BT Day 2: Muttonbird to West Cape Howe 51km (33km)

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Day two, the day of second thoughts. It always is. With a tired and sore body, new aches to get accustomed, it isn’t easy to get going.

One of the downfalls on being fixed to sleeping in shelters is you can’t choose your house guests and you can be guaranteed there is a loud snorer in the mix. I copped it all bloody night for a restless first night sleep. Eager to get going I was up at first light and away by 7am as the sun was rising. It’s the best part of any day.

The first few kilometres came easy enough but the walking was tough. Sand all morning and a sign of things to come for the next days. Up and over many sand hills with loose sand for the uphill sections. Leading onto some open beach walking it was even harder. Long flat stretches in soft sand with lots of 4WDs about. All the compacted sand close to the water was constantly being washed by surf so there was no choice but to walk higher up in the soft stuff. I tried following in the wheel tracks of the 4WDs where it is a bit more compacted but the traffic comes up behind real quick and have to keep their momentum going to prevent themselves getting bogged. Hard on the feet and legs for sure. Calves screaming. It is only Day 2 and I’m accustomed to how hard day 2 usually is.

I arrived at Torbay Shelter at 11:30. Not quite lunch, not quite morning tea. A quick snack and opportunity to rest the legs I was back at it. It’s way too early to finish for the day so off to the next shelter it was, another 15km away. I didn’t think 15km would take that long but the afternoon wound on and on. Way different to the mileage I’d come to expect from the PCT. Much slower on the Bibb, at least for now.

Loving all the different vegetation. A bit late in the season for the wildflower display that WA is known for. Still much to appreciate.

More intermittent rain through the afternoon saw the trusty umbrella come out in conjunction with the rain jacket. The game of on again, off again ensued as the rain came and went, never lasting too long but too hot to be walking in a jacket. Sections of the trail were tough. Long overgrown sections.

West Cape Shelter was a welcome sight around 4:30pm and a chance to put the feet up. I missed the photo opportunity but it hangs in my mind – a huge rainbow spread right across the ocean on arriving at the shelter.

There as an older couple in their 60’s already there, seasoned hikers who have been around the traps so the conversation flowed freely around over dinner before they went to bed. A younger women came in just after dark but given that the older couple were tucked away we didn’t chat much, just the odd quiet whisper as she prepared her dinner by torch light.

Everyone seems to pitch their tent inners, inside under the shelters which I thought was weird until I worked out it was for mozzies. Luckily I have a mozzie net separate from my shelter as my shelter is not free standing, using my hiking poles as tent poles and would be a challenge to set up

With no book, only a small head lamp running off watch batteries and wanting to save my phone charge as it is my primary means of navigation, not much conversation and not much else to do I hit the hay as well. 11 hours of rest to look forward to, just what the body needs. I dozed off in no time.

Half a shelter full and no snorers! I could here mice scampering around all night, another downfall of shelters – they attract rodents and mozzies. Luckily I had hung my pack on a really thin line from the rafters and there was no chance they could get to any of my food.

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