I’ll start by admitting this is not an article about completing the whole track, but merely a couple of day jaunts while on our annual easter trip to Augusta. As the weather was not really conducive to our usual swimming adventures, I managed to convince a few of my fellow campers to join me on two Cape-to-Cape adventures.
Day one; with an ominous looking sky, we parked at the old water wheel near Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and set out in a northerly direction. Although only a short walk of a few kilometres, we were impressed at what we saw and the contrasting landscape within such a short stretch. It was truly beautiful but, it was reasonably hard work. I had not previously appreciated there are many parts of the track that involve walking (or trudging) across the beach on soft sand (as seen below).
Nor had I appreciated that some parts of the track actually come very close to the water! A small section around the northern end of Quarry Bay involved some scrabbling across moss covered slippery rocks and through areas that quite obviously used to be enclosed caves with limestone divots, stalactites and tiny waterfalls.
By just making it around the corner of the bay, these treacherous (for walkers like me – I am no rock climber) areas then gave way to a spectacular coastline and views for miles. Just before reaching our destination of Skippy’s rock, we were able to look back at Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and marvel at the beauty of the region. By this time the sun was peeking out from the clouds and the day was glorious.
Day two; a sunny autumn day and down to two walkers, we set out from Skippy’s rock and again headed north. This was a kilometre straight up hill through bush. Huffing and puffing and with quite a sweat up, we reached a fork in the path and decided to take the direction heading towards the coast. We were hoping for a view but instead we walked about 7 meters around the corner and found a bench seat.
The seat seemed to be facing in the direction of the ocean but had no view at all due to thick bush in front of it. Although obviously a great spot for tired walkers to rest and lunch, we were desperate to see where we were and what lay below. I climbed up onto the bench and gazed over the bush. I am very glad I did because this is what I saw…..
Now, as I said at the start, we were only interested in a couple of leisurely jaunts to enjoy the scenery and were on no mission to achieve a certain number of kilometres. From the vantage point of the bench, I was able to see; not only did the track carry on into thick bush but with internet reception, I was able to ascertain it turned slightly inland and would provide no stunning views for a number of kilometres. Feeling sweaty and satisfied with our views, we decided to head back to the rest of the family who were down at Skippy’s rock (a whole other story!).
Having previously walked several small sections of the track from the Cape Naturaliste end, I have mentioned to my husband many a time, that I would one day like to attempt the whole track. However, during our walk on Day one, we came across some very tricky parts of the track as well as some brave, fit looking, backpackers in their 20s who were only an hour or so away from completing the whole thing. As they staggered from the bush track out onto the road looking absolutely shattered, I realised what a gruelling mission it really is.
For those that are unaware, the Cape-to-Cape track is 123km stretching from Cape Naturaliste light house near Yallingup to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse just outside of Augusta. It is graded a level 4 bushwalk and it is recommended to be done over 5-8 days and for those with bush walking experience. After briefly quizzing the walkers we met about their experience, it turns out the hardest part is the number of times you need to walk across beach and soft sand. This is evidently brutal.
I found it hard as a semi fit middle aged woman in my hiking boots, walking for 1.5 hours carrying only a drink bottle. I think a semi fit middle aged woman carrying a pack with food and clothes for 5-8 days is a whole different scenario. Difficult would not be the word. I am thinking more like………… insane.
I have since reviewed my aspirations to walk the whole track and decided, for me, leisurely day walks are the best and safest way to go!