WEST CAPE HOWE
Bibbulmun Day 27: Tuesday May 1, 2018
Km 862.4 – 905.4 (25.5 by car – 17.5 km hiking)
Denmark – West Cape Howe Campsite
To leave Denmark and rejoin the Bibbulum Track on the Nullaki Peninsula requires a little bit of planning to get around Wilson Inlet.
Nullaki Peninsula is a privately owned Nature Conservation area. The whole peninsula is enclosed by electrified fencing to keep out feral animals and unauthorised entry. There are two diversion options to reach the trail: a water taxi to Pelican Point and a walk along the fence on the Inlet side or a taxi to the track junction and a walk along the fence on the east side.
Janz,whom I met on trail a few weeks ago gave me a name of a local couple, Jacko and Annie who run a bed and breakfast place. They also run a hiker shuttle at a much more reasonable price then a taxi. I contacted Jacko when I was in Walpole and arranged to be picked up today. I spoke to him again yesterday to confirm a time and all was set for pick up this morning at 7.30. I was to share the ride with two other hikers whose names I’ve seen in the log books ahead of me but had not met, Jessica and Nadia.
Right on time Annie arrived with her friend Delma, who came along for the ride, and Jessica and Nadia. I’d seen Jessica and Nadias log book entries and they have the most perfect handwriting, so it was really nice to meet them. They are from Adelaide and have just graduated from high school. It is such an amazing adventure for two friends to share. From the moment I got in the car it was hilarious. So many funny stories, the trip around the inlet by road seem to take no time. Annie is off to hike the Larapinta Trail tomorrow with some American friends.
When we finaly got back on track to start hiking again, it was like a party had ended all too soon. I hiked with Jessica and Nadia and it was such an easy cruisy walk. The trail follows gently undulating vegetated dunes to Nullaki camp. We stopped at camp briefly and as it was still early we continued on towards West Cape Howe campsite. I had originally planned to stay at Nullaki as the distance to the hut that I had on my map included the driving section. So from where we were dropped off by car, the camp is only a little bit over 3km away.
From Nullaki, the trail heads towards the coast. There were many lookout spots with views back towards Wilson Inlet and other smaller water bodies inbetween. The vegetation was very similar to previous coastal sections, except for these Banksias which had such an intersting seed pod.
It was great to have company for this section and chat to the girls. They were so funny and have had some interesting experiences on this trail so far. Turning east to head along the coast, it is such a wonderful sight to look back along the coast and see how far I’ve come in what now feels like such a short time. And to have the finish only days away.
Just before reaching Lowlands Beach we met two northbound e2e hikers, a father and daughter, Pete and Lexie. They were four days out of Albany, I didn’t envy them the 50+ days they plan to be on trail.
As I was hiking in front I was momentarily distracted by an interesting looking seed pod on a low shrub only to look sideways and see the back end of a tiger snake disappear into the shrub. That gave me a real shake up – I was becoming a bit complacent and distracted. Pretty soon we came across another tiger snake about the same size. Even though I now know that they are active year round it still comes as a surprise to see them out on a not particularly warm or sunny day.
We stopped at the beautiful Lowlands Beach for a short break. The beach is fringed with incredibly smooth huge granite boulders. With a cold onshore wind blowing the water looked particularly uninviting.
After the isolation and wilderness of the previous coastal sections it was unexpected to see a few houses dotting the landscape. With Denmark and Albany being only 50km apart by road and also the most populated towns on the southern coast of WA, it really should not have been surprising that there would be some development inbetween.
A couple of kilometres from the camp we were joined by another hiker, Michael. He was staying at the same accomodation as me last night and was getting a car shuttle a little bit later. He is finishing an e2e he started last year and had to quit due to injury.
West Howe Cape camp is beautifully located. It is set back from a cliff with magnificent ocean views a short walk away. A brilliant deep coloured rainbow out to sea was a wonderful end to a great easy day on trail.
Dark clouds have been swirling around all day, so it was good that rain held off till after sunset. Just as it got dark the skies opened and a heavy rain began to fall. We are all safely tucked in under the shelter. It got very cold, very quickly and feels like winter has arrived. I’m pleased to be finishing soon as this cold spell will be around for a while. I’m ever so grateful to have had few magic warm days on this coastal section of trail. So no matter what the next few days bring it will be OK.