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Despite ongoing summer heat and a real need to actually rest, the prospect of a 4-day weekend is just not compatible with staying at home.  By Thursday evening though the food is sorted, we’ve still not done any route planning other than to make a pile of maps pertaining to things south of home (therefore theoretically cooler).  A pretty attractive beach-side option in Boranup Forest is felt to be too short to make proper use of the time available – despite the implied space to hang around and look at the view (maybe next time? – add it to the ‘list’….)

Dinner passes, Bryn and Sarah are away to bed, and my eyes re-wander over the stretches of Munda Biddi we’ve yet to do.  It’s always a ‘good enough’ fall-back, and without accomplices (and their car-shuffle enabling vehicle), I’m then onto ways to avoid an out-and-back.  A few minutes later I realise that there’s a solution.  Hitching – planned hitching, rather than the type that gets you to the nearest mechanic  etc.  The route crosses major roads a number of times, and most particularly the South-west highway from Bunbury to Walpole and the south coast.  Donnybrook and Manjimup are both on the SW Highway, making the hitching a bit more reliable than it sounds.

There's lots of dappled shade, which is just as well really

There’s lots of dappled shade, which is just as well really

Bryn's ready for most things - the Yepp swaps between our bikes, and we both have Chariot hitches for sleep time and a few of the steeper up-hills

Bryn’s ready for most things – the Yepp swaps between our bikes, and we both have Chariot hitches for sleep time and a few of the steeper up-hills

The second day we innocently arrived in Nannup, only to find that there was a music festival on...  This meant a stop to look round, and plenty of bicycles to climb

The second day we innocently arrive in Nannup, only to find that there is a music festival on… This means a stop to look round, and plenty of bicycles to climb

not without consequences

not without consequences

Not to mention all the available percussion instruments...

Not to mention all the available percussion instruments…

Unfortunately there were a couple of significant diversion onto more mainstream dirt roads.  The rest of the route was just fine, thank you :-)

Unfortunately there are a couple of significant diversions onto more mainstream dirt roads. The rest of the route is just fine, thank you :-)

Fat tyres aren't strictly necessary, but they make child-loaded trailers much easier to pull through all the pea-gravel and allow more assured control on the technical bits with Bryn in the Yepp-mini up front.

Fat tyres aren’t strictly necessary, but they make child-loaded trailers much easier to pull through all the pea-gravel and allow more assured control on the technical bits with Bryn in the Yepp-mini up front.

We had all the huts to ourselves, including this one on the last night before Manjimup.  Our hut-mates over New Year had praised it highly.

We have all the huts to ourselves, including this one on the last night before Manjimup. Our hut-mates over New Year had praised it highly.

We ran afoul of clouds of painfully bitey March Flies that didn't allow very much relaxation at all for much of the trip.  Hiding in the tent gave some respite as long as you didn't lean up against the wall

We run afoul of clouds of painfully bitey March Flies that don’t allow very much relaxation at all for much of the trip. Hiding in the tent gives some respite as long as you didn’t lean up against the wall

Bryn seemed the least bothered by them

Bryn seems the least bothered by them

A cool start from the last hut before Manjimup

A cool start from the last hut before Manjimup

and some reminders that fire is always a danger

and some reminders that fire is always a danger

Before Bryn and Sarah settle in to guard the bikes while I hitch back to Donnybrook for the car

Before Manjimup where Bryn and Sarah settle in to guard the bikes while I hitch back to Donnybrook for the car

Route Notes:  Donnybrook to Manjimup is around 150km.  It’s possible to stay in huts all but one night as long as you don’t mind doing a 40km afternoon straight from Donnybrook.  There’re shops in Donnybrook, Nannup and Manjimup and water in these places and at the huts.

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