Day 321 | a day on the beach: a big day to climb a hill

Esperence Day 23

The ride down Le Grand Beach 3 weeks ago was one of the highlights of my trip to date.

When I crawled through the National Park with my flat tyre a few weeks ago I picked out Frenchmans Peak as a day excursion from Esperance and today’s the day.

The early morning ride down the beach was a rerun of the first trip: hard sand and good time, but the weather was much warmer today and a couple of dips in that cool clear water was in order.

I had the 360° from the top of the Peak looking out for miles in every direction to myself: after Christmas Day’s excesses the (nonexistent) view from carpark was far enough for those in the 4WDs. If you can’t drive to the top, well, just tick it off the places seen anyway. I’ve stopped asking what is the point.

After that I head down to the magnificent surf at Hellfire Beach, one of the best around. Squeaky white sand, decent body surf waves and translucent water. After a good few rides I check the time: it’s time to move 3 30 pm. I’ve come 50 km so far and I’ve still got to get home. I’d checked the tides a few day’s before: high tide was early morning and the theory was that once it went down there wasn’t going to be much variation during the day because of the full moon.

The return trip started OK but then I hadn’t counted on the number of holidaying 4WDs chopping up the sand. I had changed the back tyre to the sand special last used on the Tanami: I had let down the pressure and now there was just enough to stop hitting the rim. It was slow going. Actually it was more than slow going I finally found something it wasn’t possible to ride through.

A beautiful sunset. There were still a few fishermen out on the beach. One was dragging on his line like he had caught a giant groper: it was a stingray, everyone was catching them and I wondered if it was the same one. I plodded on in the dim light.

400 m from the end of the beach a fisherman I’d spoken to asks me if I want a lift 10 km into town in his huge F250. I’ve got no lights and for once in my life I say yes: I’ve been going 12 hours and twice traversed the 24 km long beach.

It’s pitch black when they drop me off: a fair day’s effort.