Bibbulmun Day 12: Monday April 16, 2018

Km 318.2 – 354.2 + 2.7 from town (38.7 km)

Collie – Noggerup Campsite

I was out of town and back at the trail junction just before it got light, leaving the sound of barking dogs and early morning traffic behind. Heading into silence. All around me the sky looked like it was on fire as the sun rose. I can’t describe how beautiful it felt to be back moving through the quite of the forest.

Despite my groaning full pack, the early hours just seem to flyby. It was just simply pleasant walking through easy trail. Temperature was perfect for hiking.

Early on there was crossing of the Collie River on a modern bridge but not before passing the remnants of an old bridge sitting forlornly in the water.

There was a long section of burnt forest as I approached Yabberup camp. Undergrowth was returning including one patch of these beautiful shrubs that were in flower.

I stopped at Yabberup camp just after 10 for a break. It did not last long as I was getting bitten by the most vicious mosquitos I’ve encountered on this track so far.

Continuing to walk through burnt forest there was a wafting smell of fresh smoke. It made me feel a bit uneasy even though I knew no wild fires were burning and no prescribed fires were occurring locally. It must have been the wind carryig the smell of the burnt timber. I’ve never seen trees so thoroughly burnt and then out of the scorched earth pops up this most beautiful delicate plant.

By midday it was starting to get hot and I was really feeling the weight of my pack. On the way to Noggerup camp the trail passes two large dams. The second of these, the Glen Mervyn Dam was really quite a nice spot to camp. There were a few tents dotted around the shore and people swimming.

After leaving the dam the trail followed alongside the Collie Prestons Rd before popping out on the road for a section of road walking. I passed Mumby Pub along the way, but I really wanted to reach camp so I did not stop.

Leaving the pub the trail follows an old rail line. Walking on rail lines always makes me feel uneasy, although I could see it has not been used for quite some time.

From here it was a hard slog on a dirt road to the top of Clear Hill along sheep farms. Reaching the boundary to Prestons National Park was like a breath of fresh air. It was so nice to get off the road and walk the last 4km to camp through healthy lush green forest. The afternoon light really brought out the beautiful textural contrast between the lush greenery of the cycads and the black tree trunks.

I was relieved to reach camp around 3.30. There was a couple already staying there. This turned out to be the English couple Janz told me about, Richard and Rachel. They are on a holiday and are taking their time stopping at most shelters. It was nice to meet them and hear about their hike so far. By the time I cooked and ate dinner mosquitoes were out and it was time to turn in. It was the most beautiful feeling to get inside my sleeping bag. Marsmallow clouds hung in a pale blue sky as I lay my tired body down.