The Bibbulmun Track is a 1,000km walk trail that extends from Perth to Albany on the south coast of WA.
The track was first suggested by a former forestry worker, Jim Schafer, who identified an opportunity for people to access some of the most spectacular country in our state.
The state government and the Bibbulmun Track Foundation share the responsibility for maintaining the track, including a committed band of volunteers. Amongst this group of nature lovers, is my mother who has been a dedicated volunteer with the Foundation since the late 1990’s. Ma spends a day each week in the Foundation’s office processing all of the membership renewals and managing all of the maintenance reports sent in by maintenance volunteers.
In 2013, our family, at the request of Ma, adopted a section of the track near Northcliffe to maintain. Four times each year we go down and spend the weekend clearing the track of fallen branches, dragging clear trees that have fallen (only the small ones) and tidying up the hiker’s hut.
Usually, it’s just Ma and me that make the trek down. We stay at the nearby Watermark Kilns – former tobacco-drying kilns that have been converted into affordable accommodation for track walkers, along with riders on the Munda Biddi mountain bike trail.
In September 2014, we managed to convince Stozz to come along for the trip. On the Friday afternoon we walked the ‘short’ section of the track from Lane Poole Road to Schafer’s Hut. As we often do, I met a walker at the hut. From Adelaide, this lady was walking alone for about 6 weeks to complete the southern end of the track, having completed the top end during her visit to WA last year.
After settling into Bell Cottage at Watermark, we headed to the Northcliffe Pub for dinner and to watch the Swans vs Port Adelaide semi final (waste of time, bad game…).
It took all day Saturday to walk and clear the long section of our track from Cederman Road back to the hut. In some sections there were small trees and big branches to saw, sticks to clear and bushes to trim. The Watsonia weeds were out of control in some areas – a problem that we report to DPaW and they will come back to spray.
On this section of the track we met Steve from the UK who was walking solo and heading for Albany. He had been picking watermelons in the Kimberley for three months and so was enjoying the cooler weather! Once we reached the hut, Steve had been there for a while and set up for the night. He joined us for a chat and I think he welcomed the company for a while.
Back at Watermark and we got the fire pit going while Ma put together a feast of nibbles. Once the dark night descended, the stars were incredibly bright. An early night and we crashed out.
On Sunday we packed up the cottage and headed up to the main house. Trevor and Jeanette had just returned from overseas and were catching up on what their caretakers had been doing while they were away. Trevor gave us a tour of the marron ponds as well as the tanks where he is growing fish for the aquarium industry; it was fascinating.
A small timber cottage for sale nearby had caught our eye and so our trip home was via the house for a look. During the torrential downpour we managed a good look over the very neglected property. Will we or wont we….? To be continued.