Beavis to Beedelup
Start - Beavis Campsite
Finish - Beedelup Campsite
Campsite - Nornalup
Length - 21km (One Way)
Vertical Climb - 610m
Time - 5-8 Hours
Date Hiked - 21st June 2017
The Hike - Another glorious morning on the Bibbulmun greeted me as I rose around the same time as the sun. With my sleeping system now well sorted, I only woke up at the customary 1:30am rain shower before turning back into sleeping (un)beauty. With the Donnelly River Rollercoaster behind me, I knew today was going to be just as tough, if not tougher thanks to The Long Way's Better and their review of the section. I took my time again to pack up my belongings, make the trusted muesli with powdered milk and enjoy a cup of tea while I taped up the feet. I ended up taking way more time than I thought while I soaked in this great location and departed at a tick under 9am. Ahead of me today was 21km of unrelenting hills through mostly Karri forest highlighted by a few interesting stops, concentrated in the latter half of the day.
The map indicated a slight hill to start the day and it was a great way to get the blood flowing again after the up and down adventures of the previous day. It was a super sunny start to the morning and with the cool but humid conditions, the photos didn't really turn out. The ones that looked like they could be saved required a lot of Lightroom wizardry but it was a lot nicer than the pictures suggest. The first half of the day is not particularly interesting in terms of places to stop and admire views or rapids but nature was certainly putting on a show for me in places. Trekking through a mix of single track and the occasional 4x4 track, the sun kept popping through the canopy until at one point it reached just the right angle and flooded the trail behind me with golden rays. I tried my best to capture the moment but I fell way short of the magic I witnessed that morning. Around 3km in you pass over a small wooden bridge and say goodbye to the Donnelly River Valley for the final time. My parting gift was a series of shots containing mossy logs bathed in the glory of a winter morning's sunlight. Leaving the comfort of the wet valley you ascend for just under two kilometres to the intersection of Seven Day Rd.
The forest opens up a little bit as the track widens towards the top and I remember just being in awe of the giants that are found up here. Being slightly elevated helped the sense of scale and I was feeling very euphoric in the sunshine. I once again checked for reception but again I had no luck so put away the phone (my battery life was amazing in flight mode all the time). Crossing Seven Day Rd the forest changes to a mix of Jarrah, Marri and Karri, a welcome change from what can become same same. Even though I love the closed in feel of the Karri forest, it was nice to walk through a more open undergrowth and enjoy the expansiveness. The gentle winding of the trail belies its relative straightness as you soldier on to another road crossing at Waistcoat Rd (again these road names are fantastically not what I would expect for country WA). The forest changes back to pure Karri goodness and you soon come across a hazard that caused a bit of a problem for Alissa from The Long Way's Better, the wooden boards containing large gaps.
Having previous knowledge of this troublesome spot I enjoyed taking a picture for posterity and continued on towards the first marked highlight of the day, Carey Brook Falls. Before you get to Carey Brook Falls, there is a plethora of hills winding up and down the landscape to make life more interesting. Donovan commented that he did not enjoy this section, saying it was unnecessarily hilly for no apparent reason and I would tend to agree with him to a degree. I didn't find it to a bad experience or that boring given the constant gradient changes but a couple of times I did check the GPS against the map to see when it would end. Eventually though you come across the famous Karri/Marri tree, a weird natural concoction caused by two young tree growing quite close to each other and eventually deciding that life would be easier as a couple so they fused together. Just like the previous day, it started to rain just as I was reaching my planned lunch stop but I wasn't going to let that spoil my fun. I reached Carey Brook Falls and set my pack down under the rain cover so I could go explore the area.
The bridge over Carey Brook is nothing out of the ordinary but serves a purpose so I scrambled down behind the fallen tree that runs parallel with the brook to get a good view of Carey Brook Falls. The falls themselves aren't particularly big but after so much forest walking it is nice to see something different. I had some fun photographing the area from different angles while I enjoyed my daily Clif bar in the rain. With only 8km to go and plenty of time left in the afternoon I stayed here a while just soaking it all in. I was rewarded with a pause in the rain and plenty of sunshine streaming through the canopy to warm me up. With renewed spirits and rested legs I moved on to tackle the last big hill of the day and the walk to a couple of places I had been looking forward to all day, Karri Valley Resort and Beedelup Falls.
The 5km stretch from Carey Brook to Lake Beedelup isn't terribly interesting, another section of mixed forest on 4x4 tracks and single track. One slightly disappointing bit was the downhill to Lake Beedelup that featured about a kilometre of recently burnt out Karri forest. I don't think the scorched earth look suits the Karri forest that well compared to the Jarrah forest and after three and a half days of lush, green paradise, it came as a bit of a rude shock to see the landscape like this. It soon came to an end and I was staring at the signs for Karri Valley Resort. With no reception or human contact for the past three days I was tempted to take the long way (I hear it is better) and use their phone or have something nice to eat but decided against it. Instead I continued on the north side of the lake and walked down the path that leads to Frogs Leap Jetty. Here I admired the beauty of the lake in the warm sunshine and tried to see if I could see any signs of life on the other side (closest I got was a kid riding a bike).
The lake itself is very beautiful and has the vibe of an American summer camp so I will definitely be returning late in spring or early summer for a more relaxing time. I really could have fallen asleep on that jetty with my boots off and the sun on my face but I willed myself on after 20 minutes or so and found the trail that leads up to Beedelup Falls. If ever I was going to see an actual human being, Beedelup Falls would be the place. An impressive series of rapids and falls surrounded by walkways and a lovely old suspension bridge, it is quite a popular tourist destination close to Pemberton. Apparently not on a rainy Wednesday afternoon so I found myself once again wondering if the apocalypse had hit and I was the last man alive. If that was the case then I would enjoy spending some more time alone exploring Beedelup Falls and photographing the cascading water.
With no one around and the rain starting to fall again I decided to leave my bag under one of the shelters and go for a play on the suspension bridge. Feeling as light as a feather without a heavy pack on, I bounded down the stairs to get the best vantage point of the falls from the funnest part. It was challenging trying to maintain a steady hand while shooting the long exposure shots but I managed to get one passable shot and then enjoyed bouncing around on the bridge. With many shots in the memory card I collected my pack and made my way on the final section to the campsite. The departure from the paved paths is well marked and the first bit is surprisingly rocky.
I'm not sure why but I thought the campsite would be a short stroll from Beedelup Falls but that wasn't the case. It's a tick over 1.5kms but I kept expecting to see a marker for the campsite around every little corner, made worse by the continual climbing. Eventually I chilled out and just accepted that it wasn't going to happen. I finally felt relieved when I saw the back of the shelter and knew the finish was just down the hill. The campsite is nestled right on Beedelup Brook and the lovely flat Nornalup style design. As I arrived the weather started up again and before I left I knew that rain and thunderstorms were forecast for tonight and tomorrow so I quickly explored the area before it started to rain quite consistently. I enjoyed my afternoon coffee while reading my book but turned in early as the darkness crept in quite quickly.
Final Thoughts - This was another very enjoyable day on the Bibbulmun that provided some quality highlights and long sections of beautiful Karri forest. Boasting roughly the same vertical climb as the previous day, which has a much tougher reputation, Beavis to Beedelup is just as challenging.
Karri forest may not be for everyone but I thoroughly enjoy my forest walking so to be able to immerse myself in the thick of it for so long made me a very happy camper.
The finish to the day towards Karri Valley and Beedelup Falls marks an end to the feeling of being lost in nature and transitioning to arriving in Pemberton. The campsite offers a last chance to truly feel like you are in the middle of a deep forest, it was just a shame I couldn't explore the surroundings as much as I would have liked.
Get out there and experience it!
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