception from that magic little spot which seemed to be about 5 square metres in size and wandering up and down the street. No not really any reception. Anyway she invited me into the little cottage they were renting, she was there to do art. To art. To paint. I don’t know what do you call it? She had a large canvas on the verandah with a background painted on it. We sat in the kitchen and chatted for a couple of hours while drinking some wine, she asked at one point”do you know Dean Malcolm?” It is indeed a small world. They gave me a small plate of delicious fish curry, I’d already eaten way too much this afternoon, but we chatted for a few hours and made merry. Quite unusual to be in a house chatting, eating, drinking, almost as if life was exactly like normal, like I’m not in the middle of some strange bush track, just at some new friends house chatting in the kitchen.
Anyway, back to my little bunk room, I still had to dry out the socks which take ages to dry, then write about today.
But by bit I’m preforming my standard town tasks. Drying the socks that never dried in the drier, drying my towel over the heater so that I can have another shower in the morning if I want to, charging all my devices one by one while I have power. Drying my shoes though I think I’ll wear my sandals tomorrow perhaps. The forcast has changed a bit. Only a possible shower tomorrow, but still 30mm for Wednesday. Oh well, it’s all about the experience isn’t it, so if I’m in the most exposed hut on the track when a big storm hits, big deal, I can deal with it, it won’t kill me, I have the equipment to handle anything. Just knuckle down put up with the discomfort and ride it out.
Ithink I’ll get a real coffee and a toasted sandwich in the morning before I go.
Possums in the roof during the night can be really annoying. It’s 7.30 and I’m packed ready to go just charging the phone. I might not wait for the shop to open, not much sense in sitting around for an hour just to spend money on things I don’t really need. Phone is almost charged roos are getting desperate wanting to get in the bunk room. The emu drumming sound is echoing around the valley along with voices of early risers.