Day 14: Long Day thru Balingup

Friday October 28, 39.5km/24.5mi

Grimwade Campsite (378.7/263m) to Blackwood Campsite (418.2/269m) (WA)

I saw that the next campsite shelter was 40km away, so I started extra early at 6:30am. It was a nice cool 12C in the forest.

The morning hours flew by, with a few interesting landmarks. This tree was huge and probably ancient.

The trail skirted by a winery, and I briefly had a great view onto the green hills below.

The trail followed an old road for a bit, and then suddenly turned sharply onto an overgrown track. I almost missed it!

I saw a few more bob-tail lizards, this one even posed for me!

The descent out of the forest into town was steep, and it was made more exciting by slippery gravel and a nearby barbed-wire fence.

This was the 2nd most impressive bridge I’ve seen yet on this trail. So much lumber.

And I immediately found out where the lumber probably came from, as I walked thru a beautiful pine forest. I don’t think these are native here, but it reminded me of home.

The last bit of walking into Balingup was on a paved road, lined with these gum trees.

Balingup was a small charming little village.

It was 11:30am, so I stopped by the Mushroom Cafe (yeah I know, terrible name) for lunch. I got the Friday special, fish & chips. I had to ask for ketchup, and she only brought me one tiny packet for like 1lb/500g of fries. So strange. Maybe they charge for salt & pepper too, haha.

The trail left town by wandering thru an arboretum of sorts. The Golden Valley Tree Park had trees from all over the world.

A Swamp Cypress:

And a Fan Palm:

And a Red Maple:

Among dozens of other trees, for some reason there were sheep wandering thru the park.

After leaving that area, I climbed up to a ridge top, and the Bibbulmun joined a local interpretive trail, the Greenbushes Loop.

It had some signs along the way explaining the old mining equipment or sites. And my favorite, the bench with a view.

I loved seeing the juxtaposition of the two trail markers – the Wagyl (Bibbulmun) and the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo (Greenbushes).

Apparently, the Bibbulmun is a “sister trail” to Canada’s Bruce Trail. Neat!

I was excited to get to Mt Jones Lake, but then I found out there’s no swimming, because it’s a drinking reservoir.

There was a brief roadwalk for a couple km, and I passed by some highly unusual things. Dirt mound on top of a stump, aka “mushroom”:

Horse made out of bushes:

Less unusual were the curious cows, as I walked by a farm.

The final hour of the day was thru some farm pastures, which was windy but very scenic.

I arrived to the Blackwood shelter at 6pm, to find 4 other women already there. While my dinner was cooking, I explored around the shelter. It’s perched on top of a ridge overlooking the Blackwood farm valley.

The ‘roos are everywhere up here.

I finished dinner and tried to talk with the group, but they were all excited to see each other so I didn’t get many words in, haha. The sunset was a good one tonight.

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