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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

HELP NEEDED between Pemberton and Donnelly River

HELP NEEDED to find a volunteer to drive the caravan and ute from #DonnellyRiver holiday village WA to #Balingup any time between 6 and 8 May sometime. Call/txt 0417067460 or email help@coughing4cf.com and I will try to get back to you ASAP depending on reception :)

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Time flies when having fun


The last two days of hiking with Eleanor flew past. Good tracks, good company and slightly challenging distances - over 20kms :)

Schaffer hut was T-Bone with Chris, and Warren hut had a wonderful view (despite backburning smoke in the air). At Warren hut we shared the space with Zoe and Jill - hiking buddies/relatives who had just returned from a South American adventure. They made delicious food complete with freshly chopped up lime rind.

Walking to Pemberton twenty minutes behind Zoe and Jill we could see where they stepped in poo, and when we hit spiderwebs on the track we knew we were off track. Managed to get off track twice in fact and somehow shortcut 250 meters through one error. Muesli bars at a paddock with cows and emus in the distance. We thought of having lunch at 'The Cascades' but it was off the track and no distance was mentioned so we cooked our cupasoup  on the track. Today was meant to be a 24km hike already so detours were not attractive :)

Next we hiked up a big hill and arrived at the Gloucester Tree where we were greeted with smoke and flames. Fortunately they were controlled back burns with a few firies in attendance. I had been here years ago with Ree and my mother and had climbed the 53m to the top then. So as it was mum's birthday i called her up and took photos of Marilyn and Eleanor climbing up the tree - more photos on facebook!

Zoe and Jill showed up again at the tree, they had lunched at the Cascades (we should've done that!). We skipped down to Pemberton, found our caravan at the lovely Pemberton Caravan Park where we were welcomed with two complimentary night stays in a cabin!! Big thank you to the campground for keeping our caravan plugged in all weekend and being so generous by giving us a complimentary cabin!

Pub dinner and a soft bed! We moved the caravan next to the cabin for convenience and are now ready for a rest day. Eleanor is bussing out to Busselton at 6am, we are very sorry to see her go. Looking forward to others joining us down the track!
First time at night we had TV news (and awful the news was too) and first time in months I slept without my sleeping bag!

Now we need to resupply and get ready for five long walking days (incl. one 25+). AND we still need to find someone to help us move the caravan from Pemberton to Donnelly River! HELP :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Skippyfeed

Kangaroos getting fed at Around Tuit caravan park in Northcliffe. You'll have to click on the facebook link to see the pics!

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Great day, good company, and steak!...

Re-stocked and a little rested, away we drove from Walpole to Northcliffe on Anzac Day to rejoin the track... Past the blackened forests and into the sanctuary of Roundtu-it Eco caravan park with western grey kangaroos, 28's (parrots), bronzed winged pigeons, alpacas, rabbits and importantly, no mice and a glorious hot shower. Marilyn cooked a very nice (vegetarian even!) Mexican meal for dinner to boot!

Up early to see the roo's get some 'skippy feed' we soon set off for campsite Schafer in the North escorted, no less, by Sam the resident dog to where the trail picked up. Beautiful day, lots of sunshine, greener pastures, cattle, emus in the distance, black cockatoos, another set of unidentifiable animal prints and a footwear swap for Walter (unbelievably he's now hiking in those toe shoes!!).

Only a 12 or so km day saw us into camp early for lunch at 1pm, and we waited for wally's mate Chris from Perth to join us for dinner with steak and bourbon (Dahl for me tonight...)! Of course Walter predicted his arrival time within 4 mins. He will sleep the night after kindly moving the caravan to Pemberton and hiking 5kms in to meet us.

I couldn't resist a swim in the chilly dam then starting a fire with embers to warm up again. The sun still shines, the birds are chirping. It's a beautiful day...

El, your guest blogger.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Big Tingle Trees...



From the Frankland River it was only a skip and a jump (of 16.1km...) to the caravan which we were to meet at Walpole. The caravan park was actually at Coalmine Beach just before it.

We walked past the Giant Tingle tree with a deck around it to protect its roots from trampling tourists. Decades ago people parked their car inside for photos...

All sorts of strange mushrooms are now growing on the track too. At the last view point where we had lunch only 5km from the end a friendly Canberra couple offered to take our packs down and I had to give it some serous thought before coming to my senses :)

Our caravan had not quite made it yet when we arrived, but arrived soon after. Mike the manager at the Coalmine Beach caravan park was very sympathetic to our cause and gave us a favorable rate and a huge space for the caravan where we didn't have to unhook it from the car (we like that!).

Walpole Town centre was not far away, and we walked the 3-4kms along the Bib track to the local pub for a beer and a meal. Sure enough we meet the managers of the competing campground in town :) - also very nice people. When we left the pub we were told the police were on the lookout for us and would pick us up if they saw us walking home along the dark highway. A ute with a friendly couple beat them to it.

A comfy sleep in the caravan and Eleanor was stowed away in her MSR tent as per usual :), Laundry today and a relocation to Northcliffe.

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Treewalk

Today we were banking on cappuccino in a cafe at the commercial Giants Treetop walk, where they have built large walkways in the tree canopies of the Tingle forest. So after breakfast in the Giants hut with Kerry and Terry we headed off for the half hour walk to the cafe.

Turned out the café was a coffee machine and the iced coffee came from the same fridge as the soft drinks etc. Delicious none the less! Marilyn and Eleanor did the tree walk while I used a scant phone signal to call Ree at home. The internet didn't even sent my important email nor post my blogs :( that'll have to wait till we get proper reception again.

Lovely walk along an undulating terrain, lunch in a brook, walked along Brainy Cutoff road and down to Frankland River. Crossed the river at a closed bridge and technically followed the river to the Frankland River hut. There we met veteran E2Ex4+ Kim from Perth. He's just out on a wander, roughly heading towards Denmark but in no particular hurry.

Eleanor attempted a river wash, I discovered my tentative dates on the schedule are terribly out as I forgot to add a day to the schedule for rest days... See how say Pemberton arrival date for instance is the same as the rest day... Will have to revise that SOON, as soon as I get internet and time.

Anyways, tomorrow we will find the caravan in Walpole and restock! The next day we will drive past the closed/burned and burning (apparently control burns) sections.

Photos will appear on Facebook when we have internet access.

Friday, April 24, 2015

more photos on Facebook :)

Photos on the #Bibbulmun near the Giants Campsite now on Facebook...

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Tingle trees and Giant campground


After an eventful night with mice we headed off at 8am for our 18km hike away from the coast. 

But let's talk mice...
We noticed a curious mouse sizing up the situation within minutes of arriving at the Rames Head hut. Even saw two mice scurrying from my backpack pocket duting briad daylight. Fantastic views over the ocean incidentally.

Before bed we hung up our bags on the steel rods in the ceiling and put most our food in the plastic containers provided. We went to bed and I felt mice running over me (at least three times over my head). At midnight after Marilyn had been watching half a dozen mice do acrobats hanging off the hanging backpacks and hanging food bags I got up to take preventative action. A frog was sitting guard next to my bed (they live around the rainwater tank). A pee, a muesli bar and a salami stick with my midnight antibiotic gave me the idea to squash the hanging food bags into the plastic containers and throw the mice a bribe. A good size of mountain bread seemed to feed the resident  rodents  and they didn't bother us for the rest of the night.

Anyways, we headed off. On Conspicuous Beach, the last beach for today we met Russell and his folks fishing the surf. We watched him land a salmon and he offered it to us. A 4kg fish was not viable for us and he released it. But we did get three fillets from his last fish to take with us!

Soon we headed up and up and up and the landscape changed from black boys and heath to flowering red gums and in the end Tingle and Karri trees. We headed up a big hill and arrived at the Giants campsite (read hut and tent spots).

Kerry and Terry hiking in the opposite direction also arrived and we had a pleasant afternoon at the hut. The fish was cooked and mixed in with Lamb Fetecini making it an interesting and nutritious dinner for tonight. We are about to eat :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gear Failure and Miracles




The French Canadians woke up in their tent outside, Greg woke up in his tent set up inside the hut, and Marilyn woke up in her Hammock with fly screen. I woke up with all the flying insects in the world around me.  Tonight Eleanor may bring me a fly screen hat to cover me at bight.

First thing I wrestled with my sleeping bag zipper which has lately been playing up a bit. Mountain Hardware is a great brand, I shouldn't have trouble with that!

We got on our way, were Farewelled by the  roos and headed into the snake infested dunes. The snakes all seem to pose no threat to us. Great way to get rid of fobias! They are so fast you can hardly take photos if them. One baby copperhead to frightened to move we captured in a photo. Lots of ups and downs and a fierce sun shining down upon us. As we were advised about this time of year, it can get hot!

When we reached Quarram Beach I had just finished my Kamelpak. Still had a bottle of water for our lunchtime soup, but I had forgotten to refill it this morning. Right there as we entered the beach a friendly Fishing couple topped me up with rainwater they had plumbed into their 4WD. Great rescue!
Then my sole suddenly separated from my boot. Quality Merrel light hikers with well under 1000kms on them over two years.... again most unlikely event. I tried tying my shoe with rope to prevent more sole separating we still had 15kms or more to go today. At least we are heading for the caravan today!!

We got to the rowboats across the inlet, and were surprised at how big and heavy they were. We had to lift them from the boat house into the water and row about 100m across the inlet. We had heard it was a tiny crossing you could wade across, but I was glad we had the rowboats! As we were going against the usual direction of hikers we decided we didn't need to do a boat juggle ti leave enough boats on each side. We left 4 on the side people were coning from next and two where we came from.

As we are slow and knew no one was walking behind us from the logbooks and huts we were confident this was a good thing to do. In all reality we should have each taken a rowboat as we exceeded the maximum safe load by a small margin. There was no wind or waves and we wore the  life jackets provided...

From the other side we had a relatively quick walk into Peaceful Bay. Snake variety changed from copperheads to tigers, and we saw one suspected red bellied black snake.
Just before the campsite I received a message from Eleanor to say she made it, and we found her and caravan without any trouble. No phone reception to speak of here, except the occasional one minute flash of signal...

Great seeing Eleanor! We had assumed she got here before 9am and expected she'd walk along the track or beach to find us during the day...  but she had missed her flight in Perth due to  there being different terminals.... Two other women were stranded in the same fashion and somehow they all managed to find a car to give them a 6hr lift to Albany! From there she hitched on to Denmark to pick up the van and just got there before us. A miracle I think! We had a fantastic meal at the Peaceful Bay Campsite, complete with hone caught fish and Vegie burgers.

Tomorrow we hike on with Eleanor in tow!
PS Eleanor didn't get around to getting me a fly screen hat :) I'll get one tomorrow from the camp shop! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Boat Harbour Hut

It seems we are E2E SN hikers on the trail. End to end from South to North. We were warned by the veterans last night that today's 21km would be a fair effort. And so it was. Plenty of beach walking, a bunch of what we believe to be copperhead snakes slithering out of our way. Up and down many soft sandy paths. The last beach we even took our shoes off and waded through the surf. I classified that as my weekly wash.

We ran into Boobialla from Brisbane with her man. She is a Hash House Harrier originally from Chardonnay Hash in Hobart! The two had met at Hobart Interhash in 2000 (?). Small world. We recognized the t-shirts. I am walking in my Launy Hash shorts every day.  

Along the beaches we ran into a bunch of friendly people, some with dogs, some with surfing kids, some fishing...and some volunteers cleaning campsite BBQs... So many nice people in this world.

All beaches we came past had 4WD access and hence all beaches had lots if tyre tracks. Near the Parry Beach campsite we saw dozens and dozens of cars on the beach with mostly surfers and fishermen. One point we saw a dozen big salmon washed up dead in the sand :( What's the story there??

At the Boar Harbour hut we found Greg from Adelaide and two French Canadian young hikers, Rafael and Mathilda. All heading South. Only Greg in the hut with us, in his mozzyproof tent, the others cozily sharing a tent outside!

Tomorrow we rendezvous with Eleanor!!! And tomorrow we have to row a boar across a small inlet, unless we choose the Beach option. Anyways, 703pm here at Boat Harbour Hut in WA, everyone asleep, bedtime!





Sunday, April 19, 2015

Back on the Bib


This morning we reluctantly left the caravan with fully stuffed packs. We discarded items we didn't use and brought things we thought might cone in handy. A shopping day yielded us ample stock cubes for hot drinks. Beef, chicken and vegetable stock - none apparently contain meat!

First challenge for today  was the 300m Mount Halliwell (?) After which it all looked relatively flat. It wasn't really and lots was on sandy tracks.

At lunch, on a bench near a public beach access, we ran into Ann, a cyclist heading towards Adelaide and a few other nice people just enjoying the day. Wild seas (5m apparently, and we later heard two fisherman drowned after getting swept off rocks :( ).  Smashing white foam over the rocks and beaches prompted the older male to say he wished he'd brought his surfboard. I'd die in there for sure lol.

Very weary we showed up at the Williams Bay hut which we found full! A ten year old was celebrating his birthday there, a group of four mums and four kids. Also just arrived and exhausted were John and Bruce, 68 and 73 yrs old no less!
The party had driven in some supplies including booze and cake and had walked in from a nearby access point... We were kindly  offered some food and cake. 

Somehow I don't think we'll be asleep at 7am tonight... Ree's dehydrated beef stroganoff still tasted delicious with the instant mashed potatoes, sitting on the outside bench.

One of my meds leaked... Not sure which one, but it made a bit of a mess. Anyways, better go do my neb session with my book squashed in our little place in the hut.

NB camp was perfectly quiet after 8pm! Kids on best behavior :)
 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Support Eleanor on our Everyday Hero Page

Eleanor is flying in from Brisbane next Monday to walk some of the Bibbulmun with us. She is much fitter than Marilyn and myself so she may not stick with us the entire week, but she is coming and even relocating the caravan for us.  This is what Eleanor wrote on her everyday hero page, please support her!
https://give.everydayhero.com/au/eleanor-5
____________
Walter is an amazing person. You just have to meet him to know what I mean. And it's not only because of his fundraising efforts for CF including riding from Paris to Istanbul (2007), climbing a mountain in Borneo (2010), riding an electric bike from Vietnam to Singapore (2012), walking the El Camino in Spain (2013) and now riding and hiking from Melbourne to Perth... It's because, well, his attitude to life really.
The Walter I know is humble, optimistic, ballsy, curious, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants organised, will make you laugh 'til you cry funny, lover of love and is always finding himself in crazy stupid laughable situations. He has good days and bad days but is thankful for every day he's got.
So I'm helping Walter spread his 'Walter-ego' attitude and raise CF and organ donor awareness as he traverses across our continent with less than half the lung capacity as myself.
So if you can spare a buck or two or three or twenty and donate to Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania (Walter lives there) it will go a long way in the hearts of every person living with CF, and especially our Wally.
____________
DONATE TO Cystic Fibrosis VIA ELEANOR's Coughing4CF page;
https://give.everydayhero.com/au/eleanor-5

Boston Brewery in Denmark treat

Boston Brewery sounded fantastic and our weary eyes just read 3.5km towards town.... After walking 5km into dark forests along a bike path we ran a cab for the next 13kms or so. We had misread the sign.. But we had great pizza and beers before cabbing it back.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wilson's Inlet and the Seasonal Sandbar to Denmark



We completed the first stage to Denmark! Leaving Nullaki hut this morning I was feeling strong and led us at 5kmphr towards and along the Wilson inlet. This is a private wilderness apparently, fenced in even! We passed a few exclusive wilderness homes and eventually came to a mini Bib hut where we expected to find info on the seasonal sandbar we had to cross to get to Denmark.

Apparently the Bibbulmun officially breaks at the inlet and you resume on the other side. On many occasions in huts and online we were offered phone numbers of expensive ferries and taxis but there was always a vague mention of a seasonal sandbar you could walk or wade across. However the info was always vague, even on the maps. Often we read you had to call CALM (?) or contact Parks and Wildlife with no phone numbers mentioned. In Albany we had met with a ranger and him nor his office could really help us re sandbar nor fire affected areas.

We were determined to walk the sandbar and read we would find more info in the huts as we came nearer. This last hut again had no info except to warn about danger of crossing when under water. I made an attempt to find CALM on the internet and called a random number that Google brought up. The lady was affiliated with some closely related cause and advised us it was 'closed' - meaning closed to boats and hence walkable.

We walked on following the Bibbulmun waugi signs and stopped at a weekend shack where we had Marilyn's rehydrated curried pumpkin soup. According to instructions we had found we took a little road after we were re-energised and followed it till it came to an unexpected fork. We took the main track ... It petered out into a walking track and then got us stuck into thick bush. The GPS showed we were right on track to the crossing point but we couldn't penetrate the bush.

Marilyn discovered a scraping branch had ripped her car/caravan keys out off and off her pack. They were gone (not mission critical fortunately). Using the GPS we retraced our steps back to the fork and only then noticed the remains of someone's attempt at putting an arrow down in sticks.


We followed the correct track till that too petered out into marsh and tall grasses. Bib signs had stopped. Managing to follow human trails for another kilometer or two we navigated to the seasonal sandbar. We seriously tried very hard to tread on snakes but we saw none. Lots of bird life! Cornarands, pelicans, ibisis and swans,...



At the sandbar we saw people splashing in the shallow water of the Wilson Inlet, a boat with people fishing, civilization! The sandbar was hundreds of meters wide and only because it was a shortcut to the campground and refreshing as well we choose to wade across the inlet. It was about 3pm. Most impressed to find our caravan there we headed for showers and decided to treat ourselves to dinner in town. We walked 21kms and averaged 4.8kmphr. It was mostly flat :) Restday coming up!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nullaki Hut on the Bib



No phone signal at all last night at the West Cape Howe Hut. I stood on the various picnic tables and Marilyn even climbed up to an adjoining lookout. We slept for our usual 12hrs with mozzies buzzing me night and day (Jo had even offered me her mozzy hat head protector before she left last week and which i refused...).

Left around 9am for what turned out to be a 17.7km walk to the Nullaki Hut. Marilyn saw a black snake slither out of our path before noon, our first sighting!

Though it looked like it was mostly downhill it certainly wasn't and we walked at only a casual pace of 3.8kmphr. Nice day today, ants out in full force, overcast with some sun thrown in, nice views... Plenty of breaks, even made some soup for lunch.

When we arrived at Nullaki about 3pm we found phone reception! Bonus! Made contact and finalised arrangements with Eleanor who is joining us for a week later on. Tomorrow we are crossing a seasonal sandbar to Denmark. Let's hope we won't need to swim! But we should find our caravan at the Great Ocean Beach caravan park waiting for us!!! We are due a restday if we get across the Wilson Inlet tomorrow.

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West Cape Howe



Walking along the Bibbulmun track across the West Cape Howe national park was very wet and windy, but pretty awesome nonetheless! Here are some photos. If you are reading this on the blog you won't see all the photos here and if you are reading this on Facebook go read the blog as well at www.Coughing4CF.com :)

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Wildlife!

Last night at Torbay hut we met the resident Bandicoot. Looked twice the size of the ones we get in Devonport, which I am sure is directly promotional to hikers food availability.

In the morning we left 8am, nice and early for our 17,5km walk to West Cape Howe. We saw two big lizards (blue tongue?) And a few curious roos who were not deterred by the awful rain and wind. We hiked up and down the lowly forested hills with great cape views and almost got blown off the track a few times. We stopped to boil a billy at noon which turned out to be lunch as there was no real shelter anywhere else and we arrived at the hut pretty cold, wet and tired around 230pm.

The GPS reports we walked for 4.5hrs, squandered about 2hrs and averaged 3.9kmphr when we were moving. Total ascent over 500m, though we never really got much over the 200m mark - it was hilly.

I'll post the animal photos and others to Facebook when I get reception again...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Torbay Hut



Day three on the Bibbulmun track for us! Had a stormy night, and heard the toilet door near the camp shaking. Toilets on the trail are provided by individual donors who are noted on the toilet doors, Mutton Bird's was donated by the canberra bush walkers. We comfortably covered 14.1kms today, slightly missed the track due to an invite by a rogue camper Mike who made us espresso coffee and kept us entertained for an hour :) Walked through numerous spiderwebs again, saw no snakes, had about 4kms of beach walking, saw a bunch of people but no other hikers yet. Found one drowned kangaroo. We have passed all the wind turbines too, and there are slowly disappearing in the horizon behind us. Scattered rains are following us but they did provide a nice rainbow for us. Still wearing the same cotton T-shirt.... New five finger sticks every day!

Funny thing today was we gave a little zip lock bag if garbage to a kind man with a vehicle. A kilometer later we saw our first public bin. Could have kept our precious zip lock bag lol. Actually we have a few as the dehydrated meals we brought all come in two of them....

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Coughy for Wally?

Was up last night (during my 12hr sleep) thinking people who have a café should offer a Coughy for Wally and be charged an additional dollar which the café donates weekly to our everyday hero page or directly to their state CF Association. Was thinking we need to increase the donations somehow as we are seriously behind our goal!

Anyways, this is a Facebook entry;


Here are some photos of the first two days out of Albany. If you are reading this on the blog make sure to click on the facebook link to see the pics and if you're reading this on our FB timeline make sure to read the stories on www.Coughing4CF.com!!

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Muttonbird Hut

Seasoned hikers we are, we fell asleep by 7pm and reappeared about 730am ready for the day. Shortly after 10am we (I!) Had our act together and left the Sandpatch campsite. No rush, only 12.7kms today.

Still sore from the previous day we were not bothered by any delays ír excuses to slow down or take packs off. So we stopped to put raincoats on, take them off, on again, people walking their dog, an Indian group of tourists whom we were totally invisible to it seemed, we walked through many spiderwebs and saw lits of ants, one flew into my face somehow and bit me under my eye! Bit sore at the time but long gone now.
Got to the Muttonbird hut absolutely done for. Carrying our backpacks 12.7kms at 4kmphr on fairly level ground should not be this hard. We will slowly beef up the distances as we gain fitness and eat food from our pack.

I did a recount of gas canisters and discovered I don't have a spare one, I have a spare two... No wonder my pack is sooo heavy.

Dark at 6pm here... Sun up at about 630am. Catching up on beauty sleep!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Earlybirds get the Rain

Can't rely on anything these days. We planned to start the Bib hike on Sunday, secretly do the first five kilometers on Friday... and Saturday we went stir crazy in the rain and thought we could hike out to a halfway point!

And so we left the caravan a day early in the trustful hands of Jo at the Lilacs Cottages in Albany and headed out for our first sub 10km hike!

Last night Marilyn and I  ended up at Sandpatch hut in the rain and ate our first dehydrated meal (thanks Ree!). The packs felt awfully heavy and we were glad not to have to walk too far as our bodies get adjusted to hiking.

Thursday we will arrive at Ocean Beach caravan park in Denmark, Friday will be a restsday and Saturday we will hike in the direction of Walpole. 

ANY VOLUNTEERS ABLE TO DRIVE OUR CARAVAN/CAR TO WALPOLE?? If you are able to help on this leg please SMS Walter on 0417-067460. Phone reception is sketchy on the Bibbulmun but we'll ring you back :)
Up and at them!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Looking for volunteers living along the Bibbulmun track!

If you live near the Bibbulmun Track in WA or know someone who does, we need your help!

As you know we have a car with caravan which contains supplies and medicine. We need to find people who can help us drive our car with caravan from one Bib Track access point to the next.

We found some very kind people who are helping us bring the caravan from Albany to Denmark next Thursday, and we now need to find someone to take the caravan from there to Walpole five days later... And so on.  If you think you can help anywhere along the Bib please email caravan@coughing4cf.com or leave a message on 0417067460.

Our tentative dates are here: proposed-hiking-dates.
To see exactly where we are you can click here: share.findmespot.com

We would love to have people meet us for the rest-days. Anyone who likes to walk along with us please do!

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Unofficially Started the Bib!



Well, would you believe it, we snuck in our first part of the hike, which means we have unofficially started! After visiting various people and getting some more press, buying current maps and checking on burned out closed sections we walked from the official starting point back to our accommodation at Lilacs. Lilacs Cottages - www.lilacs.net.au - are about four kilometers up along the track. Good thing we had bought current maps and I brought an umbrella as we got rained upon and we got lost. Not seriously lost as the track pretty much followed the water anyways, and we had a map, but enough for a giggle. Tomorrow is thus technically a rest day and Sunday we don our heavy packs for the first full day of hiking.

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Lilacs Holiday Cottage Break in Albany

Chris came to visit us and treated us to a few nights in the lovely Lilacs Holiday Cottages - www.lilacs.net.au. totally spoiled we were! He then also drive Jo back to Perth for her flight today! Here is my last team photo for the end of the ride :(


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Thursday, April 9, 2015

ALBANY!: End of riding start of hiking!



We made it to Albany! A kangaroo visited the caravan before we left, my mate Chris found us 30 odd kilometers away from Albany,... And now we are all safely stowed away in a comfy cottage adjoining the Bibbulmun track after a few games of Uno and a few well deserved refreshments that included a Margaret river Shiraz and a pink Champagne....

Tomorrow some press engagements :) and  packing up bikes and looking for volunteers along the Bibbulmun track to help us with caravan relocations between access points, maps and date planning.... We need to firm up dates and plans so those wishing to join us can have definitive dares and places to meet us!!

The Aseako electric assist bikes did a great job and I will miss riding mine everyday... Two punctures between three bikes was also excellent over 3600+kms, especially given we ran some rail trails and some other rough surfaces - like jumping into the gravel when the occasional truck passed at high speed :)



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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

T minus 1 day

Today was our second last day. Very sad to think the cycling part is almost over as I know I am happy and comfortable cycling, and I know the hiking will be hard on me. No electricity or creature comforts at night, sore shoulders from backpack,... And more importantly wondering if we will find good Samaritans to volunteer take charge of our support caravan and take it from one access point on the  Bibbulmun to the next, and if we will find the van and if my medicine will stay cold,...

So this morning we left our comfy caravan after re-fixing the flat I fixed yesterday... I still couldn't find the cause of the puncture but it was in much the same place :( . We departed from the Ravensthorpe caravan park and headed West with the wind (yeah!) for 116kms of ups and down. A caravan stopped for us and gave us a donation and had a nice chat, some weird alien agricultural equipment went past, we saw many melons grow alongside the road (apparently not edible), lots of birds including a small flock of tiny lime green parrots.

Jo and I saw a sign for the rabbit proof fence road, so rabbit proof fences are obviously real and the Great Wall in China may well be to keep the rabbits out...

During the ride I got some phone coverage and used it to call my mate Chris re accommodation and a few contacts and made final preparations for Albany, including aligning an ABC radio interview for Thursday! We will aim at arriving at 4pm on Wednesday at the Albany Tourist  Information center which marks the end/start of the Bibbulmun track! I hope we make it in time and if late hope they will see where we are on the Spot map. I am getting threats to my (love) life to get a Telstra SIM for my phone as my Aldi phone SIM has been out of action from the SA Eyre peninsula pretty much - despite supposedly using the Telstra network. I might have to succumb as my Aldi SIM is laughing stock at the moment as much as I like them normally :(   It covered me everywhere in Tassie/NSW/ACT/VIC so why not in SA/WA?? Anyways.... Tomorrow is our last day of riding!!!!

Oh, and a bee flew into my helmet and stung me as I was riding :) Small headache for maybe an hour. Not allergic :)

Countdown...

Time flies, and we only have three cycling days left before Jo leaves UA and Marilyn and I start hiking the Bibbulmun track... We had a large day ahead of us and tried to leave early. But as we said our goodbyes to the friendly Bathers Paradise Caravan Park staff and residents one noted that Marilyn's bike had a flat. That's right folks, first flat marked the end of our Adelaide rest day, and now our second flat was times with the end of our Esperance rest day. Convenient to fix at the caravan park. I made sure the patch was on the puncture and we took off after also helping Jo get the caravan hooked up.
Marilyn and I rode the first 70+ kilometers and ran into an abandoned and lost little lamb. We called into the nearby farmhouses and reported it. Sad to see a bleating lost lamb.
The wind was blowing strongly in our favour which was fortunate as we had 189 kilometers across hilly terrain. In fact my GPS noted we had a grand total ascend of over 1000m today. We flew down the hills but also flew up them with electric assist and a 20kmph wind behind us.
Along the way we gave an enthusiastic man a go at the Aseako bike and he had the hugest grin on his face and did two laps around us. Jo had given him full power assist :)
We spotted some emus, life kangaroos and a couple of black eagles today and arrived at 6pm just when it started getting too dark to ride.
Tomorrow a small 116km ride and Wednesday after a 179km ride we arrive into Albany about 4pm I'd say!! May need to make a caravan booking!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rest day at Esperance






 Today was our second rest day of the trip. We left the caravan at the Bathers Paradise camp ground in Esperance whilst we drove the car to Cape Le Grand National Park. It was cold and windy really, so the drive and the scenes were really nice without having to spend too much time in the elements! Tomorrow we'll be in the elements no doubt when we cycle one of our hardest days of the ride perhaps.... We were most impressed with Frenchman's Peak which has a natural bridge on top through which you can see the sky as you drive by. We loved the few kangaroos on Lucky Beach, the white sand, the rocks at Hellfire Bay, and before returning to camp we walked the pier of Esperance which is due for destruction in the next few years... Noodle Marinara was cooked by our latest besties Luigi and Denise, and we brought along a bottle of Tasmanian Jansz Champagne

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Good Friday

Well here we are, Salmon Gums Community Caravan Park. Marilyn and i ride 50kms through rain to Dundas Rocks, and Jo the second half. The last few days have been tossups between 100 or 200km days, and we wisely choose the 100km options. Today however we perhaps wished we had chosen the 200 (make that 210km) option as it is a lovely day and it was mostly downhill/wind. Instead we ended up at this friendly campground where we thought we'd spend Good Friday with a pub meal if the hotel was open at night. Not only is it closed tonight, it looks like there is no alcohol available in this little town at all! We did spot a presidential caravan which dwarfed Jo. I'm sure they had a keg on tap...

On the way we stopped for a stranded car with kiwis who had a cracked radiator. My Aldiphone was out of range but Jo came to the rescue for them. Glad we could help.

Tomorrow we go into Esperance (110kns away downhill) for the Easter weekend and we had booked it quite a few days ago which wasn't quite early enough to book the Easter weekend at Bathers Paradise  Caravan Park, our chosen destination because Luigi & Co (friends from the Nullarbor) . Fortunately we lucked out and got a cancelation in the end, but the chances of barging in unexpected on Good Friday, a day early, was going to be out of the question. Hence Salmon Gums is good for Good Friday.

Fortunately the people at the campground are all friendly and we found an adventurous man (Colin) who had a go on one of our Aseako bicycles! No one so far has been game to have a go. Kudos to Colin  :). The camp warden even supplied us with some wine, and told us the pub is often closed anyways, and Good Friday may not have had much to do with it not being open tonight.

Incidentally the last bought meal we had planned at Fraser Range sheep station was aborted as it was too late for us and we had cooked, eaten, and fallen over well before the station meal was served. Our body clocks may still be on eastern summer time...!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Jo's View


What an amazing experience this is... I never thought I would ever do something like this... Every day we get up and go... 100 ks is easy now... I love looking at the stories the road side tells us.... The trees change all the time... The weather is ok to no head winds.. I wish the trucks would move over a bit more.. Mist have been great.. Just a couple have pushed us off the road... 

Wally is so healthy and happy.. .. He cooked steak tonight.. Yum.. No wally moments today just of wally stories... 

Caravans have a great way of communicating I found out when I lost the guys on the Nullarbor straight... Whoops.... 
The bum is great... Lol

If I had listened to all the stories that scared me I would still be at home... So I wish to encourage all my friends to go do something amazing for some one or something.. It will give you more happiness... 
Life is awesome. Live it....xxx jo jo

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rest day? Sure felt like it!

I made a little mistake in my last blog entry and told a little fiib on our Facebook page. I thought we were scheduled to ride 191/kms to Norseman today, and the forecast was for rain, storms and lightning... with tailwind. This was wrong, both destination and forecast. The set schedule had us visit the Fraser Range free range sheep Station, a couple of kilometers off the road 90 kilometers up the Fraser range (400m).

Due to knobbly knees and barely recovered from yesterday's big ride we didn't get moving till a very leisurely 9am. We split the ride between two batteries and easily rode up the Fraser range foothills and up to Newman's Rock. The sign into the dirt road leading to it was gone but we all managed to find it. No explanation on its significance, but it seemed like a large flat rock overlooking the Western Woodlands that we had come up from. Run a Wiki search later :)

And before you know it we got to the turnoff for the Fraser Range Station, two kilometers of nicely corrugated dirt road which made Jo smile, saying she had never come this way before. Not sure what she meant as I had never been here either.

Turns out it is a bit of a tourist attraction, with a kitchen cooking meals for us, station tours, a range of accommodation options AND we got a water connection for the caravan!  Friendly busy staff wondering around the beautiful Bougainvillea  gardens (followed by bleating lambs) and farm artifacts (some of which I recognized...).

Apparently there is beer with dinner at reasonable prices ($4 apparently), so we are enjoying the afternoon off and will have the station dinner for a treat. We have run out of fresh stiff as the quarantine station was many days ago.

PS. You want to know the little fib I wrote on Facebook? Since its April Fool's Day I said we cycled overnight through rain and lighting to Albany and are starting the Bibbulmuntrack tomorrow. Some people fell for it...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools Joke....

Sorry everyone... This was an April Fools joke!
We are a few dats agead if schedule though and will be spending Easter in Esperance :)

Expected Albany arrival either Wednesday or Thursday after Easter!

Here is the original article:

We didn't like the campsite last night, and so we decided to push on and on... all night through rain and lightning and are in Albany already! Making good time! We'll sleep all day today and tonight and will be starting the 1000km Bibulmun track with full backpacks tomorrow morning! Who would've thought!

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