Giants to Rame Head
19th August 2019
The Hike - After such an excellent day in the forest yesterday I was pumped for the remainder of the week long trip. On the cards today was a great deal of variety as I left the comfort of the Tingle forest and headed through mixed terrain towards the coast. With another easy day distance wise, I wasn't in any hurry so listened to the melodic tunes of the nearby cows. Not totally unexpected, I was alone for another night so had the whole place to myself in the morning. While I went about my business the same as I would have anyway, there is something very enjoyable about having the whole campsite to yourself. Enjoying a coffee, I had another wander around the tent sites to listen to the birds fluttering in the cool morning air.
It would be nice to have something like this every morning at home and maybe one day I'll move to the country and enjoy this lifestyle (the lorikeets in my palm tree at home don't count). I kind of didn't want to leave the forest so was dawdling quite a bit as I packed my stuff away. With only a few short kilometres left of Tingle forest for the entire Bibbulmun as you head downhill towards South Coast Highway, it was definitely going to be a case of savouring the moment. With everything ready I departed a bit after 9am and slowly made my way out of camp. The forest leaving the campsite continued to be fantastic and I spotted an unusual occurrence with two trees growing right next to each other (almost the same tree) but one was burnt all the way up the trunk and the other completely fine. Whatever caused this is anyone's guess but was really striking as I walked past. The unusual features continued as I passed a very large burl that wrapped around the entire tree. Unsure how many Tingles I would see on the walk out of the forest, I was very happy to see many thick examples as I meandered along the path.
One hefty tree right next to the trail was hollowed out thanks to a previous fire, and as I was checking it out from the inside, my camera decided to take a photo of me all on its own. If anything, this was some of the best Tingle forest of the past three days as there was plenty of bell bottomed goodness to admire everywhere. Blessed with excellent photographic conditions, I was taking way too many photos but...when in Rome. It wasn't all thick boi Tingles as there was a lovely stretch of Karri She-Oak that provided some nice variety to the morning walking. One thing that I was on the lookout for was what Steve Sertis from the Bibbulmun Track Foundation has dubbed the "Pleated Princess". A massive Tingle tree that has escaped fire and other ravages to become a feature of this part of the track. I say I was on the lookout because on the podcast Steve said it is very easy to miss if you're heading in a N-S direction.
As I approached a 4x4 track, I was busy photographing the other side where the waugyl points you off down the path. Luckily I did a bit of a 360 to take in my surroundings as the Pleated Princess was right behind me and to the left. It really is a magnificent spectacle to behold in person as it twists up into the canopy with a cyclonic style. While the likes of the Giant Tingle on day one was impressive, the intact Tingles I think are the best as their bulk seems to hit you a bit more. Standing next to the princess, it's hard to really get it in one shot so I took a couple of steps back and ended up stitching together about a dozen portrait photos so I could get the upper reaches of the tree in the end photo. It worked quite well despite shooting into the sun for it and the true scale of these giants is probably about as good as I could get it. With the sun now out I had to be specific about which direction I was shooting but as the trail was now heading downhill towards the coast, it wasn't such an issue. This downhill section was a bit bittersweet as it meant I would soon arrive at South Coast Highway and it would be the end of the Tingle/Karri forest. I made sure to enjoy it while it lasted and as I descended, the Tingles slowly disappeared and the Karri trees started to dominate the slopes.
Taking me back to first day out of Walpole, the views of the flat land towards the coast was broken up by a sea of tree trunks that was really cool to take in. It all came to end very soon and I was at the highway crossing ready to begin the next chapter of the journey. Taking one last look back at the forest, I crossed the road and entered the much smaller forest that is found along the old railway siding that has since become a dual purpose trail. The change is very abrupt but a pleasant one as you walk along the wide trail admiring the new scenery. Being an old railway line, the terrain was very flat so it was a good place to get a rhythm going while still stopping to enjoy the details along the way. As you head along the path you see wildflowers dotting the fringes and I kept finding myself straying to the edge and taking photos. One thing that I really enjoyed was the tunnel that appeared out of nowhere. I originally thought it was a man made tunnel and certainly from the pictures you could be mistaken for thinking so but it was a natural tunnel created as the trees start to reclaim the open space left by the disused railway line.