Bibbulmun Day 19: Monday April 23, 2018
Km 592.3 – 621 (28.7 km)
Schafer – Gardeners Campsite
Since I arrived at Schafer camp in the dark I waited till it got light before leaving this morning. It feels like a lovely spot, I wanted to see the lake and it was raining. All good reasons to hang around camp.
It is a beautiful spot and would be my top choice for a short hike day destination.
A light drizzle accompanied me for the first hour of the hike. I can’t get enough of the tall slender trees of the karri forest so I’ve stopped to take many photos as the vegetation seems to be changing. The trail approaching Northcliffe appears very similar to sections of the Darling Range of the first week. The sandy soil and grass trees are back.
It stopped raining and the sun came out as I entered the section approaching dairy farms. Beautiful to see cattle grazing on lush fields. Green parrots swooped the trail in front of me. Their irridescent green bodies were glistening in the sun.
Walking through green pasture was a nice change from the forest tunnel of yesterday. It was made even more attractive by the sun coming out, briefly.
My most unerving moment of the morning was walking through a herd of dairy cows resting on the trail. While I know they are harmless, they are big and there were a lot of them. And I’ve never been around cows so I don’t know how they behave.
I made it to Northcliffe just after 10. It was raining hard. So it was great to be able to stop, get something to eat and wait for the rain to pass. From town, I only have a relatively short walk to my days destination at Gardners campsite.
Northcliffe is an interesting town. It appears to be located at a crossroads – so most cars are driving through. It does not look like a destination, except for the locals, I guess. I had lunch at the Hollow Butt Cafe. It was nice and I now know that a burger in this part of WA definitely does not include a ground beef patty.
It was a long and very refreshing stop in town. By the time I finished lunch, the rain had stopped and it was lovely outside. The trail leaves town via a disused rail line for a bit. This section of trail to Gardeners campsite is marvellous, gently undulating and sandy. It was lined by kangaroo paw plants which must look incredible when they are in flower.
I was joined on this section by lovely Carol who is a paramedic from nearby Denmark. She has previoulsy completed an e2e hike with her husband and was now doing a section hike of some favourite sections closer to home. The four hours to reach camp went by quickly in very interesting conversation. It was great to have company for a change.
I reached Gardeners Campsite around 3pm. Nice to have plenty of daylight left. There were three people at the shelter already – John who is doing a northbound e2e hike. I didn’t get a photo of him as he was not feeling very well. And the other two hikers were a charming duo Arthur and his friend Jo. Arthur has hiked the Bib before but it was the first time in the wilderness for Jo. They shared wine, cheese and crackers before dinner and had a sweet habit of reading sections of a book out loud to each other.
I’ve missed sleeping in the tent away from the shelter. So tonight I’ve put the tent up. Hoping for no overnight rain. It will be a long day tomorrow to be carrying a wet tent.
As sad as I am to be leaving the beauty of the karri forest I also a little bit excited to be here because tomorrow I get a little bit closer to the ocean.