Mount Wells to Chadoora
Bibbulmun Track

mount wells

chadoora

16.1km

183m

4-6 hours

The Hike - After an uneventful sleep where ghost witches and demons didn't haunt me where I slept (they may have but I'm a heavy sleeper), I woke up to a lovely fog that had formed over Mt Wells. My immediate instinct was to grab my camera and rush out for photos so that's exactly what I did. It wasn't a super thick fog as you could still make out blue sky behind the fire tower but as the morning progressed it kept changing between light and medium cover as the winds swirled around the hill. Stephen was already up packing his hear away and brewing a beverage so I joined him at the table. The sun hadn't quite risen so I made a coffee and took it up to the fire tower to take in the sunrise. With the fog lingering around I was either in for a really nice golden light show or a grey and muted disappointment. What I ended up with was a mix of both.

The sun initially rose behind one of the taller trees creating a cool silhouette and then started to brighten up as it ascended higher. One fun result of this was the banksia trees around the tent sites being bathed in this golden light that I really enjoyed photographing. With another short day between campsites and no hills to climb today, there was absolutely no rush to get going. With the added effort of packing up the tent, at least it wasn't raining (the light drizzle overnight didn't last long). With most of my gear ready to be stuffed into my pack I had a bit of a wander around camp to see what was what. I had shown Stephen what a Snottygobble was the previous day and noticed a couple of really mature examples to the south of the hut. On closer inspection I saw they had fruit on them and knew they edible. I picked a few and went to see Stephen as he finished packing up his tent to see if he wanted to join me in a spot of bush tucker for second breakfast. The flesh was quite nice once you got through the skin but as it's mostly seed, there isn't much flesh to enjoy. 

With one last climb up the fire tower to enjoy the much clearer views, I was hoping that the partly cloudy conditions would remain with us for most of the day as it usually means great lighting for the photos. Packing up the last of my things, we were ready to depart just after 8am and begin the long downhill from Mt Wells. My prayers were answered and the clouds stuck around for the morning, meaning the Jarrah forest heading down Mt Wells was looking superb. A mix of really old trees covered in moss, a winding path, wildflowers and unbeknownst to me until the editing stage, a drosera vine that had captured a few mosquitoes. It didn't take long for Stephen to get well ahead of me as I kept stopping to photograph a flower or weird moss pattern on an old tree but then I'd soon catch up when he stopped to note something down. We played a game of spotting reference trees and if he missed one, I'd stop him and point it out.

The Jarrah forest continued to be really good quality all the way down the hill until the trail started to flatten out a bit. Occasionally you'd get glimpses through the treeline and spot the tailings dam for Boddington Gold Mine, which gave that pulling back of the curtain feeling but all in all it still felt like you were in the middle of nowhere enjoying some mature forest. The descent lasts for over a quarter of the day as you scrub off almost 300m of elevation so you're looking at just under a 10% gradient the whole time. I think I'm correct in writing but if you were to do this section in a S-N direction, this would be the biggest incline in terms of bottom to top on the whole track. The forest here doesn't really change too much, which is great if you enjoy Jarrah like I do, it just has subtle changes to the make-up of the undergrowth. Different wildflowers come and go, you see different plants and the width and quantity of the trees changes. 

As we weren't in a rush there was always time to stop and admire where the loggers had previously come in and felled a tree and it became a bit of a thing to point out where this had happened and how the tree had responded. Most of the time it created what I call the crown effect where a lot of new limbs sprout out from the bottom and form a crown like structure but others didn't have this phenomenon. We spotted another Snottygobble and Stephen recognised it easily now after sampling its fruit at Mt Wells. I had good fun seeing the Couch Honeypot, a new favourite of mine ever since I really started to notice them around Gringer Creek. We eventually reached the bottom of the hill and saw a roadworks style sign telling us that trucks might be in the area. This was the first of a few crossing for man made interference that broke up the day. This particular road was for the gold mine and as we stood in the middle of the road you could look east and see part of the open cut mining operations. Zoom out on the map and change it to satellite view and you'll see how close the track gets and how big the mine actually is.