A fitful sleep last night due in part to the noise of the nearby highway which was quite busy. I get up at around 5:30am, have breakfast and pack. I have just on 28km to do today out of the remaining 66km. The terrain is not too difficult today but it won’t be a fast day given I have under 30km to do. And my body is definitely feeling the trip will appreciate some shorter days.
I leave Brookton at 7:20am to what is forecast to be a rain free day. I hope so as I’ve put the dry socks on. I think if I did just two more weeks I’d be able to walk on water; anything to keep my feet dry.
I’m only 30 minutes out of camp and just cresting a small hill and find I have excellent signal so spend 30 minutes on the side of the trail doing social media and talking to my wife Gill.
The next camp along, Mount Dale, is only around 9km away and I pass four hikers on the way. Two doing a section hike and two doing an end to end heading south. I realise I have a conflict between hiking and podcasting as there is at least one hiker who would be happy to chat for an interview but all I can think of is getting to my campsite. This is a new conflict for me.
I drop into Mount Dale campsite to sign the book and take some photos and while the camp is OK it’s a weedy environment, not my favourite. I press on and after having lunch on the side of the trail I reach Beraking campsite. It’s a good little site and the views not bad. I had planned to stay here but the extra time I picked up yesterday means I’m pressing on to Waalegh.
Again I realise that these hikers I’m coming across have just started so when I ask about the terrain ahead I have to temper themanswers with what my experience of the track. My concept of hills and mountains is very different to that of WA locals and after nearly five weeks on the trail I’m supremely fit and power up these inclines. I also find that the new southbounders often ask me ‘how many kilometres did you walk?’ and can’t quite grasp the kilometres I have been doing.
The vegetation has changed and there is a lot more in flower than in recent days. Still no snakes yet and I only have two more days to go. The hard thing about this section are the downhill parts – not the slope but the rocky surface – that slows me down.
I arrive at Waalegh at around 4:15pm after a 28km walk and am very surprised. The image I’d seen of the hut doesn’t do it justice: While the hut is small and lacking in features when compared to the newer timber huts, it has breathtaking views of the sunset. This hut will definitely feature in my top five list I’ll compile at the end of the trip.
There are three other people at the hut tonight including a section hiker who was just ahead of me today as well as two southbound end to enders who started a few days ago. We’re all in bed by 7:30pm and I’m gearing myself up for a 6:30am start so I can reach Mundaring Weir Hotel for lunch. If I succeed this will be the earliest start of the trip so far.
My lunch spot on the side of the trail and sunset as seen from Waalegh campsite