Hiking in the Porongurups.
Only a few short weeks previously, a girlfriend and I decided over dinner and a board game, ‘let’s go down south on our school holidays!’ This is the joy of being a teacher, and having teacher friends, we can plan to go away quite frequently, and I love that! Within minutes we had come up with a plan to visit the Porongurups, then head to Albany for a day, then Wagin and Narrogin on the way home. Boom! Deal! Doing it! Excited!
We left early Monday morning, over excited as per usual at the prospect of another exciting road trip. I get over zealous quite easily and this was one of those moments. Fortunately my friend is way more grounded than me and just responds to my manic moments neutrally, letting them pass naturally with out judgement. Ohhh, that’s when you know you have a good friend! I rose at 5am because I was that excited, and threw literally half my wardrobe into one of my oversize suitcases, decisions are not my forte. I might need everything! I can be a ruthless packer, but it’s rare, and all those decisions exhaust me, so why not just take everything you like? Even if it doesn’t match!? Who cares! Lucky it wasn’t a fashion parade, because some of those outfits were very special.
We stopped a few times along the way, either for a shop around or a snack, art gallery visit, or just to have a nosey. We were loving it. It is so good to take your time and enjoy the journey, rather than rush like a bat out of hell from point A to point B. After some final meandering in Mount Barker and a quick stop at IGA, we finally made our way to our rustic and dusty little cottages of Karri-bank Country retreat. The owners were super friendly on arrival, and once the formalities were out the way we began unpacking and settling in. Our little cottage was small but functional, a magical balcony over looked expansive greenery and rolling hills. Tall trees, loud twittering birds, raucous crows all welcomed us for our stay. We cranked up the heater, made cups of tea, and instantly felt better about life. We then went out for a walk around, bumping into kangaroos and sheep and friendly locals, before settling back in for a home cooked meal and a few games of Yahtzee. After a movie we were ready to sleep after an eventful and full day of touring the south of WA.
The next day can be described as one of the best days of my life. It really was that amazing. Let me start at the beginning! My friend is a very studious and dedicated teacher, so brought a heap of marking with her, yawn boring. So off I trotted for an early morning walk and photo session. I captured some beauty instantly, it was hard not to in such a pretty place. After a healthy breakfast we strapped on our hiking boots and were ready to start exploring our new impressive surroundings.
We began with the Granite Sky Walk at Castle Rock, which also features an impressive balancing rock. I was pretty sure I had not been to this part of the world before, and once we began hiking up the steep muddy granite ascent I was more and more impressed. It was so exhilarating being in nature, smelling the fresh bark and leaves from the trees, and inhaling the fresh country air, in gulps as we slowly trudged up to the very top. Once at the top, it was well worth it. We stopped to admire the balancing rock, a massive boulder held in place precariously by its very small base, and then made our way up the last challenge. Navigating awkwardly over sharp boulders we scrambled up the final part, then scaled a metal caged ladder to reach the very top of the peak. Walking across the sky bridge we did feel like we were on top of the world, the Porongurups world! Incredible! I love hiking and reaching the top of any mountain is always a treat.
After our first climb we visited a winery, for some tasting and a chat. After that we made our way home for lunch and then I had a little nap. It was amazing! I love it when I can relax, and unwind into a siesta, my energy operates at such a high extreme level at times, I find it hard to calm the f*&k down, and I was so pleased I managed to have a little shut eye. Feeling refreshed and full of beans once again, we made our way out for the second hike of the day.
I had really enjoyed the first one, and thought it was hard to beat, but, believe it or not, I enjoyed hiking up to Nancy’s Peak even more! We had left it a little late in the day, but we managed to squeeze in over 2 hours of hiking, and loved every minute of it! Again the hike began with a relatively steep ascent, passing pretty purple, yellow and orange wildflowers, I stopped multiple times for snaps. On all fours at times, I monkey crawled across steep sheer boulders reaching the very top peaks of the Porongurup range, reaching even higher than the first hike. Surprisingly the top was very lush, we had to push our way through thick bushy green plants, praying to the snake gods they were all tucked up somewhere warm and not under feet.
The hike was the most extreme I had conquered in years, and I really enjoyed the challenge. If you are up for some scenic and enjoyable hikes I can really recommend heading out to this very accessible range only a short distance from Albany. On return from our second hike, we made another home cooked meal, played more games and with full bellies and wide grins were ready to sleep, ending another amazing day in the Porongurups. Two hikes in one day, epic views, and with challenges achieved, I felt very satisfied and happy, I had enjoyed one of my best days ever!
Next I will share with you my stories from Albany and Wagin. Take care and hope you have enjoyed my story!
Love Anita xx