It’s an early start this morning and I’m not feeling guilty about the noise as one of the other hikers is also getting up early. It was the coldest night of the entire trip last night and for the first time I can see the lights of Perth on the horizon so I know the end is near.
The sunset last night was a parting gift from the trail and the sunrise this morning was also pretty special so I’m going to have to vote Waalegh campsite as my favourite of the trip. I wasn’t originally planning on staying there but I’m glad I did. The views from the toilet if you leave the door open are also pretty inspiring (the views out at least).
I’m trying to make it to the Mundaring Weir Hotel for lunch so I plan to leave Waalegh campsite at 6:30am which will be my earliest start of the whole trip if I can pull it off. Again I fail to meet my self imposed timeframe and I’ll blame my wife for this as she calls just before 6:30am and I get away at 6:45am after saying goodbye to my camp mates.
First stop on today’s walk is the Helena campsite which burnt down earlier this year. I can see down to the campsite and it looks like they’ve cleared all the rubble away but it was hard to be sure. Helena is in the middle of a large burnt out area and the hiker who was evacuated just before the hut went up was very lucky as there would’ve been nowhere to go. I don’t mind the burnt areas as it is all part of the natural cycle and I love seeing the new growth come to life. For those orchid lovers it also makes them easier to spot when they don’t have to compete with other growth but this will change soon enough with a bit more warm weather.
I press on to Ball Creek campsite and it is not a bad little campsite very open and spacious which is a good as it’s the main stopping point with Helena gone. Two other hikers turn up a few minutes after me and after a quick chat I head off. In total I pass six other hikers today and including one of my camp mates from last night there will be seven at Balls tonight.
I reach Mundairing Weir Hotel at around 12:45pm and eat up big. The food is excellent but I feel a bit bloated eating greasy food after a relatively healthy diet over the past five weeks. For some reason I’ve discovered mandarins over the past few months and while I’ve always liked them, I’m now craving them so I am looking forward to some fresh fruit and vegetables tomorrow. I’m staying with friends for the next two nights and have been promised a curry tomorrow night which will be very well welcome.
After having lunch with a fellow hiker who I meet at the hotel, and who is starting his journey, I leave the hotel just before 2:00pm and head on to Hewetts campsite for the night. I arrive at around 3:40pm and potentially could reach Kalamunda at around 6:15pm but I prefer to finish during the day. Besides there’s rain forecast for tomorrow and why not finish the same way I started; I’ll see how that works out.
The terrain today is uppy and downy but nothing strenuous. It’s still the loose rocks and those damp giant gum nuts that make for treacherous footing so I take my time. I come across four trailrunners this morning and do a double take when I see one of the runners twice. He has gone around the mountains while I have gone over but he still makes me feel like I’m standing still.
I’m still not sure how I feel about finishing and I don’t really think I will know until it happens. For me there was never a doubt that I was going to finish and for me this is about the personal achievement factor and just being in the moment (for five weeks) it will be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow. As I’ve said previously, my body has had enough and my energy reserves are depleted. This may have been different if I still had another week or two to go but I think physiologically it’s time. Today I taped both my heels as the spot on my feet where the callous meets soft skin hurts and the taping helps immensely. Learning how to tape my feet was the best thing I did prior to the start of my trip.
Two other overnight hikers turn up around 5:00pm and they are loaded down with all the luxuries including a portable DVD player. They don’t quite last the distance and are asleep before I finish this post.
It’s 7:30pm and time to get ready for bed. Last night on the trail! I have around 10km to go in the morning and expect to arrive in Kalamunda around mid morning.
The morning view at Waalegh campsite and lunch at the Mundairing Weir Hotel