Dwellingup to Swamp Oak
2nd June 2018
Directions - The start/finish point for the Bibbulmun Track in Dwellingup is the visitor centre located on Marrinup St. There is parking available at the visitors centre but please inform staff if you want to leave your vehicle there for an extended period. The trail head is easily spotted with the familiar red of the Bibbulmun Track coating the information board.
The Hike - With a large chunk of annual and long service leave available to me, 2018 was going to be the year I completed my sectional E2E of the Bibbulmun Track. Everything was planned to complete it over the course of the year but unfortunately a couple of challenges have been placed in my way so this won't end up being the case. Having suffered a setback a month before this trip with some Achilles Tendinitis requiring some heavy R&R plus rehab, I had to cancel the North Bannister to Dwellingup trip I had planned and do everything I could to get ready for this trip.
Having never suffered an injury that kept me from hiking for more than a week I was more than motivated to rehab properly and rest up. My podiatrist set out a plan and I mostly stuck to it so when it came time to lace up the boots at the Dwellingup Visitor Centre I was ready to test out the body with a seven day stretch on the Bibbulmun. Joining me for the full seven days was Deputy Assistant for Regional Trail Experiences, Aron (aka 1A1R) and for the first three days we would be joined by his new lady friend Jen and her friend/personal guru, Sruthy. Some may recognise Jen and Sruthy from the group hike pictures or being joint Miss Decembers on Instagram and it was on one of the group hikes that Aron met Jen and love blossomed (pause for effect). We dropped Jen's car off at the Driver Rd access point, which was super busy due to the long weekend and made our way back to Dwellingup for a second breakfast at the always fantastic Blue Wren Cafe (I had smashed av but have a mortgage so you can't judge me). Luckily the Blue Wren Cafe is right on the Bibbulmun Track so we loaded up our gear and headed off down the main street to begin our adventure.
At this point I may have taken the group on a slight detour past the primary school to check out a massive pumpkin but eventually we made it to the entrance of the forest and never got lost again (should never have doubted my gut leaving town). With sunny weather forecast for the first few days we only had a brief 13.5km day to start and entered the forest full of hope and conversation topics. I like that the transition from town to forest is brief and you are immediately thrown into lush Jarrah forest, quite the contrast to our exit off the trail in a week’s time. A small descent down a hill is an easy introduction and at the bottom we were greeted with a fun little display on the fence of an adjoining property. The owner or a very enthusiast trail lover had decorated the fence line with an elaborate series of knitted shapes, flowers and buildings. It certainly brought a smile to our faces and given it was attached to private property there shouldn't be complaints from the grumpy pants that dislike anything unnatural on the track. While we were photographing the fence Jen yelled out that there were flowers near my boum (bum in a Manchester accent but the spelling is still up for debate). This got a bit of a laugh and was a constant joke over the next few days although the dry autumn meant we didn't see many flowers on the trip.