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.
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.
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.
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.
On the bank of the River Kwai is an ancient city, Muang Sing, known for its Khmer temples.
I found it most notable for the caretakers’ sense of humor. There are fields of bee-attracting flowers and biting insect-seducing plants all around so you’re careful not to touch anything or step off the path. The “library” truly did make me chuckle.
I had intended to turn back after Kanchanaburi but found myself continuing on.
My final southernmost stop, Hua Hin. Notice, there is no “koh” in front, so my expectations were low for this Bangkokian weekend spot. I haven’t yet been to Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Chang, Koh Lanta, or well, any Thai beaches so it was well past time.
To make this a successful trip, I figured it should start with food. Well prepared fresh seafood always makes me happy and Hua Hin did not disappoint. Whether served on a pier or on the sand, steamed or grilled fishy delights kept me satisfied.
To work off some of those meals and give back to the sea, I painstakingly “rescued” dozens of stranded starfish.
On my way back to my room, I discovered a bit of street art.
My hope was that Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya would ease my departure from beach life.
Unfortunately, there was a worker rappelling off one of the prangs as I arrived so all I could think about was climbing.
Even the “why”s of Thailand highways and my own personal bungalow couldn’t bring me back into touring mode.
its terrorist monkeys almost ruined my whole trip. They might look cute while perched on someone else’s scooter but don’t be fooled. One jumped on and bit my hydration pack when I tried to enter the temple while another extorted food from me after tearing holes in the seat of my scooter.
I’ve enjoyed exploring Thailand over the past two weeks and would have liked to continue further south but another adventure beckons.
Also known as Uttamanusorn Bridge, it is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. It helps connect the Mon and Karen of Sangkhlaburi.
Other places of interest in the area include the Three Pagodas Pass, Wat Somdet, and a resort I would have stayed at had I another night.
I actually started my day crossing another bridge.
The impetus for this road trip was to see the Bridge over the River Kwai.
And so I did… well, technically, this bridge is over Mae Klong but the gist is that it was part of the “Death Railway” and represents the horrors of war. For me, it symbolizes the horrors of middle school English class. Seriously, you won’t find it on any reading list today.
I did continue on to Hellfire Pass. Under the best conditions, it was uncomfortably humid and buggy. I can’t fathom how the railway was built under the worst.
One survivor spoke of the natural beauty of the area and how he hoped to return someday under more auspicious circumstances. Upon hearing that, I looked up from the tracks and spied a small window in the overgrowth.