Day 20: Forests, Pastures, and Coastal Plains

Thursday November 3, 38.8km/24.1mi

Ridge above Warren River (586.9/149m) to Gardner Campsite (625.7/47m) (WA)

At 5:30am I awoke in my tent, one of the few nights on this trail that I had used my tent. It was a warm morning, already 18C, so I ate breakfast in my tent to avoid the mosquitos. The trail cruised thru Karri forests all morning.

At a dirt road crossing, some prankster had put a “bus stop” sticker on the post. Ha!

The understory of the forest was full of these little blue flowers.

By mid-morning, I was starting to see more farm fields.

At 9am I came to Schafer campsite, which had a beautiful location next to a little lake.

I sat there for awhile and had some snacks, read the journal, and thought about swimming.

The trail journal had some really strange entries but this one was definitely the weirdest. Britney Spears was here last week?!?

After leaving the shelter, I noticed that the trail had become very sandy. I’m very close to the coast now, I think only 50km away.

I walked through a farm for an hour, winding thru on old tractor roads. Most of the fields were full of cows.

A woman drove by in her very old Toyota truck to check on her cows, and we had a chat for a few minutes…. about the trail, where I’m from, and why people do crazy things like this. After I left the farm and re-entered the forest, the Karri trees came back one last time.

And then the forest decided to be really colorful. This bird is called a Western Rosella.

And these cool flowers that are a combination of orange and pink.

Just before I got to the town of Northcliff, I passed by a really tempting picnic shelter. I thought about stopping there for lunch, but it was only another 15 minutes to town.

When I arrived to town, they had helpful signs for hikers everywhere.

There was some fun artwork on various buildings in this town. The town is basically only a dozen buildings.

I went to the post office to get my food box that I had mailed myself 3 weeks ago. Luckily it was a Thursday and the post office was open regular hours. When I mailed all my boxes out, I had a really thought about me arriving to town on a Saturday or Sunday. I walked to the park next door and sat in a pavilion to sort out my food.

While I was there, this very brightly colored bird kept coming over to visit me.

I walked over to a cafe and got a milkshake, and for the first time in Australia, it was a proper milkshake with enough ice cream. Excellent! I went to check out the little Pioneer museum, but it was locked. Hilariously, the note on the door said to call a phone number and somebody would drive over to let you in. Small towns are great!

I left town at 2pm, and for a couple kilometers it was a roadwalk.

After I left the road, I was in a sandy forest all afternoon. Some of the sand was that annoying soft loose sand, where its hard to walk in. Especially on uphills.

I followed the Gardner River downstream, crossing and re-crossing it a few times.

I got to the Gardner Campsite at 6pm. It was a little later than my usual ending time, but I had spent a few hours in town relaxing and eating, so it didn’t feel like a long day.

Surprisingly, I was the only one at the campsite, I’ve been seeing all these names in the trail logbooks, but I think I am just behind or just ahead of them. Maybe tomorrow I will see some people, and maybe see the ocean too!

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