BT Day 34: Monadnocks to Mt Dale 889.5km (33.3km)

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A very wet day with some crazy people on track.

My phone battery is around 40% and needs to last the next two days. My battery bank is at one bar which might get near one full charge closer towards Kalamunda. For these reasons I’ve been switching my phone off completely to save some juice. Just before doing so for the day though I did have 4G coverage and checked the forecast. It was going to be really wet all day.

It bucketed down all night and I was always going to get, just a matter of when. There was nothing else to do but dive head long into the weather this morning as it was bot going to clear anytime soon. Out in the dark and in the rain.

My steps were light and small initially, getting use to the limited visibility and feeling the way on slippery ground. Limited not just by the dark morning sky and tiny footprint of my head lamp but by the rain and my steaming breath reflecting back light from my torch.

Within 5 minutes it was like standing underneath a waterfall. Heavy rain bouncing off my umbrella in thick streams and near soaking my rain layers. Warm and dry for the most part underneath. Shoes and socks saturated in no time.

The rain came and went all day switching from thick, heavy stuff to light and misty. At least it was warm. Quite a bit different to yesterday. The bitter cold winds were nowhere to be seen today, replaced by a warmish easterly. I guess that is the reason for the thunder storms.

The sun tried to poke through the clouds, never really making it.

It was just a head down under the umbrella, punching it out, keep moving forward kind of day. So much so I didn’t even take any photos today, nothing really capturing my attention in the gloomy weather. I’ll have to find a relevant photo to add to this post. A few small ups and downs to complete today, nothing remarkable although this would be my first triple hit, first to Canning, then Brockton and on to Mt Dale.

Around 8am, an hour before reaching Canning, I moved off the track to let a small school group past on the narrow trail. I must be getting closer to Perth. Now I thought I was mad to be out walking, this lot were in a sorry state. Absolutely drenched from lack of rain gear for the most part, a few emergency ponchos could be seen. One kid looked miserable walking along with a towel over his head as rain protection and saturated tracky dacks. What were the teachers thinking?

An hour on and I was at the Canning shelter, greeted by a four wheel drive. The driver was looking for the school group to check in on them and see how they were doing. He’d obviously missed them at this shelter and quizzed me on how they looked. He also said that they weren’t the most experienced lot. I’ll say. In no uncertain terms I let him know what I saw. If the rain didn’t stop today and based on how wet they were, if they didn’t have a change of clothes or thermals he’d have some hypothermia cases on his hand tonight. Straight away he took off in an effort to try to head them off at a trail-road junction further up and see if any of the students needed to be pulled out.

Towards midday I came out towards the Brookton Highway bumping into a group of three early twenty something guys headed southbound. These guys were as green as green in regards to hiking experience as you can get and it was hilarious. They didn’t even have the gear to go with no idea. I’m talking kitchen pantry pots hanging off packs, fluorescent pink emergency ponchos as rain gear and hand drawn sketch map of the Bibb for navigation kind of guys. Oh man!

They quizzed me on the direction to the service station on the highway. We had a little conversation that went like this: Me – “what service station?” Them – “everyone told us about a service station a couple Kilometres down the highway, it’s on our map.” Me – “What do need?” Them – “gas and some food.” Me – “Do you mean the North Banister Roadhouse on the Albany Highway” Them – “yeah, yeah that it, which direction. Me – “guys this is the Brookton Hwy, that Servo is 2 days away, at least for me it’s 2 days, more like 3 and half for you if you’re just starting out on the track. Them – “FUCK!”

Oh man. They are going to have so much fun and create some awesome memories for themselves on this trip. They were aiming for Albany and I hope they make it. I have many fond memories from just diving head long into crazy adventures with no idea what I was getting myself into at a similar age. Character building experiences for sure.

A quick lunch at Brookton shelter. Another of the rammed earth style shelters that replace wooden ones burnt down in recent fires.

Around 2pm I reached the Mt Dale shelter to find Bruce set up in his tent pitched inside the shelter. (Photo of Mt Dale shelter from Guthook as I didn’t take any photos)

I never did get why people pitch tents inside shelters other than to protect themselves from mozzies but there hasn’t been any mozzies for weeks. I find it bizarre. People come out into the wilds and stay in shelters only to want to shield themselves from the natural environment and other people by putting by barriers in the form of a tent. Each to their own I guess. I’d be pissed off though if I rocked up a shelter and found 4 tents pitched inside, taking up all the space that should be able to sleep 12 people comfortably. Words would be had for sure. But that is why you always carry your own tent as well – shelters are first come, first serve. Pitching a tent inside is poor form in my mind but if there is no space I’d be pitching my own outside. Arriving at a shelter and expecting space because you don’t have a tent is just as poor form.

Bruce wasn’t much of a talker but one heck of a snorer. After some failed small talk from me he retreated to his tent to sleep…and snore. Boy could he snore. Incredibly loud. What was night going to bring?

He is headed north on an end to end mission but taking his time, moving from hut to hut each day, no double of triple hutting in his case. I was surprised he could sleep at all. Brookton, the previous hut back was only a distance of 8km and wouldn’t have taken long to walk at all – not that exhausting to do for anyone, hell the school kids I crossed paths with this morning were smashing out 16km today, and most people are in bed by 6pm sleeping through for 12 hours. How is it possible to sleep through the day as well?

I was hoping for just a little bit of sunlight in the afternoon to help dry some gear out. It never came and it was way too damp to try to get a fire going. Wet socks it was going to be tomorrow morning.

One comment

  1. Mick! Great walk blog brother. Hope it’s going well.Hoping you might be back for a music session at my place, Sunday the 27th of June with me and bridge Gerry and willo. Could be a new band! Not sure you will even get this but just putting it out there. Looking forward to it brother ?????? We’ll have some lunch on and a PA set up and I’m sure looking forward to catching up. I’ve just emailed a handful of Waahkala cord charts through to give us a couple of ‘cover’ songs to get us in the groove. Bern is coming too as a second guitar. It will be like a Mossy Potts meets Eastern Beach meets Waahkala meets Rotisserie meets the Rain Dogs!!Sure we’ll work out a new groove!

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