On the 1st May this year I was catching up with a friend who I had walked a section of the Camino Frances and the Via Francegina with in Perth. We were going to then meet up with our friend Michelle Ryan (walkingtwobytwo.com) and join her for awhile in the middle of her epic hike from Albany to Kalamunda in Western Australia. A journey of 1,000 kilometers. Michelle is making a documentary of her journey on the Bibbulmun Track so stay tuned. Michelle is known as an “End to Ender” , someone who has completed the whole trail. An amazing feat. Unfortunately a family tragedy cut my walk short, but here is a snap shot of my time walking TheBibb. We met Michelle about half way on her journey at Donnelly River Village. Michelle had been eating very well I might add with her food parcels but we came with fresh provisions of Steak and Salad from Perth for the nights dinner. The Emu’s thought, this as an opportunity to freeload . But Michelle was having none of that!
We slept in bunks in the old School House. It was equipped with separate kitchen, heaters and Dorm rooms. As well as the Old School House Donnelly River has a General Store and old logging Cabins. It is a very pretty little settlement.
The next morning I was very keen to get out there on the track. Hauling the full backpack on was a bit of a shock to the system but once I got going it was exciting to get away.
Tall trees and mist and a chilly morning was a start to today’s walk started, but not long and jumpers were off and we were enjoying the sun. The trail was very well marked with the Waugal (Rainbow Serpent) sign either on post or at different heights on trees.
I didn’t want to hurry the day but I was interested to see what these 3 sided huts that I would be sleeping in would be like. First things first though the trail today was beautiful . Tall trees towering over us, beautiful green bush-land edging the path. No signs of any animals although lots of noise in the bushes as you walk past.
The first Hut was at Gregory Brook. There was the Hut , Picnic Table, Toilet, Tank Water and a Fire pit which gave us a very cozy feel while having dinner and watching the stars as well as a very bright red moon lit sky.
The next day we were onto Blackwood Campsite. We were walking South to North on the trail. This section took us through a lot of burnt out black trees and vibrant green regrowth. I was sad to think as I walked through some of this section that it looked like a Tree Graveyard .
But Nature has it’s own marvelous way of rejuvenating itself.
The trail took us along side a river, through farmland and up a very steep hill called ” Cardiac Hill”. What can I say, it is a fitting name and I huffed and puffed my way all the way up that stone stepped steep hill. Stopping several times, only to admire the view of course.
We were greeted at the Hut by several Navy personal. They were walking North to South and doing a fund raiser for the Bibbulmun Foundation who are a large group of volunteers who maintain the track. Michelle was also fund raising for the Foundation on her walk. We had a great night of joking, sharing food, sharing stories and playing cards under a disco solo light.
The sleeping arrangements in the Hut were funny to stay the least. Sleeping bags lined the top bunks, the base floor , hammocks and those that were in tents and swags sheltered behind the Hut. We had some little critters running around the floor in the dark, I could hear them running around closer and closer to me. I would snuggle down into my sleeping bag and when they were really close I would russell my blow up pillow to chase them away. One of the Navy guys told me the next day that they were jumping over his head during the night. We had to hang all our food here high out of reach of the darling little critters.
It was all well worth it as the view from the hut on sunset and sunrise was amazing. Perched high up on the hill overlooking Pine Forest.
The quietness and serenity of this area will stay with me for a very long time, loved this camp.
I was heading to Balingup today and then to make my way home via Perth but the day was lovely. Walking through dense bushland, beautiful tall trees of the Karrie and Jarrah and Eucalyptus. Simply stunning.
My hike was cut short here but what I saw on the Bibbulmun Track was fantastic and would dearly love to come back another time to finish what I started. You never know even becoming an End to Ender. Balingup is a lovely little town well worth the visit. I encourage those interested in this walk to have a look at the Bibbulmun Track Foundations website and Michelles blog walkingtwobytwo.com for information regarding the track.
Special thanks to Michelle Ryan for inviting me along on her journey and to Rae my walking companion.