No pictures this week. The scenery is so vast, so dramatic, it is difficult to capture in a photograph. I prefer to walk, letting my thoughts come and go at will, as I commune with nature.
February 2002 Wilyabrup. This time I start early in the afternoon and head south to Gracetown, making the 12.5km in just over three hours – I’m getting fitter.
A lovely varied walk, behind the Wilyabrup cliffs through undulating grass and woodland with a steep dive to the beach; I ford the trickle of Biljedup Brook, and scramble up the other side. Impenetrable bush, shoulder high, encroaches on the path to scratch my arms and legs, but allows glimpses of the sea to my right. The thunderous sound of invisible waves dashing against the rocks far below, fills my ears.
A large incongruous Asian-type house with flat roof looms ahead and another steep trail – this time conveniently stepped with thick logs – takes me down to the beach. I flounder in the soft sand of a broken dune, behind which the ocean thunders menacingly. A lone surfer appears to sit on the sand and ponder the scene. We exchange pleasantries. It’s always nice to meet someone, who might remember should disaster strike and a search party want to know… there are many kangaroo tracks and droppings along the cliff path, and no room to dodge should we come face to face. What would I do? Throw my backpack and hope it lands white side up on the prickly bush to mark the spot. (I am later told they just run away).
The path is very overgrown but marked with intermittent cape-to-cape posts. In my preoccupation I almost tread on a fat blue-tongue lizard lying doggo beneath a knee-high overhang of bush. Ugh.
I join an unused 4wd track which winds through lower bush. It must look beautiful when in spring flower. Birds chirp and flit in the evening air – mostly honeyeaters. I disturb a quail of sorts which quickly disappears into the bush. Opposite some tumbled rocks where cormorants perch in silhouettes against the sea, the path leaves the road.
Welcome markers, each visible from the one before, guide me in devious wobbles as I negotiate rocks, wet mossy cracks, and small crevices below some low cliffs. Boulders of all sizes, weathered through the ages, lie in tumbled layers. Against them the breakers continuously crash, at intervals throwing up a gigantic spume of spray.
Two surfers clamber down through the boulders, hugging their boards as I approach. Further on, I turn to watch them catch the waves unerringly every time. They stand upright with triumphant shouts and zig-zag in front of the curl as the surf thunders down. Just before it seems they will be dashed against the treacherous rocks, they submerge, float out behind the wave, and head seawards again to look for another.
A short stumpy walk over yet another headland, and the sound of traffic heralds the road into Gracetown.
In the evening Annette and I go to a friends’ house for a ladies’ get-together while the men stay at home to do their thing (watch cricket and drink beer). We give each other foot massages and foot baths; I sleep well that night.