WAUGAL LEADS THE WAY

Bibbulmun Day 1: Thursday April 5, 2018

Km 0 – km 10 (10km)

Kalamunda – Hewetts Hill

This hike has not been long in planning so I was feeling a little bit nervous when I woke for an early start to get to airport. I did not want to take any chances after yesterdays incident on the Harbour Bridge brought the city to a standstill. A man climbed the bridge without permission and it was hours before the police rescue managed to get him down. Hammer dropped me off at the airport at 5.30am, a quick goodby and I was on my way.

There is something really magical about watching the city glide by as the plane took off. A different direction to take off over the inner west suburbs, densely packed and the green space around Cooks River providing some natural relief.

The flight from Sydney to Perth is about 5 hours. I watched the movie I, Tonya on board and before too long the plane was descending. I could see the green hills in the distance and I was beginning to worry just a little. It looked so sparse and barren.

The airport is located midway between downtown Perth and Kalamunda in the hills where the track commences. I ended up getting a taxi to Kalamunda Visitors Centre. Left my pack there and walked into town to get canister of gas and a lighter. Unfortunately the only canister ai could get from the hardware store was huge. After all that care in shaving weight from my pack I ended up with a 470g canister. I had considered going without a stove but I do like my morning coffee. I’m carrying 10 days of food and after filling up my water bottles the pack weighed close to 15kg.

Yikes – this is going to be interesting as I’m not very hiking fit.

The weather was perfect, warm with clear skies and a cooling easterly breeze. I set off just after 12pm, following the way of the Waugal or the Rainbow Serpent.

The first hour went by in a flash. There was so much to look at – the giant gums with their giant gum nuts, the grass trees and the remnants of the flowers long gone to seed. I kept stopping to take photos and to listen to the sound of the forest. The twittering of the birds and a gentle hum of bees.

The trail was rocky underfoot particularly once it descended into a valley of a dried up creek. The breeze disappeared and it was getting hot. Hiking started to feel like hard work.

The trail is incredibly well marked but you still need to pay attention as there are numerous dirt roads and other trails crossing. Despite the excellent marking I lost the trail for a short while but managed to get back without too much trouble.

I made it to Hewetts Hill shelter just after 3.30pm and decided to stop. My feet are feeling a little bit trashed and I am exhausted. It is 8km till the next camp and I’m not sure what time it will get dark.