Beavis to Beedelup
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.