Monday, 12 June 2017

Adventure 38 - The one with lots of sleep (for me)

There were some hills...
Where: Bibulman Track (Mudaring to Dale Road)
When: April 2017
Adventure Companions: Adventure Jane

Do you know what to do if you get lost or have an accident?

Mr MAP was more than a bit concerned that, not only was I going to do my first, overnight, unsupported, self-guided hiking and camping trip, but that I was also going with his baby sister. Thankfully, Adventure Jane and I have more than 60 years of combined wisdom between the two of us and had lots of contingencies up our sleeve. More importantly, we had selected a well maintained and well signed trail to do our trip together: The Bibulmun Track. The Bib track is 1000km (and some change) walking track which extends from just near Perth all the way down to Albany and is exquisitely maintained by an army of volunteers. This track is so accessable to us that I would really like to walk all the way from top to bottom (eventually). There are two ways in which the Track Foundation allows you to claim an ‘end to end’: 1 walk end to end in one go, which takes about 8 weeks or, a more appealing option to a family member with a full time job, do it in pieces over several years. I may have to up the ante as at three days a year, it will take me 18 years to complete!

Adventure Jane and I have been planning this trip since we were in Tasmaina. Over the last 9 months, I have slowly realised that I have a lot more knowledge (and equipment) from my old travelling days and maritime background than I had previously given myself credit for. Add to that my increased knowledge of the region doing Hike it Baby stuff and you the recipe for one enthusiastic and hopeful backpacker! To assuage Mr MAP’s fears of myself and his baby sister getting lost in the wilderness, I also equipped us more navigational and emergency aids than you can shake a stick at (which yes, I also knew how to use!).  

Wildflowers on the trail
The whole family, including Grandma, Grandiddy and Proodle came to Mundaring with us. We were going to walk across the wier as a little outing for those of us not carrying ont, but it’s currently closed (not an auspicious start). Adventure Jane and I said our good byes and set off on our way with our packs to conquer some hills. In about two seconds flat, I was boiling hot and had to stop take layers off. With that kerfuffle over, we got on our way properly.

As I said, the track is well signed. The only places where it becomes a little sticky were around places of residence, like Mundaring and the Perth Hills Discovery Centre. Other than that, it was pretty hard to get lost and we only got the map out once to check where we were going.

We made good time through out the first time and made it to Helena Camp early. The track has designated camp sites at about 10km intervals and strongly encourages hikers to overnight there to reduce the impact to the surrounding bush land at other places. At both camps where we stayed, there was a three sided hut with bunks, tables to eat at, a fire pit and a very nice, stink-free long-drop.

Despite being the Easter weekend, we had clearly timed it well as there were only four other people who stayed at Helena that first night, an Italian couple with the biggest tent ever who mostly kept to themselves and a lovely couple of ladies who we spent all evening chatting with. The night was clear with the moon and stars lighting up the sky. Snuggling into my sleeping bag at the end of the day was a delight and I slept for a total of 10 hours (as a mum of two young children, this is something out of the ordinary worth recording). I felt unexpectedly well rested and ready to take on our ‘big’ day.

Sunrise at Helena Campsite

Day 2 saw us take on 20km with a hilly start and then flat, sandy paths to our camp site. Adventure Jane, the seasoned hiker, didn’t even seem to notice the hills. We had some amazing views and varying terrains. One of the really interesting sights was seeing the super saturated, green re-growth on fire-blackened tree trunks.

I had always thought camp food would be a little boring and army ration style but was pleasantly surprised with the menu Adventure Jane and I put together (especially the DIY trail mix with so many delicious M&Ms). We were well fuelled for the whole trip with emergency supplies for another full meal, should our timing calculations have been wrong.
After another decent nights sleep, we set off for our rendezvous with our ride home. It was a beautiful walk out from the camp to Dale road. It was somewhat of an anxious wait for our ride, which finally turned up an hour late as we had no reception. Typically, we had just decided to bust out the tea making gear when they turned up.

At the end of the trip I felt unexpectedly refreshed. I had slept well, eaten well and talked enough to take the ears off a chicken. However, it was fabulous to have a hot shower and put some clean clothes on! I loved the trip and it has definitely given me the confidence to take my mini family with me next time.

Sandy tracks on the trail towards Dale Road
Opening hours: Never Closed

Cost: Free to walk but please support foundation and become a ‘Friend’ for $40 to help maintain this amazing resource.  

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