We started from Conspicuous Cliffs, where we could see the journey before us.  White sands, breaking on the beach, and the path through the beach shrub along the hill line to the left.  Yep, it was going to be a good day…

(conspicuous cliffs)

(a reflective self-pic to start the day)

(shadow of BAMF)

After an initial romp on the beach, we cut inland and made for firmer ground, following the path up through beach brush, shrubs, and the first blooms of spring.  The first few hours are a bit of hard slog through the sand up hill, but it was still cool and our legs were yet to warm up.

We had the entire path to ourselves, and quickly settled into a formation, breathing in the clean ocean air and listening to the birds chirp.  I struggled to recognize most of the flora, but I knew the the familiar early blooming golden wattle–the national flower in Australia–that lined the trail, together with adorable tiny little orchid-like flowers in pink and orange we’ve seen along the coast in Victoria.

And that’s not all we stumbled upon along the way.  Lead position of the rank and file was a dangerous spot to be in on this trek.  Two curious kangaroos started the bejeezus out of Kristin when we came upon them around the bend. Her scream startled them to a safe distance just a hop away, where they continued to munch on the vegetation.  Later on, I happened to glance down at the trail just in time to notice the glimmering copper brown scales and orange belly of a Western brown snake, at least 6cms thick and fully stretched across the trail.  I quite literally froze, as the back of the line queried the source of the hold-up, and I held my breath for it to slither off into the brush so we could continue our way…

After a few hours of inland hiking with the coast so tantalizingly close but still out of view, we decided to take a small detour off the track and down a 4W drive path seeking a spot on the beach for lunch.  This, was a fantastic idea.  I think we took the bulk of the day’s pictures at our lunch spot.

The beach was pristine, untouched by human footprints, with waves breaking at the end of our rocky table with a magnificent crest.  Luminescent green tidal pools and colorful crabs provided a fun of distraction, as did getting tantalizingly close to the water’s edge.

 

 

After a fortifying snack, it was back to the trail and into the brush.  This part of the brush had another trick in store for us – swampy bogs to navigate.  It had rained hard earlier in the week, and we had picked our day strategically on the one day there was 0% chance of rain, full sun, and a top of 20ºC.

Turns out though, that when it rains a lot down here, the well-trodden path and sandy beach leave no where for the water to go.

Damiano, in his only pair of sneakers for the trip, was particularly unhappy at the prospect of getting his feet wet.  So we ploughed through the edge of the bogs, those of us with appropriate footwear leading the way, and managed to avoid soggy socks…

(yep, that’s a frog chilling on the side of the bog)

(success!)

From this point on, it was back to the coastline.  The last few hours of our journey would be along the beach.  You know what sucks about beach tramping? Sand makes for slow slogging.

Good thing about beach tramping?  Check out those views…

(claire & steve at the water’s edge)

(water birds skirting the water’s edge)

(endless coastline)

(a few hilly rocks to conquer along the way)

We had started the morning with a lift to the trailhead, and our journey was to walk our way back from Conspicuous Cliffs to Peaceful Bay, where our campervan was parked.  The track was very well mapped, with little yellow snake signage every few hundred meters (probably should have tipped me off about the Western brown…).  But we didn’t actually have a map.

So as the afternoon wore on and our legs tired, we could only guess at which inlet up above was our beloved and peaceful bay.

Finally, we made it.  The crystal clear, calm waters were unmistakable after the rough and tumble surf we’d seen for most of the day. Peaceful, you might say.

Back at the “store” (a few aisles of dry goods and freezer at the campervan park office), we gulped down a few liters of water (we had been rationing the last few hours, as we had almost run out by the end of the trail), had a celebratory ice cream, and called it a day.

(note how pleased Dami looks, even with ice cream!)

Thank you Bibbblumun Track for supplying another epic chapter in our hiking book.  I can only imagine how incredible (not to mention exhuasting!) the full 6 week trek would be….

‘Til next year then, for the greatest challenge BAMF has yet to face — a seven-day veritable Tour du Mont Blanc!

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