The people you meet are often the most memorable part of a holiday, and Ji Qui from South Korea was no exception. He was an avid fan of Bear Grylls and came to Australis several years ago, deciding to walk along the Bibbulmun track, well sort of, he just headed south from Perth, in winter, because he had not heard of the Bibbulmun Track, with a heavy backpack and only a sleeping bag for shelter., a compass and a some food. He didn’t stay in the shelters because he didn’t find any. He walked for 4 weeks and came to a beach, he walked along the beach for 2 hours before he came to a dead-end and could go no further. He used his compass to head North in the hope of coming across a road, he had long run out of food and survived on honey and bee larvae from a beehive he found. He eventually came to a road and was picked up by an elderly couple in Denmark, who wanted to take him to hospital because he was so emancipated, instead they took him home and fed him for a month to get his strength back. So here he was, back in Denmark many years later to visit the couple, he wasn’t doing any bushwalking this time.
And there was the healer who just qualified as a gong player, yes that is a thing.
It’s been a tough few days since Denmark. Leaving Denmark I rode past the beautiful coastline before heading off into the state forest, conservation area. I had a couple of tough hills, many times i got off and pushed for a bit. I saw a few cars, rode past wineries (and a cheese factory!!) that were closed. By the time I turned off the road and onto the trail I had completed nearly 40km, I was looking forward to getting to the campsite. The single track started out pretty level and eventually started to climb. The surface was pea gravel and it was so steep that I couldn’t ride, the front wheel kept lifting off the ground. I got off and started to push, if I stopped pushing, the brakes needed to be on or the bike would roll back down the hill. This went on for about 200 metres, pushing 30 kilo up a hill was not my idea of fun. I eventually reached the turn off to the campsite. I composed myself, not wanting to ride into the campsite like a complete mess, I would be cool and composed. Well I needn’t have bothered, no one was there and I had the whole place to myself.
This stunning campsite was almost worth all the huffing and puffing to get there! I mean it was lovely but it was a ridiculous effort getting up that hill. It was a little bit eerie being there on my own, I wouldn’t say I felt unsafe, I just felt completely isolated. The next day I woke early, the kookaburra’s and their pre dawn serenade made sure of it. I set off from the campsite and headed of on what would become a very long, hard day. It was a ride along desolate roads, through rivers, I did not see one car or person all day, after 53km and nearly 6 hours of riding I was met with the last 4 km of sand, it was soul-destroying. Eventually arriving at the Booner Mundak Campsite and again, I had the place all to myself.
I did however have the privilege of seeing some wonderful things, an emu, with all his neck feathers puffed out, making loud guttural noises, similar to a pig grunting, swaying from side to side, stopped me in my tracks. He was stunning, and he was aggressive. I stood completely still and it wasn’t long before I saw what all the fuss was about, the smallest chick came around from behind me, somehow I had got myself between them. As soon as the chick was with him they were off into the bushland. I had roo’s bounding along through the bush and the most amazing Blue Wrens flitting in and out of the bushes.
I headed off into Walpole, it was more of the same for a while, sand, hills and the argument in my head that went something like this. “I can’t do this” “yes, you can you big baby, this bike won’t get there on it’s own” “looking at the map will not get you there any quicker”. So, you may well ask, am I having fun yet? Yes and no. Why am I doing this? Well I ask myself that several times a day and I haven’t yet come up with an answer. So I have had a rest today in Walpole, and I will head off again tomorrow, maybe I will be able to answer that question eventually.