Beraking Campsite(31.9)-Canning Campsite(51.2)
Mileage: 19mi/30.5km+1.6mi/2.5km side trip=20.6mi/33km
Campsite Elevation: 1,297ft/395m
It rained on and off overnight and I absolutely loved the shelter! They are so clean here and you get your own space instead of being packed in like sardines. I totally get why most people on the Bib limit their camping options to the shelters. I don’t have to mess with a wet tent and don’t have to dry anything out at lunch. Pretty convenient! I think there are over 50 shelters along the 600mi/1000km trail and they range from 5-16mi/8-26km apart. It isn’t recommended that people rely solely on the shelters, so I think everyone still carries a tent. I don’t plan on staying at one each night, but now I’m open to the idea if I land near one at the end of the day or the weather is foul.
It stopped raining, but was muggy and still foggy when I set off at 7:10am. I really enjoy morning hiking. The birds were singing (they seem to get quiet after the morning) and I saw five kangaroos and my first wallaby (looks like a smaller kangaroo). I saw another kangaroo in the afternoon. I got really lucky with my video the other day because I can’t even nab a photo. In most cases, I see them bounce across the trail ahead of me, and within seconds they were in the bush and gone. I had one that was right next to me on the trail, and was perfectly standing (my height) upright facing me. It was the perfect photo op, but before I could even reach for the camera, he bounded off. Look carefully here and you’ll see my first wallaby (I think it was a wallaby) peering through the leaves. They are really good at hiding right behind things like that! Squish your eyes like one of those eye puzzles requires and it may help.
Today’s hiking was pretty routine, which much of the first half of the Bib will be. It will be wooded with little variation, but I knew that coming in and am looking forward to some relaxed hiking to just let my mind and body unwind for awhile. However, as you will see again today, it seems something happens each day to disrupt the relaxation. If you look at the “Where’s Wired” tab at the top of the blog, you can see me centimetering (doesn’t have the same ring as “inching”) south to the coast. It’s going to be quite grand down there for sure!
There was a short side trip to tag the top of Mt Dale and get a nice view, so I did that. The guidebook mentions a 360 degree view, but it had a cell tower up top and the view was more like 180 degrees facing the coast. If I looked closely, I could see the ocean!
The Bib has a lot of wide trail or old roadbeds to walk on. They are usually quite smooth, and I call them multitasking trails. They are perfect for doing so many things while walking like eating, brushing teeth, sunscreen application, reading and sending emails, going through my photos at the end of a day, reading the guidebook, etc. I’m a fan of these parts, and as soon as I get on one I tend to think of the chores I need to get done and which ones I can multitask on that smooth terrain. Yes, I’m bound to roll my ankle at some point before the end of this trip if I don’t pay attention!
As I reached late morning, the winds picked up. The clouds were moving quite quickly and still looked like they wanted to rain. Just 20mins before I got to my lunch destination, the rain came down steadily aided by wind gusts. I popped up the umbrella and hurried to the shelter. I got to Brockton shelter and it was a safe haven from the rain and winds, which got worse as I ate lunch at the table under the shelter. I had no motivation to get back out there. It looked like it might stick around the rest of the day, the wind was gusting, and it was 55F/12.3C. Pretty much the definition of unenjoyable hiking weather. I put on more layers of clothes and decided to take an extended break and write up most of today’s journal entry.
I am not on a schedule, and have plenty of food, so I could have stayed there all day. I love that I don’t have a schedule for this hike! I made a deal with myself that I could wait it out and blog until it let up, or until 3pm, whichever came first. Leaving by 3pm would land me at the next shelter (Canning Camsite) 7mi/11km away. I had planned to go further and dry camp in the woods after Canning, but if the rain was going to continue, I was fine with doing fewer miles and stopping there for the night. Yep, now that I have these shelters as an option, I’m a total wuss!
The rain let up at 2:50pm and I booked it out to try to make it to Canning shelter before another hard rain. It rained on and off in varying degrees over the next 2.5hrs of hiking, but I was bundled up and under the umbrella, so I was totally fine! I love this umbrella! THANK YOU Marcus for lending me his since I lost mine on the Larapinta. I’ve almost accepted that that umbrella will not be returned and will soon be ordering a new one. Dang! Marcus commented that when he had used his on the Bib, even for the sun, he had gotten smart ass snickers and looks from people. I so badly wanted one of those people to walk by today as this cold rain kept slamming down on and off and just try to snicker at me. It seriously enhances the experience in rain and strong sun so much.
Along the way to the campsite, the trail goes by the base of Abyssinia Rock. The guidebook recommends going up it a bit for a view. I partook and enjoyed it. Got a shot of the sky that can’t decide what it’s doing with the clouds and sun constantly duking it out.
I made it to Canning Campsite by 5:20pm just as another spurt of hard rain was coming down. I am so thankful for these shelters! It would have been a pain to pitch in the rain and deal with everything in the muddy claylike ground. I don’t have a handle on this weather and I think it isn’t normal for this time of year when it is usually much warmer and dryer. Everyone has commented on how it’s a high rain year and that it’s been a longer winter. The clouds are just flying across the sky and the gusts are pretty strong, so it seems that weather is moving in and out swiftly and strongly. It will be almost sunny and then hard rain comes down for 10mins and then it breaks for 5 and kicks in again. It makes sense being so close to the coastline, but I think it’s not usually happening at the end of September.
I didn’t see anyone all day today, which is to be expected when it’s not a weekend. I did cross a highway and saw a car and also saw a car on a distant dirt road near Mt Dale. There were only something like 38 end-to-enders (just one was from outside of Australia) last year, and that number is split with the hiking seasons being in both the spring and fall. Many section hike over long weekends or on vacation weeks. I’m enjoying having time and space to myself. There are logbooks at every campsite, so I can see some sectioners ahead of me I might catch up to every so often.
Since little happened today, I have some random notes on things I haven’t mentioned.
-A black ant bit my finger tip yesterday when I paused near a bush I was touching. It stung like a bee sting for a good 30secs and lingered for a few more before it went away. Not a fan…
-I tried Milo chocolate milk for the first time and am not a big fan for backpacking. It mixes better in warm water. It was not as rich as I hoped (I also added powdered milk) and the powder didn’t mix well, so I got clumps that were gummy with no flavor. I heard I may want to try Nestle’s Sustagen Gold Powder Chocolate and may do that, but already packed milo for the upcoming Bib resupply boxes.
-With many crossroads and trails, it’s easy to miss turns out here. There are often some sticks strewn about at turns people might miss, but there are also barriers purposely across paths to prevent mountain bikers from barreling through. I’ve passed a few turns and realize it quickly, but it does make me paranoid every time I see something lying across the trail that it might be a sign that the trail is turning.
-A fun side note that much of the trail in this area and some of the shelters have been built by prisoners, both men and women’s prisons. What a great use of the prison system!
-I have a terrible instinct to walk on the right side of everything. The sidewalk, grocery store aisles, walking up to a car, the trail, etc. I’m working on it, but it’s a ton more difficult than I thought it would be to change that habit.
-Ketchup isn’t on tables at restaurants, and if you want some, it is commonly referred to as tomato sauce.
-There isn’t jelly here (just jam) and they don’t commonly eat peanut butter and jelly. They do have the term jelly to describe what we Americans call jello.
-Twice now, I’ve been told that I say my name (Erin) wrong and am told that I say “Aaron”. I’ve tried to hear the difference in the two and repeat it, and it seems that my ears are missing something.
-A mossy or mossies are mosquitoes.
-When someone says, “see you this arvo,” that mean this afternoon. Don’t even ask me to explain the sense in that one.
I tried my first Back Country Cuisine tonight(THANK YOU CATHERINE!!!). It was chicken and rice and was a success! The Mountain House meals have a thicker gravy kind of sauce I miss, which these seem to be lacking, but I still prefer the ease of that to cooking and cleaning. I have found the servings for two to be a bit much, so I bought two of one kind and take 2/3 of each to make it into three meals. I scored tonight because someone left behind two of the same Back Country Cuisine dinners and put a note that it’s up for grabs. I couldn’t pass up three dinners and am totally going to carry these about a week before I need them, but it will be worth it!
Ok, I think that’s about it. I’m about to watch the premiere episode of NBC’s new drama, This Is Us as rain falls outside and wind gusts kick up. I need a good television drama to add to my show list and I heard it had a good premiere. We’ll see. I was disappointed in Greys’ premiere, but I’ll always watch Greys out of habit and devotion to Shondra Rhimes.