Day 8 (17.11.2016)
I took advantage of spending a night in a proper bed and slept a bit longer than I usually do when sleeping in a shelter or my tarp. Resupply check, nice breakfast check, using the public Wifi check…
The first part of todays section leads me along a paved road. Thanks to prescribed burning in this area another diversion is in place and I have to follow the road for about 5 km.
Right after I start following the usual track again I am lucky and a huge Dugite suns itself on the forest floor. The 1,5-2m long snake backs off as soon as I stamp my feet on the floor. A very impressive reptile!
BUT even this wonderful sighting doesn’t stop my painful shin… The pain didn’t get better during the night, it turned worse. The walk on pavement was a torture and I started to doubt about my todays goals. 30km with a very painful shin… each step hurts and turnst he pain into worse… I planed to hike to Swamp Oak Shelter, have a long rest there and see how things turn out. After crueling 13 km I reached the shelter and lay down on the wooden floor. It wasn’t even noon. I was completly rested because of a good night in a proper bed and didn’t want to hang around for a complete day… but keeping on was also no option. I had the bad feeling that one day rest wouldn’t be enough to rid of my little injury. I started tot hink about my options:
- Keep hiking and completly fuck up your shin
- Stay in the shelter, boring … and probably the pain won’t go away in a short period of time
- Hike back to Dwellingup and wait until the pain is gone (how long will this be and for fucks sake I can’t, o rat least really don’t want to walk back 13km with this painful leg)
After another 30min rest I tried to hike further, ignoring the pain. Very soon I realized that this is a stupid plan and limbed back tot he shelter.
„If only someone would give me a lift back to town….“, is what was on my mind. You won’t believe what happened 10min after my thoughts… A noise… a car close by! So close I an see it! Is this for real?! It is!!! A big 4×4 Pickup approaches the shelter. A ranger on it’s way to check the shelter. The first ranger I have seen out on the track so far. He stops and I approach him, asking him for a lift back to Dwellingup. No problem! I am in Australia, people are awesome here, they do everything for you!
I hurry and pack my stuff (I already prepared to spend the day and night here), throw it in the back oft he Pickup and jump into the car. I am so reliefed and thankful and enjoy the ride back to town.
The ranger drops me at the Visitor Center, where I sit down and think about how to proceed. I sit for a few minutes and who shows up all of a sudden? Joe! He is surprised that I am still in town. I tell him my story and we decide to camp together at the Caravan Park and go for dinner and a beer tonight. At least good company if I have to spend another night in town.
We walk over to the campground, I grab after my camera and want to take a picture of the Visitor Center (which I haven’t „documented“ so far). My camera is gone!!! At least it isn’t where it’s ment to be! And trust me, usually my stuff is very well organised and can be found within seconds. Ok, don’t panic. It may be somewhere else. „Mistakes can happen and you placed it somewhere else!“… Mistakes do happen! But I didn’t put the camera somewhere else! I LOST it. The cam gone, all the pics gone. Come on! What a day?! Rollercoaster at it’s best? Pain stops me from walking, incidentially a ranger picks me up in the middle of nowhere, I meet Joe again which means fun and good company and I loose my camera. Probably I left the camera behind when hurrying to pack my gear at the shelter. Only 13 km away but in my condition it feels like 1300 km. I decide to stop thinking about it. I am going to get it back… I simply know it… How? I don’t know! But it will happen!
I pitch my net tent next to Joes tent . In the evening we have dinner and 2 bears at the local pub.
A very interesting day ends in my comfy quilt.
Day 9 (18.11.2016)
My shin isn’t better. Still hurting like shit. I pack my stuff, get a breakfast and start thinking about what to do. I decide that it’s better to get back to Perth and have a rest there. There’s nothing to do in Dwellingup and I don’t know how long it will take me to get better. I don’t want to spend to much time to recover since I want to travel after hiking the Bibb Track. I discuss my plans with Joe, who supports me. Luckily there is a new shuttle service running from Dwellingup to Pinjarra, from where Trans WA runs a train directly to Perth. This won’t cost me much time and money and I plan to leave on afternoon but before I leave I am going to get my camera back.
Joe offers that he will send me the camera if he manages to find it in the shelter. I decide to get it back earlier, since this option would take at least 2-3 weeks to get my camera back (if he managest o find it!). I walk into the DPAW (Department of Parks and Wildlife) office and ask if any of the rangers will be close to Swamp Oak Shelter today and may look after my camera. They promise to do so. Wonderful people! I tell the woman in the Visitor Center that I am missing my camera, she even offers me her car to go there on my own and pick it up. I decide to wait a bit and see if DPAW managest o bring me my camera back, but consider it as an option to borrow her car if I don’t get my camera back before my shuttle leaves (I decide to borrow the car if I don’t get it back by 11:00am).
10:55 am, a hiker enteres town. An End-To-Ender, long beard, long hair, dirty, hiking in thongs… he’s going north. „I found the camera of an Austrian guy!“ (He knows because of my trail register entry). CRAP! My camera is back! I hug him. His trail name is „Bacon“. He’s hiked the Bibb several times. He’s not only looking like a tough guy, he is one!
Some minutes later Mike, from the US, enters town. He’s yoyoing the Bibb (1000km towards south, turning around and go back the 1000km towards north). He’s almost done, only 210km left. He hiked the major long distance hikes in the US – Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail (which makes him a Triple Crowner). After this trip he leaves to New Zealand, hiking 2000km there. We share a lot of thoughts during my remaining hours in town. Again, a person which is pure motivation!
I enjoyed my last hours in Dwellingup. Everything turned out great, despite my hurting shin.
I board the shuttle and leave to Perth.
What happened next
Unfortunatelly my shin didn’t get better during the next days in Perth. After some days I decided that I don’t want to „waste“ my time abroad just waiting to recover. I wasn’t aware how much time it will take until I can hit the track again and summer is approaching fast, along with potential temperatures up to unbearing 40°C or above. I found two backpackers online who wanted to drive up north along the coast of WA.
Finally my decision was made: I stop to hike the Bibbulmun Track after just 230km…
Trust me, the decision wasn’t easy, since I really enjoyed most of the time on the track and the potentially best part still lay ahead. But sometimes live leads you somewhere else, somewhere where you dind’t plan to go and new possibilities and mayb even better adventures are waiting for you along this unforseen path.