Gill Goes... Trekking The Bibbulmun Track End to End... Gringer Creek Shelter

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May 13th 2016
Published: March 20th 2017
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Day 9

Nerang Shelter to Gringer Creek Shelter 16.5km

A low key, low visibility day that was over in less than half a day, having left Nerang at 08:05 and arriving Gringer at 12:39 (including a 50 minute break)!

The resounding theme of the morning was smoke and mist until 09:00 and then just smoke until 11:00. No gunfire. No hills.

The track today was all about wandoo. This is what I now know about wandoo (given that it was such a short day I felt compelled to pad out today's blog entry):

AKA Eucalyptus wandoo and is endemic to the southwest of Western Australia. There are two subspecies (wandoo and pulverea)- today's episode is brought to you by Subsp. wandoo (Subsp. pulverea only grows north of Perth)- it is a medium-sized tree 10-25 m tall and occurs mainly on eastern parts of the Darling Range (check- that's where I am now), with a small extension to the coastal plain south of Perth and an eastern outlier near Narembeen (OK, I believe anything the Florabank Fact Sheet says). It grows on broad shallow valleys or low ridges associated with various lateritic or granitic soils.

The species has a pale creamy yellow flower from March to April and seed capsules that persist on trees until at least the following autumn with about 275 viable seeds per gram! Seeds start to germinate in about 10 days if grown at 15-20°C (they better hurry- it's definitely getting colder).

Eucalyptus wandoo has smooth white bark, it is relatively slow growing and is drought tolerant. It is also considered moderately salt tolerant with potential for rehabilitation of saline soils (which is a handy attribute in WA). Eucalyptus wandoo produces one of the toughest and most durable woods of any eucalypt and has been used in the past for railway sleepers, poles, flooring and for heavy and light construction, the bark has served as a commercial source of tannin, and wandoo also makes for good honey! Natural stands of this species are now valued for their watershed protection (that is the ability to protect land, streams, rivers and lakes by reducing the damage that storm water causes- the trees take up the excess water and act as a buffer of sorts).

Got it? Good.

So, apart from wandoo I also saw 6 large kangaroos and a lot of
burrows (but no burrow inhabitants), and 1 floating in the sky blue balloon (???!!!?). I have no idea where the balloon came from.

I continued my non-eventful less than half day walk until I came across quite an interesting low flowering bush - this is the first time I've seen this particular flower so was squatting off in the bush taking multiple photos when the only person I would meet walking for the day appeared looking very embarrassed (until I over-explained that I was just taking photos, not in fact having a pee- which is what it totally looked like from afar I'm sure).

On arrival at Gringer Creek I went through my usual routine- gather firewood, set up camp, have a wash, eat (in this case lunch- 4 vitawheats with 2 cheese triangles, and some cashews and pistachios - I love this combo for lunch), drink lots of tea, etc. It was now only 2pm! What to do?

Read the green and red books from cover to cover- there were quite a few very recent entries about the nearby Bannister Roadhouse (1.3km) and how great a stay it was for a very reasonable cost- hot shower, junk food, recharging facilities, chocolate, icecream, laundry facilities, etc, etc. I was tempted to go check it out, I must say, but was saved by an interesting couple from QLD who turned up and changed my mind in about 5 seconds flat. I'm really glad I stayed, we had a nice afternoon discussing diving, travel, micro photography, hiking, engineering, etc. It was also interesting to see how they organised themselves coming from interstate-they had pre-dropped multiple hidden heavy duty sealed plastic containers in the bush- AND, their food was INCREDIBLE- entree, main and dessert (fruit and hot custard pudding- jealous!!) before going to bed at 18:50!!!

I sat up by the fire reading to the gentle hum of the trucks on the highway and gentle snores of the Queenslanders in the shelter before finally calling it a night at 21:30. The Queenslanders gave me one job to do before bed- I was entrusted to make sure the fire was put out so dutifully did so and off I went to the shelter, falling asleep immediately.

It didn't last long though. A series of loud bangs woke me (but not the QLD'ers!!) at 22:00- yep more gunshots (glad the QLD'ers were there and I wasn't alone). Then nothing, complete silence (except for traffic and snores) until 10 minutes later when the grass tree trunk that I had been burning spontaneously reignited, given that I was wide awake because of the gunshots I made sure I absolutely, positively extinguished the fire the second time!

The Queenslanders were none the wiser.

Impressions of Gringer Creek Shelter - It's noisy, it feels close to civilisation which I guess is handy if you did want to go get some alternative food or chocolate or icecream.

Body assessment- zero issues

Total people seen for the day - 3 - 1 walker heading the other way (ie- the girl who caught me squatting taking pics, I would later find out her name is Kristy when I meet her partner Hugo in a few days time) and Denise and Stuart (the QLD'ers) also heading the other way.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Morning Tea SpotMorning Tea Spot
Morning Tea Spot

Lovely light, patchy shade and convenient fallen trees to sit for an extended cup of coffee (2 actually and v good), Special K bar (v bad, v sweet), chocolate chip biscuit (v, v excellent)
Ground CoverGround Cover
Ground Cover

Sparse flower day, a lot of uniformity in the bush today so this splash of colour really stood out
Squat Bush 1Squat Bush 1
Squat Bush 1

Any ID gratefully accepted

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