Friday, December 8, 2017

Bibbulmun Track Round Up

A collection of random notes about the trail.

I completed the walk in 50 days total.  Starting 20 August 2017 in Kalamunda and finishing 9 October 2017 in Albany.   I had a four zero days (days of not walking on trail at all): one in Mt Cooke campsite, two in Dwellingup, one in Collie. I wasn't trail fit before starting. My "training" was going for a morning walk of about 12km along the Perth riverbank carrying a mobile phone, listening to music or podcasts. The day in Kalamunda was the first day I put the loaded pack on.  The plan was to walk and if I run into problems I could return to Kalamunda or bail out along the roads nearby.  I had the first resupply near at Sullivan's Rock, where I had another chance to call it quits if I was struggling.

A rest day was had at Mt Cooke campsite because the resupply near Sullivan Rock was on the Saturday.  I'd thought if I was running late, I could delay it a day. But I didn't think if I was ahead of schedule. So I walked to Mt Cooke campsite on Friday, and on Saturday walked back the 5km to the meetup point. I had intended to go to the next shelter that day. But due to a big stuff up (forgetting the rest of the maps in the car) I had to return again to the meetup point. So managed 20km and finished back in Mt Cooke in the afternoon.  I took a zero the next day to recover.

I didn't pre book any accommodation before starting. Some were booked on the trail. Others I just arrived and looked about.

Dwellingup and Collie were where I had rest days in town. After that I kept walking onwards.  I would have taken more zero days in Pemberton but it was the long weekend, and the start of school holidays. No rooms left in the backpackers, so booked into a more expensive motel.  I found out later that people cancelled because of the rain and I could have got a room at the backpackers rather than stay at the motel.

Walpole was also only the one night because I wanted to get ahead and have a chance at solo shelter.

Denmark, I was planning a rest day, but got lucky and was offered a trip around the bay while I was sitting outside the IGA eating. Since this was before I would have checked into the backpackers, I headed off.

Albany I stayed overnight. This was because I wasn't' sure if I could make it to the end before the bus left. As it was I was there with plenty of time. But it was nice to not have to worry about making time. That last day on the trail was an unusually fine day - the first in a long time.  There are three busses that leave to Perth - which I only figured out when talking to the helpful staff at the booking office.

The Northern half was dry weather. Missed the couple of days of showers by arriving in town for resupply just as they started and leaving a couple days later when it was over.  Also missed showers by arriving in shelter before they started. Or they were so gentle that rain gear wasn't put on.  So all dry walking.  The southern half seemed all the opposite. All wet weather. Every day was rain gear - sometimes on/off multiple times.  Seemed to be constantly wading through water between Northcliff to Denmark. More so Northcliffe to Walpole. Diverted around Lake Manjimup because of the water.

Snakes - saw one on Snake road heading into Donnelly River.  The only other time I saw snakes was just after Peaceful Bay - a day I didn't have my gaiters on. I think I saw so few most of my walking was in the morning.  That day after Peaceful Bay was probably the only 'warmer' day where I was on the trail after lunch.  Other post lunch walking days were wet, cloudy or cool, so the snakes weren't out.

While there was a concern about rats or mice in all the campsites, I wasn't worried about them until Mount Franklin campsite. There, rats chewed my water bags. I'd hung everything else up. Don't know why they chewed my water bags, but that left me on minimum water carrying capacity.  They seemed to get lots of people there. After that I took the signs much more seriously and hung everything.

All inlets were crossed. Torbay had a  'too deep, too fast' reports from a north bound section hiker and locals. But ended up being only shin deep when I arrived at high tide.

Only lost the trail a few times - missed markers when not looking or daydreaming.  But soon realised and got back on track. There were more times where I was uncertain if I was still on the trail. But the general deal was keep going in the same direction as the last marker you saw. Also, look backwards to spot the reverse direction markers.  Look to footprints on the trail or trekking pole marks. A lot of time it was also follow the tire marks.  After a while developed 'waugal' skills, and was able to spot them seemingly no matter where they where placed or hidden. One memorable carpark after Torbay Inlet had the Waugal hidden behind parked cars.  Also got better at figuring where the track was likely to go based on the terrain. Having the paper maps definitely helped more times than not.  I never used the gps to check if I was on trail - because my phone was buried in my pack, but I did met walkers who didn't have any maps an only relied on the markers and their gps.

Not a lot of other people on the trail. Most were at the northern end on the weekend.  Apart from the other end to enders, there was section hikers, overnighters and day walkers. 

See the next post for information on my gear.