Boyagin Nature Reserve
Directions - Boyagin Nature Reserve is about two hours east of Perth off Brookton Hwy. Follow Brookton Hwy until you reach the York-Williams Rd turnoff. Turn right here and follow down until you reach the left turn for Boyagin Rd. Follow Boyagin Rd until the left turn for Pech Rd. The car park is a little way down on the left and is well signed.
The Hike - Despite starting a mildly successful but thoroughly enjoyable podcast together, Donovan and I have not hiked together very often. Besides a couple of group hikes early on when we didn't really know each other, we have only hiked together three times. Odd considering every fortnight or so we spend a couple of hours drinking wine and talking hiking for the podcast (not to mention the various group chats we now talk on daily). A theme that started to develop in 2018 was Donovan's pursuit of off-track hiking and his "chasing the dragon" as I like to call it of unspoiled hiking experiences outside of the marked offerings currently available. With our weekend availability matching up for once he invited me to check out Boyagin Rock with Alissa.
The route we were going to walk was mapped out by Dave from WalkGPS and can be viewed here (membership is required for this one but he does have hikes he lists without requiring a membership). Donovan was very interested in a few photos he saw with giant granite boulders and a healthy smattering of one of his favourite trees, the Wandoo. With a confirmed date in place we headed out very early along Brookton Hwy (after a breakfast stop) for an hour and a half before reaching the turnoff. With a lovely morning fog in place over the surrounding farmland we hoped it would last until we were on Boyagin Rock. What amazed us turning off Brookton Hwy were the huge granite boulders found on the farmland and the fact they only survived because the people who were responsible for the extensive land clearing in this area must have put them in the "too hard basket". Arriving at the Boyagin Rock car park, we set about gathering our gear for the hike whilst also trying to stay warm (it was around 0C). There is a short (official) walk that you can do to the top of Boyagin Rock, which is the reason for the car park, information packed gazebo and basic toilet facilities. While Donovan got his gear together and loaded up the GPS I had a poke around the car park and photographed the lovely forest and the small glimpses of Boyagin Rock you can see.
When everyone was ready Donovan pointed his phone at the terrain and said we had to go directly into thick bush instead of the path leading towards the granite dome. Our method of navigation today was the ViewRanger app on Donovan's phone that had a cool augmented reality feature where the waypoints appear on the screen as you point it at the scenery (kind of like Pokemon Go). Luckily the bush bashing was very short and we soon arrived at a lovely granite slope that would mark the first climb of the day. Very much like Sullivan Rock with lots of moss, lichen and sundews covering the areas where soil had been deposited into the cracks, we were very careful to pick our lines up here so as not to step on any moss (it's a very fragile environment). As we ascended it became clear as to why this route was chosen to start with some pretty cool views of Boyagin Rock and the surrounding forest. Being able to see most of the nature reserve was pretty cool and it served as a good warm-up in the chilly conditions. At the summit of this particular section of granite was an out of place camouflage lock box that we guessed the purpose of, after some light Googling it turns out this is a wildlife monitoring station so they now have some photos of a few hikers in their natural habitat.