Monday, October 9, 2017

Albany - and Finished!

Done. Finished.

After leaving Denmark, I stayed overnight at Nullaki Campsite, intending to skip the next shelter and go to the Torbay Campsite.  One of the concerns for the walk was the inlet crossings. Either a short walk across the inlet, or a long road diversion.  Torbay Inlet was the last remaining inlet to cross. I'd met a northbound hiker just before entering Denmark. He told me that Torbay Inlet was flowing too fast, and he took the 20km road diversion. But he got lucky and got a lift.  The Torbay Campsite is 8km before the inlet. My plan was to walk to the inlet and cross it.  Well, hopefully cross it, if not, that left the rest of the day for the diversion walk, and the additional kilometers after the diversion to the next shelter.  It would be a big day.

The next day was wet, cold, and windy.  I felt like I was in a demented washing machine walking along the coastal trail. Wind gusting strong enough to push me about the track, or trash me with the bushes.  I arrived early enough at West Cape Howe shelter to continue to the Torbay shelter, but it just didn't happen. Besides the weather, I come up with the plan that the water flowing out of the inlet would be slower at high tide - which would be at about 12:20.  If I walked the 16.5km to Torbay shelter the next day and then continued to the inlet, I'd get there close to high tide, and then of course I'd cross. That was the big hope. Failing to cross, I'd either have to return to the Torbay shelter, or start the unappealing 20km road diversion.

Sunday, off I set for Torbay. All was going to plan. As I walked along the beach, I met a local and asked him about the inlet. The news wasn't good. He said it was too deep and too fast to cross. He'd watched two guys crossing with packs held over their heads a couple days ago and it was chest high then. More rain would have make it higher and faster. This was bad. But he suggested going there as since it was Sunday maybe some boat people were about on the bay and I could get a lift across. As I looked at the wind and showers gusting in, the white caps on the waves and foam on the beach, I doubted anyone would be out. But to get the road diversion I had to go to the inlet anyway. I'd decided that I wouldn't return along the beach to the campsite. It was onwards no matter what.  He also warned me about the creek outflow that had to be crossed.

The creek was deep. I walked along the side for a bit before finding a spot to cross - stepping across deep channels onto islands. When I did have to wade, it was knee high. Not promising for the inlet if this was the creek.

On I walked, thinking about how long it was going to take to walk around the diversion.  I wasn't entirely sure where I was along the beach section, just kept going. 

The inlet when I came to it was tiny. I wasn't even sure it was the inlet till later in the walk when the track left the beach. It was ankle deep, but crossing it a wave splashed me and my knees got wet.  Never believe what people tell you - make up your own mind. 

I made the day a 40km day, and would have gone higher, but the last 12km into Albany would have run out of daylight.  The next day, in a break with the recent weather was fine and sunny.  Was nice doing a slow walk around the bay into Albany. Then sitting in the sun eating lunch.

I can now say I've walked the Bibbulmun Track.