WALKING THE CAPE TO CAPE – A PERSONAL JOURNEY 
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WALKING THE CAPE TO CAPE TRACK?

To get started Hiking, you need things in both the physical and mental realms. Did you feel surprised about the “mental” part of beginner hiking tips? Hold that thought!

The physical requirements!

1. comfortable footwear,
2. a way to carry your Essentials
3. food and hydration that works with, not against, you on the trail,
4. a hiking clothing system that can be adjusted as needed,
5.  a destination with a plan to get there and back.

Get your head in the game!

The mental requirements you should bring on every hike:
1. motivation
2. common sense

3. good attitude

4. first aid and navigation knowledge
5. enough self awareness to know your own blind spots (also called “know when to lead, when to follow”).

 

 

A NOVICE’S TALE – VICTORIA JOHNSON

The plan
“I decided recently, with some annual leave up my sleeve and an urge to tick it off the bucket list, to walk the 135km Cape to Cape Track. I am not a hiker, let me tell you – I walk my dog each day on the Rails to Trails (does that count?) but for some reason this was bugging me and I felt the only way to quell this aspiration was to tackle it head on. I ran the plan by my Dad, who did the track a few years ago, and asked for some tips – he told me that when he walked it, it was “raining piss and pickhandles” (who even says that?) and jovially told me that I should “cut some arm holes into a garbage bag and stick it over your head, kid, you’ll be right”. Cape to Cape advice 101, thanks Dad.
Given Dad’s unworkable guidance, I figured I’d better contact the experts. I’d dealt with Gene Hardy from Cape to Cape Explorer Tours through my work at the tourism association, so emailed him my plans, suggesting that I tag along on the upcoming ‘luxury’ version of the walk, whereby guests stay at Margarets Beach Resort in Gnarabup each night and enjoy delicious meals and wine tastings – sounded like my cup of tea. Being a Margaret River local, I didn’t need the accommodation (although the notion of a relaxing spa at the end of each day was pretty tempting), so I suggested staying at home each night and driving to the resort each morning in time for the day’s departure. Gene was ridiculously enthusiastic about the idea, and after checking I’d done some hiking before (which I bluffed my way through) we agreed on a price and that was that. He sent me some training notes – D-day was 16th May, four weeks away, so I planned out my weekends and set myself a training schedule. A few weeks later, after some rather eventful practise hikes including getting lost in the dunes behind Boodjidup Beach and having to be rescued by my partner, I was ready to roll. Cape to Cape – come at me!”

 

Day 1 | Cape Naturaliste to Yallingup | 14km

”I rocked up at Margarets Beach Resort to meet Gene. He’s a tall, fluffy-haired bloke who perpetually looks like he just got out of the ocean after the best surf of his life. He greeted me with a high five and a banana from his garden – “check it out, Margaret River bananas!” he said elatedly – and we jumped in his ute. The rest of the group was on the way down from Perth in the minibus, and we were meeting them in Dunsborough for a pre-walk briefing over lunch. The main topic of conversation on the way up was the weather – there was 50ML of rain forecast for Cape Naturaliste that morning. Fantastic. We met the bus at the Shell servo in Dunsborough, and I kid you not, the rain was TORRENTIAL. Stopping at the hardware store to grab some wet weather pants for those who weren’t prepared for the deluge, we headed out to Bunker Bay – with some interesting ‘interp’ and sightseeing through the fogged up windows along the way. After lunch at Bunkers Beach Café and a few jokes about Gene’s supposedly infallible weather app on his phone, we headed out to the walk start point at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. Elbowing each other as we kitted up in our wet weather gear on the bus, we posed for a cheesy pre-walk photo in our wet weathers, and off we went.
The path from Cape Naturaliste to Sugarloaf Rock is fully paved – a nice easy start, certainly not indicative of the hard work to come. The idea is to provide universal access for at least part of the Cape to Cape, for prams and wheelchairs. Our luck was incredible – within 30 minutes, the sun came out and we had to strip our wet weather gear off. Mine were particularly thick pants from the local workwear store – officially dubbed ‘pruning pants’ by Gene as they were probably meant for pruning vines, not hiking. Probably should’ve spent that extra $20 and got the ones from the camping shop, oops. The scenery was incredible – Sugarloaf Rock is a must-see, an incredible granite island-like rock formation in the ocean. I also loved Three Bears, a surf spot named after the three differing sizes waves – mama, papa and baby. Being four-wheel drive accessible only and a long way from my stomping ground down in Margies, it was really cool to be able to finally see some of these spots up Yallingup way. We stopped for afternoon tea at Mt Duckworth Campsite, one of the official track campsites along the way. The home stretch was soft sand along Yallingup Beach, right on sunset – an epic way to finish the day.”

 

TO READ VICTORIA’S STORY ABOUT WALKING THE CAPE TO CAPE TRACK  

                                                                                                                                                                                         CLICK HERE 

 

 

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