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Published: February 4th 2019
Day 44 and 45
Mt Clare Shelter to Walpole and a Rest Day
10.4km (!!! even shorter day!!!!)
Another late start with a super short walk into Walpole. I hang around the shelter as it steadily rains. My gas canister ran out on the final boil this morning- not bad- 8 days for the 230g can used only for boiling. In terms of my food supplies I am down to 1 Moroccan beef (surprise, surprise- seriously, it would only be used for a dire, dire emergency and maybe not even then!), my oats for this breaky and a piece of vac packed fruit cake and some trail mix for morning tea. Knowing that I will be in Walpole around lunch time this has worked out very well. My pack weight is feeling good and light-ish as I set off. The sky finally cleared for me at 09:20.
Pass three tingle trees in the clearing- pretty monumental. It's an easy descent down to the John Rate Lookout at the 4km mark- stellar views of the inlet. The noise of the South West Highway intrudes. I have the first 30 minutes of an early coffee break alone then 3
tourist types turn up- a Swiss couple in a combie and an elderly fellow by the name of Ian who is on a round Australia car trip, his brother, John, has end to ended twice. Ian is from QLD and likes a chat. Correction.. loves a chat.
Continuing on, it's back to some beautiful flat plains again, a couple of little puddles and a lot of grass trees - very photogenic. Then out of nowhere pops up the pristine and deserted greens of the Walpole Golf Club. I reach a boardwalk and the Walpole River, quickly followed by houses. Civilisation. Feeling slightly up beat (could it be the excitement of an impending shower or an impending steak), I stumble across 2 green keepers- well I thought they were green keepers, I animatedly told them that "yes, I was walking the Bibb Track and hadn't seen a soul for days", "yes, completely alone". "No, no phone reception", "no, noone else with me... completely alone"... Ok, lovely to chat, time for me to head off. Later in town I was told that they were prisoners near the end of their release. Ah, yes... of course they were.
Reached the Visitors
Centre at 12:45 via the creek, the paperbarks, the Bottle Shop, the Geraldton wax (not my favourite) and the pioneer statues. Bob, the volunteer, welcomes me with my resupply box, a small bag of normal clothes that Geoff had dropped in for me, and a surprise package from Jude. Armed with double the stuff I walked in with, Bob the volunteer then gives me a lift up to the Walpole Lodge where I have pre-booked 2 nights. The room is a twin with ensuite- it is clean and functional with a fridge, kettle and TV (there are dorm rooms too if you want to be more budget friendly). There is a massive communal kitchen and a big lounge area too, a really good set up. I'd recommend it. Spend a long time in the shower before hitting the town- have an exceptional coffee at Four Sisters at the Servo, browse at a fantastic new little gallery called Petrichor and stock up on a few supplies at the supermarket - all while wearing jeans and a non hiking top- bliss (it's the small things...). I am happy.. no... ecstatic, that my jeans are quite loose. Have an early dinner at The
Top Deck Cafe and eat way too much. Spend the rest of the night back at the room watching a Harry potter movie and drying my $5/load of washing. http://www.walpolelodge.com.au/ Saturday 18th - Rest Day
This is my second and last rest day for my E2E. Not content to rest I book an inlet cruise- the famous WOW Walpole Eco Tour with Gary Muir, it runs 10-12:30 at $45/adult inclusive of morning tea. Did one with the family a hundred years ago and it was very entertaining, I have no doubt that this one will be just as awesome. With plenty of time up my sleeve I need to visit the Four Sisters again. Nice relaxed sit down with my coffee, then....I very nearly miss the whole thing - I took a wrong turn and ended up at the wrong jetty. Managed to call the Tourist Bureau, who called Gary to tell them to give me 5 mins. Trevor, a local with a fast yellow car, towing a boat gives me a very fast ride to the right jetty. On ya Trev! The tour is excellent, Gary is very animated, the cake is amazing. Highly recommended! http://www.wowwilderness.com.au/
Later in the afternoon I meet Meg and Dean, we have a dodgy sandwich at a very stripped down cafe - very average, and Dean goes back to Perth leaving Meg in my trusted, track hardened, super experienced care. We go back to the supermarket to stock up on some stuff for Meg who had been short on time and hadn't gotten much food organised- that is the only reason that I had to buy a packet of chips, a mars bar and a peanut slab! Together we bought some eggs (to boil at the Lodge), cheese and fruit for the 4 days until Peaceful Bay resupply boxes (I say boxes now as it's no longer just my box- as of tomorrow the 2 of us will continue to Albany). A very good idea actually. Ate at the pub that night, very local flavour.
All ready for tomorrow- can't wait to get back out there.
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