A short but great day.
Everyone in the shelter had the same idea today – get an early start and beat the forecast heavy rains. No need to sneak out of the shelter to pack up, everyone was up around 5am for a 6am start. This included Roadkill who had some concerns about navigating across the open granite tops by head torch and opted for a later start than usual . These can be difficult to navigate across in daylight so good decision I reckon.
By 6am we are all off. Roadkill first, Gillian second. I was last out the gate.
I tell you what can Gillian walk. It took me a good hour to catch and overtake her.
It was flat ground to start with and I motored along, pushing hard today with the ambitious aim of reaching Monadnocks by midday. Most of the heavy rain were forecast around then.
Single track turned into powerline for a short period before switching back to single track for a climb up and over Mt Cooke. It was my kind of trail. Rocky, steep and technical. Perfect for staying warm in the bitterly cold wind.
Up on top I was treated with another amazing view all round. Granite boulders strewn across the hillsides. I wish much more if the Bibbulmun was like this.
The winds were strong and knocking me about. Luckily the rains hadn’t started yet. I kept moving while the going was good. The top of Mt Cooke was no place to hang about in such conditions. Plus I had two more similar hills to get up and over.
Dark low clouds blanketed the surrounding skies and showers could be seen all round. The rains would start any time.
Shooting down the backside of Mt Cooke it was a straight forward run on single track to the Mt Cooke shelter. I was there by 9am, more than halfway for the day and well on track to meet my goal today.
Moving on the skies darkened to a deeper shade of grey and the showers started. Time for the rain gear to come out but way too windy for the umbrella today. Hot tip: I recently started attaching a small bulldog clip to the hood of my rain jacket and use it to secure my jacket hood to my cap – stops the jacket hood getting blown off in strong winds and saves constant adjustments to maintain sight lines.
The other two climbs were similar terrain to Mt Cooke, the tops being open granite slabs with little vegetation. Despite the rains the views were fantastic but nothing really worth capturing on camera in such conditions. Showers came and went, still nothing seriously heavy. I think this was the first time on this trip that I was walking in my rain gear and actually needing the extra warmth.
Two more climbs done and I had 3km to beat the heavier forecast rains to Monadnocks.
I made it to the shelter to find Roadkill stopped for a quick break. He was surprised to see that I’d caught him. We chatted for a while, both realising we had much in common and that we would have liked to talk some more but we each have different paths which wouldn’t cross again. He was determined press on rain, hail or shine. I was content with staying put for the day.
I’d already walked 25km and could easily have pushed onto the Canning shelter a further 16km given the time of day. I thought about it. Not for long though. I knew the forecast was terrible today. And that bitter wind wasn’t going to settle down. I’d met my goals for the day and was happy. I’d double hutted, made it Monadnocks by midday and beaten the worst of the rain.
Just as Roadkill departed north the skies opened with the real heavy stuff bucketing down hard. Good choice Mick!
I’ve less than 100km to go and it will take me about 3 days. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of days, a huge improvement on the Collie to Dwellingup section of track. I just wish there was much more of this type of trail right through from Albany instead of so much flat, view less, firetrail.
I spent the afternoon layered up and tucked up in my quilt, hot coffee in hand, staying warm and dry, passing time by writing, reading and listening to the rain beat down. No other place I’d rather be.
Later, Ben would arrive. A twenty something south bound end to ender only 4 days into his walk. We spend the later afternoon and evening talking all things gear and trail. My biggest piece of advice to him – don’t ever quit on the day you feel like quitting.
Monadnocks has a one of the best views out from a shelter, looking out towards Mt Vincent and Mt Cuthbert.