Nerang Campsite(78.1)-Below S Summit of White Horse Hills(100.5)
Campsite Elevation: 1,174ft/358m
It was another cold one last night with temperatures hovering just above freezing. I slept better, and only woke up a couple of times to pee. It’s sooo difficult to get motivated to get out of the sleeping bag to pee when it’s that cold and I lose more sleep trying to ignore it instead of just getting it over with. In the morning, I woke up pretty early and let myself go back to sleep and let the sun warm things a bit since I am in no rush. I went into a deep sleep and was suddenly woken by the sound of rain. Rain?! It wasn’t supposed to rain today! I was pretty out of it, and it must’ve been amusing to the fly on the wall to watch what proceeded. I saw that there were drops falling outside, but it was from the condensation and the sun hitting the plants. I had a sigh of relief, and then I realized that it was raining INSIDE the shelter! For some reason I was being rained on. It turns out that when the sun warmed the cold damp tin roof, which is corrugated to catch rainwater and funnel it into the water tank, it caused condensation on the inside that then rolled down to the rafters, where it then drops quite suddenly from across all the parallel beams. There was no dodging it. I quickly grabbed everything I could to move it from the top bunk out of the way onto a table where it wasn’t dripping. Not the calmest way to wake up. It stopped after about 15 minutes, but I had already packed up. Minor flaw in the design if you ask me…
The morning was very quiet and calm. Walking through a nice, flat, lightly forested area pretty much the whole morning. I did run into one section hiker named James. It was nice to see and talk to him. He is doing sections from access points as day hikes and doing some big mile days to make that happen. He has one section that will require his first overnight and was asking about sleeping in the shelters. I found it funny that I was reassuring someone else about sleeping in a shelter when just three days ago I was just as scared of them.
Again, I was entertained all morning with whatever runs through my head and the scenery, so I didn’t use my headphones until after lunch. I did get service pretty much all day today, so I was able to get the blog out and do some communication with the outside world. I think that is what’s keeping me from feeling the need to entertain myself otherwise. It’s been a nice balance.
No large animal sightings this morning, but I did get a better photo of a red-tailed black cockatoo. There was a group of them that kept flying from tree to tree and they are quite cool to see when they spread their wings and you can see the color under them. I tried a couple of times to record them flying and they only sat still when I was recording of course. Here are some photos including a blurred shot of one taking off.
I saw my first blue-tongued bobtail lizard. These things are apparently harmless, but it is freaky to me and was quite startling to see it laying across the width of the trail. He was sunning himself, which I have heard is what the snakes do, and to look out whenever there is a patch of sun on the trail, which is quite often. I will say that this is the closest I wish to come to anything resembling a crocodile while I’m in Australia. He was a good foot and a half long.
Before lunch, I reached Gringer Creek shelter to get more water. It is very close to a major highway, and a short spur trail to a parking lot access. It is the first shelter that made me think of the ones we have in the US. It was pretty bad. There was graffiti for the first time, there was trash, and more evidence of animals and animal droppings. Shockingly, someone had left a full lunch soft-sided lunch bag with foil lining of a complete resupply seemingly. It had no note on it, and was full of some really good food. It was a good test of my self-control to not take anything. I think it is for another person because of how nicely it was all put together and labeled. If it was for someone else, they were quite trusting. If it had a note that it could be taken, I would’ve hauled that whole thing out and I would have a full resupply extra that I can send ahead to a place on the trail that I was going to buy. However, I did exercise self-control, and I did not take anything. I did almost trade something to trade up, but I resisted. Here is just some of it.
In the afternoon, I came across three women who were returning from an overnight at the next shelter. They were really fun to talk to, and reassured me that I am saying my name correctly. They also helped me to feel less concerned about the upcoming forecast of rain for three days. Apparently the other day was more extreme than most, and it should just kind of rain a little on and off with less force on most days that rain is predicted. One of them recognized me from the blog, which is really surprising to me out here. She said that it was linked somewhere on Facebook and that is how she came across it recently. Thank you ladies for the afternoon boost!
Also, they told me that Saturday, the day I plan to be in town most of the day, is the Australian rules football final. Apparently it is like the local Super Bowl, but they assured me it’s nothing like the Super Bowl in size. My plan for the day in town was to do breakfast and then stay in my room for most of the day relaxing, and then go back out for dinner. The game is in the afternoon and they encouraged me to experience the pub on this day when the game is on during the midday. I am not a fan of bars, but this seems more like a small town gathering place. I am a fan of sports. This may be a cultural experience I might have to partake. Any thoughts on this? I was really looking forward to lounging in my room and watching all of this weeks’ tv show episodes while it rained outside. I know that is a terrible thing to say rather than to go out in a new place, but it is the truth and what I’ve been excitedly looking forward to. It may depend on how I feel that day.
I usually try to have lunch at a viewpoint, but it did not work out today with the timing. I was able to sit in a spot across from a field of yellow wildflowers, and that was nice and relaxing. I am loving the lunches, and have taken to the salmon in my tortilla wraps with string cheese. I hear salmon is healthier than tuna, so this change may be a good thing. Can I just comment on this photo on how clean my shoes and gaiters are?! This trail is amazingly not dusty. Seriously, if you were to look at my shoes or even my feet, there is hardly any dirt at all on them. I am a fan!
The big scenic event of the day was Boonering Hill. It is a short side trip to go to the top, and I did that. I wanted to get a good photo for my mom’s birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Again, this rock and the view reminds me of the Appalachian Trail.
It is funny how little distance I can cover when I sleep in. It’s pretty easy to let an hour pass in the morning and lose some miles. Also, it’s been fun to chat with people, but they are all going the opposite direction, so I need to stop to chat with them. I wanted to get a bit further today when I reached the shelter at the end of the day. Just before the shelter was a climb up Kimberling Hill. It felt completely different on that trail and reminded me of hiking back home with similar trail design and scenery.
There was a nice couple at the shelter (I forgot to take a photo), and it was quite tempting to stay, but my gut was to hike today while the weather was so nice. What remained was a rocky hill to go over, and I wanted to get that done today because rain and wind should move in tomorrow at some point. Plus, I really like the evening light and the possibility of animal sightings. I did see four kangaroos tonight. All of them bounced off across the trail before I even had a chance at a photo. I did get these two, which I thought was one until I went through my photos tonight. They are so good at standing like kids right behind something and peering through like I can’t see them if the stay real still.
I headed down to a flatter area in a nice jarrah forest to camp at 6pm. I am back in my tent! My home! It is very peacefully quiet here, and no wind at all. It is still quite cold out, but it is much warmer in the tent. I have a deeper appreciation for the jarrah forest because tonight I was listening to Bill Bryson’s book, and he just entered this area. He talks about how rare the jarrah forest is, and how it is a species of tree only seen here. Actually, many of the trees and plants here can only be found here in this specific area just south of Perth. That is pretty special, and I am happy to be in this forest tonight. I can see the stars too and they are great!
I’m enjoying the Back Country Cuisine dinners and tried a new one tonight that I picked up in the shelter the other day. It was good! I think the US ones have a lot more crap in them and salt, so they are more flavorful, but these seem much healthier than the US ones. Frankly, they don’t flush out my system the way the US ones do, so that must mean something. I miss the thicker sauces and stronger flavor from back home, but these are still good. I do think that the image on the front is from Oneonta Gorge where I live in Northwest Oregon. It has to be from there!
I am going to watch an episode of Bloodline tonight. I started that series with the first episode before I came to Australia, but haven’t had time to watch more. I have both seasons to watch when I get time. Survivor last night was ok. I am in a Survivor pool I’ve been in for over a decade. It is fun and each of us is given a random contestant, and then gets to choose their own pick of a second contestant after a few weeks. For the first time ever, my person was the first one eliminated. The good news is that when that happens in this pool, I actually get money. So what I’m saying is that somehow, I have found a way to hike, watch TV, and make money. Not too shabby! Ok good night, time to watch Bloodline. I already have condensation in the tent. I’ve packed away everything I’m not using into my pack just in case.