Bibbulmun Day 6: Tuesday April 10, 2018
Km 132.7 – 163.7 (31 km)
Gringer Creek Campsite – Mt Wells Hut
It was a cold and noisy night sleeping at the Gringer Creek shelter. It’s close to the Albany Highway which considering its size is pretty busy all night long. I was late to rise and enjoyed a coffee watching the sunrise from camp.
I left before 7am and it was pretty chilly on my hands. It took almost an hour of walking to warm up. After crossing the Albany Highway the track follows a private Eucalypt plantation. I stopped a few times to take photos of the most beautiful delicate flowers. While taking a photo of this georgeous white dew covered flower, the background noise was heavy earth moving equipment somewhere nearby.
Traffic noise was largely behind me but it was replaced by the sound of reversing alarms and engines roaring. In my distracted state I missed the track turnoff to Mt Boonerring and ended up off trail and in front of the source of the noise. A huge waste management facility. A not so nice two kilometre deviation. Back on track I stopped for breakfast at the boot cleaning station which was the turnoff I missed. The climb up Boonerring was not so bad as I was still fresh. The ascent starts with a short steep single file track and then levels off for the 1.5km to the summit.
Great views from top and finally as I started to decend – silence. Just the sound of my feet crushing through the gravelly sand and if I stopped to listen, a gentle twitter of birdsong. It was bliss.
After the Mt Boonerring descent the trail was lovely flat walking along a firetrail with Banksia shrubs lining the trail. The sun was really up now and beating hot on my back. But just like yesterday, the sun did not last. Dark clouds were soon rolling in. But I will no longer pay attention to clouds, no matter how dark nor pay attention to weather predictions.
The highlight of the afternoon was hiking through beautiful healthy tall gums with a diverse and interesting understory cover. The huge granite outcrop before White Horse Hills was incredible. A work of art with great distant views of rolling hills I’ve traversed over the past five days.
The trail today was pretty special and constantly changing. From top of the hills looking east I thought I spotted a huge inland lake. Then I remembered reading about a gold mine near Mt Wells which is where I was headed. That was the tailings dam for the mine.
It was also a good day for wildlife spotting. First kangaroo that stopped on trail to look at me. Although I don’t think it has a long time in this world. As it skipped away it hit a branch and fell sideways. Ouch, it may already be injured or sick or it could just be clumsy.
Soon after I came upon an echidna standing still on trail. As soon as it heard me it curled up and was not going to show its face.
The final few kilometres to Mt Wells were pretty hard. It was steep and I was tired. I was very happy to reach the hut at 3.30pm. It is the only hut on the Bibbulmun track. It was pretty windy on the mountain so I decided to stay inside the hut.
As I cooked my dinner of mushroom risotto, the whole hut started to smell so delicious. Such a cosy spot and I had it to myself.
My goal today was to reach Mt Wells camp in better physical and mental state then I was yesterday. With goal achieved I was happy to curl up in my warm sleeping bag and listen to the wind howl outside.