Bibbulmun Track

The invite sounded great ‘come trecking on the bibbulum track’

‘Where are we going exactly, how long for?’

“3 days, 2 nights rest assured it’ll be fun!” my companion encouraged. Hell then, why not! Always up for a bit of an adventure… how hard can it be, trecking a few kms (16) in the beautiful karri forrest near Pemberton encased by nature in all its glory?

There were a few questions I hadn’t thought of asking, like, how fit do you really need to be, what happens if your feet blister? And does the backpack get heavy after a few km’s… ? My well travelled Bibbulum track girlfriend reassured me all would be fine. ‘I’ve taken lots of newbies out there – lots!’ she grinned.

And so, in the early hours of Sunday morn, we took off to Northcliffe one hour drive from Bridgetown and entered “the track.” There were 5 of us, 3 novices,( 2 of those under 30) …. My friend and her walking mate have completed the track ‘end to end’ which takes around 50 days. Yep. 50 days. Walking with a pack laden with your food, sleeping gear, tent, water…… are you getting the picture? It’s a massive undertaking, one that I have a whole new respect for. Throw in the variable weather in the south west – you really must love hiking to complete an ‘end to end; 1,000 kms all up!

A couple of considerations that need to be taken seriously before embarking on an ‘easy’ hike for a couple of nights.  1: the pack. Sturdy yet lightweight. FOOD: enough for 2 nights/3 days including snacks and water!  2. CLothes: virtually what your wearing plus thermals for night time. 3: Sleeping bag, mosquito net, air mattress, pillow of some description, toiletries, a torch. My pack weighed 12 kgs.

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4: shoes. Ideally, worn in hiking boots that offer your feet support.  I wore gym shoes that I forgot rub my feet in various places and offer little support on uneven ground.  I totally overlooked the impact this would have with the added pressure of a 12 kilo back pack.

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The first few kms were ok. About 5 kms in I needed to get a dressing for a hot spot on my big toe. It was getting really sore. I tried to focus on the surrounding bush, bearing in mind not to take my mind away from where I was walking. Some of the ground was pretty uneven, there was the odd hill and occasional log which you had to climb over. I sure didn’t want to roll an ankle out there. My friends hubby broke his a couple of years ago walking the track, poor guy.

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My well laid hiking plans came to a crashing disappointment when 12 kms in, half my toes were burning, starting to blister and I still had 4 kms to go. Suddenly I wasn’t focused on the beauty of the bush any longer, nor the solitude … My friend put bandaid guaze over my hotspots which offered a little relief but my ankles were also getting pretty sore by this stage hence the last few kms were challenging. I was pretty relieved to finally see this shack – ahhh seats!

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After a couple of boiled eggs and a packet of crackers I hobbled down to enjoy a swim in the refreshing lake. The shack was open aired and well laid out, a toilet located up around the corner and a water tank to refill our bottles.  My feet and legs were not in any fit state to continue on and I made an executive decision to get a lift back to town. It certainly was an experience and one which I realise the importance of wearing the right shoes. Also, carrying a 12 kg back pack gets heavy when your not used to it after a few hours….So for this lil black duck,  I think I’ll stick to day hikes from now on…..

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Day 2 Fontys Pool -Manjimup

IMG_5844.JPGAfter an amazing 8 km hike up some pretty big hills around Bridgetown at 6 am this morning, and a sumptuous Australia day breakfast at the show grounds, my friend decided to take me to Fontys Pool for a swim. 25 minutes away is a town called Manjimup, known for its market gardens, fruit orchards, popular Truffle farm and Fontys Pool.  Fontys as it’s affectionally known by locals,  was created in 1907 by the Fontanini family, officially opening in 1925. There’s a wealth of history to read up on if your interested https://www.fontyspool.com.au. Mr Fontanini ended up with an MBE award for his outstanding contribution to tourism.

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Under new management these days and combined with a caravan park it’s a popular picnic spot for locals and tourists alike.

The water is incredibly refreshing and with a variety of shady tree’s lining the parkland amid plenty of spots to hide away from the midday sun. Just delightful!

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so, if you happen to be in the south west and your looking for somewhere different to hang out, swim, camp or take your van to…. head on over to Fontys.

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DAY ONE – Bridgetown

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Bridgetown is a cute quintessential small country town aprox 3 hours south of Perth in Western Australia. Population, aprox 5,000. Currently it is the middle of summer so I can expect some days of high 30’s (expected today). However, this morning on our first early morning walk at 6 am, it was quite chilly. I had to drape a sarong over my shoulders until I got used to it.  Oh and believe it or not, there are roses in bloom here!

I must admit, I was reticent about spending time in a country town (will I get bored easily?) but I’m starting to see many benefits engaging with a smaller community. People are friendly. They have the time to stop and chat. My girlfriend has ladies over for sewing days. She says she has never been busier since moving here. So, over the next week, I’ll be going to an outdoor evening cinema with the locals, off to a “aussie breakky” tomorrow morning after another 6.5 km walk to celebrate Australia day and this afternoon, we are going for a bike ride to swim at a dam out in the bush. And that’s just for starters….

Im also being prepared with early morning exercise so that when we go out onto the Bibbulmun Track on Sunday to begin a 3 day walk it won’t be quite such a shock! (Thank goodness I’ve been going to the gym over the past year – I knew I joined for a reason)… Carrying a back pack, hmm, could be a little more challenging…. Stay tuned…

http://www.bridgetown.com.au for more info …

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Pondering on memories

When I was growing up in Albany,  I joined the ‘girl guides’. Mum thought it’d be fun and I was always open to that!

The guides provided some fantastic opportunities to meet people, learn new things and best of all, go camping in the wilderness. I loved this sense of adventure and hence took to girl guides like a proverbial duck takes to water. Bring it on baby!

When I was 12, I was asked to pretend to be an artist when the QUEEN came to visit Camp Quarranup! I kid you not. She stood behind me and muttered something about my fabulous painting that someone else did… (it may have been my mother who gave me a huge head start) I was just dabbing the brush on during this ‘re-enactment’….

I also stood at the airport, in full guide uniform, neatly pressed and not a hair out of place to meet Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon!  I got to see Snowden’s bluest of blue eyes that made me swoon ever so slightly and knew in that instant what Margaret saw in him.

But best of all were the camping trips. Out in the wilderness of Albany and it’s surrounds.
So many fond memories of camping out and being inundated with rain overnight, having to squeeze into someone else’s tent  in the middle of the night because mine was underwater!

The roasting of marsh-mellows as we girls sat in a circle  around the roaring flames and shared stories…. This connecting with one another in such a raw primal manner has never left me and I’ve dreamed of experiencing this again, in my middles years.

And so, Albany, you beautiful thing, you provided a landscape for me to grow apon, to spread my wings and feel your raw wind as a girl growing up… and of course, I look forward to feeling you again….

 

Spiritual synchronicity

Synchronicity is a concept, first explained by psychoanalyst Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related…

Many moons ago, (37 to be precise)…. I embarked on a 3 month sabbatical to New Zealand. It was just after my brother died and I needed some time to wander, to ponder and to be in nature. I also wanted to test the idea about synchronicity, having your needs met by trusting in complete faith in the Universe.

As if by magic, every where I went in New Zealand I was met by someone who appeared on my pathway inviting me to stay either overnight, a few days or just for a meal. I had never encountered anything like it and those 3 months convinced me that when we put our complete trust in the Universe, miracles happen, or meaningful events occur. Things simply lined up, far better than I could have lined them up by controlling them myself.

Since that experience, I’ve had relationships with men whom poo poohed this experience. Rarely have I found a male whom understood the concept.. tho i’m sure they’re ‘out there.’

There were days when I’d been walking for a few hours and suddenly the rain clouds burst forth and a minute later a car would pull up. I hitch hiked most of the time and met some wonderful people. I also travelled with different people along the way, one had a tent which we used to camp beside the most beautiful scenery I’d ever seen.

One intriguing example occurred in my world last April when my intuition nudged me back to Brisbane. I drove from Sydney and less than 24 hours later, my daughters car blew up and she had no way of making it to work as she lived no where near public transport. In perfect timing, I’d returned – able to help out.

And this is the power of syncronicity. We show up at the right time – others show up or offer us opportunities, at the right time…  & things have a way of working out…

 

 

 

 

 

Western bound

As the January days tick by, the trip west is getting closer and I am beginning to get a little excited. I will say goodbye to my life here for a few weeks and hello again to old friends, a brother I haven’t seen in years who has lost his sight and those white sand laden beaches that squeak beneath your toes.

Albany air is crisp and I’ll be woken by bird song, not aeroplanes flying overhead from 5am.

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my dearest childhood friend J whom in the past, has so patiently collected me from Perth airport when my life was less calm and I sought the refuge of a kind soul.

Thank goodness my life has changed. And it needed to. Change is one of those things that most of us don’t like. It leads us *somewhere* different. It has always led me into a space of deeper understanding. For that I am grateful.

So, returning home will be cathartic. It is my spiritual sabbatical for 2017. A conscious decision to return to the place where I was raised so I can feel into it again.

I have a book to write!