Australia: Bushfires on the Bibb and looking to the Cape to Cape
|Long Gully Bridge, Bibbulmun Track|
On Thursday morning, I received an email from the Bibbulmun Track Foundation. It was a sombre read, with warnings of bush fires, track diversions, closures, and fears of at least four camp sites lost.
They are, presently, in the process of contacting international hikers preparing to walk the track this season. They also advise those with plans to do an End to End in 2015, to put their plans on hold for a while, given the level of devastation expected to be encountered when the fires finally die out.
Later that day, a Facebook update from Explore Parks WA announced the devastating loss of Long Gully Bridge.
The week before, a lightning strike in the Lower Hotham area ignited a fire that raged on to burn more than 50,000 hectares. The 128 metre wooden trestle bridge stood no chance, despite valiant efforts to contain the fire.
|Drying out at Murray River Shelter|
|Drying out AGAIN at Dookanelly Shelter|
|Stand off with a large roo|
Psychologically, I had definitely turned a corner. Looking back, I feel that it was on this day that I first realised I had what it takes to finish this walk, even with nearly 750 kilometres still to go! It was a defining moment, so to hear that one of the highlights of that day had been lost, saddened me.
|River Road Bridge|
Whilst the loss of the bridge is devastating, it is the people who live and work in the areas affected that matter most.
On Tuesday 3rd, the residents of the town of Northcliffe were advised to evacuate, a report HERE. The majority have been anxiously waiting news, holed up in Pemberton for the past week, and I have heard they were given permission to return home on Saturday; report HERE
I remember fondly, the warm welcome I received from Alan and Glenda, at the Bibbulmun Break Motel, and I wish them well. These communities rely on tourism and the Bibbulmun Track is an important source of income. With the track currently closed for the foreseeable, my thoughts are with them.
|Arriving at Northcliffe, and a third of the way to go|
|Sugar Loaf, Cape to Cape Track|