Looking at our intended walk today, it really is 'Round the Ragged Rocks' to Peaceful Bay – but the Track does this: it takes us out to special places. Today's special place is Castle Rock, the summit of Point Irwin, which the Guidebook promises will "provide breathtaking views". Today's menu is also extremely odd: a miscalculation a couple of days ago meant that we're a breakfast short, and we have Isobel's chocolate bars extra for morning tea – then we have lunch and dinner at Peaceful Bay Caravan Park. Not one of those meals was planned!!
Woke to the alarm early after a good night's sleep, which made me wonder if the soft sandy ground added to the comfort of the NeoAir Mattresses? Certainly worked!
Much better sleep, though it was pretty humid and we had the sleeping bags open, worked OK too. The campsite for tents was great, just like a maze, the very dense bushes were like a hedge all growing to same height and the tracks just cut into it. Fabulous. Turned out to be quite a lovely sunrise and a half moon still up. We were up and into it. Beef curry OK for breakfast, quite surprising.
The Guidebook says this section is another transition zone: we have very fond memories of previous transitions, so thin we have a lot to look forward to! We have a very short beach walk today, though if it's anything like previous days, the firm sand will make very enjoyable. Sandi is also excited about the possibility of spying some whales from the lookout above Conspicuous Beach (which is where we're planning to have lunch).
Had a lousy sleep with really weird dreams when I did sleep. P also.
Another cold night (I had the flap open this time) – didn't sleep well – or did, but woke often feeling cold.
Finally got up quite early to find all in the hut had had a bad night too with rats everywhere and they'd chewed into Adrian's bum bag (leather), where he had an apple and scroggin. Horrible. Relieved our packs were all right. Most of our food is sealed, but scroggin and muesli not.
The Guidebook warns not to linger too long in the sun, and it really was difficult to tear ourselves away... but we had a short day with the promise of magnificent Jarrah / Marri forest and more of the local Karri / Tingle / Sheoak forests, with a visit to the Valley of the Giants Tree-Top walk (which we're not sure if we'll do again or not).
Today we'll finish the Track's Section 47, which we started yesterday. The Guidebook says to make a prompt start this morning (always get a little nervous with those words as it indicates a more difficult day), but promises some of the "best Karri / Tingle / Sheoak forest in the South-West": so we are very excited about that and can hardly wait. We had a note on our ToDo List for the Walpole area to confirm our crossing with MadFish Charters, which we'd booked a couple of months ago: we'd sent a SMS and are now waiting for a reply (hopefully).
Now today. A good sleep for P and for me, barring a couple of hours in the middle of the night in which I fiddled with a limerick and song for Tracy [a workmate of Sandi's] and sent via SMS! Also thought that number for Claire in phone was wrong and looked at that and it appears to be problem. Bit relieved to have sorted that. Will put down limerick before I forget them...
Today is essentially a rest day in which we wander 10km from one Caravan Park to the next, with a hopefully enjoyable stop in the Walpole's cafés: we developed a plan a couple of days ago in an attempt to assure that the experience is a good one... Though the day started early with leg pain which drove me from the tent...
After going to bed under starry skies, and going toilet in the early morning to see feathery clouds and stars, at least one cloud decided to dump its contents in a persistent drizzle later on! By 5am I couldn't stand the ache in my legs and feet any longer, and as it was getting light and the magpies were beginning to sing, I decided to get up and rub some deep heat into my legs and drink tea. Thankfully it wasn't raining, so getting from tent to kitchen (where we left the packs and camera charging) was easy and dry. Skies were overcast and 30 minutes later it started to rain. What will this do to our Walpole plan? Walking through the rain to Walpole has very little appeal.
Today we have another 'double-hutter', which will combine Sections 45 & part of Section 46 to leave us at Rest Point Caravan Park. When doing the itinerary this section was problematic in that we needed a food drop (this is the 7th day of this section), and I didn't think we could walk through Walpole to Gardiner picking up a food parcel on the way, so we also needed a place to stay. Rest Point Caravan Park was ideally situated on the near side of Walpole (shortening the day), and also provided a very lazy day through Walpole (for which we developed a plan), as we'd also elected to stay at Coalmine Beach on the way out: this (I had convinced Sandi) would be just as good as a rest day
Up just after 5am to try and catch the sunrise and managed to also catch the moonset. The Guidebook mentions 'watermelon rock' which has intrigued us: can't wait to see it. We'll finally get to the South Coast today, after 40 days of walking, it will be interesting to see how difficult it is to walk: the Guidebook has lots of cautionary comments. We've all agreed to collect extra water from Mandalay Beach because numerous people have noted in the book that there is a problem with the tank.
We had a surprising end to the day today, which precluded us from writing our journal in the usual manner. Instead, we wrote notes about today's highlights in our tent by torchlight. But well before that the phone alarm went off at 5am and we headed up to the top of the hill behind Woolbales for the sunrise. As the sun rose the storm clouds circled me and threw flashes of lightning into the sky: an awesome and foreboding outlook.
Dawn photos - Sandi had packed up by the time I'd got back
The Guidebook warns that today will be dominated by water, and Harry said yesterday that we'll definitely be getting our feet wet today: so we're pretty pumped for the use of our sandals. Harry also says that the view from the hill behind Woolbales is the best of the South (we're planning to head up Mt Pingerup for morning tea), and we have a reprise of the Pingerup Plains today as well, so have a lot to look forward to, with the Guidebook promising lots of flowers in the swampy areas.
I'd been getting uncomfortable thighs at night, so we'd bought some Deep Heat at Northcliffe. I hadn't till last night, but it seemed to 'work': though I'm not sure what I mean by that because I'm not sure what the problem was -- not quite a cramp but very uncomfortable and difficult to sleep through (though I could if I set my mind to it). We'd set the alarm last night to ensure that we'd be up early enough for the sunrise...
We woke at 2:30am and P did his deep heat with quite good results. I had a tiddle and then we both got back to sleep again. The alarm woke us in time for sunrise of the rock and that was very nice and not too cold. A couple of showers overnight made the granite a little slippery, plus boots not as grippy as sandals.
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!!
Encouraged by the Guidebook that the "Sunrise over Lake Maringup will surely be a memorable experience" we set the alarm to ensure that we were up for the memories. Today is a relatively flat section, which the Guidebook warns and our co-walkers confirmed, will be quite wet. David said last night that we should be able to get through to Chesapeake Road in our boots, so we're planning to have morning tea there and change our footwear.
Woke just after 5am with the alarm to the alarming sound of rain on the tent -- lay for just a little while while wondering if I really should get up and see the dawn before remembering our mantra: "We're only here once". So I hurriedly got up and dressed and left Sandi dozing in her warm little bag and headed down to the Lake edge with my trusty camera.