BEAUTY IN SURPRISING PLACES

Bibbulmun Day 4: Sunday April 8, 2018

Km 65.6 – 103.7 + 4.1km road (40.2 km)

Brookton Campsite – Mt Cooke Campsite

Not a breath of wind broke the stillness when I woke up this morning. Even though the campsite is 2km from Brookton Highway, there was no traffic. I lay in my tent under a canopy of stars, only the sound of the plaintive hoots of a distant owl broke the silence. Such a peaceful and serene start to the day.

I broke camp and was on my way before 6am. A heavy mist had descended just after I woke up. The water dropplets reflected off the headtorch. It was like walking in a sauna, only cooler.

After crossing the highway the trail wound uphill through gravelly sand. This got the heart rate up. It was beautiful hiking through the mist, with water condensation dropping like rainfall off the gumleaves. The sound of twittering songbirds accompanied me as the mist started to lift.

I stopped to eat breakfast in this vast open rocky area which was still shrouded in mist. The birdsong added to a quite magical start to the day.

I reached the Canning campsite – filled up on water and chatted to a couple who were staying there. They told me about the prescribed burn trail closure uphead. I knew that 14.4km of trail south of and including the Monadnock campsite were closed. This required an 18.5km road walk around the closure.

Soon the sun burnt through the mist and it got really hot and humid quite quickly. What a difference. It was a welcomed relief when the breeze sprung up. By 10am I had covered 16km – my first 10 by 10 (miles). Happy days.

I was hiking through vegetation which was quite dense with lots of leaf litter across the trail. I just had a feeling that this would be a snakey area. I made lots of noise with my sticks and sure enough my first snake sighting on this hike. The snake was about a metre long, as thick as my arm with a bright yellow belly and shiny black on top. It moved quickly across my path. I had no time, or inclination, to take a picture. It was the most fearful snake I’ve ever seen. It gave me an almighty scare. This snake was definitely not afraid to be seen, it owned the trail. No wonder it was chosen as the trail emblem.

By mid-day I reached the Randall Rd junction and the start of the trail closure. It was a long, hot 18.5km road walk, exposed to the sun. But it could have been worse – at least the road was flat, there was a breeze and the best part – no flies. I made good time on the road as it was fairly easy, if a little boring walking.

I stopped a few times to rest. At one spot I stopped, I nearly set on these beautiful tiny and delicate carnivorous plants. It’s only when I look at the photos that I can fully appreciate their exquisite beauty. And found in such a surprising place. Isn’t nature wonderful? You get a little dose of beauty and joy when you least expect it. So the road walk was not so bad.

I was so relieved to reach the Mt Cooke Campsite well before dark. Passed a few dayhikers on the way and I had company at the campsite – two northbound hikers. We had dinner together and talked about lots of things but I did got their names.