What a horrible day. This has to be the worst section along the entire Bibbulmun Track and I’m hoping is this not what the remaining portions of the track are like. If they are, there is no guarantee that I won’t just pull out and be done with it.
The only nice thing about today was the sunrise I caught while crossing an open flood plain. The brilliant orange and yellow hues of the rising sun fading to the deep blue and black of the night sky provided the perfect backdrop to silhouette plants as I walked by.
Not long after leaving camp a distant humming noise in the background became really obvious. It sounded like a busy freeway with constant traffic but I knew there was no such freeway with such traffic volume anywhere within cooee. What the hell was this? I’d find out later.
Around 10am I arrived at the Possum Springs camp site for a morning tea break, the distant hum still there and slightly louder.
Just about the whole day was spent on fire trails all the while in the trees and green corridors. Very little single track which was annoying, only the odd section linking firetrails together. The thing about walking on firetrails, while fast, it’s incredibly repetitive and increases foot injuries. On single track your feet and ankles are constantly changing position, using every muscle and loosening everything up. Firetrails just seem to work the same muscle groups over and over with no relief and seem to flatten my feet out more adding to my persistent plantar fasciitis issue.
Moving on from Possum Spring the distant background hum slowly grew in volume as I headed north and closer to the source, a 10km conveyor belt that transported bauxite from a nearby mine to a refinery. Obviously the cost of building a 10km long conveyor was less than expected transport costs by truck.
At lunch I found the perfect log for a quick rest and stretch the back out. One thing that is really obvious when out walking is how much time we spend hunched over on trail. Even at camp, we cook hunched over stoves and sit around campfires hunched over while sitting on stumps. Any sort of backrest while sitting is relished.
The whole afternoon was spent on more fire-trails and not just standard fire trails, I’m taking shitty mud filled bog holes, the type that four wheel drivers like to use as challenge tracks, seeing how far they can push their beasts through the quagmire before having to winch themselves out. It seems like the laziest pieced together 8km section of the Bibb ever. All the while following the brilliant Murray River with naught but a glimpse at the damn thing. Through the afternoon I was praying the Bibb would shift tact and actually take us along the river but it never happened. The only real views of the river where when crossing over a swing bridge to the opposite bank late in the afternoon.
It was a big day at 40km but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Single hutting through this section and only doing 20km a day would have been a waste of two days in my view, both boring as hell. Better to get it done in a single push.
I got to Dookanally late in the day with just enough daylight left to get my gear sorted out. Soon enough the head torch had to come out.
From the Dookanally shelter the conveyor could still be herd. That is to say 15-20km either side of the damn thing it could be heard. No wilderness experience through this section. Talk about noise pollution.
The big bonus of the day is that according to Guthook I’ve reached the 700km mark!