Index

1      A Family Postcard – Blog by John

2      You Can Go Bushwalking in Perth – John Clifton

3      Blackwood River  – Kimberley (interviewed by her Dad)

4      First time on the Munda Biddi - Wungong Camp (by John Clifton)

5      Milford Track - New Zealand (by John Clifton)

6      Ochre Trail – Dryandra Woodlands

7      Munda Bidi Trail - Carinyah Campsite

8      Mt Cook July Overnight Camp - By Kimberley

9      Walks Suitable for Families with Younger Children – John Clifton

10   Stirling Ranges, Talyuberlup to Mount Gog (by William and John)

11   Camel Farm Mountain Bike Ride (by William)

 

 

A Family Postcard – Blog by John

The year started started at the Torbay camp and as in previous years there was something familiar and something new.  It was great to spend a week with families from the club (quite a few for the first time). Some of the highlights were the beach walks, body surfing a few bigger waves, catching fish (or not), canoeing a nearby  river,  the concert and Mt Hallowell and Point Possession walks. An overnight camp at the Torbay Hut on the Bib. track rounded off a great week for many of the older kids. Organised by one family and supported by others it was a special way to finish summer holidays and start the year.

 

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Easter was a bit different this year with a 'camp' at Northcliffe. While we shared the camp with other people, there was plenty of club activity with a walk along the Bibbulmun track, an encounter with a 'mad bush cow' (Thanks to one Dad in particular who was on hand and herded the startled steakburger away from aspirant 'farmers'), the great Easter egg hunt,  a climb up Mount Chudalup and a coastal walk along the limestone cliffs. It was good to explore a different place, set amongst the big trees and venture into another part of the southwest bush.

 

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A few of us tried our hands at Indoor Rockclimbing.  For Ann and I it was a chance to revisit the Hangout, try an overhang or two and remember Monday night climbing with the Perth Bushies. Now it was the kids turn. They proved themselves to be more agile, nimble and adventurous. And the boys developed a new freefall and swing technique while grinning and screeching all at once - multitasking at its best  and all the time ensuring I was taking it in - "go kids........

 

 

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Tree planting at Brookton, in the Wheatbelt is always a great weekend in June.  The kids got to see the results of several years of tree and shrub planting, with some tube stock now higher than the kids who planted them. The bush setting at Brookton is a giant playground where imagination runs wild and kids play with abandon - under a watchful eye from a discrete distance. My kids love their time at Brookton and there is always excitement about just how many Yabbies can be caught from the dam and what trees are planted each year.

 

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The Stirlings are a big magnet, they pull our family back every year and the thought of 'free' camping at Mt Trio camp ground always sparks happy memories. For me the highlight was the kids eating their lunch at the summit and seeing two dads appear as distant figures on a ridge below and then emerge grinning like big kids and larger than life at the top (having walked from Mt Hassel to Mt Toolbrunup).  I am sure this strong image of 'grown-ups' going bush leaves a lasting impression and inspires kids to one day follow in their footsteps. It reminded me of my childhood when I saw my Dad and Uncles walk the Stirlings and Porongurups.  Mt Toolbrunup  showed us what the kids can achieve now, it was no easy climb and they left me behind.

 

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Finally, for our family there was our first Bibbulmun track overnight camp (inspired by one family keen to try it out for the first time who were saying all year what about that walk).  After much planning and build up we did it with them. The kids had a ball and the adults too - merriment in the bush and around the camp fire in the evenings. There were some lengthy discussions on policies in water catchment areas. I am pretty sure the kids could see where that debate was going and focussed on the serious stuff of toasting marshmellows.  The kids got to know a bit more about bushwalking, food, water,  tents, sleeping bags, stoves, plates, torches etc.  When you get home tired, but happy, and get asked "when will we do this again", you know something must be right...

 

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And so that was the year that was. All too quick the big man in the red suit will be making another star appearance at the annual Christmas party. His presence marks another year and when I reflect on 2010 I have a good feeling about what we did with other families on club adventures. For me it's the time we spent together which makes our memories very special.

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Merry Christmas to you all and may your 2011 be filled with wonderful times in the WA bush.

John and Ann..

 

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You Can Go Bushwalking in Perth – John Clifton

There is something special about bushwalking as a family. You can share being taken to another place, where time itself seems to slow, your senses are enlivened and the suburban life seems a long, long way away. It’s a bit of a secret that members of the Family Bushwalkers Club of WA well understand.

With the hot summers a thing of the past for a while and Autumn and Winter cooler days, there is a great opportunity to get out and explore parts of Perth natural environment as a family or in family groups. There are many easy walking trails suited to families with young children as well as longer trails for older kids. I have few favourites that the Family Bushwalking Club of WA regularly do and thought I could share a few that would be great to try in the April School Holidays.

Right on Perth’s very doorstep is the Zamia Trail in Bold Park.  This walk is very doable with young children (and prams with pneumatic tyres) and can be as short as 3kms, with older kids able to tackle an extended distance by joining up with other trails. There is a good map available from the Bold Park website. We often start from the Tuart Car park on Perry Lakes Drive. Walk up the hill to the north up to the ridge then head south before looping back to the car park. This walk trail provides ocean views to Rottnest and City views across a bushland setting – we often picnic in Perry Lakes park after a walk. Fantastic open woodland now and often you will have the park to yourself in the late afternoon.

For something different, what about the Cape Perron Walktrail, which is a coastal walk of about 3 kilometres. On a hotter days our Club has combined the walk with a swim after and on a winter’s day, you can be blown away and experience a wildness right in Perth with waves pounding the rocks. The trail starts from the Point Perron Car Park and is well marked. For added interest you will also see historic World War 2 gun emplacements which were built for defending Garden Island and Fremantle. Plenty of birds to be seen in this Park.

And now to the Hills. When my children were little we visited Fred Jacoby Park (Mundaring Weir Road Mundaring) and did the Portagabra Track. It’s just one of the many trails in the Perth hills which really do take the family into the bush. The trail is a loop and covers about 4 kilometres and is an up and down. With smaller kids it will take a family about 2 hours. I love this short walk as you will see granite boulders and outcrops, a bit of wandoo bushland and views to Mt Dale. The trail is well marked and you can step off it and explore if you want to (unlike the other two walks I have mentioned where you must for the sake of the environment stay on track). I like to do this trail in the mornings, you are bound to see kangaroos in the small valleys. If there has been some rain there may be streams running down the hill. Morning tea at the end is always a treat. The track goes over the Pipeline which provides water to Kalgoorlie, prompting questions like where Kalgoorlie is and why people live there.

This year (2016) our club has families heading south for the Easter holidays and then later in the year taking on south west bushwalks, the Wheatbelt, the Stirlings and Porongurups and on WA’s famous walk, the Bibbulmun Track. The Club has a great autumn and winter program of day events including bushwalks, trail rides and overnight camps.

John Clifton, is the immediate past President of the WA Family Bushwalkers Club. New members are welcome and further information about the club can be found at www.wafbc.org.au.

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Blackwood River  – Kimberley (interviewed by her Dad)

(Dad), Well Kimberley what did you like about the weekend? (Kimberley) Um well, the canoeing was the best bit and also the camping? It was a long paddle. The last bit through the tea-trees was interesting and then hauling the canoes over the mud bank before launching again into the river.

(Dad) What about the rapids? (Kimberley) They were fun especially the big ones.  (Kimberley) I enjoyed paddling with Mum who was steering and I was the power at the front.  It was a bit annoying when Mum said paddle when I was already paddling hard. There were a few logs to get around as well.

(Dad) Did you ever feel like you would tip over? (Kimberley) No. I was part of the rescue team who helped others when they capsized.

(Dad) what about those emus? (Kimberley) Yes when we were going to collect the canoes and stuff from Neville we had to stop twice. Each time there was an adult emu with about 6 baby chicks, they were so cute. The followed their parent into the bush all running in single file and evenly spaced out. It was like synchronised running.

(Dad) What did you do around the campfire? (Kimberley) We sat around and talked and made up stories. (Dad) What were the stories about? (Kimberley) Random things, some were like fairy tales. Random stories about random people, making them funny, so we could laugh.

(Dad) Have you any other comments you would like to make before I wrap this up? (Kimberley) It was fun and interesting.  It was good to get out and paddle the Blackwood River.

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First time on the Munda Biddi - Wungong Camp (by John Clifton)

Well with a little trepidation on this trial cycle event, the group  set off on Munda Biddi from the Jarrahdale POW site to head north-east towards the Wungong Camp site.  Uphill in the beginning, in soft pea gravel and wheel ruts, there were spills and thrills - but none too serious and perhaps a salient message that there was to be no "fancy ridin" in the mob on bikes weighed down by panniers (for the first time).

The trail criss-crossed through the forest on single lane roads amongst big jarrah trees, to the occasional squawk of red-tailed cockatoos overhead . "That'll bring rain I thought, as when they are flying around and chattering to each other you know rain is not that far away", I shared that thought with Kimberley who said if this were true it would be raining somewhere all the time.

With the group making steady pace (about 10kms per hour) we had a few stops along the way and the riders confidence on the track steadily grew. Before we knew it we were pulling up the last 200 metres towards the Wungong Hut.  And what a Hut it was - reminded me of a shearing shed and quite different in its construction to the Bib Track huts.  A lot of steel, skillion roof on two sides and a raised curved roof running down the centre. The raised sleeping areas were spacious, benches and tables under cover,  there was a bicycle repair section undercover and a swing rod to fix your bike (which Graham put to good use). Someone had paid quite a lot of attention to the design of this hut. The tent sites were well laid out and away from the hut. Plenty of room to take large groups.

As I predicted, it drizzled just after we arrived at the camp site, so while the boys practices their downhill mountain bike riding down the hill, others were quite content to sit, play games, chat and snack before dinner. We settled down to hearty dinners on dusk with the temperature dropping and a superfine drizzle, card games under the UFO light and then time to turn in. Lights out and it was really dark and quiet , save the chatter of boys in bed. That'll bring rain I thought, as when you hear boys chattering to each other you know rain is "not that far away". I didn't share that thought with my daughter, who was sound asleep in the bunk above.

Well it didn't rain, but the next day did start early. A mist surrounded the tree tops and the air was damp.  Not sure if it was those cockatoos again or the boys, but we were up before dawn. Pancakes for breakfast and then pack up for the off. I think I heard "saddle up" and for a moment I thought of mountain horseman and the man from snowy river. No horses to be seen, we got on our bikes and rode back along a rail trail with bush on either side glistening in the sunlight. On the second stop one Dad decided to add a bit of excitement by blowing up his front tyre with an explosion that Mythbusters would have been proud of. 

It was like a gun shot "bang". And there it was, a tyre with one side wall blown and a hole big enough for three fingers.  What to do now ?  Ingenuity to the fore,  two Dads followed the Bear Grylls motto, Adapt, Innovate and Overcome. Using plastic bag, a cut up bike tube and gaffer tape they put together a makeshift tyre and reinflated the tube. That seemed to work and the group set off again for home. Next stop and the tyre blew again without a bang (more a hiss) and this time it looked fatal - but again the two Dads prevailed and in they made it back to the cars.  "The ride must go on" was said (to the soundtrack of the Man from Snowy River in my head) he  rode down the hill.  Where's Sigrid and that Colt from Old Regret when you need them.

I think we all had a fall at some stage over the weekend, most were in slow motion . wedid see a perfect 10 for the swan dive I did over the handle bars in slow-mo. "Where's the camera?" was a  comment from the back of the pack.

So there you have it, the first time on the Munda Biddi trail, the kids have had a taste and driving back in the car there was a resounding "yes" to "do you want to do this again"?

 So many thanks to the family for organising this fantastic event - the first is always memorable and I am sure all the kids will remember fondly the Wungong Camp site and bush trails.

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Milford Track - New Zealand (by John Clifton)

Ten years ago if someone had said to me “you will walk the Milford Track with your family” I doubt whether I would have thought that possible. But after many years with the Family Bushwalking Club of Western Australia, doing walks, camping, and other activities, 2 families did just that and we did it ‘well’.

In January 2014 we went to New Zealand to tackle Fiordland’s Great Walk, the Milford Track. The 53 kilometre trail involved us all carrying packs, just like a four day Bib track walk. The four kids aged between 10 and 13 were amazing carrying their gear and taking it all in, every day was an adventure (ably guided by their parents of course).

Day One. The first day begins early, with a quick car ride from our Bach (New Zealand house) to catch a ferry waiting for us at Te Anau Downs. It’s not long before we are joined by other trampers, not many though as the numbers allowed onto the track are controlled by the Department of Conservation (who are wonderful people. Great in the information and booking places and equally great at the huts).

The ferry ride along the lake to Glade Wharf was surreal, the water smooth and the scenery already spectacular. It was cold on the upper deck but the scenery was worth it. The Milford Track starts at the head of Lake Te Anau and is only accessible by boat.

And so we begin. It’s two hours to Clinton Forks Hut, the track is wide in most places, having been used by pack horses to carry supplies to huts (in much earlier times). It’s hard to describe the ‘bush’, so many shades of green and the rivers were well, crystal clear. Crossing a large swing bridge, you just had to stop and look down at the water below, and sure enough there they were, trout swimming up current. Clearly some of the other walkers were in the know, later that day they landed a 40 cm trout with their extendable rod, causing a lot of interest at the Hut.

There was no wind, the river waters flowed so calmly you could see the colourful river stones on the bottom and the trout swimming past (though I never did see an eel).

But all that changed.  In this part of the world they get 10 metres of rain a year. In the evening of the first night, the Ranger announced it was going to rain that night and probably most of the next day. In the morning the Ranger announced his rock gauge ‘said’ it was ok for us to go.

Day Two. The next morning I don’t think we quite realised what we were about to walk in to. Rain it did, no it poured at times. Those quiet tranquil rivers of yesterday were a raging clay grey torrent and huge white water rapids the likes I have never seen before.

In the beginning we walked around the boggy bits and puddles, I even started to drain a few. Then we hit our first big puddle, a quick discussion about going bare foot and we waded off with boots on up to our knees. Then there was another crossing and then another. The river had risen so much it had broken the banks and the track was part of the river, tributaries became rivers in their own right. Through all this we walked, never really feeling like we were in danger – but it was exciting all the same. Lets just say the water was laping a few bottoms at times. We did get pretty wet, saturated really, even with the wet weather gear. The side of the valleys were so steep and high over them ran waterfalls, hundreds of them, flowing in torrents 100s of meters above and around us.  It was truly spectacular, nature at it finest. We made Mintaro Hut absolutely soaked to the bone.

That night the Ranger at Mintaro Hut said we were about 25mm away (river rising) from being choppered out of the valley.  The good news from the Ranger was the rain would stop and it was forecast to be a clear day for the alpine crossing, MacKinnon’s Pass.

Day Three. Good to the Ranger’s word, the sun shone and the rain was not to be seen. From the hut it was all up. We ascended about 700 metres to reach McKinnon Pass. We are joined at the top by a Mountain Kea, which obviously knew about walkers. It followed us all up the mountain, landing on our packs on the ground and proceeding to prize open the zips in search of food.

The pass is quite flat at the top with views in all directions down Clinton and Arthur Valleys and then up to snow-capped mountain peaks. There is an emergency shelter on the pass, strictly for day use (no free camping is allowed on the Milford Track and the Rangers are right onto unregistered walkers. Two backpackers got on the trail while we were there and the Rangers monitored their progress before pinging them with a very big fine).

From the Pass its all downhill, a 1000 metre descent, we walk out of the alpine country heathlands with flowers, cliffs and snow in the distance, returning to the heavily vegetated forest on the valley floor. A few of us took the deviation to the 580 meter Sutherland Falls as well, while the rest ambled towards Dumpling Hut. I do no justice to the description of the mountain landscapes we saw that day, or the other days really. The scale and sheer beauty is beyond words and so different from walks in WA.

Day Four. To the finish, our final day on the track. No it wasn’t a race, but the 32 walkers we shared each section of the track with knew there was a boat to catch at Sandfly Point. Pick up was 18 kilometres away. The track runs alongside the Arthur River, which was returning to a crystal clear again. We saw a helicopter drop off (this is the way DOC equipment gets into the valleys and the Rangers themselves quite often travel by air as well). We got along at a cracking pace, the track had levelled out compared to previous days. The final section of the track, about 2 kilometres, had been built by convict labour over 60 years ago and was railway line like with its cuttings, bridges and culverts. It was so well made that DOC spent little time or effort having to maintain it. The walking along this bit was easy and to our surprise we arrived ‘early’ and in time to catch a 2.30 ride to Milford.

Before you could say “downpour” we were on the Ferry and gliding across the waters of the Sound to Milford (to get our bus back to Te Anau Downs).

Now. It is hard to describe a highlight. I loved this walk, the trail is so well maintained, the huts great, the Rangers friendly and interesting, the scenery incredible, the weather wild, the mountains big, the bush so vegetated. The landscapes were stunningly beautiful, lots of photos were taken. We all loved doing this and to walk such a place with friends. It was truly a Great Walk.

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Ochre Trail – Dryandra Woodlands

Blog by John Clifton President of FBWC of WA

Some families from the Family Bushwalkers Club of WA spent the June long weekend away from the city in a very special place right on Perth’s doorstep. Our Club has been visiting this camp ground and exploring the forest for years and I fondly remember my kids as toddlers camping in the coldest place in WA and ice on the ground one morning.  Our group camped at the DPAW Congelin Camping Ground and spent a few wonderful hours walking the Ochre Trail in the Dryandra Woodlands.

The Ochre walk trail started from the car park (easy to find) and within 100 metres we were all looking at the burrowing work of very busy echidnas. Amongst our group were parents with a life-long knowledge of nature, botany and ecology. They pointed out to the kids and other adults the very distinctive digging holes amongst the thick bark of a fallen dead tree and made by these very famous Australian creatures.  Sadly we did not see the echidnas at work, but we learnt what to look for in the bush in future. I am sure I could find in the bush again where an echidna has been working away for food.

A bit further on and we came across a Cumquat tree right on the track and laden with fruit (not ripe yet we were told, they will change colour from green to red). We were told this native fruit makes great jam from the flesh of the fruit. The tree was laden and will be quite a sight when the red berries are ready to ‘harvest’.

The group ambled along the trail through powder bark Wandoo trees (which are that classic burnt brown and orange colour). We rubbed the tree trunks with our hands to get that powder, which the kids discovered makes an interesting face foundation. Over rocky breakaways common in this part of the world the trail reached its highest point, the former site of a fire lookout tower, where we stopped for a spot of morning tea.

Munching an apple, I sat on the ground right next to a ‘1080 Poison Bush’ (which botanic name escapes me now). Our knowledgeable parents explained the ‘1080 bush’ impacts and how Dryandra had been saved in the early days from grazing by sheep and cattle due to this toxic little bush. The kids were also told about the DPAW program now using 1080 baits in Dryandra to control feral foxes and cats and how this then creates a conservation area for native mammals including Numbats and other native mammals.

From our break we went on to my favourite section, the trail follows a horse-shoe shaped ridge line where you look over and down into a steep valley. The view mixes textures and colours. Grey-green undergrowth, orange and white trunked trees, the greens tree leaves, browns of the forest floor amongst the rich brown of coffee rock outcrops, all very picturesque – nature is truly the artist. I first saw this view in 1996 and 20 years later it still captivates me. It had the same effect on our group, with the kids and parents staring out over this very pretty valley.

A few hundred metres further and we reach the Ochre pit. It is an obvious excavation cutting into the side of the hill, where the soil is a striking and vibrant red colour. Well the pictures tell the story, soil samples were taken by younger kids who later spent an afternoon of paint making and painting themselves, me and paper.

In no time at all (about two and a half hours from start to finish) we were back at the car park, smiles all round and people saying they would come again. For many families it was their first walk in the Dryandra Woodlands and once again the Dryandra Ochre Trail had worked its magic.

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Munda Bidi Trail - Carinyah Campsite

A small group of keen mountain bikers set off at 12.30, after a quick bit of lunch in the car park. Interesting that when we left Perth it was 24 degrees and sunny and when we set off it was nineteen and overcast, in fact getting quite gloomy.

For quite a few of us it was our first overnight Munda Bidi campout, with panniers and loaded up a bit more than usual. The first section was down Pickering Brook Road cycle path, and then we went up, and up, a hill (Kings Mill Road) blowing out thoughts of an easy ride. At the top of the hill we found the ‘pick-up’ point of the Munda Bidi bike trail. Onto a small windy section we went, with small gravel the odd rock protruding out and logs across the path.

No surprises the younger bikers (with mountain bikes) set a cracking pace, surging the lead pack up, around corners and down the trail. Steady bikers took in the trail twists and turns and the occasional views. But riding is different to walking – no time for day dreaming.

Somewhere along the way it started to get a bit gloomy and then a light sprinkle, maybe call it a light shower – not rain really.  The trail was a bit sandy in places and all managed to stay upright and moving forward.  Before we knew it we were at the Carinyah Campsite, set on the side of a small hill and amongst a stand of jarrah and sheoak trees. The camp set up was like many on the Munda Bidi, there were two free standing open shelters for bikes, with the main ‘accommodation’ comprising from the front two tables in an under-cover area, a middle section with raised decks (upper and lower bed area), then at the rear seat benches under cover also.  Two rainwater tanks feed off the ‘barn like’ roof. One we discovered was completely empty with a faulty tap, while the other was almost full despite the lack of rain.

A pack of boys set off to do the Carinyah circuit, a 9 kilometre loop which was right on the campsite section of the trail. The Mums and Dads returned alone after taking a few interesting tracks, even more interesting at 5.10pm, when there was a debate as to the need for a search and when or if this would take place should no-one return. Tracks criss-crossed the area and it was easy to take a wrong turn. As the debate ensued, another family surprised us all with their arrival and then not long after that there was a Dad and his son who had somehow ‘found’ the other boys taking a short cut. But the boys disappeared as quickly as they were sighted. No worries, at 6 all were counted in on mass and were soon demanding a fast dinner. Much activity around stoves took place and the aromas were interesting, as were the boys’ stories of tracks, turns and step retracing to find their way back.

The evening started off noisy. By 8pm a few were in bed and closer to 9pm and the whole campsite was in darkness. The rain came during the night and the noise on the tin roof was something maybe not all get to hear at home. By morning the showers had cleared. The group decided to have another go at the Carinyah Loop and this time there was a successful navigation back to the campsite. A quick morning tea and we were on our bikes again and heading back along the Munda Bidi, in what felt like no time we were just a few kilometres from the end. The last 3 kilometres was an easy roll downhill, with one last hill to the car park.

There’s talk of another mountain bike ride soon. I am sure there will be a few keen starters for the next Munda Bidi adventure. Thanks to the families who made this an enjoyable weekend and ride in the bush.

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Mt Cook July Overnight Camp - By Kimberley

 A couple of weeks ago there was an overnight camp at Mt Cooke hut, setting off late afternoon we had walked 6km in 2.5 hours. When we got there some families put up their tents. The boys played with the fire. The adults had mugs of tea. Then we all set up tents and beds for the night. Some slept in the hut, but I had a tent and set it up in a small clearing in the bush. Later another Dad and daughter arrived from a different way (via bush tracks). The next day we left our backpacks at the hut, and climbed Mt Cooke. There were 2 geocaches at Mt Cooke. There was also a cave up at Mt Cooke. That was a extra 4km that we walked  the weekend . Once we had walked back to the hut we had an hour get ready to leave the Mt Cooke hut. Then we started to walk back to our cars it took a little while longer than the first time. On the way back at an old railway loading yard. My brother tried to take a big piece of old track but failed, he managed to carry two smaller pieces of track. When we stopped to have a break it started to rain. When we got back at the cars most of us were soaking wet. Then in the car and drove back to our house dad had a shower, when he got out dad found a tick on his bottom. Mum had to get it off. My brother and I cracked up.

 

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Walks Suitable for Families with Younger Children – John Clifton

Preamble:  The Family Bushwalkers Club of WA Committee has recognised that there a quite a few new members of the club who may not be familiar with Perth or its surrounds and perhaps do not know of walks suitable for families with younger children. We joined the club with children under 2 and there were a number of walks we did. Initially with prams, then with backpacks that carried young children and then when they decided it was time to walk, short walks taking all day. I have put together a set of Short Walks we did around Perth when our kids were young and each one brings back great memories...

How we got started: When we first started to 'lead' walks for kids with young children, it was simply a case picking a date and time that worked for us. Then letting the Walks Coordinator know what we planned, the date and place and providing our telephone number for people to call. That info would be published in the Quarterly Program.  Sometimes we had 2 families come along, sometimes many more.  People called and we let them know the meeting place and time. People gathered at the meeting place we got organised, introduced people to each other and signed the obligatory sign-on sheet. We had a leader at the front and a tail end Charlie at the back and kept the group together.  Being short walks meant lots of stops, snacks, morning teas, lunches and before you knew it  4 hours had gone by and we had walked all of 2kms. Each walk had something new and interesting, flowers, nesting birds, ants, spiders, rocks, dirt, eagles, fish, frogs, streams - even other walkers. And at the end of the day everyone was tired. The car journey home was quiet with the kids (and parents) asleep in the back.

Where we went: Just some of those walks, (details and maps can be provided)....

Bold Park - Camel Lake Heritage Trail - we did this with the Club one summer in the evening, it was dark, we all had torches and went  spotting birds, spiders and other interesting wildlife. Trees look different in the dark.

Cape Peron Walk Trail - I love this trail and there are some nice swimming beaches nearby. Can be  a wild winter walk or a summer activity (with beaches protected from winds).

GlenBrook Dam Trail - A family favourite in John Forrest. Easy for kids and quite interesting and scenic bush setting. Great after rains and a lovely place in winter sunshine( either early morning or late afternoon).

Goat Walk Trail - another walk we did as a family and with the Club. On the Club event we happened across an Echidna and followed it into the bush before it found its burrow.

Herdsman Walk Trail - lots of bird life to see and a huge variety including ones that have flown a long way to get to Herdsman as well as birds who live locally all year round. Bring a bird book.

Kangaroo Trail - DEC has done a lot of work on the picnic area a nice place to finish up. Yes you will see kangaroos. There are up hills in this one and plenty of bush to see.

Kings Park Scarp Track - good at any time, all year round. This now takes in the tree top walk, or you can deviate around it.  Lots of flora and trees named from different parts of WA. Kids get the lot on this one...

Lakeside Walk Trail - I have been there many times and in winter you will have this place to yourself and in summer, well a great place to swim and canoe. It has a safe beach.  There's a lovely camp ground to stay in (tents) and a pretty good mountain bike trail for older kids (or a longer walk).  Not bad for distance training either for those who run...

Noble Falls Walk - an interesting place to go after rain and the brook is flowing. The track follows the water course so its flat, you will share the trail with others this is popular locally.

Portagabra Track - This is a circuit walk where it's all up hill, then flat, then downhill. I love the uphill bush and we always see kangaroos on the walk. Fred Jacoby Park has its own creek and I think some very old oak trees. Winter, Autumn and Spring time walk.

Star Swamp Bushland Reserve - there are a few trails. It is a swamp and perhaps a type of bush kids don't see that often including paperbarks. Go in the rain for the full effect.

Yanjidi Trail - This is a circuit walk around the lake at Yanchep, dead flat.  On the west side you get to see how the old bush was.  On the east side it's a park with BBQ's grassed areas. Get there early in the morning or late in the afternoon and you'll see heaps of Kangaroos. It is a popular place for families to gather.

Zamia Trail - right in the heart of Perth, I have lost count how many times we have been there. There's heaps of trails that join up to the Zamia trail which means you can shorten according to kids stamina. Go Up the hills and get great views across Perth and the Ocean to Rottnest.  Quite doable at night in summer. Great during the cooler months. We often start in the Tuart Car park in Perry Lakes.

Great times and memories.  I have to say I have a heap of suggested walks trails (maps and descriptions) around Perth that are for the next step up, for kids who can handle a longer walk, bigger hills and a bit of scrambling. I hope you try out some of these trails with your younger children (or even older kids), form friendships with other families, lead day walks like we did, and get as much enjoyment as our family has over the years...... John Clifton

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Carl's Excellent  Walk – Stirling Ranges, Talyuberlup to Mount Gog (by William and John)

Leader Carl. Followers: Peter, Loreen, Connor, Matthew, William, Mark, Sam, Charles, Louis,  Javier, William and John. Date: 2 October: Time 9am to 4.30pm. On and Off track.

From the outset there was a cracking pace on the Talyuberlup track.

 The group stretched out with a few of the smaller adventurers moving quickly and the older (wiser or less fit) people climbing at a steadier pace, for they knew of Carls (before kids) walking reputation.

Up, up and up we went before stopping for morning tea at the top of a steep granite slab. There were heaps of wildflowers on the slope yellows, whites, reds and blues mixed with an array of greens made a colourful site.

The track got even steeper and we steadily climbed as a group before arriving at our next stopping point, 100 meters from the summit. This is where the mountain had collapsed leaving a cavernous  tunnel created by huge granite boulders. Scrambling through the tunnel you could look up the big long cracks running vertically to the roof a big granite slab.

On the other side of the tunnel there was a big rock ledge which provided great views . We could see the path, the next bit involved dropping down a short but steep ravine before a short scramble to reach a small ridge, leading to the top.

Reaching the summit, there was a circular rock cairn big enough for the whole group to sit in. The weather was fine and warm with no wind, we sat at the top and took a break to enjoy the views.  It was time for another snack and a big drink of water to recharge our energy levels. Carl, Matthew and Mark climbed to another side of the peak. There they stood on a bare tabletop rock platform surrounded by a big cliff.

Descending off the summit the way, we came to the bottom of the small ravine where Peter had slung a doubled climbing rope around a boulder. He threw the rope down the really steep valley we were about to go down. Holding on the rope we sort of abseiled down about 20 meters to a rock ledge. There we stopped half way down the cliff face and peered over the edge - it was a long way down.

Carl had a look around and then led the group down further through thicker bushes, some were very prickly, that's another thing Carl's walks are well known for. We reached the bottom of the cliff face and then followed the base around along what Carl said was a climber's track.

Sure enough there were a couple of great stacks, divided by a clear path through to the other side of the mountain. We reached a really big cave' really a big rock overhang and sitting on one of the rock ledges was a big candle. It would be a spooky place to camp overnight.

There we all sat staring the saddle covered in rocks, bushed and small trees.  It seemed a long way still to go and there was no obvious route across. We gathered ourselves for the next bit.

Carl put his gloves back on, grinned at the group and set off down the saddle criss-crossing between tracks.  Pushing up the other side there were small tress in between granite outcrops. "Stop" that was Carl and before him was a really big tiger snake as thick as Carl's arm and as long as Louis. It slithered off under a rock and we passed by without seeing it again. (Ed note: Incident Report duly filed at next committee meeting)..

The group pushed on and at nearly 1pm it was time to stop. We were in between the mountains now and we got to the edge of the ridge and sat on a grey granite outcrop with great views. It was good to stop and have our lunch. I was wondering when we would get to Gog and even more interested in how we would get back. The bush was thick and scratchy, slowing us down.

We found the Mount Gog track and walking became easier. It became a bit of a scramble as the slope became steeper again before we reached the top, which was rocky and vegetated. We stopped for a snack while Carl Javier and Louis went across to another point 40 metres away which was a similar height to where we were.  The top of Mount Gog looked flat, but from Carl's viewpoint he could see the edge clearly and a rock face and  drop of hundreds of metres. Just as we were about to leave a large eagle glided past. It came really close then glided across towards Talyuberlup before coming back, then another appeared as well.

It was decided 2 Dads would return to the cars following the same route taken to get to Mount Gog and circle around the base of Talyuberlup while the rest of the group walked down the Mount Gog track which was surprisingly steep. Mid way down we stopped and looked to see if we could see them. A loud Coo-ee was heard and response given. We thought they were still on the ridge but later they told us they were already at the large overhang.

Walking down Mount Gog there was an extended  debate on who would win between Darth Vader (Star Wars) and Voldemort (Harry Potter). A nil all draw was declared.  I expect this debate will continue to be had on future walks.

Reaching the Mount Gog car park we all sat down and rested, the final round of snacks appeared before the sound of cars was heard and then they appeared. We returned to the camp ground to be greeted by the other campers eager to hear about the story of Carl's walk.  (pictures credit goes to Matthew - brilliant)

 

 

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Camel Farm Mountain Bike Ride (by William)

 

I love mountain biking and we did it as a group with 5 families from the Family Bushwalking Club. The Club event followed the Kalamunda Circuit trail (and the week before the trail had been used for the Kalamunda 50 mountain bike race). The Circuit goes clockwise and leaves from the Camel Farm car park, there was a car shuttle so we did not have to carry our lunch. We started on Joeys Line, then on to Camakazi up to the beginning of X-Files. In fact those who went on a Family Bushwalkers overnight bib track walk on the long weekend earlier in the year would recognise some of these trails we walked past them. At X-files we took a bit of the Munda Bidi (that goes all the way to Albany) – stopping for lunch at The Dell. After a good break it was time to ride up Gunjin hill, we took a bit of the Munda Bidi at first, then up Rocky Balboa and up Mother-in-law to the top.  The downhill ride started at the top, we took Muffins Tops, then on to Horny Devil arriving at the Black Stump pump track for a quick circuit of jumps and berms. With the group back together the final leg was Slippery When Dry and we were soon back at Camel Farm car park. It was a great introduction for a few of our group to Camel Farm and the Blue Track was ideal for new riders and those who wanted to get air.

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