WESTERN AUSTRALIA, August 2007
We are sitting in the small circle of our campfire reading Banjo Patterson. The soft whisper of the wind through the trees and the sound of water falling over rocks in the nearby creek seems fitting background music to Banjo’s poetry.
It is late August and I am at the Gregory Brook Hut on the Bibbulmun Track between Balingup and Donnelly River in Western Australia’s South West with two friends, 63 year old “End to End” walker Bernard Glasson from Perth and Trish Gibbs from Donnybrook who has been walking with Bernard for the last five days from Collie.
When I joined Bernard and Trish on Friday morning at Southampton Bridge just south of Balingup, Bernard had been on the Track for four weeks. Nearly halfway through his nine week walk along the 964 kilometre Bibbulmun Track from Kalamunda to Albany, Bernard was looking fit, healthy and happy.
The challenging up hill walk within the first hour, with sweat pouring out of every pore and my leg muscles screaming at me to stop or take the twelve kilogram pack off my back, had me wondering how I was going to cope for the next two days on the Track.
However as the day unfolded, so did my enjoyment of the experience. The flush of colourful wildflowers, bird song, the gentle cooling breeze, the canopy of trees, the log we sat on for lunch, the handful of dried fruit, the intoxicating smell of a patch of Boronia, the light drizzle of rain, the trickling water in a creek we crossed, the magnificent towering Karri trees, the space for my own thoughts, the welcome sight of the hut at the end of the day, and most of all the constant comfort of the company of my friends and the Track itself.
The Bibbulmun Track is Western Australia’s longest walking track, stretching from Kalamunda in the Darling Ranges near Perth, to Albany on the south coast, traversing some of the South West’s most beautiful forests and wilderness, over varying terrain through shady valleys to mountains with 360 degree views and spectacular coastal scenery.