Chadoora to Dwellingup
Bibbulmun Track

chadoora

dwellingup

21km

268m

5-8 hours

The Hike - The final day of my four day jaunt on the Bibbulmun Track between North Bannister and Dwellingup and it was a very early start. Mita, Jess and Monika wanted to be in Dwellingup before lunchtime so had planned a very early start (4:30am from memory). They had told us the night before so it wasn't a shock when there was a bit of movement before the sun had risen and they did a great job at imitating mice (without the chewing through your pack). I'm a bit of a heavy sleeper so fell back asleep after the initial kerfuffle but Stephen was up and about with them. As first light approached I was out of sleeping bag and packing away my possessions for the last time on this trip. I had arranged to meet Caris at 2pm and with 21km to cover, it was decided an early start was best.

As we were doing some initial packing we discovered that the girls had left behind a couple of phones so made some predictions about how long it would be until they realised. It didn't take long before Mita appeared on the road leading into camp and so Stephen retrieved the phones from his pack for Mita to rush back with. There was a bit of a golden glow to the sunrise this morning but they are always hard to photograph when you're buried deep in the forest. After a coffee it was a quick and easy packing session so just after 7:30am we were ready to depart. Given the crispy ending to the day yesterday and the burnt façade around the campsite, it was no surprise to see this continue as we headed west towards Dwellingup. As we walked past the blackened trunks, orange leaf litter and burnt out root systems, it was hard to not to shake your head at the unnecessarily destructive approach they take. I said my bit in the last post so I won't go on about it but suffice to say, it wasn't the nicest walking to start the day. One positive was an intact Snottygobble had survived the reckoning so while Stephen noted down something in his notepad, I admired the greenery and checked for any fruit.

 

There were a few to be found so I had a little taste of one to see how it compared to with the one from the Mt Wells Campsite. After a couple of kilometres of black and orange it was a sight for sore eyes to finally reach a road crossing and see nothing but green on the other side. It was such a relief and really brightened my mood to just stand under a canopy of green and be surrounded by a bevy of undergrowth. The Jarrah forest around Dwellingup receives over a metre of rain each year and so feels more like Karri forest with regards to the lushness of the under-storey. Stephen caught up and agreed that this was more like it, despite pointing out the purple flower that did not look like it was a native (it isn't). I think this is also the location of the first of a few timber stepping stones (stepping logs?) that are more common around Collie but provide an alternative option in case the trail is seasonally flooded and you don't like getting your boots wet. As it was dry on our visit I took a couple of photos and we hiked on past.

A calming sense of relief washed over me as we trekked away from the burnt nightmare of the first 2km and into a paradise of wildflowers, greenery and grey trunks. Not even the discovery of yet another tick on my arm (tally for the trip finished at five) could take away from the enjoyment of the forest walking. A brief section of 4x4 track past some giant Jarrah trees was very enjoyable and I had a laugh when I stopped at the entry to the single track and watched Stephen walk straight by (I had fun doing this as he told me he added a couple of kilometres after Boonering Hill not paying attention to the waugyls). Entering a patch of thick regrowth forest, there is a good mix of thinner trees and much more mature varieties. Thankfully the mature trees have survived (or were left here) as they form a home and feeding ground for the Red Tailed Black Cockatoos that were in abundance during our visit. 

Hearing them well before actually seeing them, my ears perked up as I love seeing these magnificent birds in the wild. The plumage of their tails as the sun catches it is always a fun challenge to photograph and they have a cheeky character about them. Slowing down to basically a crawl, both Stephen and I were trying to get close enough to them without spooking them too much. After much careful treading we were right under a group of them as they had a morning feed. Unfortunately with the grey skies it was hard to distinguish them from the forest canopy until they flew off so I patiently waited until they decided to move on before clicking like crazy with my camera. I managed to get a couple of shots that with the help of the digital zoom, showed the tail feathers all spread out and looking resplendent. These kinds of moments are a joy on the track when you have the time to stop and enjoy the simplicity of cockatoos going about their daily business.