Schafer to Northcliffe
4th August 2018
The Hike - Waking up to another beautiful morning on the track, this would be the last day of my trip and also the shortest in terms of length at only 14.1km. Setting off at around my usual time (8:30am) this would be a fairly gentle day and a bit of a change from the Karri dominated experience of the previous two days. With my pack on and the weather looking good I decided to leave the rain cover off the pack but I made it about 100m before it started to rain out of nowhere. The sunny skies quickly turned to overcast and with my pack cover now on I set about leaving Schafer Campsite on the straight 4x4 track heading due south. A fairly easy start to the morning was made a bit more difficult when my hopes for a day of dry socks was dashed after a few hundred metres. The 4x4 track had become inundated after the overnight rains and there was no option to go around without disturbing a whole lot of undergrowth so I just waded straight through the skin deep water and embraced that cold and wet feeling of soggy socks.
With that experience over I continued on and after a kilometre the track turns and borders a hardwood plantation with its uniform layers and creepy vibe. It isn't long before you leave the 4x4 track near a distant farm and head onto a single track path through some regrowth forest. A shadow of the giants seen in the previous two days it is still better than walking past a plantation and over time it will grow into a beautiful forest full of life. The forest walking does not last long and you are soon spat out onto a smooth gravel road that introduces you to the first sustained section of tea tree walking you will encounter. The walk along the road sees you pass a low lying area that was flooded when I came through but the road provided a dry path to walk on. Paperbark trees line the road before you turn off onto a dedicated trail leading you off the road. This is where things started to go a little downhill and I mean that both literally and figuratively. This area had been burnt quite recently and that always leaves the place looking a little ragged and unwelcome. Sometimes it can look quite amazing but with tea trees and scrappy forest it didn't have this effect.
I understand why they do controlled burns but sometimes their methods and locations baffle me. In a clearing you could see that 50m away the forest was unburnt and its my understanding that they just walk along the track and burn because it's an easy way to get their pie in the sky targets fulfilled. It's sad that the track is meant to be an advertisement for the state and it is treated like a giant firebreak. This type of scenery continues for the most part all the way to the farmland with some of the more interesting bits occurring in the non-burnt sections. I came across a recently fallen Karri tree that by the looks of it must have fallen very recently as the roots were still covered in dirt and the rainfall had been quite pronounced in the past few days so you would think it would have washed away. I had some fun marvelling at the size of the root system as it projected up into the sky and an issue that had been plaguing me a lot this year occurred again, camera fogging. I apologise for the hazy look of most of the photos but that's what you get for having your camera uncovered a lot of the time and then walking through humid forest.
Reaching the farm section was a bit of a shock as this was much more open than the farm visits on prev