Yabberup to Noggerup
The Hike - With no one joining me at camp in the afternoon I had the entire Yabberup Campsite to myself while I enjoyed a lovely sunset in the forest. With sunny weather the previous day it was no surprise to find out that the temperatures headed down towards freezing overnight but with my tent set up and the thermals/gloves/beanie keeping me warm, I had no sleep issues. With another beautifully sunny day to enjoy in the Jarrah forest I was looking forward to another relaxing day of 20km. I strategically left camp late this morning as the Mumballup Tavern was on the cards and I didn't want to arrive too early and be waiting outside. With that in mind I took my time making a coffee, packing up my gear and trying to find the strongest bit of sunlight to stand in as it was cold.
With 12km to the pub I figured three hours was plenty of time to get there for a lovely lunch so set off just before 9am. The first section out of camp was not a new experience to me as this was the location of a volunteer field day back in 2017. Part of that day was to build a new section of trail to take it off a vehicle track and it was nice to enjoy the hard work the team put in as the track meanders through the forest for a 100m or so before joining the 4x4 track again. I'm not a big fan of 4x4 tracks in the Jarrah forest unless it is like my section between Possum Springs and Yourdamung so to have a respite from this type of walking early on in the day (or very late if doing it S-N) is very welcome. The 4x4 track doesn't last long and you are soon deposited onto another power line crossing but once you reach the safety of the other side it is back onto the single track walking. From here the track heads in an easterly direction for a couple of kilometres, which was a little bit annoying as it meant I was facing the morning sun and my photos were a little off. Luckily there wasn't too much to photograph but I did spot quite a few common orchids including the pink fairies and a series of grass trees kept my interest.
Being mostly downhill my pace was a bit fast for my lunch plans so I forced myself to stop a couple of times, one being to try and rectify a hot spot on my foot. I knew Glen Mervyn Dam was on the agenda before Mumballup so didn't want to dawdle too much as it was turning out to be quite a warm day. Once I crossed Best Rd I knew Glen Mervyn was close and the track turned into a tunnel of yellow pea flowers leading towards the shimmering blue of the dam water. Excited to see something other than scrappy Jarrah I snapped away at the water that was still hidden by a few trees. The track follows the edge of the dam on single track and I could hear the sounds of campers enjoying their weekend. A popular location for the locals of Collie, the track avoids most of the spaces you can access via car although at the entry/exit point you may come into contact with people. About halfway along the 1km stretch leading to the dam wall the track takes you down to the water’s edge towards a little beach. Having worked up a bit of a sweat I didn't plan on going for a swim but soon enough I was down to my skins and frolicking in the cold water (you're welcome for that mental image).
It's not something I usually do on hikes (unless it's Karijini) but on this trip one of the things I wanted to do was let go of my usual routine and just go with the flow a bit more. After a lovely dip I dried off using my inadequate travel towel and figured I would dry quickly enough in this weather. The track continues along the dam, weaving around some little inlets where car campers are allowed, before finally reaching the dam wall. I can't say it's the most impressive dam wall ever conceived, even for a smaller dam but it's a wall with a spillway and it does the job. In the mid morning sun I felt a bit exposed and opted for the lower crossing instead of the dam wall (not because I wasn't sure if the track went over the dam wall at all). I had to clamber up the steps next to the spillway once I realised this wasn't the correct way and admired the concrete structure that forms the overflow level of the dam. The track was much easier to follow as you leave the dam and cross Preston Rd, leaving signs of civilisation once more for the comfort of the forest.
The first couple of kilometres leading away from the dam were not terribly interesting to me in the glaring sun and of course the photos didn't really turn out given the extremes of light and shadow these conditions create. I didn't feel as though I had to slow my pace anymore so in this relatively boring section I went along at my normal speed, hoping to cover some distance quickly as the thought of fish and chips filled my thoughts. The track does change for the better as you approach the top of the hill and you start to clap eyes on the farmland that will be more prevalent around Balingup. It also meant that I was closer to a lovely pub meal as civilisation was just down the hill. The clear farm views don't begin until you reach Preston Rd again and you can spot the sign for the old school site. I crossed over to the other side of the road as that's where the waugyls were located and walked down the fence to photograph the cool little dam/lake right next to the road. With sunny skies and a lovely Sunday pub lunch on the menu I skipped down the road and crossed the Preston River (bit dry) before turning right onto Donnybrook-Boyup Brook Rd.