Woolbales to Long Point
The Hike - Another restful sleep with my improved (insulated) sleeping system meant I was happy to wake up when Wendy and Leonie started packing away their things at around 5am. After a long day they were committed to the pre-dawn start so they could double into Dog Pool. On one hand I admired them for trying to battle through and complete the track on their tight schedule but at the same time I wondered how much of the experience they would miss out on by rushing through the kilometres. I'm not sure if they continued on like this or if they didn't sign the log books but when I was doing an overnight hike from Mt Dale to Sullivan Rock a few weeks later I didn't see their names anywhere.
At their previous pace they would have well and truly finished by the time I was there so I'll wait to see their names in the Bibbulmun Track magazine. They were very apologetic to me about the lights and noise but I was more than happy to have a chat and see them off. It turned out to be a good thing for them as they didn't know where the exit leading north was because they had come in at night. There are three paths in the same area that confuses things in the dark with one leading to the toilet block, one leading south and one leading north. I noticed them pacing up and down after I said goodbye so got up to point them in the right direction, wishing them a final goodbye. With a more relaxed schedule I headed back into my tent inner to try and get another hour of sleep and woke again as the sun was rising. I rushed up to the top of the granite hill behind the shelter and was greeted with a nice sky right before sunrise. Not quite as spectacular as the previous morning's fairy floss delight, it was made better by a couple of birds of prey circling the granite looking for a morning meal.
It wasn't until I left the campsite that I realised the focus was still on manual from the previous night's bungled astrophotography attempt so the shots of the birds were unusable. With the morning routine over and everything packed away I started the penultimate day of my seven day adventure between Northcliffe and Walpole. I was on the home stretch and was very excited because this was the day I would reach the coast. Saving the southern coast for last, I would be emulating a typical N-S end to ender by having this day be the first time I would walk on a beach on the Bibbulmun Track and I was looking forward to it. With the grey clouds rolling in the previous afternoon, things had not improved by sunrise and the start of my day was a dry and overcast walk along the 4x4 tracks of the open plains. A kangaroo sighting and plenty of Swamp Bottlebrushes provided some points of interest along the way and knowing it would get better helped things. The reason for the improvement was Woolbales came into sight. While the campsite is named Woolbales, the small granite peaks in the area are actually the real Woolbales Hills and stand out as a feature of the morning.
Instead of taking you up and over the 170m peak, the track instead skirts around it, providing occasional views through the scrub. All around the area are some interesting granite features like some impressive rounded boulders. I'd like to see a side trip up one of the hills as I think there would be great views from up above the plains. Leaving the open plains behind you take a right turn and head into the forested section where I was greeted by a Rosella sitting on a nearby branch. This wonderful section takes you through a mix of Jarrah and Karri forest that is broken up by some lovely granite platforms. Large enough to need markers bolted to the granite and navigation cairns, I smiled when I saw the silver waugyls that they decided would be better for the granite sections. I first saw one of these on the climb up to Mount Lindesay and thought it a bit odd considering it is well away from the Bibbulmun (40km to the north) but this might have been the prototype for granite markers that didn't quite make their way to the northern granite domes.
With views out towards Broke Inlet, this is a nice spot to stop and admire the water shimmering in the distance. Picking my way along the granite, finding the markers and cairns easily, you are soon back in the forest for a short section before reaching a boardwalk section crossing a small creek. With wildflowers a plenty here (relative to my walk so far) and the noises of frogs croaking away, this was a really cool area to walk through. A gaggle of trees lining the creek provides an interesting feature as you both walk through and beyond the boardwalk section. Looking back I got a golden glow through the trees and it was a nice moment to leave the last of this style of open plain. Entering the last of the tall forest for the day you get some very thick boi Karri trees along with a lush undergrowth it parts. I stopped for a break on one of the small granite platforms because I was making good time and wanted to enjoy the last of the tall trees before hitting the coast.