Monday, January 12, 2009

Bibbulmun Track: The beaches and the end

The first 2 thirds of the Bibb Track go through forest: Karri, Jarrah and Marri forest (that is basically Eucalyptus trees). But some of the huts are located along rivers or lakes so that you can go swimming. And at 36 Celsius you really enjoy swimming. The last third of the Bibb Track follows the coast line. The good thing about that is endless beach access. The bad thing about that is walking thru soft sand (which is like postholing in deep snow) and endless ups and downs on sand dunes. But if you see the beaches there you are very much compensated for the down sides. Some huts even had their private own little beach.

I will never forget when I got to the first one of those long beaches. As far as I could see nothing but perfect white sand beach - but no one around but me. As there was a strong wind blowing (and I had just been through half a hurricane 10 days before) I was getting really worried that there had been a storm warning. I could not come up with any other explanation as to why this perfect beach was absolutely deserted. But after hiking along the coast for a couple of hundred kilometers I realised that there is just a lot of coast line in Western Australia and not many people....

Along the coast line you have to cross several inlets. In winter these are impassable, but in summer there is usually a way thru. I paddled across one inlet in a canoe - and despite my paddling experiences in the Boundary Waters with Raru I was having a hard time. Strong winds made the crossing difficult and a couple of fishermen in their motor boats watching me did not help much either... But in the end I made it and stayed even dry.


The last inlet was the worst one. Usually there is a big sandbar closing it in summer, but due to all that rain the sandbar had not formed yet - so I had to wade. And what looked pretty shallow from the beach turned out to be chest deep when I was in the middle of it. Of course I could have swum over but what to do with my backpack? I ended up carrying it over my head hopefully looking very elegant - and feeling very queasy. The backpack stayed dry - and I was soaking wet (which does not matter because it is so hot that you dry immediately).

The weather had been fantastic - only on the last day of the year a storm came up. It was a hard test for my new Tarptent and I lay awake all night long hoping not to be blown away. But the wind did not prevent Aussies from celebrating the New Year with parties and barbecues on the beach. Next morning I encountered several tired party people who were quite surprised to see a lonely hiker shortly after dawn - but I refused all invitations for drinks at 7 am in the morning.

Beside that I did not have any further adventures - no snake bites (just mosquitoes), no bears (just cangaroos) and no more storms (just sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine). I ended up hiking the whole 960 km in 35 days. And I had a wonderful time.So now my message to all my hiker friends is: Get your ass over here and hike the Bibbulmun Track - it is a wonderful experience!

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