Sunday, 5 May 2019

Clackline Walk GPS Route (Clackline Nature Reserve)


Another enjoyable short walk in the Northam area, the partly off-track Clackline Walk GPS Route explores Clackline Nature Reserve. Basically a loop up and over a Wandoo-covered laterite ridge, the easy going hike features some excellent forest walking. The shortest Walk GPS route, Clackline can easily be combined with one or two other short walks in the nearby Northam area



Distance: 3 km (loop)
Gradient: Alternates between relatively easy, gentle gradients and section of moderate terrain
Quality of Path: Ranges from well formed vehicle tracks, informal bush pads and completely off-track sections with no obvious path through mostly open forest
Quality of Signage: Non-existent. This walk is an unmarked route and map reading skills are essential. Route information is available from Walk GPS.
Experience Required: Previous Bushwalking Experience Required. This is a navigationally difficult walk that is highly unsuitable for all but experienced hikers who are comfortable with off-track navigation.
Time: 2 Hours
Steps: Many informal steps
Best Time to Visit: Autumn-Spring 
Entry Fee: No, however access to the GPS file requires a subscription to Walk GPS.
Getting There: The trail starts from the gated entry to Clackline Nature Reserve. From Bakers Hill, take Great Eastern Hwy eastwards towards Clackline and turn left to head northwards on Eadine Rd. Ignoring an unmarked dirt track, take the second turn left onto Sleeper Rd and then immediately turn right onto Railway Rd. Turn left onto Connor Rd; the gate is located at the end of the road


After completing the outstanding Mokine Walk GPS Route, Alissa and I headed over to Clackline Nature Reserve for our second course. Due to their relatively short nature, Dave Osborne, the creator of Walk GPS, refers to Mokine, Clackline and Bobakine as a three course hiking degustation as they can easily be done in a day. While a flight to Melbourne hindered the full three course version, Clackline's largely on-track 3 kilometres were easy enough to fit in.



Passing through the gate, the route initially follows the fence line up the hill.



With no managed walk trail and very few visitors, a mob of kangaroos were nonchalantly lying under the trees near the start of the walk. As we came nearby, they all got up and hopped away, however not before I was able to get a photo of them lounging.



The major ascent for the walk comes early, with the management trail along the boundary rising steeply to the top of the Wandoo-dominated woodlands.



At the top of the ascent, the walk turns sharply to the right and follows another management track across the top of the ridge.



While vehicle tracks are not my favourite, the forest on either side of the trail was nevertheless beautiful and enjoyable, being similar in nature to what we had seen earlier at Mokine Nature Reserve.



At an old fenceline post, the trail veer slightly to the left as it continues to follow the vehicle track around a Laterite breakaway.



Following the GPS route, the walk takes a sharp turn left and descends to the valley below. Along the descent are a number of trees that show signs of fire damager from years gone by. In spite of the fire damage, I commented to Alissa about how much more visually resilient Wandoo is compared to Jarrah, which seemingly clings to it ugly, blackened trunks while Wandoo's smooth bark seems to shrug it off and just get on with it.



Curving around at a dip, the walk rises up a mildly eroded section of vehicle track.





At the top of the rise, the view across the dry creek line below was outstanding, and reminded me of some of the really great Wandoo-dominated walking that can be had on the Bibbulmun Track through the Helena Valley.



After having followed vehicle tracks for most of the walk, the route takes a sharp turn off the track and into a spindly stand of Wandoo.



Emerging out of the thin and spindly section, the more mature trees beyond offered some magnificent forest walking.



While initially exploring the contours of the landscape, the route heads across the top of a ridge before descending to rejoin a section of vehicle track.



The forest was again spectacular along this stretch of walking, and as with Mokine Nature Reserve, Alissa and I couldn't believe that this area did not feature a marked trail given the quality of the scenery on offer.





After taking in some really lovely views of the valley below, Alissa and I began a steep descent down the laterite hillside. Given the gradient and plethora of loose rock under foot, Alissa and I were glad to have had our walking sticks handy as it made the climb down that bit easier.



At the bottom of the descent, the walk descends into a gully and then follows the water course for a short distance before rising out of it on the other side.



From there, it is a short walk mildly descending across open Wandoo back to the car, thus completing the Clackline Walk GPS Route.



While less overtly spectacular than the Mokine Walk GPS Route's grander views and Granite formations, the Clackline Walk GPS Route is another outstanding short walk from Dave Osborne. While only 3 kilometres in length, the stunning Wandoo scenery on offer was light years ahead of many longer official trails in the Jarrah-dominated sections of the Darling Scarp, and I again had to question why such a beautiful area like this this route in a small but mighty reserve was not an official trail when it wouldn't even be that hard to cut it officially. While its three kilometres means it is a fairly small trail to drive out along Great Eastern Hwy to do by itself, the Clackline Walk GPS Route is a great dessert or amuse bouche to tack on before or after the Mokine Walk GPS Route, or as part of Dave's recommend three course meal.

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