Mundlimup Timber Trail
Directions - Turn off Jarrahdale Rd onto Balmoral Rd and then follow the signs all the way to the small car park. Be on the lookout for cyclists as the access road off Balmoral Rd forms part of the Munda Biddi. A map and large wooden board greet you at the car park.
The Hike - With a rather unimpressive exploration of the Blue Rock Walks as my first hike of the day I was more optimistic about the Mundlimup Timber Trails as the photos and description on TrailsWA looked like a more organised trail. As I fielded a call from The Wife of Py I noticed a Scarlet Robin playing in the bushes so attempted to get a photo whilst also still paying attention to what was being said. The trail is split up into two loops, a shorter loop within the 3km main trail and as always I would be taking the longer route because a wise man once said "The Long Way's Better". Unlike the Blue Rock Walks, the trail markers and map are very easy to follow with the longer loop following green markers initially and then black markers after it leaves the shorter loop.
The first little section follows the path of the old timber railway line (with tracks removed) as it makes its way down to Gooralong Brook. Avid hikers may notice that name as the water source that Kitty's Gorge follows down from the cemetery end but unfortunately it was dry as a bone given the autumn/winter drought we have been experiencing. The picnic area and bridge over Gooralong Brook are quite pretty and would be a nice place in the spring with the kids playing in the water and plenty of wildflowers around. For now though I had the place to myself and tried to work out the best angles in the midday sun. A healthy banksia tree greets you on the other side of the brook and was sporting a healthy abundance of bright gold flowers but the sun was too bright for what could be a nice photo. A set of stairs at the end of the bridge takes you up to one of the log landing areas that lines the trail. This is your first introduction to the history of the area, which even though it contains logging is made a little better because of the heavy manual labour involved rather than the quick and clinical clear felling used today. Given the area was last logged several decades ago, the regrowth forest is luscious and thick as the trail gently snakes its way through the Jarrah trees. I was impressed at how lovely it was and it could be argued that this trail offers forest that rivals parts of the Bibbulmun Track in terms of healthy Jarrah forest.
Given how much of the Darling Range has been affected by bush fires and burn-offs, it's nice to hike through some pristine and not blackened forest. Snapping away I soon came across another logging relic, one of the old saw pits. Admiring what is essentially a big hole in the ground, you have to feel some sympathy for the poor guy that got stuck in the pit and was rained with saw dust all day. The turn-off for the shorter loop is soon after the old pit but I continued on and followed the markers for the longer trail. It is much of the same for the remainder of the trail with a fantastic canopy overhead, plenty of healthy Jarrah and She Oak forest and a thick undergrowth of various ferns, grass trees and bushes. I would love to see this area transform in the spring as I think the variety of wildflowers on display would be amazing. I did have a couple of moments where the path wasn't quite clear but I chose based on instincts and eventually came across the 4x4 track that leads you back to the start. I came out a bit further up than the trail marker on the 4x4 track but it wasn't a big detour and didn't detract from the walk. The final section takes you past the old logging landing areas and back to Gooralong Brook. Another lovely walk over and a much better experience than the Blue Rock Walks I had just been on. As I was leaving a car pulled up with a couple of cyclists about to hit the Munda Biddi, making me reflect at how lucky we are to have so many outdoor activities so close to a town centre.
Final Thoughts - I'm not the biggest fan of logging, especially native forests as they take centuries to return to their natural state, but it is nice to see what can happen after an area has been logged when it comes to recovery. Given this method of logging is vastly different to the bulldoze and burn method that currently destroys our native forests, it is a much more interesting look at the timber industry.
At least some thought went into how and what trees were felled based off the many information boards located around the trail. Jarrahdale embraces itself as a historic town so having this type of trail available to families and people interested in the state's history is a start.
The trail itself is actually very pleasant despite it's relatively short length and a great way to get the kids out into nature. Given its close proximity to the town centre it makes for a great day trip to the area if you combine it with a trip to the Jarrahdale Railway Heritage Trail or Serpentine Falls.
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