Tin Mine Cove to Lower Barry Creek
With the end of Daylight Saving giving us an “extra” hour, we set off on the most anticipated day of the circuit just after 8am. First up we needed to make our way back to Chinaman Long Beach, just under 2km to get there and then around 3km of beach walking at fairly low tide.
Beach walking can be a bit boring, or meditative might be a nicer way to put it, but this wasn’t too bad with little crabs keeping us entertained as they scattered away or burrowed into the sand as we approached. Low tide is the way to go as the sand is firmer to walk on and there is more to see with odd pieces of sea life to investigate. Around 10am we reached the turn-off inland to take us through the swamp to Lower Barry Creek Camp.
The photos that follow don’t do a good job of capturing the challenges of the swamp. Though the watery part of the swamp actually wasn’t much of a challenge. Once you accept that your legs and shoes are going to get soaked in scummy water, it’s one of the easier parts – at least is was for us as the water did not reach much above our knees and it was clear where we needed to go. The mud underfoot wasn’t too bad, no sinking into some deep muddy hole and losing a shoe. No doubt winter and early spring would be a different story. But I am getting ahead of myself as it took us around 3 hours from the beach to reach the Chinaman’s Creek part of the swamp. To that point is was quite dry and the main challenges were staying on track and pushing through thick and scratchy scrub.
The vegetation was often above head height and there were few to no clear landmarks to aim for. The pieces of faded pink flagging tape marking the track were often difficult to spot or spaced quite far apart; sometimes we had to send a scouting party ahead to find the next piece. On one occasion it took us around 30 minutes to rediscover the track. I’m glad we took the time though and didn’t try to bush bash our way through at that point because the next little section was through some incredibly thick, tall scrub that looked impenetrable. It was hard enough burrowing through, along the track.
Eventually we made it to the watery, swampy part.
Not too bad to walk through but I wouldn’t want to drink from it.
The next couple of hours of walking to Lower Barry Creek Camp had a lot more trees than we had been used to so far. And a lot of if was Banksia forest.
It was nice to reach the camp site after a long and challenging walk. The clear flowing water of the creek was welcome after the ordinary water of Tin Mine Cove and the only-drink-it-if-in-dire-need water of Chinaman Swamp. We only had the couple walking ahead of us to share the camp site with tonight. They were on the other side of the creek and we had plenty of room to set up on our side.
There were a lot more trees around this camp which meant I was able to hang the hammock and enjoy another good sleep. All 3 nights of this trip were able to be spent off the ground and the back-up sleep pad and bivy were not required.
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