The bush was green and wet, and alive with rivulets of runoff that occasionally crossed the track. Raindrops still clung to leaves and gleamed in the sunlight, and the occasional gust of wind would shake them off the soaring tree canopies and onto our heads.
We set off under a thick blanket of fog, which made for some spectacularly eerie views through the dense native forest in the early morning. As we ascended the first hill of the day, an ominous droning noise pierced the mist, escalating from a drone to an almighty din as we climbed.
I was looking forward to the achievement of walking into Albany, and completing my longest hike yet. I was looking forward to showers, hot food and a real bed, but I knew I’d miss the spectacularly uncomplicated nomadic lifestyle I’d been leading for the past couple of weeks.
I was sad to leave the majestic karri forests behind me, as both the Vanderbijls and the guidebook had warned me there would be no more tall trees between here and the finish line. Still, I was glad that the weather was holding up and I was managing to stay cool and dry.
Within minutes of leaving camp I nearly stumbled over an enormous tiger snake, who either didn’t seem too fazed by me or was deliberately playing it cool. Eventually, the snake slithered off into the grass in front of me.
The dramatic weather only enhanced the wild, exposed feel of the coast, particularly as roaring winds whipped up even bigger waves to crash against the shore. The whole experience was loud, uncomfortable and awe-inspiring.
I made it to Boat Harbour shelter in the mid afternoon, and headed down to the harbour for which it’s named for a refreshing swim. When I got back, the early signs of a spectacular sunset enticed me to head back up to the cliffs to witness it. To say it was worth the effort would be an understatement.
I rounded a corner past a tall bush only to startle a kangaroo, who had been snoozing right next to the track. He propped himself up with his arms and stared at me bleary-eyed while I tried to frame a photo.
This massive tree is so big there’s a boardwalk running through its hollowed base. It’s the centrepiece of a pretty spectacular walk trail you can access by car.
I’m an Australian long-distance hiker, a journalist, a proudly average baseball player and a big fan of all things Western Australia. I’ve walked the entire Bibbulmun Track, and have my sights set on a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. I run this blog to record my adventures and help others go on their own. My three favourite things in life are hiking, sugar and the Green Bay Packers.
Tehachapi (Mile 566) to Kennedy Meadows (Mile 702) It took me exactly two months to make it through the desert. Reaching Kennedy Meadows – the gateway to the Sierra – is my biggest milestone of the trail so far, but the achievement is a little bittersweet. Like almost every hiker out here I’ve had my heart set on a continuous thru-hike from Mexico to Canada, but conditions may make that unwise. The… Read More
Agua Dulce (Mile 454) to Tehachapi (Mile 566) Appalachian Trail hikers have invented some pejorative nicknames for the states that trail passes through. Vermont, for example, is known among hikers as Vermud. Pennsylvania is Rocksylvania. New Jersey is New Bearsy. In this spirit, I’d like to propose that California be known forever more as “Windyfornia”. Allow me to explain. The winds in this past section have been intense. There are long stretches… Read More
Wrightwood (Mile 369) to Agua Dulce (Mile 454) Boy, it’s been a hell of a week. I ended up taking three whole zeros in Wrightwood, thanks in no small part to its brewery and handful of cheap restaurants. I finally left town on Wednesday morning with Tidbit, a 31-year-old woman and former national park ranger from Texas who lives in Southern California. We lumbered out to the highway around 8:30AM, our packs… Read More
Big Bear (Mile 266) to Wrightwood (Mile 369) Trail magic can come from the most unexpected places. Before I got discharged from Eisenhower Medical Centre after my A-fib episode, I got a visit from the nursing unit director, Sue. She told me she’d hiked various sections of the PCT, and had a cabin in Big Bear where she spent most of her weekends. She wasn’t in town when I made it to… Read More
Idyllwild (Mile 179) to Big Bear (Mile 266) I got discharged from Eisenhower right in the middle of the Coachella music festival, which had filled up every last hotel room in the Palm Springs area. I hadn’t a hope of finding accommodation until my hospital roommate, Bob, kindly offered to let me stay with him and his wife Karen at their retirement community in Indio, not far away. Bob and Karen are… Read More
Athlete. Philanthropist. Writer.
Solo hiking is an amazing challenge. Let's go... and keep going!
A writer from Perth, Australia
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