Bibbulmun Track Diary - (Day 21-30) - North to South - Steve Parish - September 3rd 2007 to October 23rd 2007
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Monday 24th September - I arrived at "Balingup" and stayed at the "Backpackers" accommodation in town for $24 in a share room. It was a good one night stay, where I managed to wash all my clothes again and dry them in front of the fire in the evening. The hot shower and the sudden lack of smelling my wet clothes and body was really appreciated. Some of the walkers coming from the south told stories of wading through waist deep water, strongly advising us all to take the road, because of the flooded condition of the Track. I decided to judge it on arrival, as conditions can change in a few days or a week. They were talking about the section between "Maringup" to "Dog Pool". The bitchumin "Chesapeake Road" runs parallel just a little further south and then it was suggested to take the bitchumin"Deeside Coast Road" north, turning off on to the dirt road called "Dog Road" which takes you through to "Dog Pool" campsite. Apparently the only way you know you are on the Track as you wade along, were the banks of dirt on either side and in one section these walkers had taken the wrong flooded track, as signs were under water or not visible. It all sounded quite challenging, but then the road sounded too easy - we will see.
Tuesday 25th September - I was at the "Blackwood" campsite on top of a high hill with magnificent views, but with a howling cold wind and showers driving straight into the hut. Suddenly found a use for my rain tarp made of lightweight nylon with plenty of tie-offs. I rigged it up as a wall between the hut's pillars, to give some protection for Frank, myself and also eight kids (average age of 15) and their two teachers. They were on a three day hike and they were good kids, but I did feel like the hut been invaded when they all suddenly arrived.
Wednesday 26th September - 5.15pm at "Gregory Brook" campsite beside a fast flowing creek making lots of gurgling sounds. Camp fire roaring now that the timber has dried and the corresponding smoke has vanished. Love the sound of frogs, birds, wind in the trees and the water. As I have just written in the book (Hut Journal) "Another day in paradise!" Frank arrived half an hour after my arrival and we swapped stories about what had happened to us during the day. It is amazing how two people walking the Track half and hour apart have different experiences: - like I got wet and he didn't, the wildlife he saw that was not around when I walked through, and different things like I commented on some of the flowers and he pointed out the lack of bees landing on them. Because of the recent drought situation there was a lack of bees, although I did later photograph a swarm of bees landing on a tree.
Thursday 27th September - And I am staying at "Donnelley River Village" for $20 in a share room (but by myself). Completed a machine full of clothes washing and used their drier, while the rain showers came and went outside. The hot shower was fantastic and totally refreshed me, including clean clothes afterwards. I have stayed at the "Loco Shed" many years ago down the road, so I am aware that this holiday "Village" is more designed for families with kids. Cheap wooden houses to rent (mainly ideal for large groups) with very limited facilities - you make your own entertainment.
Friday 28th September and I arrived at "Tom Road" campsite at 11.15am - almost tempted to "double hut", but it was another 22km on top of 16km and the forecast was showers. Also this site is within 20 metres of the fast flowing "Donnelly River", so the sound and the sight of the water was restful. Also I am told the this hut has the last wood fire and heaps of pre-cut jarrah wood (most unusual). Two DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation) men arrived a few hours ago, to chain saw a log that had fallen across the tent access path - Marri tree - not as good a wood for camp fires as Jarrah - the men had said. They said it had been over 25 years since a bush fire, or any controlled fire had been through this area. My thought was that the local "Noongar" group of Aboriginal people would be shocked at the lack of "white man's" care of the land here. They never let it get so overgrown. Lightening will cause a major fire one day soon.
Saturday 29th September- I took off from "Tom Road" campsite with a last minute thought, that if the weather held-up, and I could arrive before 1pm at "Boarding House" campsite, I might double-hut. That meant 22.9km in the morning and then 19.3km in the afternoon or arvo. What I didn't want to do was see how easy or hard the afternoon stage would be (viewing the hill contour lines or reading the route description), as that might have changed my plans. As it happened there were very steep ascents and equally steep descents - with plenty of Tiger snakes crossing my path - (I was moving as slowly as they were in the cool conditions.)
Sunday 30th September - was an easier walking day. Surprisingly I was not stiff. Now going to "Beedelup" campsite a 19.7km walk, in which I overtook both the other couples that had started much earlier. Difficult to arrive late and start early as I had made no preparations the night before, so after talking to the "Volies" I did not get going until 8.30am. The other couples were slightly older and taking their time, as they were only going from Collie to Pemberton. I think it was John who only had this leg to do and then he had completed the whole Track in stages over several years.
Monday 1st October - I set off at 6.50am by being pre-arranged with all my packing the night before - including filling up my water bladder with 2.5 litres of ice cold fresh rainwater from the hut rain tank.
To do or not - that is the question. It is often knocked by those hikers that don't do more than one hut per day. That's not to say they wouldn't like to double-hut, but: 1) don't believe they are fit enough, 2) can't get up early in the morning, 3) carrying too heavier a pack, 4) too old, 5) too young, or many other self-beliefs.
Thursday 4th October - Set off for "Warren" campsite with the knowledge that Frank was also heading for the same hut. On arrival with my very solid load of 10kg extra of dehydrated food picked up at "Pemberton", which should take me all the way to "Walpole", I found Peter, Bruce and David already at the hut. They had been following me all the way from "Kalamunda", although Bruce joined them more recently. They are from all over the State of "Victoria" and are also heading for "Albany". Frank then arrived to say there were three women walking to the hut that he had overtaken.- Sally (mum), Sarah (daughter) and friend Debbie. There were eight of us in the hut that night at "Warren" campsite. It was good to have some female company.
Friday 5th October - The previous hut's occupants all met up again at Schafer. I arrived first as I felt in a "power walking mood". As I was hot and soaked in perspiration I went for a quick "skinny dip" in the cool dam water, right outside the front of the hut. Before the women arrived, three teachers came in to camp from the South. Some of them also went for a swim before the women arrived. With eleven in the hut we established that everyone had completed at least 550kms of the Track to date. Yabby catching (a mini species of freshwater crayfish or lobster) was attempted by some, while the teachers drank wine and made damper (bread). It was a beautiful setting and a very good night. I made scrambled eggs with salmon and had apples (re hydrated) with a chocolate pudding underneath for my third course - I had started with soup. Just about everyone concocted a really different dinner.
36:Just Cruising - I don't cruise any more, I run and I sprint to complete my life's destiny - on time, under budget and loaded with high quality. Steve Parish Original Affirmation v4
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