Balingup- Donnelly River
Balingup → Blackwood → Davis Camp (not a Bibbulmun Shelter) → Donnelly River
Leaving Balingup with a couple of pies, we passed through the Golden Valley Tree Park which was a real surprise and highlight. The recent rain meant this section was incredibly green and vibrant, a pleasant change from the dull greens and browns that had become the norm. For us, one of the best views along the entire track was the sunset at Blackwood hut, providing a stunning view of the green, rolling hills across the countryside. We descended Cardiac hill without issue and passed an esky of fresh fruit left out by a generous farmer. We dutifully sampled an apple and a mandarin, much to our delight.
From then onwards, the track was wet and muddy. It rained every day, and we got soaked walking through the overgrown forest. With Maddies blisters deteriorating in the rain, we stopped short of Donnelly River to spend the night at Davis Camp, a shelter that was built for horse riders on the Warren Blackwood Stock Route. Compared to the wooden (and rammed earth) shelters on the Bibbulmun, the metal construction made it a very cold night!
The next morning, we walked into Donnelly River along a 4WD track to avoid the wet and overgrown single track we had become all too familiar with in this section. As a relatively small holiday town, Donnelly River was filled with young families camping over the weekend. There were kangaroos and emus everywhere, with an especially large crowd gathered outside the combined grocery store and cafe. We were both quite amused (albeit stunned) when an emu stole Maddie’s cookie out of her hand as we left the general store!
Resupply in Donnelly River was very limited and expensive. Not everyone would be able to resupply here, especially if they had dietary requirements. We managed to find almost everything we needed but emptied their store of milk power, oats and muesli bars in the process! After resupplying we bought some food at the cafe and recharged our devices. The cafe owners were very friendly, and happy to have us stick around for a few hours to rest and recharge. We would definitely recommend stopping here for some food and to enjoy the lovely ambiance. Perhaps the best part of our resupply in Donnelly River was running into the same Munda Biddi cyclists we met staying with us at the Dwellingup caravan park. It was nice to see some familiar faces, and chat about how their ride had been going. It seemed they had been getting quite wet and muddy as well!