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.
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
The past three days have been a blur of nurses, doctors, cardiologists and hospital technicians, all of whom have told me the same thing. “You’re too young to be in here.” I got dropped off at the Eisenhower Medical Centre ER in Rancho Mirage early on Tuesday morning, after experiencing an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath at Tahquitz Peak, around mile 175 of my PCT thru-hike. The ER nurse gave me… Read More
Julian (Mile 77) to Idyllwild (Mile 179) I was full of nachos and apple pie when I hobbled to the highway out of Julian and stuck out my thumb. Two other hikers joined me, and we tried for about 20 minutes to get a hitch back to Scissors Crossing, and the trail. Finally a small SUV pulled over, driven by a woman who owned one of the restaurants in town. She lives… Read More
Campo (Mile 0) to Julian (Mile 77) I arrived in Los Angeles a week before my PCT start date, and picked up a rental car at LAX. I was a little rusty at driving on the wrong side of the road, but nonetheless survived the drive to my couchsurfing host’s place in Sherman Oaks, about 15 minutes out of Hollywood. I spent a few days stocking up on gear and supplies, exploring… Read More
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