After we said goodbye and thank you to Barry and Tina we pointed the bike south toward Albany but there were many things to see before we got there. Riding out on an old mining route to the coast we then followed a glorious road through the forests, it was here we saw the evidence of the recent Margaret River fires. Fires are part of the life cycle here and have been for thousands of years, some plants will not regenerate until burnt by fire. In modern times there has been a need to control bush fires to prevent loss of life and property, part of this process is called controlled burning. Areas are burnt at cooler times of the year in a controlled way to prevent fuel build up e.g long dry grass, leaf litter etc which make bush fires more likely. This fire was started as a controlled burn back in September but by November had got out of control sadly with tragic consequences. The photos below show what the native bush looked like before and the aftermath. There was an eerie silence, no birds or crickets but the Black boys were already rejuvenating and sprouting.
We stopped at Beedelup falls, there was little water flowing but it was a pleasant walk. One of the paths was signposted to the walk through tree, this we had to see. It was a fairly strenuous walk but eventually we found ourselves at the foot of a giant Karri tree. Stepping up half a metre we could climb into what was most probably a knot in the trees growth now finished off by chainsaw. To stand inside this massive giant with many tonnes of tree above was surreal.The first and second photos are top and bottom of this giant.
Next stop was the Gloucester tree standing at over 60 metres tall it was used as a fire lookout tree which amazingly given the current health and safety paranoia we were still allowed to climb. Given it was 153 rungs to the top I had been fairly convinced that I wouldn’t even get half way but seeing two small children scramble up I was determined to try. I was strangely unfazed at the top and even managed to take photos on the way down. Boofle made it all the way to the top but insisted on a photo to prove it. Kev was suffering a little from land legs after being on the boat but I must have been swaying in sync with the tree as I felt invigorated.
Our route onward was via the great forest drive a 14km detour on what can only be described as ball bearing gravel, it is made up of almost perfectly round stones making stopping in a straight line interesting let alone cornering.
We camped amongst the big trees that night, a magnificent backdrop marred only by the mozzies which had a sharp painful bite even through long trousers.
We were in a lookout stop when two overland bikes rode past, they stopped and turned around and when they pulled alongside us the first rider killed the bike and said “hello again”. We had no idea who it was until they pulled off their full face helmets and goggles to reveal Morgan and Duncan the guys we met in Freo. They were out on their Christmas holidays for small trip away. We had a good catch up chat and then decided to ride together for the day. Peeling off the tarmac onto Hilltop road (a gravel track) we went up to a red tingle forest which are the largest girthed eucalypt in the world. One measured 24metres in girth and some are over 400yrs old.
We shared lunch together in the car park before agreeing to ride together until Denmark. We messed up slightly and missed a turn as we left the park and by the time we realised and doubled back we couldn’t catch the lads, I did wonder what the hooting was about now we knew. It didn’t matter too much as we were parting ways shortly and we had already swapped phone numbers. Heading back through the forest we found our way to greens pool, this was a coastal bay sheltered by a row of huge rocks just off shore which made a perfect swimming and recreation beach with turquoise water. It was the busiest we have ever seen a beach, mainly because it was still the Christmas holidays. We had a snorkel around the rocks and sunbathed for a while to dry out before heading back to the bike to ride the remaining distance to Albany. We had a contact to stay with here, Ken got in touch almost a year ago when he saw a post about us on Aigor (Australian internet Guzzi owners register) We emailed him a few weeks ago to see if he remembered who we were and to see if it was convenient to stay which happily he did and it was.
Next up : Albany