Chadoora Shelter to Dwellingup 20.7km
Today I make it into my first track town - there's some excitement at getting into Dwellingup, but a real enjoyment at this pared down ritual of walking/unpacking/sleeping/packing. I head off at 08:10 into the day as a light drizzle starts. Rob and Hugo are having a more leisurely start - Hugo says he likes leaving last because he likes to clean up the campsite on departure- I acquiesce, I don't mind a morning off of sweeping and raking (these are some of the "jobs" to be done every day along with cleaning out the fire pit and making sure nothing has been left behind). Last year when doing this section we missed a turn off adding 4km's onto the day- I'm not making this mistake today, I am actively search for markers (for a while anyway until I get distracted).
It's another fungus day- at least 7 different types, plus some beautiful mossy tree trunks with miniature habitats (sort of like those crystal gardens we had as kids). Lots of tall ferns and the ground is really wet underfoot today. Starting to feel a bit tired when
I reach the first lot of railway tracks and I'm pleasantly surprised that my first 8.4km is under my belt. Have a two coffee, 1 muesli bar break and perk up. The railway defines the rest of today's walking with disused tracks, old pieces of equipment, railway markers, etc. Needless to say it's a flat walk but really nice- there are quite a few bulbs out (? Watsonia, ? Freesia) and assorted mixed vegetation (at times thick and at eye level). Reach the Etmilyn depot just after 11:00 then proceed to take 2 wrong turns before a lunch stop at 1245 on a puddley track (should have stopped at the random bench seat I passed earlier).
The way into Dwellingup from here is surrounded by bright foliage and the whine of the timber mill. I also start to receive text messages! Several from Geoff who has decided to surprise me by meeting me on the track. Somehow though, we have missed each other! (presumably on one of the two wrong turns that I took), no surprises there, we never seem to be able to get our act together with this sort of thing. I exit the forest at 14:00
and reach paved road (the first since the Camel Farm back on day 1)!
Arriving at the Visitors Centre is quite exciting, it smells so nice. I sign the track book. First Track Town- woohoo!! With the various diversions and spur trails I figure I have about 216-ish kms under my belt! Somewhat pleased with myself. So, The Visitors Centre- friendly staff, spacious, there are lots of brochures, an informative display about the railway and timber heritage of Dwellingup and another on the great fire of 1961 that almost wiped the town out. There is also an extensive array of gift items (much of it scented- candles, lotions, etc- it takes a lot of resolve to not start covering myself in moisturizer and hand cream!). But still no Geoff, so I head over to the DPAW Office to get a heads up on track conditions- it transpires that there is a new track closure ahead of me as well as the Murray campsite diversion. Not great news. I'll think about it later.
Then, it's back to the Visitors Centre. Say hi again
to the very friendly lady who asks if I met up with my husband yet?
Rob arrives- he asks if I met up with Geoff?
... He did.
Finally Geoff arrives.
... An hour and a bit after me.
My ONLY concern at this point (sorry Geoff) is whether the famous "Blue Wren Cafe" is going to be open. I am very, very keen on coffee and cake.
The rest of the afternoon and evening are primarily taken up with eating, laundry, showering, hair washing and eating. I have been fortunate in that a friend of a friend has offered me a bed at their holiday cottage for the night- it's a nice treat to have a kitchen, laundry, bathroom and bed at my disposal AND she had organised for someone to go in ahead of me to put milk in the fridge and have a fire going!! Pretty lucky. I exhaust the hot water supply while Geoff goes off in search of a hairdryer (none for sale at the small supermarket, but the lady in the queue next to him offers up hers if he'd like to follow her home to pick it up!). People are generally nice IMO.
Freshly washed and in clean (non-trekking) clothes
we have dinner at the pub (what will be the first of many steaks/chips and salads and red wines for the walk). Can't quite fit in dessert (this will change) and I actually ended up taking half of my steak and garlic bread back to the house in a doggy bag. Geoff heads back to Perth as he has to work in the morning. Super nice to spend some time with him.
I am still awake at midnight....
Too much food. Too many thoughts. Too comfortable. Too warm. Impressions of Dwellingup - Spacious, noisy, busy- but those observations are completely coloured by being in the forest for the last 12 days. In actual fact it is a lovely little town with a fascinating history, very friendly people and an excellent supply of cakes. More info is available here http://www.dwellingupwa.com.au/about
Body assessment- still zero issues, seriously! I end up sending my resupply box of Pandol Osteo home with Geoff. Total people seen for the day - a DPAW worker at Etmilyn, a mountain biker, a 4WD driver plus passenger before the townspeople of Dwellingup and random tourists at the visitors
** Sent home from Box 2- strip of Panadol Osteo and some anti-inflammatories. Given away or shared- 1 main meal, 1 hummus portion, 1 chocolate bar, 2 timtams.
Tot: 1.885s; Tpl: 0.022s; cc: 10; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0118s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb