Bibbulmun Day 9: Friday April 13, 2018
Km 228.8 – 267.8 (39 km)
Murray – Possum Creek Campsite
I must have been really tired as I slept through the sounds of distant traffic and and more nearby, some kind of mine. I’m only guessing it’s a mine nearby as the noise sounded like high impact drilling that would stop and start. Once the wind died down last night the noise was a lot more noticeable. I also expected that being so close to water there would be mosquitoes once the wind subsided but pleasantly surprised, there were none.
I left Murray campsite around 5.30am aiming to reach Possum Creek 39km away before it got dark.
As soon as I left camp it was back into overgrown scrub. It was difficult to navigate through the dense growth especially in the dark. The track was so overgrown at one point I stopped as there was no obvious way forward and I looked back and the vegetation had closed in around me. I stayed calm knowing the track had to be here somewhere. It was pitch black. Shining my torch in the direction I thought the trail should be showed thick scrub. I bush bashed through and over and miracilously saw the trail. Relieved and a bit shaken I continued pushing on. The track came out onto a firetrail and looking at the map I could see that the trail crosses this fire trail three times further along. So I decided to get off trail and stay on the fire road.
It was so lovely to again walk freely without fighting the trail. I could lose my self in the silence of the early morning twilight. A mist had descended on the river valley just as started to get light, you could hear a gentle rumble of running water and the bird song. It was beautiful, the earlier difficulty forgotten.
I was mindful of not missing the trail where it crosses this road for the last time. The only problem was I got to the junction but there was no trail. I walked a bit further then went back about half a kilometre thinking I somehow missed it. But there was no trail. I returned to the spot where the trail crossing should have been and followed an overgrown drainage ditch and again I was in luck – it intersected the trail. So from here it was another 8km of pushing through an overgrown trail that was often prickly and thorny. Not fun at all. I guess not everyday can be a walk in the park.
Eventually the scrub receded and the trail opened up. It was such a joy to again walk freely. I got to Dookanelly campsite around 9.30 and stopped to refill on water and rest a bit. By now the sun was out and it was a beautiful warm day.
I was excited to tackle the next 22km section to Possum Creek. This section turned out to be really pleasant walking, for the most part.
It was wonderful to get glimpses of the Murray River which the trail followed for a long way. Crossing the river on a new swing bridge felt quite a privilege as the old bridge had burned down. A relief not to have to swim across the river.
After crossing the bridge the trail continued following the river on the other side. It was nice to occasionally get close glimpses of the river and hear the sound of running water.
The sound of birds and running water was soon replaced by a much more mechanical sound. About 30km from the Murray campsite the trail deviated from the river, crossing a large dirt road – the Harvey Quindenning Rd. ans soon after a steep climb underneath the source of the shattering mechanical noise. A huge conveyor belt taking bauxite ore to a processing plant midway to the coast. It was great to climb back out of the valley and leave the noise behind.
Back to lovely landscape and beautiful birdsong. The last three kilometres felt a little bit long. I was ever so happy and relieved to reach the Possum Creek campsite, long before it got dark.
I had some dinner and put up the tent. It is nice to be back in the Big Agnes Hilton. It is very quite and still and the birds are chirping as the sun dips below the horizon. I’m waiting for the stars to light up the sky as I finish writing this. After a not too happy start it turned out to be a pretty good day in the end.