William Bay to Denmark
22nd September 2019
The Hike - The final day of my Walpole to Denmark stretch but as circumstance would have it, the second day of my Parry Beach to Albany expedition that would see me complete a sectional end to end. The clouds that had rolled in the previous afternoon had hung around overnight, meaning I was occasionally woken up by rain on the roof. This meant my plans to wake up early and catch the sunrise from the great lookout near camp also fell apart as it was a very grey morning. I still did it anyway and although I wasn't greeted with a golden glow, you still can't argue with waking up to sweeping ocean views from a granite platform. While I was watching and waiting, I saw some birds in the distance flying in the V formation that made me nostalgic for watching the Mighty Ducks movies.
After realising I wasn't getting the brilliant colours of a nice sunrise, I retreated to the warmth of my sleeping bag once again and listened to some music. I was in no hurry today as check-in at the YHA wasn't until 4pm and I had a leisurely 21km to get through. Figuring seven hours was enough time to complete this task, it was a relaxing morning around camp eating breakfast, inspecting wildflowers and drinking coffee. With everything packed up just after 8:30am, I was about ready to leave when I heard a rumbling in the bushes near the shelter. Thinking a few kangaroos had come into camp, I went to grab my camera only to spot two hikers coming round the corner and towards the shelter. A bit surprised to see hikers at this time of morning, I thought they had started in William Bay but as we talked it turned out that Riley and Mon had come all the way from Parry Beach. A young couple from Victoria, they were pumping out big kilometres each day to finish in around 30 days. They would be staying at the YHA that night and were keen to get into town so headed off before me and suggested that maybe we'd see each other during the day. Little did they know how slow I'd be walking today given all the excellent scenery, abundant wildflowers and fantastic photo opportunities. They headed off along the trail and I wasn't far behind them.
As I'd seen coming into camp the previous day, the wildflowers to start the day were just epic with a vast array of colours and varieties that blanketed the coastal heath. As I passed Tower Hill I noticed a little goat track leading off towards the rock formations so decided to check it out. It was a little overgrown in sections but was worth the effort to get to the base of the rocks. They are even more impressive close up and do not at all look like Gondorian nipple helmets. The ocean views here are really cool, even with the moody skies out on the horizon. After exploring the area a little, I headed back to the track and enjoyed the continued wildflower display as I headed mostly downhill. My previous hiking trip before this one was in the forests between North Bannister and Dwellingup and it was special when I spotted an orchid but through here it was like they were a weed. In among the Foxtails, Pink Banjine, Yellow Buttercup and Flame Peas were Cowslip, Pink Fairy and Donkey Orchids and it was a delight to walk through and photograph the area.
Heading down into a thicket of Peppermint trees, always a favourite of mine, it leads you to a space containing some granite slopes that was a little bit unexpected given the previous few days of dune walking. This is a sign of the transition you'll experience as you get closer to Mount Hallowell, a relatively tall granite dome that is a feature that will be with you for the whole morning (and one you'll have to climb up later). It doesn't last long as you find yourself dipping down into a small valley between two dunes and the ocean views disappear. Along here I spotted a couple in the distance and thought it was Riley and Mon but they were coming towards me and soon I was face to face with an older couple that were just enjoying a walk to the William Bay Campsite and back. Remarking what a lovely day it was, I left them to their walk and headed up above the valley onto the ridge of a dune. The views returned and this was a really enjoyable stretch of walking due to the views looking towards the headland close to Ocean Beach and also further to Nullaki Peninsula.
The cool but humid morning air was really pleasant and in the distance I could spot a large granite boulder poking out from looked like a glorious eucalyptus forest. I knew this day contained a return to the Karri forest but to see it so early in the day was a welcome surprise. Heading down small dip, the transition between coastal heath and forest is very quick with a fern indicating that this was an area not short on water access. There is indeed a creek flowing through this section and it supports a thick eucalyptus forest that was a sight for sore eyes (even though this was only day two on the track). It is just a precursor to the walking further on and actually does a good job of shielding you from the excellent scene up ahead. Rounding a corner you come across some very large granite formations that put the previous boulders from Elephant Cove the previous day to shame. These things are massive and as you continue along the path, all you can do is stare up in amazement. The track takes you up close to them and I was loving the patterns and colours of the bare rock extending up into the sky.