So to finish off 2016, I got away for another 4 days bringing the 2016 nights under canvas to 38. This was to be a test run trip. The Paj, now almost repaired from the carnage on the canning, needed some local testing before hitting the rough again. The last item to go, the front cross member, was booked in for when I returned from this trip.
A late departure from Perth at 1400, had me on the road for a little spot I had spotted some 4 years ago that I reckoned would be a good camp. I wasn't completely sure where I had to go, but if stuck, I had my tracklog from that previous trip to draw on if needed. As it turned out, I found the start of the track easy enough, and then just had to follow my nose.
By 1710, after 240Km's of travel, I had arrived at my planned destination on the Collie River and set up for the night:
A beautiful little spot on the river with plenty of water around:
So after a pleasant, quiet night alone, come the morning, it was time for coffee, pack up and head off to meet Trev and Duffy dog at Gnomesville.
The mist on the water this morning, and the reflections in the mill pond still river, made a remarkable sight:
Stopping off on the way out for some scenery and track shots:
It was here I realised I'd gone bush without my front intercooler bash plate. I had removed it in preparation for the cross member replacement, and didn't think at the time going bush without any protection probably wasn't a good idea. I would have to gingerly sneak through the bush now.
And then I was making my way to Gnomesville, I caught up with Trev at 1040. Whilst marvelling at the sheer amount of gnomes placed here, I grabbed a couple of caches in the near vicinity and set a new trackable off on the start of his adventure:
We then made our way into Donnybrook for some lunch at the bakery and headed off to check out the Grimwade campsite. We had no real plans on where we were to make camp for the night. So out to Wrights Bridge we went. not being overly impressed with the site, we ventured on into Nannup.
I had two spots to recommend. Cambray and one I call Punch and Judy. As it was now 1600, I suggested Cambray, owing to the fact it was the closest and would accept dogs. There is nothing of interest at Cambray, but its a place to camp up for the night.
On arrival, Trev was very uncomfortable with the 1080 signs, and rightly so. That will take a dog out in no time. Whilst 1080 is a hotly debated topic with dog owners, I suggest the benefits to the environment far outweigh any inconveniences created. Foxes and feral cats decimate some of our most endangered mammals in our forests here. The limitations of 1080 baiting is all part of responsible dog ownership. We decide to move on.
My Punch and Judy site is at least 45 minutes away, and with it now being 1615, I suggest we head back down the Balingup Rd for Wrights Bridge. On the way, we checked out a few tracks giving access to the Blackwood River, and Trev stumbled upon a little site we could both squeeze into at 1730.
As it was now getting on, we spent an hour or so playing with Duffy dog in the water and got down to business: beer and dinner at camp :)
We both made the decision not to deploy awnings. There had been no dew the previous night and no reports of rain was forecast. At 0400, I woke up with a wet face - note to self:
1. If you have an awning and don't use it, then it will probably rain.
2. Same deal not having your swag flap done up whilst not under cover
Listening to the drizzle for the next hour or so, we got up when it stopped. Now I have a wet swag - fantastic. Swags are great, they keep you dry. But if wet and you roll them up wet, your bedding will also be wet when you unroll it the next night. This is alright for Trev, he is going home today, I however have another night to go. So I strip the bedding from the swag and plan to dry it out this afternoon.
We hit the road about 0830, making for Balingup, Where Trev heads North and I head South. I have no plan for tonight, just where ever I end up. I veer off down an unknown road that looks "interesting" just out of Balingup. This takes me through some rolling hill farmland. Some Tee junctions, some map reading and some decision making on my part get me into the heart of forest country. At another Tee junction, I study the map and whilst doing so, A fire truck appears on the opposite side of the junction. Expecting them to come over for a chat, they don't. I had to walk over to them.
It was then they started to give me a serve : mate, you shouldn't be in here, the roads are closed. To which I reply, well great, how about you put up a closed road sign in the direction I have just come from then. Apparently, there had been a large bush fire through the area during the week and they were mopping up. Once he was made aware that my father in law is a member of East Nannup bush fire brigade, his tone subdued a little. I told him I would make my way direct to the Brockman Highway, as I didn't want to be on any closed roads. At the junction with the Brockman, I found a little sign. Pity the same wasn't present at the other end:
I am now in familiar country. I make my way for Donnelly River Mill and then take forestry tracks for Graphite Road. So I have decided, I will make my last night somewhere here in the Manjimup area. I start taking various tracks looking for river access points. I spot a place where the Bibbulmun crosses and head down a rather long, steep hill. Its a nice little spot here and with some open ground suitable for a camp. However, its a bit windy and its under the canopy of some very large trees - widow makers - so I decide to push on for somewhere more suitable.
I find a site in Wiki Camps "Chapman Bridge" and decide to had for it. It also is on the Bibbulmun. Who knows: it may be full of Swedish backpackers. So that's it, destination decided. Knowing my luck though, all the backpackers will be sporting names of Sven and the like :(, not Ingred like I hoped would be the case.
I really should have plugged the co-ords into ozi because I spent ages looking for this place. All I knew was that it was a few Km's to the North of my present location, and multiple back roads didn't seem to take me there. I spent about an hour rooting around before I called it quits. I did spy this old bridge though. "Paling Bridge" or so I believe:
From there I made a dash for Glenoran Pool for a spot of lunch. And I had a chat with a Ranger about this Chapman site. She didn't know it personally, but gave me a lead on how to get there. So I took that lead, followed my nose (and off road maps) and found it eventually around 1500.And wouldn't you know it. It was about a Kilometre up a road I had been on when I was rooting around on the other side. If only I had ventured on......
First job first, get the swag out and dry for tonight whilst I still had some sun:
A nice little place nestled in among tall trees. A running creek, a hikers hut, a few camp tables etc. Perfect. And no sign of Sven :)
The trees are freakin huge:
So a quiet night and a bit on the cool side with some light wind blowing. Perfect for sleeping. A nice 3 night getaway, seeing some places I knew and exploring some others I don't. The trials on the Paj were all successful, building ones confidence for some more tougher work to come.
At 0830 I was on the road for home and by 1330 I was in my driveway, ready to start the unpacking process. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I sometimes wonder why I go away at all. The sheer volume of work to pack and prepare beforehand, then the unpack and cleaning once back home, makes one wonder. But I tell you this, once you're out there, you sure do forget about those chores pretty damn quickly.
3 nights under canvas
100L fuel used
for an average of 10.2 L/100Km
cost of fuel $130
camp fees Nil
And the vid for the trip can be viewed here: