A Cabin in the Woods
On Thursday I slept in until 6.30 am. My camp was in a quite corner of the Manjimup Central Caravan Park. After attending to my ablutions, then packing up camp, mercifully without any precipitation. It was time for tea and toast at the store run by the Caravan Park.
“Tea’s on the house young fella. Anybody riding a bike in this weather needs a good start.” I accepted graciously of course. It was the lawnmower man whom I had a brief conversation with yesterday. Nice man but what is it with the young fella stuff?
It was a late start, after 8am, before I ventured off on the road heading to Walpole 125 kms away through rolling hill country. I thought if the rain starts up I may just camp somewhere along the way.
There’s a freedom in in not having a specific destination or time attached to my travels. Not knowing where I may sleep tonight is somehow liberating.
Steep climbing followed by exhilarating downhills were the order of the day: Fog, misty rain and rainbows were my companions through the forest.
I stopped in a bus shelter to put my shoe covers on as the rain settled in. It was only when I had ridden a further 10 kms along the road that I realised I had forgotten my back pack. Damn! I headed back in the hope it would still be there. And it was there!
I now doubted my ability to make Walpole before dark. As I turned off the road at Quinninup I saw a sign: “Last service stop for 90 kms.” I then saw a sign saying the Tavern/Store didn’t open until 2.30 pm, so I had to ride an extra 5kms. Oh well, it’s clearing, I thought. So I resolved to camp out in the bush rather than bust a gut trying to make Walpole.
I collected extra fresh water from a free flowing creek. I had food for tonight’s dinner; a sandwich and tin of baked beans.
After 60kms of Rolling Hills in pleasant conditions through the rich pepper smelling Karri Forest. I arrived at the Shannon National Park camping grounds. They have basic amenities, no ranger or shop, but a toilet block, campsites and three cute old cabins, with pot belly stoves, available on a first come best dressed basis. As nobody else was around, I guess that meant me! I chopped some wood and lit a fire and I was warm and dry. Now my clothes have that smoke house smell.
No telephone or internet coverage. The sun came out while I was busy making a fire in the old stove, which I used to cook my beans while turning my sandwich into a toastie. You never know how things turn out. How lucky was I?
It was comforting to hear the rain fall on the roof of my cabin while inside all was warm and dry, almost fairy tale like. However, fairy tales aren’t real.
Waking this morning to steady rain it was difficult to leave my comfortable surrounds for the wet and windy road, but I needed to push on. Only 70kms to Warpole but in the rain and head wind it felt further.
Those Karri forests are magnificent and there’s always plenty to see: I saw at least two different breeds of kangaroo. The fine featured ones let me take their photo, while the big bushy ones would bound out of the forest in front of me, half scaring me to death!
I crossed the Munda Biddi Trail for the third day in a row and stopped to explore lookouts, taking time to enjoy this beautiful environment.
I arrived in Walpole.