Friday, September 05, 2008

DAY 315: Lancelin to Yanchep NP

Weds 3rd September 2008
83km @ 13.7 km/hr
Sunny, 24 deg C
Elevation of destination 4m
Distance to date 19423 km (12139 miles)

Didn’t sleep well last night for various reasons, so felt a little weary this morning. I didn’t see anyone at breakfast - the young ‘uns were presumably still in bed, and I left just after 9.
After calling at the excellent bakery for ‘emergency snacks’ for the day (2 megabuns), I spent the first 8km plodding up the hill out of town against the wind, which got me off on a bad foot. In fact despite the forecast of NE winds, which would have helped me along, the wind was mostly on the side E/SE and no help in difficult terrain.
All the way to Nanchep NP i.e. all day, the road undulated with some longer and some steeper climbs. It seemed interminable, and the quite heavy traffic and lack of a decent shoulder added to my woes. I got heartily sick of vehicles whooshing by me, sometimes close, and long before I reached my destination I was ready to call it a day. The key issue is the consequent almost contnuous double white lines in the centre of the road - with little shoulder, traffic was pushed towards me all the time. The scenery is pretty monotonous too; coastal scrub / Banksia. There were a couple of rest areas but the tables were unshaded and so pretty useless for my purposes. I did stop in a small shady wood, but got attacked by mozzies and had to dig out the spray. If ‘doom and gloom’ is coming across to the reader, well, that’s just how it seemed; I couldn’t raise any motivation at all today.
I did see a flock of Black Cockatoos - not the usual red-tailed variety but with white patches on their cheeks, and heard more Kookaburra’s than I had in a long time too, not to mention the reappearance of the 28’s (Austrailian Ringneck or Port Lincoln Parrots), which provided some distraction from the tedium. I think too that in my mind I’ve finished this tour now that I’m so close to Perth, and I’m left with a feeling of anticlimax, which may have affected my mood today. I’m only 60km from Freo / Perth after today.
Finally I saw the sign for the Nanchep NP and thankfully turned off. It’s about 1km to the cntre of the park complex, comprising Ranger HQ, visitor centre, and yessss! a cafe that was open!! The latter was my first port of call, not having seen a shop or cafe since leaving Lancelin, and after marvelling at all the hand-made chocolates on display I ordered a Devonshire tea.It was OK but on the small side, so this was a good excuse to go and buy a bag of Rocky Road from the chocholatier to top up calories, which was utterly gorgeous. This is all it takes to change my mood around - sad or what?!
I’d heard there was a campsite in the park somewhere, and on enquiring I found out it was 5km up a walking track. The ranger thought it would be OK for me with the bike, so I decided to give it a go since I still had 2 hours of daylight left.
The first 2km of the trail were reasonable, but after that there were some tough rocky bits and steep uphills where I had to push, but that far in I was committed, and I just pressed on. It was very tough, taking over an hour for the 5km, and I was pouring in sweat on arrival at the Ghost House (an old ruined cottage adjacent to the camping area). There was, of course, no-one else camping here, so I chose my spot and set up. Pretty soon I was enjoying a mug of Semillon and wondering what all the stress today was about as usual (should have faith man!!).
The wildlife is pretty concentrated in this NP, and I’ve seen plenty of ‘Roos, Kookaburra’s and lots of other birds I haven’t identified (what IS the species that calls “pretty, pretty, pretty” all the time? YES - YOU ARE PRETTY, I'VE TOLD YOU!!!).
There’s a large lake in the centre of the park facilities area called Loch MacNess (!), and I must try and find out tomorrow how it got its name as well as getting the story behind the Ghost House (don’t want to know tonight since I’m camped near to it).
The remarkable resonant call of frogs or toads dominates the background as I write, but I haven’t seen what’s making the noise yet.
The last pic is of the Ghost House; the red flowers were growing from a tree blown over onto its side.

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