Clackline WalkGPS Route
Clackline Nature Reserve
Directions - Clackline Nature Reserve is about an hour and 15 minutes east of Perth. Follow Great Eastern Hwy until you reach the Spencers Brook Rd turnoff. Turn right here and then an immediate left onto Eadine Rd until you reach a left turn for Sleeper Rd. Turn right onto Railway Rd and then left onto Connor Rd. Follow this to the end where you'll see the CALM sign.
The Hike - The June long weekend for the past two years has marked the beginning of a couple of week long sections of the Bibbulmun Track. With my sectional end to end now over and a vow to do more day hiking in 2020, my plan was to get myself a WalkGPS membership and start tackling some of the off-track adventures Dave has mapped out around the Perth area. With most of the hiking around the Perth Hills requiring a bit of water or the introduction of wildflowers to make them more enjoyable, I had my sights set on exploring some of the Wheatbelt nature reserves that are remnants of what used to be the predominant landscape in this area.
Unfortunately with the intrastate borders closed this scuttled my plans but with nothing planned for the June long weekend this year I rescheduled the hikes to then. Dave describes the trio of walks in this area (Clackline, Bobakine and Mokine) as a "walking degustation" so I was intrigued to take all three in on the same day. As with most of Dave's walks, there are off track elements so you will need to download the GPX file and PDF file to make sure you are going the right way. Navigation would be a case of finding an app where I could load the GPX into it and also track my hike at the same time to ensure I could follow along on my phone. While Donovan uses the augmented reality feature of the ViewRanger app, he's had some issues where it initially needs to validate your subscription via an internet connection so I instead went with AllTrails and would just be following along with that. Driving out along Great Eastern Highway, I was treated to a beautiful sunrise full of colour and it certainly was a great way to start the day. Reaching the gates to the reserve I loaded everything up and set out on what would be the entrée for my hiking degustation. I had a good laugh at the old CALM sign on the gates and on the wooden sign, mainly because that was three name changes ago and this area seems to have been forgotten (which I think is actually a good thing and I'll explain why later).
Starting the hike, you head south along the fence line and slightly uphill. An inconspicuous start to proceedings with the open field of the neighbouring farm not being particularly interesting but as you rise the views across to Bobakine Reserve (the main course of the degustation) start to open up. As always I was constantly scanning around for interesting things to photograph and there was enough here to peak my interest thanks to some cool lichen, nicely coloured quartz and the sight of the golden barked Wandoo that dominate this part of the state. When you reach the top of the hill you make a very sharp right turn to continue following the 4x4 track (the first 2km is all on vehicle track so very easy to follow). This was a nice moment and one that made me a little giddy as the track turns into what I dubbed the "Avenue of Wandoo", a squiggly track leading into the distance lined with beautiful Wandoos that were looking amazing even in the muted light of an overcast morning. Welcoming me to this lovely part were a couple of Pink and Grey Galahs hanging out in a nearby tree so I swapped over my lenses and got some closer pictures of them muppeting about.
I couldn't stop taking photos as I left the Galahs and slowly walked along the vehicle track. It's always nice coming along a healthy stand of Wandoo when in the Perth Hills but to be completely surrounded by these magnificent trees is something very special. Having a variety of shapes and sizes was great to see and some of the older examples just ooze character that you really have to see up close. Continuing to ascend, the views across the farmland to the east and over to Bobakine kept getting better, although I was hoping for more mist rolling through the valley. An unusually warm early winters morning meant that only a few wisps were visible but having the gold of the Wandoo trunks in the foreground more than made up for that. One aspect I wasn't enjoying was having to avoid large horse deposits that littered the vehicle track. A trail group that most of the time aren't very considerate of others, it's a shame that you really have to watch where you're walking instead of just enjoying the relatively easy going nature of this early section.
As the trail flattens out a bit you can just stroll along completely immersed in the woodlands. I'm not going to lie, around this point I was thinking to myself that this was prime echidna territory (still haven't seen one in WA while out hiking) so kept an eye out for anything moving along the floor. Alas it wasn't meant to be on this hike but I didn't care as the quality of the scenery was just amazing. To think this was just the appetiser was giving me pleasant thoughts and I couldn't wait to explore the rest of the walks. Wiggling around, the track then reaches a junction so I checked the notes and a left turn was in order so that's what I did. Just near the turn I was happy to spot my first wildflower of the day, a red bell shaped variety that might be One Sided Bottlebrush (Calothamnus quadrifidus) or something very similar. Another interesting feature was a two-faced Wandoo with one side being very dead looking and the other side looking completely healthy. It's something I noticed quite a lot as I went along, parts of the tree would be blackened while the rest continued to live.