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Day 1 Wednesday 22nd May. Forest; Fitroy to Moleside 20kms (7 hrs)

Thirteen SGWAAC walkers side stepped, adjusted beanies, rubbed hands and jumped both with excitement and to encourage blood flow as we waited in 3⁰C for the bus to arrive on Wednesday May 22. Fortunately, there was no confusion with regards to what time zone we were in on that occasion and our bus driver, Gary, arrived on time. We saw emu, wallabies, roos, eagles and rabbits on route. After a close encounter with a Wallaby, who luckily hopped safely away, Gary delivered us to the start of our forest walk from Fitzroy to Moleside on the Great South West Walk.

Ken was our trusty leader. We started walking around 8.30am. The track was comfortable under foot. The understory of the dry sclerophyll forest was dominated by bracken ferns. The trunks of the eucalypts scarred with weathered charcoal from a previous fire. Joy pointed out how amazing it was so much canopy was present on a comparatively small hollow trunk.

At morning tea, we were treated to homemade gingernut biscuits from Pat. They were delicious! There was more excitement as Robyn informed us that her full-term pregnant daughter in law had been admitted to hospital. When we resumed our walk our pace hastened – we were like a well-oiled machine. The understory became more varied with grass species, a small banksia forest and other prickly shrubs.

Having completed more than half the walk, we lunched in the sun on the side of the logging road. Still no news of a newborn. Questions arose about how much further and the most direct route to Inkpot Dam, the next point of interest.  Ken was noncommittal about distance and led on. He tripped at some stage.  I’m not sure if it was because he felt guilty for taking us the long way, or it was his haste to get closer to the port and fruitcake eaten with English vintage cheddar that he was sharing that evening (it was delicious).  Fortunately, he got up quickly and was unharmed (You know the English carry on regardless). Any resentment that we were led the long way to Inkpot Dam was soon forgiven as we all enjoyed the magnificent reflections.

By the time we reached the viewing platform at Moleside Falls the damper conditions supported a tall mixed understory. The terrain was not as even. Frithjof’s knee came to grief when he stepped up the wrong way and while not serious, sadly it deprived him of walking for the rest of the week Gary was there to meet us about 3pm. After more than 20 km we were glad his watch read the Victorian rather the South Australian tower which would have made him half an hour late.  It was a fantastic start to the week.   At that stage there was still no news of a new bairn. However, Elsie Mae arrived later that evening. Congratulations Nana Robyn.

Chris Edwards

Day 2 Thursday 23rd May. Capes and Bays. Cape Bridgewater to Tarragul Caves 19km (6 hrs)

Day 3 Friday 24th May. Discovery Bay. Swan Lake to Monibeong 16.5km (5 hrs)

Day 4 Saturday 25th May. Glenelg Gorge. Battersbys to North Nelson Rd/River Rd Jctn. 18km (5hrs)

This was the final day of our base camp in Nelson, and what a fantastic way to end our adventure.

We set off as usual with Garry our very helpful bus driver.  There we were in the bush yapping and laughing as usual.  Walking through ever changing bush land, the most popular vegetation being the grass tree, giving some the chance to engage in whack-a-tree activity which helps the plant unfold its lovely fronds.

After some time we finally sighted the glorious Glenelg River, what a wonderful sight.  It has the lot including limestone cliffs, cormorants hanging their wings out to dry, huge flocks of birds, wallabies and Roos. One very unafraid little wallaby hanging around we suspected looking for a handout. Lots of fishing platforms along the river and we saw quite a few fishers, one of whom told us they catch bream and mulloway.  We walked a combination of tracks and a bit of road, taking in the beautiful scenery.  After 19Ks Garry was a welcome sight at the end of the walk.  A great time was had by all, good walks, good company, thank you Ken


Joy Downes