Gill Goes... Trekking the Bibbulmun Track End to End... Possum Springs Shelter

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May 21st 2016
Published: October 27th 2017
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Sleepless and SaggySleepless and SaggySleepless and Saggy

It was a long night
Day 17

Dookanelly Shelter to Possum Springs

33.1km via diversion day

Day 17 didn't start well, mostly because when I woke up at 10:21pm it was still Day 16. Not sure why I woke up but it took a while to get back to sleep. Woke up again properly at 03:30 when the storm started- lots of things dropping on the roof, heavy, heavy rain and gale force winds. Glad I was secure inside my tent inside the shelter- it saved me from getting wet with all the rain and moisture swirling around inside the shelter. Lay awake for a long time wondering what to do given the big km's and the storm. I contemplated spending an extra day in the shelter but then didn't really have enough food to last me and given that I had no phone cover whatsoever I started worrying that Geoff would be worried if I was a day off schedule and he hadn't heard anything for a few days... Clearly all off this worrying was exhausting because the next thing I knew I woke up at 07:30! So... having now decided to brave the weather I was running late. Got away by 08:30 after discovering that my gaiters clips have been stealthily sawing away at my shoelaces- they now appear to be hanging on by a few threads! The Salomon trail shoes that I wear have a quick lacing system - a highly ingenious, highly tricky enclosed loop system which is absolutely not designed to be replaced on a trail. I love them- they are indeed quick lacing, and they don't slip. I really love them. However, I hadn't anticipated they would ever give me a problem! Fingers crossed they last at least until Collie!

BTW, Salomon lovers- this guy has a lovely tutorial for re-lacing... once you have sourced a new lace kit that is.

OK, back to the trail, retraced yesterday's route on the spur trail and then about 5km north along the track to take the diversion, it was a little different today though in that it was now very wet and very slippery. Love my poles. Reach a small bridge after about 45 minutes and then the 4WD track highlighted on my diversion map. The 4WD track starts out relatively puddley but ends up inundated. In my infinite stupidity I decide to go bush to avoid getting soaking wet feet and try to push through the roo tracks on the side of the track- end up very wet and lose my umbrella, soooo... have to retrace back through the soaking wet scratchy bushes to retrieve it. Back through the soaking wet, scratchy bushes now for the 3rd time to get back to the 4WD track- I am now much wetter than if I had just waded through. THEN it starts raining again- proper rain, not the drizzly stuff. After about 4 1/2 hours from leaving camp (3 1/2 of them in pouring rain) I duck under a pathetic, zero shelter, zero wind break pine tree to eat something. I juggle my thermos and cup of soup and umbrella in the pouring rain and high winds. Eat solidly for 15 minutes and continue on knowing that I still haven't even reached the Harvey-Quindinning Rd.

Upon reaching the Harvey-Quindinning Rd - massive wide open road with mostly low scrub on either side of the road, the rain gets heavier... and heavier and then ice is falling from the sky. Yes, it is hailing. However, I have an umbrella - I am protected from the hailstones! I am very glad that I recovered said umbrella from the soaking wet, scratchy bush track after all. Before I have time to wallow in self congratulation nature has other plans- it is not content with just hailstones. Cue thunder, yep, the thunder rolls in... and then the lightning starts. So glad I am on a massive wide open road with mostly low scrub on either side of the road. My umbrella and I are an excellent lightning magnet - should have left the damn thing in the bushes.

Tentatively continue on (umbrella shoved into very wet backpack) in the deluge and out of nowhere a 4WD appears. It appears fast and doesn't slow down as it passes me, those red dirt puddles certainly throw about a wide spray is all I can say. The next 3 4WD's that pass all stop and ask me if I'm Ok, do I need a lift, etc- faith in humanity restored. I don't really need anything and the purist in me prevents me from accepting a ride, I do ask each of them though if they will give Geoff a call to let him know that I have survived the storm (so
far) and have just had absolutely no lousy Optus cover to reassure him myself (2 out of 3 of them do in fact get in touch with him when they too have some coverage- they must all be with lousy, good for nothing Optus!).

I eventually reach the southern end of the burned down Long Gully Bridge (lost in the Boddington bushfire in 2015). I pause to think that under normal, non-diversion circumstances I would have crossed it at about 11:30 this morning, and I would , as the guidebook says, "plan to spend some time here marvelling at the construction of this spectacular trestle railway bridge". As an aside, the Bibbulmun Track Association have been fundraising to raise the capital to build a new bridge, one of the major initiatives has been a raffle with a very cool first prize of a trip for 2 to Borneo. I was very pleased with my contribution of selling lots and lots of tickets - $50 000 was raised all up!! I look forward to crossing the new bridge someday, not in the rain or in a thunder storm!

It is now nearly 15:00 and finally, the diversion has delivered me back to the track. I make quick progress and reach the Wolsley Mine conveyer belt- I have actually been looking forward to seeing it, it's not in operation today but it is certainly an impressive structure. Tackle the series of hills, red soil and florid green regrowth with enthusiasm- only 6.5 km to go!!! This coincides with a welcome break in the weather. At 17:10 I reach Possum Springs (almost completed) new shelter. It is a beacon of light! It is dry! There's a toilet (have my first pee in 12 hrs) and a portable water tank. There are 3 others here who help me peel of my saturated gear and ply me with chocolate- life is good!

In bed, warm and fed at 8pm. I am going to sleep well tonight!!

PS- The laces survived the day too.

Impressions of Possum Springs Shelter -

I'm liking the mudbrick designs, it'll be a great site to revisit when it's finished

Body assessment- chilled to the bone, but all good

Total people seen for the day - 4WD enthusiasts and 3 end to enders

Additional photos below
Photos: 25, Displayed: 25


Bush BashingBush Bashing
Bush Bashing

In order to avoid the massive puddles- dumb, wet move
Yeah, rightYeah, right
Yeah, right

Somewhat hilarious today

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