For lack of anything better to do, I decided to join Helpx and find a productive way to spend my remaining time in Australia. My first gig was helping on a farm in Hay located near Denmark. That entailed riding back from Albany but a long lunchbreak at Lowlands Beach made it worthwhile.
All mine for a few hours.
It was a beautiful day so I was fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy the trail this time.
When I arrived at the farm, the lawnmowers were hard at work.
One of my “jobs” was to bottle feed the temporary residents, Sissy, Ivy and Tilly. The unfortunate thing about Hay is hayfever. Despite loving the “work”, I had to move on.
Currently, I’m in Perth making the rounds to Kings Park, Freemantle, and Cottesloe. It’s a very bicycle-friendly city so I may just hang out here for the duration.
On Wednesday, October 18th, I arrived at the port city of Albany.
Had there not been rain and wind on my final day, I’m sure the ride would not have felt complete.
I was disappointed that I’d only spent 2 of the 26 days sightseeing (off-trail) in the region but the cold and rain just didn’t make it very appealing.
Fortunately, the sun came out as I toured the area the following day. A view of Albany from Torndirrup.
The view from Sharp Point offers both the harbor and the coast.
Natural Bridge and Dog Rock are just two of the many local attractions. Now that I’ve completed the Munda Biddi, I’m not entirely sure what comes next. I look forward to whatever tomorrow brings.
This is a King Karri. They’re not small.
After Nannup is the mill town of Donnelly River Village where you are greeted by karri trees,
and emus, kangaroos, and Australian ringnecks. The General Store also serves a lovely cuppa Chai and some fine food.
The climb up to Karta Burna was not especially rewarding, just rainy and gloomy. I couldn’t fathom a night in the hut so I continued on to Manjimup. Unfortunately, it was Saturday and the whole town rolls up at 5pm and doesn’t unwind until 11am on Sunday. Yet, I was able to manage a room, a meal, a few snacks for the next day and best of all, clean clothes at a 24-hour laundry. There are no huts on this section of the MBT so the next two nights were spent in Pemberton and Northcliffe.
This is the Gloucester Tree. At 53 meters, it’s the world’s 2nd tallest fire-lookout tree. You can sorta make out the viewing platform at the top in the 1st picture… in the 2nd, you can sorta make out my Trek on the ground next to a picnic table.
It affords a great view but climbing up what is essentially a spiral rebar ladder was a bit sketch.
The trails around Pemberton had good flow, smooth switchbacks, and I should have stayed an extra day to ride more.
Not to say that the MBT doesn’t have… challenges.
After the towns, it was back to huts. The Yirra Kartta is situated next to a granite outcropping. It reminded me a little of Enchanted Rock.
The Kwokralup Beela hut is near a river. Lots of tannin gave it a foam topping. The picture of the wildflowers is terrible but I wanted to remember to mention how amazing the MBT smells. When I don’t get to shower for 3 days straight, I really appreciate it.
Aside from a few sprinkles, I managed to stay dry between Collie and the Nglang Boodja hut. The new chain caused a few moments of grief but overall it was an uneventful ride.
Despite adding a sleeping bag liner and “pad” to my haul, I still woke up cold in the middle of the night. Another overcast and windy day did not improve my state. A little inspiration was helpful.
After I arrived at the Donnybrook Hotel, I cranked the heater up and piled all the extra doonas on top of me. About 2 AM, I woke up too warm! What a wonderful feeling.Recovered, I headed out to Nala Mia and the SUN came out. About half way there, I got a lift. Well, for around 2 km, just to get me safely away from the burn zone.One look around and I decided not to spend the night at Nala Mia and continued on to Nannup.In clearer surroundings, I took a parting shot.A late lunch break on and along an old rail formation not far from town.Sadly, accommodations were slim pickings in Nannup and I ended up renting… a tent! Glamping? It had 2 rooms, lamps, heaters, electric blankets, and a kitchen deck with stove, refrigerator, toaster, and microwave. With a cup of chai, in hand, it wasn’t long before I was settled in.
Where will you have lunch, today? I hope you enjoy it as much as I did that simple bottle of water and 2- day old sandwich while looking for kangaroo and kookaburra.
I left Jarrahdale warm, dry, and with a full belly. That didn’t last long. Hours later, soaking wet and freezing at the dam, just 3 km from the Dandalup hut, I decided I just couldn’t do another cold, wet night in the bush.
So, on day 5, I diverted to Pinjarra for a soft bed, heated room, steamy shower, and hot food.
The next morning, I got back on track and made my way to Dwellingup. There I found a lovely little cafe called the Blue Wren where my rain-soaked self warmed up with a nice mug of chai next to the fireplace. Luckily, that was the last day of rain, as the next 3 nights were back in the bush. The only downside to the warmer drier days has been an alarming moment with a tiger snake sunning in the middle of the trail.
Capturing Australia’s wildlife digitally while on the bike has been impossible, so I only get to share the weird things that grow here.
Tonight, I’m clean, stuffed, and snug in a fluffy bed in Collie. My bike got a new chain from Crank ‘n Cycles and we’re about 1/3 of the way to Albany. More to come.
Day 1: From Perth Airport to Lesmurdie Falls in Mundy Regional Park.
I did see a quenda on the trail and you can just make out the falls in this shot.
Elephants? Am I back in Thailand… nope, definitely don’t have these in Chiang Mai. Day 2: Lesmurdie to Carinyah hut.
Despite a few unheeded warnings, I made it to the first hut, Carinyah. Day 3: Carinyah to Wugong.
This is the Wugong “hut”. My goal is to bike from hut to hut (or town) until I finish the trail after 1,000 km in Albany.
Tonight, I am in the trail town of Jarrahdale. I’m sleeping in a bunk at the post office. It’s not as weird as it sounds.