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Day 38 Trek

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lady Marsha I really have no idea what you are talking about. What prize are you talking about? I do my posts/blogs because I like doing them. I don't even remember anything about prizes. emoticon Pain meds are good tonight.

Well that being said we wake up refreshed and ready for the trail again. We have a great easy breakfast to fill us up so we have energy to hike. We set out to go to Wilson Inlet.

Wilson Inlet is an inlet located 2 kilometers South East of the town of Denmark. The inlet receives water from the two main rivers: the Denmark River and the Hay River. The inlet is a wave dominated estuary with an opening mouth that has a width of 100 meters with a bar blocking it from late January to August. The inlet is separated into two basins, the Eastern and Western basin.

The estuary is situated on a narrow coastal plain between granite hills to the north and the west and the coastal dunes to the south. The area of the inlet is 48 square kilometers and has an average depth of 1.8 meters and its deepest point is 5 meters. The inlet is 14 kilometers long from East to West and has a width of 4 kilometers. The inlet discharges through Nullaki Point at the Eastern end of Ocean Beach and into Ratcliffe Bay and finally into the Southern Ocean when the sandbar is open. The low lying land adjacent to the inlet consists of swamps with lakes to the East. The silt beds in the area indicate that it was of recent estuarine origin.

The inlet was formed 6000–8000 years ago when rising sea levels lead to an ancient river valley being flooded. The original human inhabitants of the inlet and surrounds were Indigenous Australian people, the Noongar. Many Aboriginal artefacts have been found in the area including fish traps, corroboree sites, ochre excavation site and campsites.

The Noongar name for the Inlet is Koorabup which means Place of the Black Swan. The area was discovered by Thomas Wilson in his 1892 expedition from Albany. The Inlet was named after Wilson by Governor Stirling.

The inlet is fringed with Juncus kraussi a rush which forms a single species near the mouth of the inlet. It is commonly called Salt Marsh Rush, Sea Rush, Matting Rush or Dune Slack Rush. It grows in Salt marshes, estuarine and coastal areas. This species is ideal as a stabilizer in estuary banks and riparian zones that adjoin developed areas. It prevents erosion and provides an excellent fiber for weaving. This species is a tussock shaped perennial with many rhizomes. The leaves are tough, straw shaped and spine-tipped that grow to be 40 centimeters in length with a golden brown or shiny black sheath. The inflorescences or flowers of J. kraussi are reddish brown to purplish brown in colour, 4 centimeters - 20 centimetres in length and are clustered toward the end of the stem. The flowers occur clusters of three to six and flowering occurs in Summer between October and January.

Salt Marsh Rush is salt tolerant and favors a damp environment and is most often found in areas such as swamps and brackish estuaries. The plant is able to grow in a range of soils from sands to alluvium. Alluvium is loose, unconsolidated (not cemented together into a solid rock) soil or sediments, which has been eroded, reshaped by water in some form, and redeposited in a non-marine setting. Alluvium is typically made up of a variety of materials, including fine particles of silt and clay and larger particles of sand and gravel.

Melaleuca cuticularis, commonly called Saltwater Paperbark, is a native tree of Western Australia. It is a salt tolerant paperbark tree that also fringes the inlet and follows the channels and is present in the tidal parts of the rivers. It is able to grow in saline wetlands such as swamps and estuaries. It is tolerant of both waterlogging and the presence of salt in the air and water. The tree is native to Western Australia and is located mostly in Coastal regions South of Perth. This species is ideal for sandy clay, loamy clay and clay soils and is commonly used for soil stabilisation and revegetation. It is also shade and drought tolerant so can be used in hedges or windbreaks.

The salt marsh is predominantly made up of Salt Marsh Rush, Sarcocornia quinqueflora, and Samolus repens.

Sarcocornia quinqueflora, commonly known as Beaded Samphire, Bead weed, Beaded Glasswort or Glasswort, is a species of succulent halophytic coastal shrub. Halophytic means it is a plant that grows in waters of high salinity, coming into contact with saline water through its roots or by salt spray.

Samolus repens is a species of water pimpernel native to Australia, New Zealand and adjacent Pacific islands, and South America (South Chile), where it is common in temperate and subtropic coastlines. This species has small white or occasionally pink flowers with a flowering period from September through to March or April. Common names include Creeping Brookweed and Creeping Bushweed.

Wilson Inlet is a key nursery for many juvenile fish species especially Pink Snapper which migrate from the Inlet to mature in the greater oceanic breeding stock. As a result of this the size of Pink Snapper that could be removed from the inlet was raised from 28 centimeters to 41 centimeters in July 2007. Recreational fishing is popular within the inlet, that many species of fish inhabit including Cobbler, King George Whiting, Tailor, Mullet, Salmon Trout and Flathead. Other fish found in the estuary include Sandy Sprat, Yellow Eye Mullet, Sea Mullet and Blue Mackerel. Many waterbird species inhabit the inlet and its surroundings including the Silver Gull, Australian Pelican, Black Swan, Little Black Cormorant, Grey Teal, Blue-billed Duck, Red-necked Avocet and the Australasian Shoveler.

Salmon Trout

Australasian Shoveler

After hiking through the area looking at all the wildlife and water we hike on to Lowlands beach. The beach is part of West Cape Howe National Park and is close to our destination.

West Cape Howe National Park is a national park in Western Australia. The park is found between Albany and Denmark within the City of Albany and in the Great Southern region. Torbay Head, the most southerly point of Western Australia, is situated within the park. The park is abutted against the coast of the Southern Ocean and takes up approximately 23 km of the coastline between Lowlands Beach and Forsythe Bluff.

The park is home to a range of habitats including Karri forest, coastal heath and wetlands each of which support a diverse array of vegetation and plant species. The area around Lake William supports a dense sedge scrub and rare species such as Amperea volubilus and an unnamed species of Melaleuca. The Albany Pitcher Plant, Cephalotus follicularis, is also found in the park. The rare and ancient Main's assassin spider, currently listed as threatened, was found to inhabit the park as well. We learned about this one yesterday.

Albany Pitcher Plant

Albany Pitcher Plant Flower

Torbay is a small township in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, 25 kilometres west of Albany. There is a crater on Mars named after it, but was never commemorated. The town is named after a bay on the coast that is south of the town, believed to be named by Governor James Stirling in 1831 after Torbay in Devon, England.

We hike on down to the beach and enjoy the views and take our boots off to run in the waves for a bit. Then we hike on to the Torbay Campsite and set up our tents like a well oiled group working together to help each other so no one is left behind. We make our dinners and settle in having a great time chatting and sharing about what we saw today.

Even with my bum knee I did 2,969 steps. I also did 20 minutes of cleanup on the beach to help keep it pristine.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TORTILLAFLATS 5/10/2013 12:16PM

    Great Blog, yes I love the pictures

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SEAWILLOW 5/10/2013 10:10AM the pictures. I have missed something ...prizes?

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IKACEY 5/10/2013 4:54AM

    I agree with Joan Wow! I have really learned a lot from your blogs. I don't see things that you do but that is the beauty of us all being different. Life is so much fuller when its shared! love the pictures too. You really have done well with those now you know how. Btw still need the URL to see the footage on that video you uploaded. emoticon
IKacey co-leader of the Chair Exercise Team

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JOANOFSPARK 5/10/2013 4:17AM

    wow.....just wow.........again you have blown me away with your is so fascinating to read them because you get into things that I may have seen but did not sink in at the time......another emoticon blog... emoticon emoticon

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EMMABE1 5/10/2013 1:30AM

    Great steps today - don't overdo that knee!! Even with the injection you need to take some care.
Another great and interesting blog.
We have a species of paperbark growing on our land - and we can teat the bark off, carefully in layers without hurting the tree and use it to line pots for plants and hanging baskets etc!!

I guess Ladymarsha is talking about the Finishing Certificate - if you look in the Bibbulmun Track Virtual Trek folder the certificate is there to download - enjoy!!

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Day 37 Trek

Thursday, May 09, 2013

We wake up to the morning serenade of the birds getting their breakfast. I decide to get my breakfast as well. My morning cup of Teechino and some oatmeal is just what I needed. We all pack up and out as the morning progresses. We hike over dunes and some more spectacular beaches. As we hike we see a huge rock sticking out over the tops of the trees. That, it seems, is Monkey Rock.

Monkey Rock, only slightly lower than Mount Hallowell to the north, has spectacular views over William Bay National Park (west) and Ratcliffe Bay, Ocean Beach and Nullaki peninsula, home of Anvil Beach. Wilson Head marks the eastern perimeter of Ratcliffe Bay, stretching out into the Great Southern Ocean. Monkey Rocks can be a dangerous place as there are no guard rails. Be extremely careful, especially if one is balance challenged. Monkey Rocks doesn't look like such a big deal from the bottom. Sure, they're big rocks poking out of the treetops, but why climb all the way up there? The answer is because of the incredible views from the top.

We make our way down and keep hiking. Moving through the hinterland is difficult at best and it is slow going. The brush keeps snagging on our clothes and packs. So we help each other out to make it easier. We finally get into Denmark. Now this Denmark is just the name of the town. lol It's not the country!

The coast line of the Denmark area was observed for the first time in 1627 by the Dutchman François Thijssen, captain of the ship 't Gulden Seepaert (The Golden Seahorse). Captain Thijssen had discovered the south coast of Australia and charted about 1,800 kilometres of it between Cape Leeuwin and the Nuyts Archipelago. Thijssen named the discovered land after Pieter Nuyts, a high employee of the Dutch East India Company, who was aboard ship as a passenger. His name lives on in Nuytsia floribunda, the Western Australian Christmas Tree.
Two centuries later, when the first white people entered the land around the present Denmark River, the area was inhabited by the Noongar. These aborigines called the river and the inlet Kwoorabup, which means 'place of the black wallaby' (kwoor). The Noongar disappeared out of the Denmark region in the beginning of the 20th century.

Nuytsia floribunda, The Western Australian Christmas Tree, is a hemiparasitic plant found in Western Australia. The species is known locally as the Christmas Tree, displaying bright orange flowers during the Christmas season. A parasitic plant is one that derives some or all of its sustenance from another plant. Parasitic plants have a modified root, the haustorium, that penetrates the host plant and connects to the xylem, phloem, or both. The Xylem and Phloem are different types of transportation tissues for a plants vascular system.

The habit of the species is a tree up to 10 m high, or as a shrub. The rough bark is grey-brown. Flowers are a vivid yellow-orange, appearing between October and January. It is a root hemiparasite, is photosynthetic and mainly obtains water and mineral nutrients from its hosts. The haustoria arising from the roots of Nuytsia attach themselves to roots of many nearby plants and draw water and therefore nutrients from them. Almost all species are susceptible to attack, haustoria have even been found attached to underground cables. In botany, a haustorium (plural haustoria) is the appendage or portion of a parasitic fungus (the hyphal tip) or of the root of a parasitic plant that penetrates the host's tissue and draws nutrients from it. Haustoria do not penetrate the host's cell membranes. In natural settings Nuytsia withdraws relatively little from each individual host, but is attached to so many other plants that the benefit to this hemiparasitic tree is likely to be considerable.

The Nyungar people made use of the species during the season Kambarang, around October to early December, obtaining bark to make shields. The gum that exudes from the wound can be collected later, it is sweet and eaten raw.

Around 1885, timber leases were taken out in the Denmark River area, and 15 years later milling was at its peak with Denmark having a population of around 2,000. A railway line from Denmark to Albany was built to transport the karri timber, which was a wanted article all over the world. Many roads in London were paved with karri blocks, and British houses were built with timber from Denmark. However, as with anything that is overdone, resource depletion soon resulted in a total collapse of the timber industry. The population declined dramatically, and started to revive only with the introduction of the Group Settlement Scheme in the 1920s. By the 1960s the population had increased to 1,500 and Denmark was becoming attractive to alternative life-stylers and early retirees. Intensive agriculturists such as wine growers had discovered the value of the rich karri loam for their vineyards. Riesling and Chardonnay were the first grapes grown on Denmark soil, soon followed by other varieties. Within 50 years the area became a wine subregion of critical acclaim, as part of the Great Southern Wine Region. The first winery, Tinglewood, opened in 1976, and by 2008, over twenty vineyards had been established around Denmark. Tourism started when American soldiers, stationed in Albany during World War II, made outings to Denmark. After the war, Denmark became a popular holiday destination for Western Australians as well.

Denmark is surrounded by native woodland with a large variety of trees, including the eucalypts marri, karri, jarrah and red tingle. The latter can reach a height of 60 meters. A distinctive local tree is the Red-flowering Gum.

There are many indigenous bird species, including Splendid Fairy-wrens, Emus, Australian White Ibis, Australian Magpies and Australian Ringnecks. Many species of reptiles including snakes and skinks can be found. Marsupials such as the Western Grey Kangaroo, the Southern Brown Bandicoot and the Common Brushtail Possum also live in the area.

The abundance of fish, squid and other marine life in the Denmark estuaries and along the coastline attracts Bottlenose Dolphins and seals; seasonally Southern Right Whales rest there during their long migrations to the north.

As we get into town we go straight to our accommodations and get cleaned up and do a quick walkabout to see what we can see in the town. I twisted my knee today and only got in 1333 steps and nothing else today. So it's time for a nice dinner and some well deserved sleep.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TORTILLAFLATS 5/10/2013 12:19PM

    I love the Christmas tree!

Are you going on the Central Australian Trek?


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SEAWILLOW 5/9/2013 3:53AM


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NPINICOLE 5/9/2013 2:34AM

    Beautiful pictures!

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EMMABE1 5/9/2013 2:13AM

    Great blog - the WA Christmas Tree is magnificent in full bloom and a change from inside fur trees - remember our Christmas is full summertime and hot!!
Hope the knee improves -you will need to be careful for a time.
Sleep well, sweet dreams

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Day 36 Trek

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Oh boy. Camping out again. lol I woke up this morning and my legs were so stiff. It took me a while to get them working again but I got them going. So I had my breakfast and packed up my backpack so I could join everyone on the trail.

Today we are going to see pristine white beaches and more heathlands. Hiking down to William Bay Campsite. The first thing we see are some Kangaroos on our way to Gap Beach.

The kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning 'large foot'). In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and western grey kangaroo. Kangaroos are endemic to the country of Australia. The smaller macropods are found in Australia and New Guinea.

Kangaroos have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head. Female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which joeys complete postnatal development.

They are not farmed to any extent, but wild kangaroos are shot for meat, leather hides, and to protect grazing land for sheep and cattle. There is some controversy about harvesting kangaroo meat. Doing so has both many environmental and health benefits over traditional meats. The kangaroo has been historically a source of food for indigenous Australians. Kangaroo meat is high in protein and low in fat (about 2%). Kangaroo meat has a high concentration of the fatty acid Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) when compared with other foods. Low fat diets rich in CLA have been studied for their potential in reducing obesity and atherosclerosis. Kangaroo meat is stronger in flavor than the meat from commercially raised food animals. It is considered to be tender. Minced (or ground) kangaroo meat may be substituted into dishes where minced beef would normally be used.

The kangaroo is an unofficial symbol of Australia, and appears as an emblem on the Australian coat of arms, on some of its currency, and is used by some of Australia's well known organizations, including Qantas and the Royal Australian Air Force. The kangaroo is important to both Australian culture and the national image, and consequently there are numerous popular culture references.

The word "kangaroo" derives from the Guugu Yimithirr word gangurru, referring to grey kangaroos. The name was first recorded as "kanguru" on 12 July 1770 in an entry in the diary of Sir Joseph Banks. A common myth about the kangaroo's English name is that "kangaroo" was a Guugu Yimithirr phrase for "I don't understand you." The Kangaroo myth was debunked in the 1970s by linguist John B. Haviland in his research with the Guugu Yimithirr people.

Kangaroos are often locally referred to as "roos". Male kangaroos are called bucks, boomers, jacks, or old men; females are does, flyers, or jills, and the young ones are joeys. The collective noun for kangaroos is a mob, troop, or court. Mobs usually have 10 or more kangaroos in them. Living in mobs provides protection for some of the weaker members of the group.

There are four species that are commonly referred to as kangaroos:

The red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is the largest surviving marsupial anywhere in the world. Fewer in numbers, the Red Kangaroo occupies the arid and semi-arid centre of the country. A large male can be 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 90 kg (200 lb).

The eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is less well-known than the red (outside of Australia), but the most often seen, as its range covers the fertile eastern part of the country.

The western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) is slightly smaller again at about 54 kg (119 lb) for a large male. It is found in the southern part of Western Australia, South Australia near the coast, and the Darling River basin.

The antilopine kangaroo (Macropus antilopinus) is, essentially, the far-northern equivalent of the eastern and western grey kangaroos. Like them, it is a creature of the grassy plains and woodlands, and gregarious.

In addition, there are about 50 smaller macropods closely related to the kangaroo in the family Macropodidae. Kangaroos and other macropods share a common ancestor with Phalangeridae from the mid-Miocene. The Phalangeridae are a family of nocturnal marsupials native to Australia and New Guinea, including the cuscuses, brushtail possums, and their close relatives. Species related to the modern grey kangaroos and wallaroos begin to appear in the Pliocene. The red kangaroo appears to be the most recently evolved kangaroo with its fossil record not going back beyond the Pleistocene period, 1–2 mya.

Kangaroos are the only large animals to use hopping as a means of locomotion. The comfortable hopping speed for a red kangaroo is about 20–25 km/h (13–16 mph), but speeds of up to 70 km/h (44 mph) can be attained over short distances, while it can sustain a speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) for nearly 2 km (1.2 mi). This fast and energy-efficient method of travel has evolved because of the need to regularly cover large distances in search of food and water, rather than the need to escape predators. To move at slow speeds, it uses its tail to form a tripod with its two forelimbs, then raises its hind feet forward. Kangaroos are adept swimmers, and often flee into waterways if threatened by a predator. If pursued into the water, a kangaroo may use its forepaws to hold the predator underwater so as to drown it.

Kangaroos have chambered stomachs similar to those of cattle and sheep. They regurgitate the vegetation they have eaten, chew it as cud, and then swallow it again for final digestion. Different species of kangaroos have different diets, although all are strict herbivores. The smaller species of kangaroos also consume hypogeal fungi. Many species are nocturnal, and crepuscular, usually spending the days resting in shade, and the cool evenings, nights and mornings moving about and feeding. Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight, that is during dawn and dusk.

Fighting has been described in all species of kangaroos. Fights between kangaroos can be brief or long and ritualized. In highly competitive situations such as males fighting for access to mate with females or at limited drinking spots, the fights are brief. Both sexes will fight for drinking spots, but long, ritualized fighting or "boxing" is largely done by males.

Despite having herbivorous diets similar to ruminants such as cattle, which release large quantities of methane through exhaling and eructation, kangaroos release virtually none. Eructation is the release of gas from the digestive tract through the mouth. The hydrogen by-product of fermentation is instead converted into acetate, which is then used to provide further energy. Scientists are interested in the possibility of transferring the bacteria responsible from kangaroos to cattle, since the greenhouse gas effect of methane is 23 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, per molecule.

Kangaroos have few natural predators. The thylacine, considered by palaeontologists to have once been a major natural predator of the kangaroo, is now extinct. Other extinct predators included the marsupial lion, Megalania and the Wonambi. However, with the arrival of humans in Australia at least 50,000 years ago and the introduction of the dingo about 5,000 years ago, have taken over the predator spot. A defensive tactic described by witnesses is a Kangaroo catching an attacking dog with the forepaws and disembowelling it with the hind legs. Kangaroos are shy and retiring by nature, and in normal circumstances present no threat to humans. However I would never assume they are friendly or tame.

Kangaroos and wallabies have large, elastic tendons in their hind legs. They store elastic strain energy in the tendons of their large hind legs, providing most of the energy required for each hop by the spring action of the tendons rather than by any muscular effort. This is true in all animal species which have muscles connected to their skeletons through elastic elements such as tendons, but the effect is more pronounced in kangaroos. There is also a link between the hopping action and breathing. As the feet leave the ground, air is expelled from the lungs; bringing the feet forward ready for landing refills the lungs, providing further energy efficiency.

The kangaroo has always been a very important animal for Australian Aborigines, for its meat, hide, bone and tendon. Kangaroo hides were also sometimes used for recreation, in particular there are accounts of some tribes (Kurnai) using stuffed kangaroo scrotum as a ball for the traditional football game of marngrook. In addition, there were important Dreaming stories and ceremonies involving the kangaroo.

As we keep hiking we come upon Gap Beach in Peaceful Bay. Peaceful Bay is a hamlet in the Shire of Denmark, a picturesque holiday spot on the Southern Ocean.

The Peaceful Bay area is renowned for its wildflowers it is home to the world's only endemic stand of red flowering gum (Corymbia Ficifolia) and over 40 species of native orchids. So it seems that every time you turn you see a new Orchid. I kept my camera handy so I could get all the pictures I wanted.

We keep hiking and reach the Quarrum Nature Reserve. A nature reserve (natural reserve, nature preserve, natural preserve, bioreserve, or just preserve) is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. The coastline of the Quarrum-Owingup Nature Reserve is rocky, wild and rugged. Hiking through this area proves to be challenging even for the best of us. But, we make it! We all end up helping each other.

We end up making it to Boat Harbor and on to Perry Inlet. Then we find ourselves at the William Bay National Park. William Bay National Park includes Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks. The granite boulders create a natural reef which protects Greens Pool from the Great Southern Ocean. William Bay National Park is located in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia along the Rainbow Coast, and is in the Shire of Denmark.

William Bay was named after the famed British Arctic explorer and navigator, Sir William Edward Parry, as were two other nearby features, Parry Inlet and Edward Point. The bay was named in the 1830s by John Septimus Roe.

The rare and ancient Main's assassin spider, currently listed as threatened, was found to inhabit the park during a survey conducted in 2008.

Assassin spiders, also known as the Spidsnuck, are a group of spiders of the families Archaeidae and Mecysmaucheniidae, which are extremely unusual in that they have "necks," which can be very long and slender or short and fat. Archaeids prey only upon other spiders, while mecysmaucheniids seem to be generalists. Assassin spiders were first known from 40 million year old amber fossils, which were found in Europe in the 1840s, and were not known to have living varieties until 1881, when the first living assassin spider was found in Madagascar. They are native to Australia and South Africa and Madagascar, with the sister family Mecysmaucheniidae occurring in Southern South America and New Zealand. They range in size from 8 mm to 2 mm. So be careful when confronted with a spider.

We reach our camp with no incidents of spiders and make camp having dinner right away.

I ended up with only 1587 steps today but was busy with cleaning up the area we were to camp in for 60 minutes as the last people were not as nice.

Going to sleep quickly and making sure my tent was truly zipped up against the creepy crawlies of the night.

Patty emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TORTILLAFLATS 5/10/2013 12:21PM


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A_BIT_AT_A_TIME 5/8/2013 9:36AM

    Very interesting and informative - I learned so much! Thank you for taking the time to put this up. Enjoy the rest of the trek. emoticon emoticon

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JOANOFSPARK 5/8/2013 8:51AM

    really great I learned so much about roos......I thought that I had already learned a lot but I learned even more....thank you....i always love reading your blogs because they do have so much information..... emoticon emoticon

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SEAWILLOW 5/8/2013 8:15AM

    Kangaroo is King! I love the picture of the wave..Beautiful!

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GHOSTFLAMES 5/8/2013 5:06AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EMMABE1 5/8/2013 5:02AM

    WOW!! This is some long but interesting blog!! I learned so much about 'roos - we get them through our yard - the Eastern Grey - I have seen Reds in the wild but wouldn't want to get too close - they are huge!!
We also eat 'roo meat - its very lean and nutritious - I buy it in the butcher - I couldn't go out and shoot them - the ones we see often have joeys!!

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IKACEY 5/8/2013 4:58AM

    Lots of Factoids and nice pictures here. Another emoticon blog. Always informative. Hope you are enjoying gathering pics and information on the Trek.
IKacey co-leader of the Chair Exercise Team

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Day 35 Trek

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Wow! On our 6th week already! I just can't believe it. All the things I've learned is almost overwhelming. I am getting very good at knowing which Gum tree I'm seeing and the Tingle trees as well. The rocks are always easy for me since I love to collect rocks and crystals. Australia has sure been educational for me. I can't wait to finish this week.

I woke up this morning with all of this running through my head. Just amazed at the trip so far. I packed up and met everyone else to get on the trail. With all these hills my bottom is going to look good by the time I get back home. I know it hurts enough for it! emoticon Climbing out of the valley and onto the top of the hill we turn around and look at the view for a last time and took pictures. Then we officially started our last week together in Western Australia on the trek. Thinking about what I learned about Frankland River and the area.

Here are some of the things:

The town and region were known as Frankland River until 1935. After the building of a local post office, the postmaster shortened the name to Frankland because "Frankland River" was considered too long to fit on signs and documents.

The state government set aside land for the townsite by 1909 and built a hall and a school. No further developments took place for some time and the townsite was not declared until 1947.

Frankland River was named by the surgeon Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson in 1829. Wilson, who was on his way to Sydney, left Albany to explore the hinterland while his ship, the Governor Phillip, was being repaired. He named Frankland River and Mount Frankland after George Frankland who was the Surveyor General in Van Diemen's Land in 1829.

Wilson's explorations helped to show that conditions in the interior were suitable for farming and settlers soon began to move inland. The area was settled in 1857.

Originally settled by farming families in the late 19th century, following good reports from explorers to the region and due to its good soils, consistent, reliable rainfall, rivers and lakes, the land was cleared of its heavy wandoo, jarrah and marri to make way for pastures for grazing and arable land for cropping.

Frankland expanded with the influx of war veterans following World War II, mill workers, shearing teams, seasonal workers on local vineyards and olive groves, townsfolk, farmers and retirees.

Education in the town was formally undertaken by the appointment of a head teacher and, as there was no schoolhouse built, the first teacher was given a tent with instructions to erect it for himself to house him until further accommodation could be found. Schooling was conducted in the town hall before World War II.

It is the most northerly, inland subregion of Great Southern, still Mediterranean in terms of dominant winter-spring rainfall, but with greater continentality, thus favoring Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Which is why it is an area where wine is made and has wine tasting.

We continue to hike on passing the Great Tingle Tree and coming upon and going through the Valley of the Giants. We wander through the Heathland.

A heath or heathland is a shrubland habitat found mainly on low quality, acidic soils, and is characterised by open, low growing woody vegetation. There are some clear differences between heath and moorland. For example moorland has a very peaty topsoil, and it is also free-draining. Moorland is generally related to high-ground heaths with a cooler and damper climate.

Heaths are widespread worldwide. They form extensive and highly diverse communities across Australia in humid and sub-humid areas. Fire regimes with recurring burning are required for the maintenance of the heathlands.

Heathland is favored where climatic conditions are typically warm and dry, particularly in summer, and soils acidic, of low fertility, and often sandy and very free-draining; mires do occur where drainage is poor, but are usually only small in extent. Heaths are dominated by low shrubs.

Heath vegetation is extremely plant-species rich, and heathlands of Australia are home to some 3,700 endemic or typical species in addition to numerous less restricted species.

The bird fauna of heathlands are usually cosmopolitan species of the region. In Australia the heathland avian fauna is dominated by nectar feeding birds such as Honey-eaters and lorikeets although numerous other birds from emus to eagles are also common in Australian heathlands. Australian heathlands are also home to the world's only nectar feeding terrestrial mammal: the Honey Possum. Heathlands are also an excellent habitat for insects including ants, moths, butterflies and wasps with many species being restricted entirely to it.

The honeyeaters are a large and diverse family of small to medium sized birds most common in Australia and New Guinea. Honeyeaters and the Australian chats make up the family Meliphagidae. In total there are 182 species in 42 genera, roughly half of them native to Australia, many of the remainder occupying New Guinea. A great many Australian plants are fertilized by honeyeaters, particularly the Proteaceae, Myrtaceae, and Epacridaceae.

Unlike the hummingbirds of America, honeyeaters do not have extensive adaptations for hovering flight, though smaller members of the family do hover hummingbird-style to collect nectar from time to time. In general, honeyeaters prefer to flit quickly from perch to perch in the outer foliage, stretching up or sideways or hanging upside down at need. Many genera have a highly developed brush-tipped tongue, longer in some species than others, frayed and fringed with bristles which soak up liquids readily. The tongue is flicked rapidly and repeatedly into a flower, the upper mandible then compressing any liquid out when the bill is closed. In addition to nectar, all or nearly all honeyeaters take insects and other small creatures

Lories and lorikeets are small to medium-sized arboreal parrots characterized by their specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar of various blossoms and soft fruits, preferably berries. They are widely distributed throughout the Australasian region, including south-eastern Asia, Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Australia, and the majority have very brightly coloured plumage. Species with longer tapering tails are generally referred to as "lorikeets", while species with short blunt tails are generally referred to as "lories".

Lories and lorikeets have specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar and soft fruits. They can feed from the flowers of about 5,000 species of plants and use their specialised tongues to take the nectar. The tip of their tongues have tufts of papillae (extremely fine hairs), which collect nectar and pollen.

Lorikeets have tapered wings and pointed tails that allow them to fly easily and display great agility. They also have strong feet and legs. They tend to be hyperactive and clownish in personality both in captivity and the wild.

The multi-coloured Rainbow Lorikeet was one of the species of parrots appearing in the first edition of The Parrots of the World and also in John Gould's lithographs of the Birds of Australia. Then and now, lories and lorikeets are described as some of the most beautiful species of parrot.

The Ultramarine Lorikeet is endangered. It is now one of the 50 rarest birds in the world. The Blue Lorikeet is classified as vulnerable. The introduction of European rats to the small island habitats of these birds is a major cause of their endangerment. Various conservation efforts have been made to relocate some of these birds to locations free of predation and habitat destruction.

Corymbia ficifolia or the red flowering gum also known as Albany red flowering gum is one of the most commonly planted ornamental trees in the broader eucalyptus family. It is native to a very small area of south coastal Western Australia to the east of Walpole but is not considered under threat in the wild. In nature the Red Flowering Gum prefers infertile, sandy soils but it is readily adaptable to most temperate locations, provided it is not exposed to severe frost or sustained tropical damp. It is difficult to graft but grows well from seed, typically taking about 7 years before it flowers for the first time and 15–20 years to reach something approaching its full size of anything between 2–8 m.

The Red Flowering Gum is a close relative of the West Australian Marri or Port Gregory gum (Corymbia calophylla). The Marri is widespread in southern WA. Although in the wild it can grow much larger than the red flowering gum.

As we keep hiking we finally come to Conspicuous Beach. It is beautiful and pristine. It is a known place for surfing because the swells are large enough for it. We hike up to Conspicuous Hill and look out over the beach for some gorgeous pictures of the rugged area. We keep hiking on to Rame Head Campsite. It is beautiful and there is a strong wind that comes over the hill along the campsite. I make sure to really hammer in the tent stakes tonight so my tent doesn't go "walking" away! What a beautiful day it has been. I look forward to this last week to really let it soak in.

Today I got in 2279 steps and 15 minutes of clearing trails to help out.

Time for a nice hot dinner and bed. I'm tired.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMMABE1 5/7/2013 2:53PM

    Great blog- well written, very interesting as usual - I love the flowering gums - we can get them in several shades through from deep vivid red to pale pink but cultivated!! THe true wild one is red!!

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SEAWILLOW 5/7/2013 8:43AM

    Frankland appears to have been established by a hardy stock of people.

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IKACEY 5/7/2013 5:26AM

    emoticon Blog as usual, and very informative. Love the flowering red gum trees! I am also impressed with how many steps your are doing each day, I see they are increasing! emoticon as thats the reason for the Trek for you to improve your ability to move and be active!
IKacey co-leader of the Chair Exercise Team

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Day 34 Trek

Monday, May 06, 2013

One more day in civilization and then back on the trek for our last week! I can't believe it! Has it really been 5 weeks? We today I decided to do the WOW Wilderness Ecocruise. On their home page is this quote and it just really hit home for me. Especially since I've hiked most of the John Muir Trail in my home state of California.

“The clearest way to understand the universe is through a wilderness...” John Muir 1838 -1914

I learned that cruises and tours of the Walpole/Nornalup area have been going on for 100 years! Various people have been doing it. Stockmen have been using the area for a long time to feed their horses. Robert Forest Muir, one of the stockmen, lost all his horses in the war. They were taken to be used for the troops. His son Ron was so devastated that he bought a 1918 Dodge and started picking up tourists from other towns to take them on tours of the Walpole area, spend the night in a stockman's camp and back to their city. It was so popular that in 1994 a Muir family partnership and WOW was formed.

Today the Muir family still runs it. Eight generations of Muirs have been doing tours here so the history has been passed down from generation to generation. Gary Muir was actually the Project Leader for the Valley of the Giants and Tree Top Walk as well! Gary has also won several awards for tourism. WOW also designs special tours for the aged, disabled, students and international visitors. I guess we qualify for that one.

The tour is daily and leaves at 10:00 in the morning. It lasts 2.5 hours and includes "tea" with the famous Tingle Cake. For all this it only costs $40.00. That is a steal! With all the history that one learns from the guides it is priceless. Especially since it is from people who have been in the area for eight generations!

As an organization I'm extremely impressed. They have projects that are economic, community as well as global! They really put their money and time where their mouths are! They have many diverse and interesting projects that they have done and are doing to this day. They believe in paying it forward and the stewardship of the earth. They are working to protect the indigenous plants as well as people. They work at educating the children so it will continue to be passed down to the next generation.

Over all it has been an incredible day. The sites and history learned was great. I even got 2089 steps in as well as an hour of working out. Over all a great day.


(All of the above information was taken from the WOW Wilderness Ecotours site.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TORTILLAFLATS 5/7/2013 12:17AM

    emoticon as always

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SEAWILLOW 5/6/2013 9:42AM


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JOANOFSPARK 5/6/2013 8:59AM

    Great blog.....and the cruise was awesome....I hadn't realized that Gary Muir was also in charge of the Valley of the Giants and the Walkway of the Ancients. that really sunk into my bones as well; such an incredible feeling walking among the treetops as well as the could almost sense the essence of the surroundings.

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IKACEY 5/6/2013 4:56AM

    The cruise was amazing! Thanks for the info to enrich the experience for us. I'm glad to see how many steps you got in today! emoticon
IKacey co-leader of the Chair Exercise Team

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LJCANNON 5/6/2013 4:46AM

    emoticon When I started this Trek I didn't have any Idea about how much I was going to learn! It seems the more I see and read the more I WANT to see!! Thank you for posting this, The Muir Family and the tours/cruises that they arrange are AMAZING!

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EMMABE1 5/6/2013 3:19AM

    Good blog - those cruises are all they read - and well worth the money!! The cake isn't bad either!!
It was interesting reading about it all again emoticon

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