Hiking and Bushwalking.


Bibbulmun Track marker
Bibbulmun Track Marker

I got the hiking bug many years ago when Semps put out the idea of doing a three day hike in May between Ballingup and Collie on the Bibbulmun track.

We were pretty green and got lost on the first day. Too much chin wagging, not enough keeping eyes on track markers. We found the hut well after dark, only because a couple of other hikers had built a camp fire.

The next day we were a lot more careful to follow the markers.

During that trip I became religious about managing water intake, weight minimisation and double-socking.

The following year I wanted to complete a bit more of the Bibb'. This time Jase joined in. We did the stretch between Donelly River Village (DRV) and Balingup. I prefer the scenery further down South where greater rainfall allows for lush greenery as opposed to the drier scrub back home.

We were a little better prepared this time and went in mid June. There had been a lot of rain in the days before and the plant life which choked the track in places was still loaded with droplets. The first day our pants and shoes were soaked through, not a happy start. Fortunately we'd brought plenty of socks (double-socking is mandatory) and the next day had wider tracks on average.

It now became an unofficial thing to do a bit of the Bibb after the first rains of winter each year. The scenery around Bridgetown and Donelly River Village was the stuff I was looking for so this time we sectioned off the bit between DRV and Pemberton, a five day walk. The week before we were to set off Jase came down with the flu. He was almost on the mend but not quite up to it, so I set off alone from DRV to Tom Road campsite. I admit walking along alone I started to feel unselfconscious and may have hugged a tree or two (I may be more of a hippy than I'd like to admit).

Bibbulmun Track guide DRV to Albany
Bibbulmun Track Guide
(Southern Bit)

Tom Road camp is right next to the Donnelly River and I was sent to sleep with the loud mating croaks, squawks and burbles of a thousand frogs.

The next day I felt great and ambled off down the track hardly feeling the weight of my pack.

I was approaching Graphite Rd when I saw a hiker coming in the opposite direction. As we got closer I was pretty surprised to see it was my brother-in-law Rob. He had some time off work and got bored so decided to catch me on the trail. We walked on and made camp in the mid afternoon, cooked our dinner on a camp fire and turned in around 8pm. Rob carried very little equipment just an ordinary day pack with some food and little else, he slept straight on the hut floor without complaint. It made me wonder if I was over prepared with my 70L pack stuffed with luxury items?

Halfway through the following day we met up with my Sister and Jase. Rob went home and Jase and I continued the hike.

On the fourth day I noticed my body starting to get used to the routine, after a 20km hike I still felt energized enough to run back up the track to take a photo of the campsite.

etrex
eTrex

A year later we did the bit between Northcliffe and Pemberton, and were travelling well enough by the end to climb the Gloucester tree on the last day.

To mix it up a little we joined in a Rogaining trek the following year and covered about 35km cross-country, through heavy scrub and bush over 12 hours, we didn't score too badly for first timers. Also we had our first encounter with tick infestation, It was a long day and enough to silence the hiking bug for a bit.

Since then I've retraced some of the more enjoyable bits of the Bibbulmun track and done a few overnighters along the bottom, as well as an assortment of one day treks around the Perth hills. I started tooling around with GPS as a fun way to gather trek stats.

Here's a very useful resource for GPS users: http://www.bibbulmuntrackmap.com/

I think I'm just about up for something more adventurous, Tasmania maybe?

 

Next: Soapbox rantage.