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Buck30 - Other Trail Journal - 2010

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Brian (Buck-30)
Begins: Jan 1, 2010
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Jun 6th, 2010
Start: Helena Shelter
End: Kalamunda (town)
Daily Distance: 18
Trip Distance: 1,539.9

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 702
Journal Visits: 40,484
Guestbook Views: 2,620
Guestbook Entrys: 56

Day 151 - Bibbulmun Track Day 31

Day 151 - Bibbulmun Track Day 31

For my last night I had my only bad shelter experience. I was in my tent and the 4 guys in the shelter and we all went to sleep around 8. At 9:30 pm a dozen adults and kids arrive with headlamps and lots of noise setting up their tents. It's really bad etiquette to show up that late at a shelter. 9:30 doesn't sound late, but keep in mind that is 4 hours after sunset and pretty late for a hiker. They took about 75 minutes to finally get set up and quiet. It could have been worse, but I was still pretty annoyed. The last time this happened was a huge group of boyscouts on the AT in 2002. Back then I vowed retribution by waking them early, but when I got up so did they ruining my plan. Not so this time! I woke at my standard 6:15 which is 45 minutes before sunrise and still dark out. Not a good time for those who want to sleep. I started with the plastic bag crinkling and then moved on to 15 minutes of shaking my pot with metel stuff in it vigorously. It was really loud and I just kept doing it as I was packing up. Lastly I turned my cell phone up full volume and blasted Phish's cover of Snoop Dogs, Gin & Juice. I felt vindicated as I walked away banging my poles together as loud as I could. Childish? Sure. But someone has to take a stand.

It turned out to be the best day of sunshine and warm temps since the start of the track. I cruised all day, the mountains melting beneath my feet as I weaved my way to the end. The trail goes over the Mundering dam which also has a famous old pub. I lucked out and it was serving breakfast at 9 am. Large quantities of pancakes, toast and juice went down in 30 minutes and the spike in my blood sugar was probably close to a record after 6 days of crappy trail food. The trail made a zillion intricate turns all day as it made its way to Kalamunda (a suburb of Perth). There were a lot of other local trails and tons of people out for a Sunday day hike. I saw more people today than the previous 30 days combined. Stopping for a quick break at the last shelter I noticed on the map that I was actually already further north than the end of the trail! The last 10k headed me a bit south and a lot west and I arrived at the Northern Terminusof the Bibbulmun Track at 1:54 pm after 954k's. It was a busy street corner and anticlimactic, but most finishes are. I went over to the visitor center and got to ring the "finisher bell" which a few weeks ago when I read about it sounded lame, but now felt good!

Consistent with my string of disappointing towns Kalamunda had no laundry, no Internet and the freaking' major grocery was closed on a Sunday because Monday is a public holiday. Come on. However it did have a Subway which allowed me to avoid the standard burger and chips and I get free refills. Instead of taking a bus into Perth for the night I found a pretty cheap B&B about 2k's from town. I thought it would be easier and something different. Not an awesome idea. The house was pretty old as was the woman, she immediately had me put my backpack outside due to possibly having "kangaroo ticks", she offered me a hot bowl of soup which was nice but turned out to be Ramen noodles, the house was cold, she wanted to make sure I slept between the sheets and not just under the comforter and worst of all she didn't have a dryer (only a clothesline) so I could't do laundry and she didn't have a computer so I still can't check e-mail for 10 days running. AMERICA I NEED YOU.

Bibblumun Track Thoughts:

Here's my thoughts on the Bibbulmun Track. Part for me, part for future hikers.

THE GOOD:-

-Best shelters. These really made the track for me. Without them I wouldn't have enjoyed the track nearly so much. It was so nice to have a great place for a mid-day break and a place to sleep at night. A nice change of pace from always pitching my tent.

-Best toilets! Seriously.

-Best trail newsletter. I read every word from 2007 on while in the shelters.

-Southern coast is a top 5 highlight from all my hiking It was that good. Probably even top 3.

-Great weather. It rained for maybe 5 nights, 6-8 hours each night real hard while I was snug inside the shelter. While hiking I never got very wet and was only misted or drizzled on a few times. Such luck.

-Loved the trail walking into and out of towns. It was nice to be on local trails or residential roads and a nice change of pace.

-Trail was (almost always) exceptionally well marked.

-Trail was (almost always) exceptionally well maintained.

-I thought the Guidebook was excellent.

-The shelters were always clean and in such good condition.

-Loved all the kangaroos, wallabies and birds. The birds were especially amazing.

-Lots of solitude was real nice. It's nice to talk with hikers, but also nice to have a shelter to myself.

THE BAD:

-The trail was very enjoyable from the southern coast to the tingles to the karris to petting kangaroos at Donnelly. That got me to 500 k. I found the section from DRV to Mt. Wells (235 k's) to be rather flat and boring. While the forest was nice it just became too much. From Mt. Wells to the end it was better, but still not that impressive. It's not that I hated it. It is just a lot of bush. I wish the trail walked near more farmland for some views or anything to get out of the bush more often. 35k a day of flat bush can be a little much.

-I found the trail too easy. I like a physical challenge and this certainly wasn't one.

-I found noise pollution to be a real problem. The bush hides the scarring of the land from logging, but not the noise. I had 8 shelter nights where: 3 times I woke at 5 am to the sound of logging/dairy trucks in the distance, 2 nights listening to the mining conveyor, one night listening to the gold mine trucks, 2 nights listening to Albany highway (Gringer creek was horribly loud) and 1 night hearing Brockton highway.

-I thought building a shelter always accessible by dirt road is a lazy way. I realize it makes it easier to build and maintain, but no wonder there are problems with people illegally driving to a shelter (I never encountered an issue but heard it can be). Plus it doesn't feel like wilderness as much when you are always sleeping next to a road.

CONCLUSION: One of the most pleasant walks I have ever done. I would recommend it to a friend, but similar to what a friend had told me, set expectations about the scenic value (too much flat viewless bush) and just enjoy it for what it is.

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Australia And U.S. Hiking

Brian (Buck-30)
briantanzman (at) aol.com

 

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