23 January 2012
It has taken me seven years to finally become a genuine Bibb Track end-to-ender. Now what am I going to do? (Ed : Become a volunteer, Mike?)
This is how it all started. My daughter Cindy was a student at Kingsway Christian College, and I was invited to participate in the annual year twelve student excursion, so my first intro to the Track was in 2002, via a rattling school bus, to do the stretch from Dwellingup to the Harvey-Quindanning Road. I can still remember the kid who brought along a full size stainless steel thermos flask, saucepan, a liter of cooking oil and a baking dish!
Six months later, at the end of the school year, we all came back again and did another section from Quindanning Road to Collie, and the kid had trimmed his utensils, so his pack was now only 25 kg.
The following year we did Balingup to Pemberton, when we caught the last hot spell of summer and had a cool 40 degrees slogging the hills out of Balingup. By now I was starting to get into the groove of it all, so I bought a new pair of Zambalin boots and broke them in by walking with my son from the Brookton Highway to Sullivan Rock. (30km in new boots - yeowch!).
Next I had my parents drive me out to the Brookton Highway so I could walk back to the Mundaring Pub. The new boots absolutely pounded my feet, and I had to get my son to drive all the way up to Mundaring to collect me. Thinks…for a pleasant walk in the bush, there's an awfully big amount of driving being done here…
Then I got my brother-in-law in on the act and we did Mundaring Weir to Kalamunda - the Northern Terminus (so there... now officially I’d walked in from the south, but I still hadn’t seen Albany).
After that I went with mates from Kingsway to do Northcliffe to Broke Inlet Road. We slept on top of Mt Chance and watched, within the space of twelve hours, a big sun-set, a full moon-rise and a magnificent sun-rise. My mate Trevor and I then tackled Sullivan Rock to Gringer Creek (his long suffering wife drove us all the way out there early one morning, and then my son came all the way to North Bannister to collect us).
It was at this stage I became aware of the best and biggest secret of all - TransWA. From here on we made a pact that no more would we use motor cars but instead plan all trips away by making full use of the public transport system.
Trevor and I took the bus from East Perth to North Bannister Roadhouse, had a pub dinner then walked the Track to Dwellingup. Following that, with the Kingsway mob again, I walked from Denmark to Albany and then from Walpole to Denmark with Trevor. On this stretch I invested in heavy duty gaiters when I saw what seemed like a million snakes!
Then my son and I did the stretch from Northcliffe to Pemberton this year and finally the big one - my end-to-end was completed, again with my son, when we walked from Broke Inlet Road to Walpole.
It's all good! Now all I have to do is each section again, but in the reverse direction that I've already walked them. It'll keep me busy for another seven years.
For me the best part about the Bibbulmun Track is to have a really good excuse to just “go bush” for five to seven days at a time.