Bluff Knoll and our ascent
The Bigger Picture of Bluff Knoll and the Stirlings
As soon as we got away from the Government Agency Parks Service negative and very ‘narrow in outlook’ information boards and found those written by historians, geologists and the Noongar Indigenous Nation we got a much better understanding of the spectacular area we were in.
The weather was perfect when we set off but we were aware of how it would become cooler around the back of the mountain not only because we would be shaded from the sun but also because moisture in the cool air from the ocean was condensing into droplets of water and forming cloud, a white shawl of mist that would grow as the sun dropped in the sky towards evening. The friendly walkers on their way down may have started in the morning or around midday and some were so encouraging, telling us that many breaks to catch their breath as they climbed the hundreds of steps was how they made it. Another lady told us that the track was much more level after we turned the shoulder and that was encouraging.
Rob is a ‘walk from A to B as fast and as uninterrupted as possible’ kind of guy, but he was very good natured about our frequent stops even when his hips started aching like crazy. For me I like to stop frequently to take photos and investigate the area near and far and that fitted in well with needing to get my breath back and allow whatever is going on with the muscles in my legs to sort itself out before continuing.
The little lizards and any other burrowing animals can survive fire by hiding underground provided it is not too intense. In the serious fires on the east coast you heard all about, it was found that creatures in their own burrows were letting different species of animal shelter in their burrows for survival alongside them.
I took photos of the little distance markers to quell any chance of conspiracy theories starting up that we didn’t climb to the summit, just as men didn’t land on the moon! The one that has Rob in the picture and is bleached out by the sun I think read 2.1 km to the summit.
The whole distance thing amazed me, the summit getting closer and the car park and approach road suddenly looking far away and way down beneath us.
About two thirds the way up and while still on the sunny side we came across an Asian lad collapsed on the track, lying on his back and groaning loudly. I stood so as to shade his face and he opened his eyes. I thought it would be rather stupid to ask if he was ok because he clearly wasn’t so instead I asked “Have you got some water,” “Yes” he said pulling an empty water bottle out of his pocket. So I poured some in to it from ours, “That’s great thanks, my friends said they would leave a bottle for me a little further up.” Cunning I thought, an incentive for him to continue, which he did slowly behind us. And yes they were as good as their word and there was a bottle awaiting him.
The lady was right about the different temperature behind the rocky mountain, and it was lovely and refreshing. We let it cool and dry us before putting our jackets on again to prevent a chill. I felt like a racehorse, frothing and steaming into the winner’s arena after the last hurdle and having a blanket thrown over me.
Springs were sending trickles of water down the path near the summit making it slippery in places so we had to step carefully. After a few times wondering if we would actually make it right to the top; a couple in the café turned back a third the way up and they were ten years younger than us, with the 600 metres marker passed ‘this lady was not for turning!’