Sandpatch Campsite(609.1)-Albany/Southern Terminus(616.8)
I went to sleep early last night with stomach issues and woke up with them slightly better around 1:30am. I finished up the blog post from that day and fell back asleep an hour or so later. When I awoke again at 5am, the stomach stuff was gone thankfully, so I think it was more anxiety with all that’s coming up more than an actual stomach thing. Dave and I hiked out at 6:30am and the rest of the women in the shelter had already left much earlier. The final 8mi/12.5km went by pretty quick, but had a lot of deep sand.
Once we dropped down, we could see across the bay to the finish in Albany. It was a really pleasant and calm morning and a great way to end this hike. There was a trail in a paved path that we followed quite a bit that I could imagine being painful if I were to do it at the end of a full day, so I was happy to be doing a morning hike in.
Albany has some historic significance in a few ways. One is that this is where the Brig Amity ship brought the first European settlers to the west coast of Australia. There was a replica of the ship along our route and it was cool to go on it. Had it been later in the day, it would have been opened to also go below deck.
The southern terminus of the Bibbulmun is right under the bridge and next to the visitors center in Albany. We ended up catching up to the March Girls at the end and all were able to take finish photos for each other.
Our big motivation for the morning was a celebratory breakfast. There was a cafe right next to the finish that worked perfectly and even had milkshakes so I was quite satisfied.
After breakfast, I said bye to Dave (who had a 5hr drive home to Perth ahead of him) and immediately noticed I didn’t have my hiking poles! I had left them at the finish! Thankfully, they were still there, whew. So I technically lost nothing on this hike, but it wasn’t without trying. I left my jacket at the beginning that Marcus brought me the first day, twice I dropped the guidebook to have it found again or returned to me, and I was able to go back and get my hiking poles. I will say that I did rub off on Dave. The day it poured rain, he lost his sunglasses and this morning he left his cheap reading glasses at camp.
A few brief thoughts on the Bibulumun. I may be spoiled for life with with the laid back and relaxed aspect of this trail! I was quite spoiled by all the shelters and town options. The greatly abnormal weather of cooler temps and rain made it more challenging than most years, but I still really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. Although the Bib may not be the most breathtaking or epic hike you could do, it has a unique quality of solitude, peace, and calm that I’ve found nowhere else. This was just the hike I needed at just the right time. I’ve never felt more content just walking for hours with the thoughts in my head and the scenery around me to occupy my mind. The Bibbulmun Track Foundation has done some remarkable things. The volunteers and support for this trail is unparalleled. It’s pretty cool to be on a trail that is so well cared for and that so many have pride in maintaining. Those shelters are quite amazing and the resource books and maps for the trail are of the best quality. I can tell great effort and attention to detail has been made in the guidebook and that’s really cool. The people along the trail are the most open and kind people I’ve met on any trail I’ve done. Really, the Bibbulmun is a special trail that shows how beautiful simplicity can be. I can completely understand why people do multiple end-to-ends of the Bib and why people are drawn to it. To those who put in all those years to make this trail what it is and currently work to maintain it, thank you and well done!
After breakfast, I needed to shift gears and think about the Cape To Cape Track I’m headed to tomorrow near Augusta. The track for that hike will soon be on the “Where’s Wired” tab of the blog for anyone that would like to visualize it. I will be heading just west of the center of the Bibbulmun to hike about 5 days for 84mi/135km along the coast from the lighthouses of Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste. Weather looks to be ok with some rain showers possible, but I’m really looking forward to it. I needed to do my full resupply today since my bus is early tomorrow.
I was met at the IGA by my host for the night, Nancy. By a random coincidence, Nancy who I met at one of my presentations in my current hometown of Portland, Oregon, is also vacationing in Australia and renting a house in Albany tonight. Nancy and her three friends kindly invited me to stay with them today and it made this transition quite relaxing to be in a home and be able to get caught up on things. THANK YOU to all the women for allowing me to crash their vacation for a night! If you’d like to read Nancy’s blog on their travels and more, it can be found at www.travelingnancy.me. She is soon headed to Tasmania and then New Zealand.
Ok, so tomorrow is the 9hr bus ride (indirect through Pemberton) to Augusta to start the Cape To Cape!