Dandalup to Dwellingup
Munda Biddi Trail
23rd August 2021
The Ride - Getting into the swing of things as we moved onto day three of our Munda Biddi E2E, Aron and I had stopped at Dandalup Campsite for lunch and a bit of a rest. Devouring my salad roll (great advice to wait for the Jarrahdale General Store to open so thanks Eilidh if you're reading), I had a good poke around the campsite before we packed away all of the gear we had brought up and thought about the second half of the day into Dwellingup. Aron had booked us into the Dwellingup Forest Lodge and we had about five hours to complete the 42km journey into one of my favourite towns in WA before it got dark.
Dwellingup is a place I visit many times each year with one of my Bibbulmun Track maintenance sections located in Lane Poole Reserve but a town I had never stayed in overnight. The area coming into Dandalup was extremely pleasant and after tackling the spur trail in and out of camp again, I was pleased to see that the lovely forest riding continued. While we hadn't reached peak wildflower season yet being late August, there was enough colour through here to make it feel pretty magical and early on there were some good finds including a Grevillea, Hibbertia commutata, a Pink Myrtle and some Zamia Palm seed cones. The downhill riding was enjoyable and helped to boost the average speed for the day but I still found myself stopping quite a bit to photograph the wildflowers or a nice looking section of Jarrah. There are some lovely older trees out here that were saved from the chop as this has been, like most areas of the South West, been logged at some point in time.
This is the type of Jarrah forest I really enjoy and it reminded me a little of the area due east of here on the Bibbulmun Track near Mount Wells. The soft grey bark of the Jarrah trees was really nice to see as quite often you find that they have a blackened tinge to them due to not shedding their bark very quickly after a fire. Spotting a Snottygobble brought a smile to my face as we started up a smol puppa hill that led to some of the best forest of the whole day. The clouds had rolled over as we reached a small creek and I love when this happens as the lighting becomes a lot more even. The harshness of photographing the forest in full sun with extremes of light and shadows isn't an issue and everything looks much better. It also helps with the wildflowers as it reduces the chance of some features being horribly overexposed. Crossing the creek over an old wooden footbridge, I spotted some flowering Parrot Bush and a Flame Pea, a flower I still call the Miami Vice Pea because of the pink and orange colouring. Through here we could hear the calls of the Black Cockatoos and I am always keen to get photos of these lovely birds, so inched along slowly once we saw where they were.
I managed to get a shot of one as it hung around on a branch way up at the top of one of the trees and was happy with that outcome. I just enjoy watching them whenever I come across some, getting a photo is just a bonus. Continuing on, we reached a vehicle track at the bottom of the hill and found a bit of an obstacle blocking the way. A large tree had fallen over the track but luckily it required an easy walk around to get through. We had experienced a pretty wild winter with plenty of storms blowing down trees but I was hoping that most of the ones that had been reported along the Munda Biddi would be gone by now. Crossing over another creek, this was the start of a medium puppa climb (about 80m of vert). I left Aron to ride at his own pace while I started up at my rhythm, something we had settled into by now. I stopped a few times along the climb to take photos of some Bacon and Egg flowers and to admire the beautiful Wattle that was flowering along the edge of the trail. At the top of the hill I decided to keep going as I knew it was a fairly lengthy downhill that Aron would have an opportunity to catch up on as I would no doubt be stopping for photos.
Little did I know that I would be stopping for the one thing I had been hanging out to see in Western Australia for a very long time. As I was enjoying a nice section of downhill single track, I heard a rustle off to my left and out of the corner of my eye I spotted something moving off the edge of the track. I slammed on the brakes and tried to get off as quietly as possible, reaching for my camera with great haste. It was confirmed to be an echidna and I let our a silent squee and my face erupted into a giant smile. I was lucky that a fallen log had halted the path of the echidna as it had decided to pretend I wasn't there by butting its head right up against the log and stayed still. I snapped away at it and then went back to my bike to grab my phone to record some evidence I could share with everyone who knew what a big deal this was for me. Aron came rolling over the hill and slowed down when he saw me crouched over the edge of the trail with my phone out. It was a momentous occasion and it was nice to get the monkey off the back so to speak.