Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Bibbulmun By a Band of Brothers

The Bibbulmun Section 

The plan is to do a section of the bibbulmun Track. From Albany to Walpole. A distance of 210Km.
We bus it down to Albany on the Friday. Start on the trail that day. And see how we go. Easy really.

Well it soon became apparent that this would be unachievable in the 8 days we had. So plan B was enacted.
Plan B: Albany to Denmark (85 km). BUS to Walpole. Walpole to Peaceful Bay (65 km).

The Protagonists: 
The Hof; better known as Huns; known to his mother as Gary. He 'inspirational' Yoga disciple. An aspirational 'HOF' wannabe. for those not in the know. The Hof is a legend for doing all things crazy in sub zero temperatures. Would be life up to his aspired status.
Paradza: The 'Shona' word for 'the lucky one'. Also known as Claude, sometime baby spider, to his mother Clive. A less inspirational wannabe bushwalker. Ex corporate buffoon. Aspirational retiree.

Their mother had told them it was ok to go on this walk together. As long as 'they were nice to each other'. Only time would tell.

Bibbulmun day Zero - The looser

Essex St, Wembley, Perth. 
Distance: ZERO
Haven't started the trail yet. Checking out the latest happenings in kevy kitchen is an adventure in its self.
Was treated to his latest morning shake. A concoction that his mommy would be proud of.
Obviously has all the hot trendy super foods;  top pet food of 2015 - kale. 2016 turmeric, yet so much more. Base of coconut water, very trendy. Traditional shake ingredients like a banana and green apple, organic of course. Followed by numerous condiments; pepper, cayenne pepper, but most interestingly 'Activated' charcoal powder, that according to the healer are bio activating agents. These release all the goodness from the other foods. This is topped with shredded coconut and a yet to be discovered berry with an unpronounceable name.
While not looking too appetising, it actually treated rather good. The peppers giving it a bit of a zing. He's a lovely healthy boy. No wonder he's mothers favourite.

There was the welcoming party at Perth airport. Who did actually find the right terminal. Yes, the modern Perth had more that one terminal.
We sorted out the packs. Despite it being well passed paradza bed time. There were some skeptical on lookers amused as to how we were going to fit all the food in. Let's just say the dynamic brother duo will not go hungry anytime soon.
Packing the night before meant obligatory swim at city beach. Not to long. As mandatory coffee followed. And here to was a new innovation. A simple skinny cappuccino just doesn't cut it any more. This is a blob of coconut oil, cayenne pepper, something else. Mixed in a specimen container at home. You order a long black and mix on situ. And it was quite flavoursome. Called Bullet proof Coffee by all accounts. 

It has to be said he, big kev, has withered away a bit and at weigh in. Was sub 100kg (98.8). For the record Huns the Hof 98.2. Paradza a skinny 81.1. And pack weights; Paradza; 17 kg. Hof 25. Minus water. Let's hope there's no quick sand on them western Australia beaches. Huns will be sucked under in a flash with that weight!
Should have been an uneventful trip to the bus terminus. Except Paradza realised he left his phone. So kev kindly dashed back and delivered it back in the nick of time. What a klutz.

Bibbulmun day one- The happy heavy hikers
Distance: 12.5 
Albany to Sandpatch Campsite 
Happy beginnings in Albany

Played delaying tactics, the passengers and the bus driver were all hot under the collar waiting for kev the delivery boy. He literally threw the phone out the car.
It all went smoothly to albany after that. And a lovely little harbour Town it seemed. Even had a George Hotel. 
Twin to The George in Harare
The special Bibbulmun maps said there were markers every 200 m. Of course we had traveled not 1km and lost the track. Ending up on the main drag into Albany facing the incoming road trains. Can't theses people mark it properly, or was it poor navigation by H&P. Nah, poor makings!!
Bit of a road drag out of town then sandy 12k trek to get to first shelter just after dark 630. The Hof much relieved to discard of his 20 plus kg payload for the night. And Paradza gets to work cooking up the first night culinary delight. The chorizo n rice stew. The Hof approved.

Bibbulmun day 2 -  The beach bums
Distance; 25km odd.
Sandpatch thru Muttonbird to Torbay camp

Ya a lot of trugding on the beach. We thought. Yes this must be the end. Climbed up the beach steps only to find we'd exited too soon. 
A MistFall 

There was a great view first thing this morning. The mist sweeping down the cliff face forming a mist like 'waterfall'. Above the mist fall were the blades of the rotors from a wind farm. 
At around lunch though, came to a great spot, offloaded on the beach rocks and had a swim. Huns not very good body surfing attempts. Alas me not much better.

A heavy loaded Beachwalker

Took it fairly easy really. Still with the weight mighty happy to offload at camp at 6.
The yummy chicken apricot that night hit the spot. The chicken rehydrating very well. A visitor also took a fancy to our culinary delights. Some rodent like marsupial. Southern Bandicoot actually.
The Locals come to visit

Hut all to ourselves 

Bibbulmun day 3 - The marathon men
Distance; 34km. 
Torbay thru Cape West Howe to Nullaki campsite

Once again had the camp site to ourselves. Huns finds a site furthest from the shelter to setup the tent. Very considerate fellow that. Yet his snoring echos across the valley. Dinners working well.  Jessica's veg Targine number that night. With time to spare we could have had a camp sing along. Then again. Sleep a much better option. 
It was a big day. Rounding the peninsula of Cape west Howe. Not unlike the cape of Good hope.  Brilliant scenery. On the east side beautiful and calm, secluded sandy beaches. The west rugged wind swept with periodic rain to keep us honest. The Hof, the ice man, he was not, check the pic out of him all rugged up. Buff covering his face and all. While he was a walking pole non believer, with his new you bueat poles, trudging up the hills he is a convert.

The Hof n heavy load all rugged up

The Bibbulmun Sign
Autumn blossom

So the huts are spaced for a decent walk in a day. To double hut makes for a big day. We made the first hut By lunch time, the second by 7pm. Man were we happy to get the bag n boots off. Both jokers developing a blister or two. By 9, after dinner and all, rigamortis set in. Time to hit the sack.

Bubbulmun day 4 - The good Samaritan 
Distance; 18km
Nullaki to near Denmark River mouth  

A more leisurely start for the day. With what we calculated would be a quick 15km run down to Denmark.
Yoga moves in the morning

Yoga moves in the day 
Yoga moves in the evening 

Their two options around the Denmark lagoon. The road (you call a taxi) or across the lagoon mouth. Hardened purest like us weren't going to do the soft taxi option.  We'd been told the estuary was only knee deep. The fella who said so being of pygmy stature. So for seasoned ocean goers this would be a breeze. And of we trudged. 
Apparently western Australians are renowned mumblers. Well that's what Huns says. And he's certainly picked up that trait. 
So we came to a dead end road and this guy in a truck ambles passed. He stops to say gday. 'You doing the  Bibb?' Understood that bit. Mumble mumble come to check mumble mumble Sand mine, i live over there, blah blah.  This guy bought in ' 08 selling for same price mumble.  Us; thanks Cheers now. Mumble Mumble. Ok thanks. And it went on. 
With a good 15km in and still no where near the beach crossing, parked ourselves at a view site for lunch. 
Beautiful Bankia 
Anyway, this guy pitches up also to check out the view. We get taking. He's less of a mumbler. He's done this section of the track. Never heard of Crossing the estuary. And it's still a long way to go. And a long way back to town. He volunteers to drive us round. He's concerned about our welfare. Doesn't want to read about us in the paper. 'Bibbulmun hikers washed out to sea. We gave it some thought. About a nano second. And he drove us round in his new swanky Volvo. What a good fellow, what a stroke of luck,what a genius decision.  Dropped us at the caravan park. Now Huns had emailed earlier in the week. Enquiring about cabins. They said non available. So we were committed to a camp. Asked non the less. Plenty 2 bed. Once again contemplated. ..for less than a nano second. Another brilliant decision. Hot shower. Heater. Big bed. Beer and pub dinner. Now this is what long distance walking is all about. Bought a few provisions, chocolate, nuts, basically the essentials. 
Most importantly planned the next stage of the trip. 
We'd just done Albany to Denmark 85km in 3 days and the Friday evening start. To Walpole was 124. Eeek. Marathon men maybe, loonies not. 
Now or very kind brother, who we will be nice too. Offered to come down, lark about a bit down here and take us back. Yes he is a nice boy. 
So plan is to bus to Walpole. Do the big tree section to Peaceful bay, where the young lad had booked a cabin for the three brothers to have a wonderful time together. And not fight with kevy for fear of been left behind. This made it a far more manageable,  70k odd.
The brilliance of this trip is hard to believe. 
What that also meant is we could offload some food. After all every gram counts. 

Bibbulmun day five- The  grumpy old Geezer
Distance- 18km 
Walpole to Frankland river Campsite

There was a stunning sunrise appearing over the Denmark lagoon. Only the pelicans and i were up. Me setting up the camera to capture the moment. See the pics for yourself. 
Anyway once that was done walking back to the cabin. And remember were still talking 5;30 - 545. There's this other old geezer lurking about. Being the jolly friendly fellow i am i say good morning, no response so i say it again. No response. Well none that i could hear. So i swear under my breathe ' ok don't say good morning you grumpy old sod'. And march off.  Well then to my surprise the old geezer proceeds to follow me into the cabin. It's Huns who i had berated. As i said he's a mumbler. He says he did said hello. And wanted to know why he got abused! ! This was a good start to the day. And I'd broken our mothers cardinal rule; 'that we must be nice to each other'. And it wasn't 6 o'clock yet. Lesson learnt.
Early morning over the Denmark lagoon

Huns for his part said he was mystified what this guy was going on about so early in the morning. 
Time for a good coffee at a local cafe, and i go in search of a chocolate bun for Huns. To make amends for the earlier incident. Nothing left behind and an uneventful trip to walpole. 
There are lots of grey nomads all about. There was a group in Denmark caravan park. They were having a band practice. Don't sounds too good though. But plenty of time to practice i suppose. 
We started talking to this crusty old geezer.(no it wasn't Huns). A Queenslander. He had a good setup. Old style mini bus with a trailer. Canoe, bike, surf board, fishing rods, the works. Hates caravans, doesn't like these modern day grey nomads with there fancy rigs either. Doesn't talk to them. He's heading north to Queensland. For winter. Like most of them. Gotta love it. I aspire to be a grey nomad. 
We high tail it out of walpole. 
What a contrast from the coast. We're in big tree country. Yeah, these are ginormous Tinder trees. Must be gum variations. Shed the load, in abundance. They fall down, having totally inadequate root structure for there size. So impressive. The pictures say it all really. And the debris makes for a soft tread these wary wanderers. And great cover over head from the sun. And we know how much the Hof doesn't like the sun. 
Positions spoiling the view 
A very easy position for the Meister

Not much root structure for a big tree

The day couldn't pass by with out incident of course.  About 20 min after a photo shoot of one particularly impressive tree i realise one left my walking pole there. Huns's fault. He should have seen it. So this mug heads back to get it. Fortunately I'd done a few longer runs with training buddies in lead up. And with payload off my back, was like running on air. So not only did the 15k walk. Managed a 4k run too. 
The Frankland river hut positioned right on the Frankland river. Supposed that why they named it so. And a bueat river it is. The Hof not deterred by the chilly waters. In fact relishes it.  ─╣ooovererly. 
A sign in the hut warmed is the bush rats lived here. So we made sure all the food etc was put away in the box provided. Only leaving the cooking pots cups etc. They still came a visiting anyway. They'd waited till just after bed time, a late 8 o'clock. The raiding party making a hell of a din on the table. And high tailed it off with our silicon plate and cup. You know those fancy Sea to Summit Collapsible numbers. I disturbed them and they dropped the plate. Not a light weight item, even for a bush rat. We found the cup the next morning, after some search in the scrub. They'd had a good feed on it. Hope that rat has a serious case of indigestion.  

Bibbulmun day six - The Yogi Meisters 
Distance - 15km 
Frankland to Giants Campsite

Yoga moved at Frankland

A zen like start to the day. The Yogi Meister and pupil did an hour yoga session. The hut sleeping platform providing the ideal yoga studio setting. This was Huns's early morning 'Yin' yoga. Supposedly an easy stretch with not so much contortioning required. One hour later i was as loose as a sack of potatoes. Not sure that's loose. The moves include (according to the guru) vita parani, malasana, ana-hata. But you knew that. 
Early morning reflection on the Frankland river

The Hof in Zen state


The Frankland River hut 

Bush Rat feed

After that, we set of with an extra hop n skip in our step. Huns chanting under his breathe like a true guru. I asked him if the other Yogi Meisters he hangs out with have given him a Indian name, like guru rananksana swani (have to have a swani or swami) appended. He said he'd come back to me on that one. 
The Bibbulmun folk have done a great job developing and maintaining the track. All the huts are located to really capture the unique beauty of the locale. Frankland was a standout. Even the resident bush rats give it some character. Perched right along side the river you get a great view, yet immersed thick in forest. 
And equally important in every site is a dunny. You can become a dunny donor. The cost for such a dumping experience, one can only hazard to guest. Franklin’s Dunny was called Donny's Dunny. In memory of Donny no less. She's remembered every time someone sits on her throne! What a way to be remembered. 
And the walking, yes we did do some of that too. A very pleasant walk through the woods. With plenty of huge Tinder trees to admire. Burnt out Tinders, Fallen down Tinders, Dead but standing Tinder, 400 year old Tinders. All to keep the happy walking public enthralled. Yes this was impressive. Similar in many ways to the Redwoods of the Californian Sierras. Dare i compare. 

We make it to the Giants visitors centre by lunch time. Go straight to the picnic area for lunch. Which by the way are delicious wholesome wraps prepared at breakfast time. We're nearly finished an Huns says in a very nonchalant fashion. They may do a cappuccino at the cafe. Well I'm packed and ready for my cappuccino in break neck speed. He's set expectations now. He'd better ensure they live up to it. Unfortunately, its just one of those instant machines. Oh well alright beggars hikers can't be choosers. It wasn't too bad. Also accompanied by some chocy snack called Wallaby Bite. They're very yummy. Very healthy too boot. 
As for the walk. It was fantastic. Thrift these huge tinder trees. Such a contrast to the beach of a few days ago. With the Gains camp site situated in the thick of the forest.  
A true survivor - Tinder Tree

Bibbulmun Day seven - The wildlife

Distance - 18 Km 
Giants to Rame Head Campsite 

A transition day. From the forest and giant trees to the coast. We were getting lighter by the day. Eating our way through at least a kilo per day. And getting fitter. Paradza attended to his blistered right heal. The patch job doing the job. But a bit concerning the same pressure points as the Larapinta. With different shoes. Something to look at later. I’m thinking the pronating right foot. So should be getting an Orthotic. 
All in all easy going for Team Rob, down to conspicuous bay. What a great name. It was somewhat conspicuous I suppose. We had lunch at the pinic bench. Above the bay, wraps again. Then went off for a swim and larking about. Some Yoga photoshoots, a video of a routine. Yes all very refreshing. All up i think there may have been 2 or 3 other people on the beach. 
There was a bit of a beach and dune walk with a big hike up to the top of the cliff above the bay. All making for great photo opportunities. 
A great view West along to coast from the hut Rain threatened, but stayed away in time for The Hof to set up tent.  

Curious Joey
Beach Yoga Moves 
Climb up to Rame Head


Bibbulmun Day eight - 
Distance - 13 km 
Rame Head to Peaceful Bay Cabin 

We met our first real walker on the trail. A old Irish geezer. Doing End to End. He said there is no start of the Bibbulmun track. Just an End. He was ending up at the Perth End. 
Pretty much a down hill run to our End destination in Peaceful bay. Passing round stunning bays and beach coves. 
Crystal clear waters

Came across Whale bones. Remains from a carcass washed up from a year or two back. According to the locals anyway. 

 We did a bit circular tour round Peaceful bay 'village' in search of Kevy and the Cabin. Fortunately bumping into him just as he was leaving to go meet us. Go meet us at a different location to where we would have pop out of. He would have had a long wait at the trail and would we at the Cabin. All was good as he had a coke and pie in the offing for weary walkers. 

Finish with a coffee at the local. 

And then it was larking about. Kev doing some photo shoot. Even of the Yogi Meisters. Against his better judgement. 
Sunrise Yoga moves at Peaceful Bay

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable several day in South WA. The Bibbulmun track is super duper. Not too strenuous, yet a great experience. The folk involved have done and do a brilliant job. The huts, well, we both looked forward to arriving at hut for the evening. They did not disappoint. 

Our mother would be proud. We were nice to each other.  He is a good packhorse. Well done Huns. We had a great time. Too the next section. 
And thanks to big Kev for coming an picking us up. 
Good Onya. 

The HOF and Paradza 

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