DOG POOL CAMP
Bibbulmun Day 20: Tuesday April 24, 2018
Km 621 – 661.8 (40.8 km)
Gardeners – Dog Pool Campsite
It started to rain as soon as I went to bed last night. Little drops at first and then bigger drops. I resigned myself to having to carry a wet tent tomorrow and promptly fell asleep. I woke just after 4am and while I was making coffee it started to rain again. Everything in the tent felt a little bit damp. I waited for the rain to stop before breaking camp, quickly in case the rain returned.
As I headed back on trail I could see a few stars. I hoped that it may yet turn out to be a nice day.
It was earily quite in the forest as I walked on. Two kamikazi bats came out of nowhere aiming straight for my head. They came so close, it really gave me a fright. It will be some time before it gets light. The clouds were like a lid over the sky.
Eventually the clouds started breaking up. Here comes the sun, was the song going on in my head. The kookaburras laughed at my optimism. The brief spell of sun did not last, the rain returned and it stayed raining for hours.
Despite the rain it was quite a pleasant walk to Lake Meringup campsite. The rain was not heavy just persistent. I could hear the roar of the ocean, like a distant jet engine rumble, hours before I reached the campsite. While the campsite is located by a lake, it is not far from the sea. The trailside vegetation was mainly low growing or shrubs with some Banksias and a beautiful bottle brush plant. Its bright red flowers looked like a ballerinas toutou.
I reached the beautifully located Lake Meringup camp just after 9am. The lake is huge and looked nice despite the overcast grey sky. It must look stunning on a sunny day. And a great place to swim on a hot hiking day.
At 24.8 km, the sectoon of trail from Lake Meringup to the Dog Pool campsite is the longest stretch between camps on the Bibbulmun. From Lake Meringup, the Karri forest returned. The roar of the ocean was replaced by birdsong. Tall trees and amazing birdsong were back. There was more of the bright red Bottle brush which was almost at the end of its flowering cycle. Without the flowers the shrub looked pretty ordinary.
The trail stayed in the forest for some time, my feet were wet and I realised that it’s going to be another tough afternoon of hiking with wet feet and no chance to stop and dry them.
The terrain between Lake Meringup and Dog Pool campsite is fairly flat and this made it relatively easy walking.
It was a busy day on trail. I met six northbound hikers. They were in a group and were faily spread out. The first two I saw hardly broke stride as we passed. The next three stopped for a chat and told me there were eight hikers in front of me heading to Dog Pool campsite. Nice, I should have had a better look at the log book at Lake Meringup. The last of their group passed and said hello. Not much time to talk, they were on a mission. I learnt later that they are northbound e2e hikers, all six of them. I hope they make it.
Eventually the forest gave way to open grassland and patches of blue sky. The rain stopped. I spotted two beautiful orchids and I had to stop. It was the highlight of my day.
As I turned onto Dog Rd which leads to camp the sky was a brilliant blue. I was so excited, I may yet get to dry my tent. But camp was still 5km away. And of course the sun disappeared as I neared the camp.
The last few hours to Dog Pool camp were painful. My wet feet were suffering. I made it to the campsite at 4pm and it was, as expected a full house. I got the tent up and hoped it may dry a little before it gets dark. The hikers occupying the shelter are completing the last section of their 15 year project to hike the full length of the Bibbulmun.
I have seen 14 people on trail today. That is more then I’ve seen in the past 19 days in total. A popular section of trail or maybe just a fluke.