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Bibbulmun Track 2011 :: Day 39
Harry says that if we enjoyed yesterday we'll love today: so that's got us looking forward to the day. It's another day that the Guidebook describes as a "transition zone", the hummocks of Karri or Jarrah set amidst open reddy swamps sounds absolutely fascinating!
Slept in after a tiddle at 3 am and got into a good deep sleep, so were late up. P told everyone it was Sunday! They were all ready to head, it was overcast but not raining, hard to predict what it will do. We pottered round, had a good wash, got packed and got away just before 9:00 am: one of our latest ever!!
The Dog Pool campsite is beautifully positioned next to the Shannon River and has a nicely contained communal area, enclosed with large logs, although the toilet and tent sites were a we way away. Orchids had colonised some and made a beautiful display. We made a late decision to make use of the abundance of water and wash clothes... just before leaving, this meant that Sandi has again turned into a walking clothes line with our clothes drying on the back of her pack.
Dog Pool Mt Chance
|Length||20.32 km||Day Length||5:53|
|Ascend||818 m||Descend||723 m|
Headed off in boots, no gaiters. Short bush track onto road through forest and then into open swampy areas, back into forest.
The track first crosses the Shannon River on a substantial footbridge, then follows fairly hard surfaced roads, first Dog Road then Marron Road, before opening out onto a sandy area: the road's sandy surface was pretty soft which made walking difficult. Much of the time was spent weaving across the road looking for firmer footing.
Walking on the road was not too bad -- softer underfoot, but the flowers are not too close. The DEC must have used the Bibbulmun Track as a fire break, as most of the way today it was unburned on one side and burnt on the other. An odd feeling.
Beginning of day was thinking about the effect of being physically tired and how mentally draining it is. Have been surprised at the lowering of my brain activity in terms of creativity and reflection. Sometimes just too tired to be bothered to think of anything, or intervene when things feel too hard physically. Kind of weird.
At one point we saw a 4wd driving toward us on the road. Initially we thought it must have been a DEC man, but it was driving quite peculiarly: often stopped for some time before inching forward again. It was only as we got closer that we saw it was obviously hunting pigs as he had 4 out roaming in the bush. When we got closer he called the dogs back onto the truck again, but we didn't necessarily feel particularly safe, and not sure if they were actually legal in the National Park? But having seen pig damage earlier in the day, I'm sure that they're doing a good and necessary job.
Just past Wimpy Road P had a dance with a fairly large tiger snake who just slid underneath him quite unconcernedly and P similarly so took a photo of it as it headed off: I was really pleased as I'd just turned around to talk to him so saw it all.
On the road to Pingerup Road, Sandi was walking a couple of metres in front of me and I was just about to read the next point in the Track Notes to her when I noticed a tiger snake just to the left of the book. It had slithered between Sandi and I, and I was just about to put my boot onto it! With my foot still in mid-air above my brother snake, I did a little one-legged spring, leap and snap (with the camera). Brother snake looked around at me, I'm sure he smiled, and then kept on his way. Lovely to have a snake encounter without a hint of aggression.
Small skiffs of drizzle came through from time to time as did sunlight. Wind up high blowing clouds through at a hectic rate. Kept up a steady pace, saw another "Persian Prince" orchid @morning tea (spotted by P).
The day started overcast AND the tent was dry, as no rain over night. During the morning there were brief breaks in the clouds that were being sped along on a strong wind. After morning tea the sunny breaks extended, but were also broken with showers passing briefly through. By the time we got to camp the breaks had all joined up, so it was passing clouds and rain surrounded.
A bit further on turned across the Pingarup Plains. Well, really, what can one say: it's stunning but indescribable. Perhaps more of an ambience and so surreal heading across this open swampy plain where fire had been through but low regrowth all happening. Really fabulous, heaps of milkmaids, very low growing; lots of sundew flowers. Very thankful that with tussock hopping and careful foot placement we were able to keep the boots on.
At one point on the Pingerup Plains I as struck dumb, utterly speechless, at the shear beauty and awesomeness we were walking through. Completely impossible to believe we were there. The juxtaposition of walking between a sky threatening a deluge and a landscape with the scars of a fiery destruction was breathtaking in its stark beauty.
With such an expansive outlook we could see the showers swirling around us, and we eventually walked into some drizzle. We stopped at some stumps in one of the hummock thickets to put our gaiters on because of threatening rain. Sandi was keen to stop for some lunch, but it just didn't seem to be a 'lunch stop', so I convinced her to keep going for a better spot.
Granite outcrops produced forest again and I was glad of a lunch break 4 km from camp. Then a flowerful but fairly overgrown run to the hut. Glad it wasn't wet.
We weren't very far from Mt Chance, so headed off with renewed vigour after our stop. The track was, by comparison, very over-grown in parts, and we were very glad it hadn't rained because the vegetation would have completely soaked us! When we were to get back home again I'd discover an issue with the digital photos on the SD card. The first bad photo cropped up on this day at 2:10, just after setting off after lunch. I'm yet to discover what the problem was, or if it was just a faulty card (which I'll need to get replaced) or the camera: but the camera has taken photos without the problem, so I'm assuming it's not the camera but the card.
Drank from a fresh puddle up there and got phone reception. Fabulous views, but exceedingly blustery wind. Not icy. Views 360 degrees, really impressive. Might go for sunset and sunrise. We'll see.
Just came back from the sunset on Mt Chance -- not too much as there was significant cloud in the West (also East) -- but we'll see what the weather is like in the morning for the sunrise.
We ended up setting the tent up on one of the old 'roads' as the actual tent sites were not much chop, a little sloped and over-grown. It's been an amazing day and the end of day portraits indicate how pumped we were on arriving at the campsite with some of the biggest end-of-day smiles on the walk.
We've had a lovely day.
The Pingerup Plains were a sublime experience -- today must rank as one of the most awesome days of the walk. Thought it had to be Saturday with the sleep in!! But it's been a wonderfully relaxed walk all day.
Our co-walkers enjoyed their dehydrated meal of beef teryiaki, but Rod was not impressed with his Mexican Chicken. We observed our Friday fast and ate, and very much enjoyed, our vegetarian.
After our less than successful experience in Northcliffe we've been trying to pre-plan our time so that we don't get stuck with indecision in the midst of struggling with the lack of 'bush trackness'; so we put down a plan for Walpole...
Plan for Walpole:
- Bar and tea before leaving camp
- Arrive Walpole:
- Suss cafe for breakfast »
- Yes = Eat;
- No = Muesli and lunch in town
- Get steak for mid-afternoon BBQ (weather dependant)
- light tea? paté, fruit, etc.
- Sausages? (lunch next day)
- Beef tea?
No wading today, as David wrote in the last hut. We'll definitely have some tomorrow. The plan is to walk to Mt Pingerup in boots for morning tea, then wear sandals at the first non-walkable puddle.
|Dog Pool Campsite||0.0||8:54 AM||0:00||0.0|
|Wimpy Road||5.7||5.7||734.3||10:14 AM||1:20||1:20||205.2||4.3||4.3||3.6|
|Pingerup Road||4.3||10.0||738.6||11:06 AM||0:52||2:12||206.0||4.9||4.5||3.6|
|Mt. Chance Campsite||10.4||20.3||748.9||2:48 PM||3:42||5:54||209.7||2.8||3.4||3.6|