Friday, May 29, 2015

The Marge and Judy surprise

We were heading from Monadnocks to Canning campsite, and hoped to meet Marge and Judy, El Camino family at camp. Sure enough they were there waiting for us, having hiked in from the Brookton highway access, about 10kms away.

They had brought us fresh fruit, cheese and other goodies! But more than anything we enjoyed their company and conversation. We had a long night as per usual and together we walked out to the Brookton highway through a small wetlands area, and past a bald rocky shale patch.
At the highway we boiled the billy and waited for Ree and Alastair to come with the caravan from the Threeway Roadhouse. They arrived in a timely manner and we headed off to Mundaring Weir hotel for a pup lunch, after saying goodbye to Marge and Judy.

The navigator in the caravan tried to take us to Mundaring, nowhere near the Mundaring Weir Hotel, then the phone navigation tried to go through dead end roads but in the end we got there barely in time before kitchen close - thanks to an electricity meter reading man's directions!
The accommodation we were banking on was the YHA which was not picking up the phone and we could not find any info on other than its location and good references from other hikers.

Ree had managed to track down a new phone number for the place as or was under new management: Ellen. Ellen turns our to be a very friendly social woman living with a dozen or more kangaroos. Nothing was too much trouble and she told is we could leave the caravan there till we hike trough again on June 1. Parks and Wildlife were ready to help us in case we got stuck but thanks to Ellen at the YHA all was solved.

And surprise surprise, there was Sharon, another friend I'd met on the El Camino, waiting for us!! She had come to walk with us for a few days.

Though the caravan got to the YHA fine but we noticed a tire was down. Ellen had a pump and we blew it up only to finds out we actually had a flat.

Alastair had cooked us all a big spaghetti dish for the evening, we spike about religion and cats and retired happily and in comfort.

When Alastair returned the next morning he helped me change the caravan tire before driving us all back to Brookton hwy. And so now with Sharon and my partner Ree we have four on the trail! And so we headed for the Mount Dale campsite!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mount Cooke to Monadnocks DIVERSION :)

That's right, we followed a diversion for a 2015 prescribed back burn! But first let's mention or walk to mount Cook from our cozy Nerang shelter.

The scouts had passed the hut and said hello and we followed on their heels about 9am. We soon overtook them as they have little tutorials along the way. Slowly we started heading up mount Cooke, getting steeper and steeper and then around the 450m mark we started walking along rock surfaces following rock cairns to what we perceived to be the top. Just after the top we found an exposed rock face for lunch and phone reception!

This is when the scouts passed us and surprisingly other people started walking past! After lunch we descended a little and went up again onto a little treed hump. That bushy hump turned out to be the actual summit. By now it was apparent that it was Sunday afternoon and this mountain a popular walk! I was busy doing PR work all the way to the hut, handing out cards and flyers that we carry.

At the hut we found two hikers, Lester and James. Actually James was walking to the top, as Lester was tending to a blister. Marilyn, who had earlier almost stepped on a snake and at least once toppled backwards when trying to pee without dismounting her pack... gave Lester a hand dressing his blister. She was promptly offered a matrimonial option. She wisely declined.

James and Lester were our sole camp buddies for the afternoon and evening, after the tourists dried up. As we were in phone range we were both busy catching up on duties and planning the next caravan rendezvous logistics with the kind people involved including my partner Ree who flew into Perth and who will join us soon!
A casual start to our day today and we strolled to Monadnocks campsite. As we were told there was a clearly marked diversion and we had no trouble following it, though we missed out on climbing up Mount Cuthbert and Mount Vincent, no great loss :)
It was just a fire trail so it was an easy 13-14kms. We noticed our first garbage dumped along the track. Signs of civilisation apparently. The Monadnocks shelter was leafy and quite with noone there. Apparently our last phone reception for a while, so last chance to firm up caravan and visitor plans!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

White Horse to Gringer

It was a cold morning again at the White Horse shelter.  I sleep in my silk lining and am pretty warm at night unless I get up to pee... Fortunately that is only once or twice per night. Marilyn manages most nights without a pit stop, not sure how she does ír. Must be the twelve hot drinks  I have at night, green ginger teas and soups. 

Phil was there as expected, but we were also joined by two young women, hiking South. Sheridan and Sarah I believe they were. Sarah was very well traveled and had hiked and camped in Africa and Asia, with stories to match. Sheridan has chronic fatigue and hyperchromalgia, and deals with chronic pain. She is a brave woman for whom I have a great deal of respect. Most in her situation would be sore and suffering at home, but she is out here living life!  She set up a tent in the shelter (with veneer backrests against wall too) as a trial, but had a lot of condensation overnight which made her sleeping bag wet. It did not dampen her mood, and the two women left shortly before us at 830am. Phil was long gone, he gets up early and listens to the weather forecast on his radio, gets ready and goes :)

Today we hike over a mountain along the Bibbulmun to Gringer Campsite and go a kilometer and a half further along a spur trail to the Threeway roadhouse to the caravan! Phil took off before us and we expected to see him in the hut.

Along the way we went up to a Mountain which had a spur trail to the top. We decided against the extra hike as the high rock ahead looked like a fair extra effort.
We crossed the Albany highway and found Gringer hut, but no Phil. The log book mentioned mice and we were glad to go the the Roadhouse.

Back at the caravan we restocked, did laundry, had a beer and potato wedges. Caught up on internet and  had fish and chips for dinner. We stayed in the backpackers quarter in proper beds with clean bedding!

Radio interview in the morning! Was great to get some publicity! Sharon had tipped us off, a friend who is coming soon to join us for a few days!  

We were worried about Phil not having arrived at Gringer's before us but assumed he'd gone up Boonara Hill, the mountain along the way. When we saw his entry in the hut book in the morning  as we passed it on the way to Nerang campsite.

Our walk to Nerang was nice and flat and fairly uneventful. We saw the black cockatoos with the white tails today, mostly we have seen the red ones. Apparently the red ones are endangered, even though they are the ones shouting at us along the track for weeks now. Kookaburras have also been laughing at us morning and night, they are very vocal and very abundant!

At Nerang hut we found Phil. He had indeed climbed the mountain, albeit unknowingly. The spur trail is almost more trodden then the regular track and he had accidentally taken it. Once on top you were meant to go back the same way, but Phil thought he was on trail but couldn't find the continuing track on top. He had also hit his head along the way which didn't help the situation. An hour later he retraced his steps and 300m back found the junction and realized his mistake.

To add to Phil's demise he ended up at Gringer hut where at 8pm a dozen or more (19?) scouts woke him up with torches. They stacked his carefully collected and chopped jarrah firewood onto the fire (Phil is planning to walk back and was hoping the wood would be there in two days time still). He got up and socialized. In the morning he found a couple of young ones trying to light the fire and they asked if he could do it. He showed them how and once it was going they promptly left. No entry in the log book either!

It was a short flat walk for us past Gringer hut to get to Nerang hut where we found Phil, chopping wood. Soon we were joined  by 5 mates who have an annual Bib hike. They provided good value for the night showing off awesome gear (ExPed mattresses etc) and cooking skills supplemented with Port.

The toilet here is sponsored by life member John Forster, I wonder if he is our Tasmanian wood chopper!

The previous adventure!

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