Sunday, 13 October 2013

Australia: Bibbulmun Track Section 2 - Dwellingup to Collie

Day 14: Selfie at Possum Springs
Selfie at Possum Springs Shelter

Here we go with the second trip report;

08/10/2013: Tuesday Day 12

Exchanged contact details with Sean; we'll go for a beer in Fremantle, where he lives, when I get back to Perth, and set off at 6:15am.  It soon became apparent my fitness could manage a double hut 32km day. The weather was sunny, but soon turned, as forecast, although a little earlier than expected.

Day 12: Leaving Dwellingup
Leaving Dwellingup
Day 12: Diversion near Dwellingup
Diversion near Dwellingup
Day 12:  Farming near Dwellingup
Farming near Dwellingup
Arrived at Swamp Oak shelter at 10am, far too early to stop, so I pushed on, in the rain, for Murray.

Day 12: A break at Swamp Oak Shelter
A break at Swamp Oak
A slippery climb up from Swamp Oak Road, and steep descent to the road at Yarragil Form. With hardly a moment to catch a breath, it was a 170 metre ascent out the other side.

Day 12: Footbridge near Allen Road
Footbridge near Allen Road
Day 12: Downhill
Downhill
Day 12: Turnoff to the Murray River
Turnoff to the Murray River
Day 12: Murray River
The Murray River
Once altitude was acheived, it was a steady 10km down into Murray campsite, by about 3:30pm. A long day, well pleased as it now puts me two days ahead of schedule. Nobody joined me tonight, I feel this could be a lonely 5 nights to Collie.

Day 12: Murray River Shelter
Murray River Shelter
Day 12: Murray from the shelter
Murray from the shelter
Day 12: Kookaburra
Kookaburra
I settled down with my book about 6:30pm. Darkness drew in and so did the rain.

09/10/2013: Wednesday Day 13

On paper, the walk to Dookanelly Campsite looks a breeze at 17.8km and fairly flat. Throw in a night of persistant rain and some more a couple of hours into the day and you have, in reality, a wet trudge along the Murray River.

Gone at 7:15am, in the mist, I laboured through saturated foliage along overgrown paths and tracks, arriving about midday. I was afforded some sunshine to dry out my gear.

Day 13: Misty start
Misty start
Day 13: A wet day
A wet day
Day 13: Drying out at Dookanelly
Drying out at Dookanelly
I have to say, the previous sleepless night of rain and this "simple" leg are the closest I have come to quitting. If I have learnt anything in the last thirteen days it is that I am not the solitary soul I thought; right now I crave the company of others at camp. It is particularly frustrating that at each hut I read the log books and see Dropbear one hut away, sadly the distances are too far for me to consider a double hut leg.

But I'm here now, and the sun is out, and things always seem better when that is the case.

Day 13: Dookanelly Shelter
Dookanelly Shelter
The evening came, amongst the bird song there was a low drone of heavy machinery in the distance, that stayed for the night. This was the famous Worsley Conveyor Belt; I had been told that you can hear it two days before you reach it, and two after. Well, last night the rain drowned out everything and I will reach it tomorrow.

10/10/2013 Thursday Day 14

A much better sleep last night and up for the day in a better mood. Away by ten to seven, and first order of business was to tackle some hills they call "The Four Sisters". These lumps were quite a challenge, a roller coaster of a four wheel drive track. The scenery helped the pain, and provided plenty of excuses to stop, as did coming face to face with a kangaroo on the brow of one.

Day 14: A brighter start
A brighter start
Day 14: Keep Out
Keep out
Day 14: Blackboy
Grass Tree
Day 14: The Glenmurray Estate
The Glenmurray Estate
Day 14: 1 of 4 sisters
One of the "Four Sisters"
Day 14: Large Roo
Large Roo
By 10am, I was at the Murray River and Long Gully Bridge.

Day 14: Track Access
Track Access
Day 14: Long Gully Bridge
Long Gully Bridge
Day 14: Harvey-Quindalup Road
Harvey-Quindalup Road
Across the Harvey-Quindalup Road, by now the conveyor belts constant hum was very prevalent and it only took fifteen minutes before it was in sight. What a feat of engineering, the Worsley Conveyor Belt transports bauxite 52 kilometres from the mine to the refinery in Worsley.

Day 14: The Worsley Conveyor Belt pic.1
The Worsley Conveyor Belt
Up another hill and down to Bell's Brook; a trickle of water through a flood plain of grass trees and shoots of green starting to appear amongst the mud. The section from Dwellingup hasn't been prolific for wildflowers, the rains have hampered this.

Day 14: Track near Bell Brook
Track near Bell Brook
Day 14: Track near Bell Brook
Track near Bell Brook
I met a walker along Possum Creek, my first human contact for a couple of days. He was skipping the shelter thanks to tales of mice and bushpigs, but I was too tired to do the same, besides, I have a plan to double hut tomorrow.

I arrived at Possum Springs Campsite at midday. I noticed Dropbears comment in the log book about the rats and pigs and put his concerns down to a bit of lonely night paranoia.

Day 14: Possum Springs Shelter
Possum Springs Shelter
Day 14: My sleeping system
My sleeping system
Had lunch and laid back chilling on a beautiful sunny afternoon; what a difference a day makes! The evening was not so relaxed. As sun set, the rats came out of their nest behind a piece of hardboard under one of the top bunks. I quickly hung my food up and vacated to my tent for a quieter night!

11/10/2013: Friday Day 15

Not many dramas today apart from a 33km walk and intermittent rain. It was a straightforward route, flat and taxing on my left ankle for some reason.

Day 15: Seventy Seven Road
Seventy Seven Road
Day 15: Waugal
Waugal
Day 15: Plonkhole
Plonkhole
Day 15: Wildflowers no.1
Wildflowers near Plonkhole
I crossed a few wet areas, such as "Plonkhole" where the wildflowers were beautiful.

Day 15: near Plonkhole
Near Plonkhole

The Wilhusen Road was as boring as it was straight, southbound for nearly 7 kilometres. I was glad to reach the Harris River flood plain, about 9:40am, and crossed with little problem; again, the flowers were stunning!

Day 15: Selfie on Wilshusen Road
Selfie on Wilhusen Road
Day 15: Crossing Harris River Floodplain
Crossing the Harris River Floodplain
Day 15: Wildflowers no.3
Wildflowers on the floodplain
Yourdamung Campsite is a way off the track, and extra mileage for someone just dropping by to get water. I stopped to eat, while it rained again, and was away in the wet at just gone 11am.

Day 15: Yourdamung Shelter for lunch
Yourdamung Shelter for lunch
By now, I had given up on a waterproof jacket. A sunny spell soon came along to dry me out, and the temperature was warm enough to negate hypothermia.

Day 15: Wildflowers no.4
Wildflowers
Day 15: Caversham Road
Caversham Road
A long section through barely undulating forest, I reached Caversham Road by 2pm. My legs were spent but the old trick of tick points on the map saw the final 2.9km go quickly and I wandered into Harris Dam Campsite forty minutes later.

Day 16: Harris Dam Shelter
Harris Dam Shelter
My biggest day, well chuffed to be over the 300km mark, Collie tomorrow will be a third of the Bibbulmun behind me!

12/10/2013: Saturday Day 16

Day 16: Shadow play
Shadow play
Sunshine greeted me this morning and it was perfect all day. Some short descent, disturbing a few roos along the way, I was down to the Harris Dam picnic site for a break.

Day 16: Harris Dam
Harris Dam
Day 16: Harris Dam picnic spot
Harris Dam picnic spot


I was going well and soon ticking of the kilometres!

Day 16: Muja Northern Terminal Powerline
Muja Northern Terminal Powerline
Day 16: Harris Dam State Forest
Harris Dam State Forest
Day 16: Wildflowers no.2
Wildflowers
Day 16: River near Mornington Road North
River near Mornington Road North
Day16: Track near Mornington Road North
Track near Monington Road North
Day 16: Wildflowers no.4
Wildflowers
As I strode on, I found the wildflowers becoming more prolific and beautiful.

Day 16: Wildflowers no.6
Wildflowers
Day 16: Wildflowers no.7
Wildflowers on the verge of Mornington Road North
Day 16: Crossing Mornington Road North
Crossing Mornington Road North
Day 16: Wildflowers no.8
Wildflowers
Day 16: Wildflowers no.9
More Wildflowers
Day 16: Wildflowers no.10
Wasp on a Kangaroo Paw
I reached the railway that runs through Collie, and I knew the township was almost within reach.

Day 16: Railway crossing near Collie
Railway crossing near Collie
Unfortunately, the designers of the route had other plans and took me on a hike around the outskirts to the spur trail. Still, more flowers to see.

Day 16: Wildflowers no.11
Wildflowers
Including this one with two little beetles sitting  snugly in the morning sun.

Day 16: Wildflowers no.12
Beetles
Day 16: Wildflowers no.13
Wildflowers
Eventually, I was pleased to see the turn off! A good bed and food other than freeze dried awaited in a couple more kilometres!

Day 16: pleased to be nearing Collie
Collie Townsite turnoff
Day 16: Collie outskirt
Collie outskirts
Booked into the Colliefields Hotel, where I will be staying for three nights as the shops are shut on Sunday.

Spent most of the rest of the day writing up the blog, posting pics, with a side trip for a Big Mac, large fries and strawberry shake; it had to be done and was delicious!

324 kilometres done, and a third of the way!

To be continued..