Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bibbulmun Track / Hewett's Hill Campsite

Two days ago, I walked the Bibbulmun Track. Well actually, just 1% of it since the whole trail is almost 1000km long! Took the first 7am bus to the Kalamunda, found the Northern Terminus traihead, but promptly got lost within the first 100m. Luckily, that didn't happen too often for the rest of the 20km return hike. The view before the descent to Piesse Brook. The plan was to walk 10km to Hewett's Hill Campsite, and then walk back. It was quite straightforward because of the cool morning, except for the ascent immediately after crossing the bridge at Piesse Brook over loose, eroded rocks. That was tricky because I was wearing running shoes and not hiking boots. The yellow triangular signs tells folks where to go. If it points to the right, it means 'turn right'. They're nailed onto trees along the trail. I reached the first Hewett's Hill Campsite in around three hours. The place was fantastic! Beds for eight people, tables, benches... And the most important thing as far as I was concerned as I'd seriously underestimated my water requirements, two large tanks of rainwater! There was an American hiker from Minnesota there. He'd already walked 100km from the south for the past five days and was finishing up the trip back to Kalamunda. The blue box on the table contains visitor logbooks. Some of the entries were like long essays; most of it very funny, and others more heartfelt. One person wrote in an entry that his life wasn't going too well and maybe something better would come out of this experience; the trip was also his way of staring danger in the face... Little did I know that I was close to experiencing the same thing on my way back to Kalamunda. I guess it's a combination of several things: the heat, the limited water supply, and probably the climbs. If the ground were flat, it was probably OK. On hindsight, I definitely need another water bottle for trips like these. The GPS was a lifesaver, without the electronic breadcrumbs and the indication of distance travelled, it's much harder to ration the available water.

So apart from that, the hike was really wonderful. The trail was well maintained, and the campsite was great. The thing I love about the Australian bush is that the trees and plants are much 'neater' compared to tropical rainforests. It doesn't seem as 'overgrown'. Another very dramatic thing is that it's so quiet in the bush. There aren't a lot of the loud insects or whatever, there's only the rustling of the leaves in the warm wind. But sometimes the silence was interrupted by jumping kangaroos. I saw around four, and the 'thump thump' they made as they moved around so effortlessly like Zhang Ziyi hopping from rooftop to rooftop in Crouching Tiger was a thing to behold. They looked like they were flying... Anyway, I reckon if I go to Perth once a year to spend 5 days hiking 100km, I would finish the route in 10 years! Oh well, the journey of a thousand kilometres begins with the first 10...

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