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Published: August 1st 2017
Swamp Oak to Murray Shelter 19.2km
A seriously slow day to cover the above distance- 6 hours of walking and an hour and a half of breaks.
1. Multiple, multiple, multiple breaks with the AFT- actually his name is Brandon
2. Convincing Brandon with help from my very good French friend, Stephane (in San Francisco), using dodgy intermittent phone signal/Messenger app on top of a massive hill that he needed to leave the track at the first available road
3. A protracted break at Yarrigal Form at midday where I gave Brandon very precise instructions as to how to get to the Pinjarra Rd (10 km approx), a map, and 5 hrs of daylight
4. Some tough inclines and declines which were super slippery
5. My pack weight was heavier carrying 4L water to get me through the 2 days
Left Swamp Oak at about 08:30 (Brandon is not a morning person), the trail was slippery out of camp- a combo of compacted dirt with green slime, tricky especially on the descents. There was then a series of steep climbs meaning I was dripping sweat despite the
chilly, cloudy conditions. An easy track to follow though; signs all very visible, old wooden benches and some hand carved signs. LOTS of fungi. After leaving Yarrigal Form and saying goodbye and good luck to Brandon (and giving him another
cup of coffee, trail mix and1/2 of my banana (boohoo)) my timing improved.
Upon very careful consideration I actually went through the track closure signs, having had some good intell (very secret squirrel) that the next 8kms were well marked, others said to follow the bobcat tracks (also a good tip). It soon became apparent that the new, very yellow and very shiny Waugal markers had been put in place and I figured my default was that the fire line road was easily accessible if necessary. Achieved some very nice views over the Murray Valley AND a 3G signal at the next big hill. I called Geoff to give him Brandon's contact details and to try and get hold of him to see if he was OK (fingers crossed).
With the sun out and a bit of warmth I forged on. The birds were singing- grey fantails, 28's, western rosella, currawong (with their beady yellow
eyes), kookas and magpies. The track remained very clear until the 3 hr mark where evidence of the fire began. It was actually starkly beautiful. Another 15 mins on is the gateway to the Murray River- flowing well, and a further 30 mins of hard slog to come through the track to catch a glimpse of the hut. Clearing of debris -massive trunks and branches, is very much in evidence and there are huge muddy ruts from the bobcat and bulldozer tracks to contend with. By the time I reach the hut (16:06) I'm tired... and hot... and sweaty.
The Murray Hut is essentially intact but looking a little bit foreboding- it's mostly just the perspex roof panels that have melted and are dripping plastic but the hut itself is intact. The water tank is empty and damaged and the bench and seat at the fire ring have been burnt but the loo is still standing. I decide to stay the night here rather than in the bush off the fire line, so slapping off the mozzies I pitch my tent. The water down in the Murray looks stagnant- good for a wash, but I'm glad of the extra
drinking water I've carted. A few ducks, lots of mozzies!
After a quick fire and some tuna and noodles, and an entire luxurious chocolate bar I'm in my sleeping bag by 7:06. Impressions of Murray Shelter - It will be a beautiful spot when the rebuild/repairs are complete. Probably one to make sure you have some RID. Body assessment- still good. Total people seen for the day - Just Brandon, I hope he's found a lift!
Tot: 0.055s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 11; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0073s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb