Grimwade Campsite(249.5)-Blackwood Campsite(274.5)
Campsite Elevation: 944ft/288m
It didn’t rain last night! I woke up at 5am having to use the bathroom, and since it wasn’t raining, I decided to pack up and get a jump on another forecasted rainy day. “Paul” was more friendly this morning as he was also up, but few words were exchanged. I headed out at 6am, but ended up stopping just a couple minutes later because I got up a hill and got phone service. I was able to post the blog and get some correspondence done before I really started hiking at 6:30am.
I started off hopeful without the rain pants and just over an hour into hiking, they were back on. The rain today was much more of a soaking rain, but at least it was warmer in the mid 60s/18.3C. 14mi/22km into today was the small town of Balingup. The hike in had lots of little turns and jumps on and off trail/road. It was frustrating in rain when I just wanted to put my head down and power through it. I’m sure on a regular day, it would have been enjoyable. Maybe Paul rubbed off… At one point, I came to a nice view of farmland as I was hiking on a dirt road. I got distracted, and when I got to the top of a hill, I realized I hadn’t seen a trail marker in a bit. I check my GPS track. Yep, I was off a bit and should have turned off the road. Dang! I did see that I was parallel to the trail and the forest was sparse, so instead of losing all that elevation I’d gained, I just cut across the forest and was able to hit the trail. Yay! I got some cross country in!
Not far from town, I could see that if I just continued walking on the road that I crossed, I would hit town quickly. The trail turned along a stream, which I am sure is nice on a nice day, and I went ahead and took it since it was the track, but I definitely hesitated. I did not make the right choice. Because of all the rain, the brush soaked my legs and feet, and the trail was covered large puddles that were unavoidable. I got good and soaked on the legs and feet just before town and kicked myself for not taking the road.
I don’t feel the need to stop in every town. I was in Collie the day before yesterday and will be at Donnelly River Valley tomorrow, so there really wasn’t a need. I have plenty of food and just needed somewhere dry to eat and maybe charge things. Right when I got into town, I saw the sign for the public library and went for it. I figured it would be the perfect spot to quietly sit and eat somewhere dry. It turns out it was closed, but there was an open door and a guy was doing some maintenance on part of the building. There were some chairs just inside the door, so I was able to sit there for almost 2hrs. I was able to charge things, get water, use the bathroom, eat, and write a bit. I knew I didn’t have a long hike left to get to the shelter I was headed, so it was nice to sit it out and get things charged. Only drawback was the blaring music the guy was listening to and the machinery. Man, nail guns are loud! It was dry and had an outlet, so I’ll take it!
I headed out of town at 1:30pm. Proving that I am a slow learner, I thought I might be able to make it without putting on the rain pants on and rain jacket. It was warm and the rain had stopped, but clouds were still out. I had looked at the weather and it looked like it was just going to be cloudy until the rain returned overnight.
Within 15 minutes, the steady rain returned of course. Twice I put the rain gear on and back off again thinking it was done before it finally stopped raining for the rest of my hiking day. The last few hours of the day were rain free. The clouds were still menacing and the wind picked up, but fortunately the rain stayed up there.
I was pleasantly surprised by the varied walk out of town. It was different than anything I’ve had so far on the Bib. It started with an overlap with a family tree walk area just outside of town that had trees from all over the world. It was simple, but really nice to walk through.
After that was an overlap with an interpretive trail that went by old mining sites and a dam.
Then I went by some farmland. I am going to have a lot of views like this in New Zealand and I doubt I’ll tire of them. It’s pretty cool to see this expansive rolling farmland with cloud-filled skies and such green grass.
It was on a nice open road and the views were picturesque with the clouds and then went on a muddier path through private land that has kindly allowed walkers to hike right through their property. I am insanely lucky to have done this section without the rain and winds. It would’ve been tough to go through this exposed area in inclement weather and this was a rare gap in the rain for an extended period.
The cows here are so much prettier than the ones we have in the US. They’re also unique, and with the backdrop of the green hills and cloud-filled sky, it’s quite the scene. I really enjoyed this change of pace and different scenery.
The shelter I’m at is the most exposed shelter so far. It’s a great view overlooking the farmland. The trees around it were cleared because they were deemed not sound enough to withstand stronger winds and weather.
The rain should kick back up around 2am and I am worried that the wind may be strong enough to push it into the shelter with the direction it’s currently blowing. I channeled my inner MacGyver and used my tent to give myself one more layer of protection. So far, I can tell it’s working because I feel hardly a breeze and was definitely getting one before. The wind is howling through the boards of the shelter and the tent is making noise like a plastic bag, but I think it’s worth trying. I’ll use my earplugs and hopefully sleep rather than being worried all night that the rain is blowing in.
Tomorrow I have 25mi/40 km to Donnelly River Valley, where I have a resupply box waiting for me. I think it is a high tourist area and I’m not quite sure what to expect. I am told it is a must do to spend time there. There are apparently a lot of wildlife. The weather looks to be really miserable tomorrow with rain and wind the whole day. I’ll probably get drenched as soon as I leave the shelter with how unprotected it is. It may be heavy rain given the forecast of how much will fall. I had read that the coast is going to have thunderstorms and hail, but it seems that the Bib is inland enough that it will just be the wind and rain, so I should be thankful to not have hail. There is a free shelter that I am told is a must do, but I have to admit that choosing an indoor option might be what I do if tomorrow turns out to be what it looks like in the forecast. Good news is that after tomorrow, the sun will be back for awhile and before we know it, I’ll be complaining about the heat. That seems so far from my reality right now.
All is good with my gear and body except my problem foot. I must walk different on it from my old ankle surgery to repair a severed ligament a decade ago. Well, the last two days, I did a poor job of drying out my feet at lunch and at the end of the day. They got pretty pruned today and the problem foot is trying to develop a blister on the ball of the foot this afternoon. Nothing has developed yet so I’m hoping a night to dry out and then taping it tomorrow will help. I don’t usually have blister issues and know it’s my fault for not drying them out at lunch today.