I recognise and acknowledge Wudjari Nyungar people as the traditional custodians of Cape Le Grand National Park and the surrounding waters and lands. I pay my respects to Elders past, present & emerging.
I spent many holidays as a kid camping at Cape Le Grand National park and I was always keen to run the entire coastal trail from end to end.
We had planned to spend the day surfing and snorkeling at Cape Le Grand Beach so I completed the course from Rossiter Bay to Cape Le Grand. This did mean that the second half of the run was going to be very challenging with a lot more technical trail and some steep ascent and descents.
We drove from Esperance to the National park along the beach, then out to Rossiter bay. The tide was low so the sections of beach running were typically on firm sand making these sections quite enjoyable, giving time to take in the beauty of the turquoise water and the bright white sand.
We started at Rossiter Bay at 8:40 am. Lucas, my son, ran the first 9 km with me and the time flew by. Up and over Mississippi Hill we stopped to take in the view of the islands then down onto Lucky Bay beach. A few people out fishing and surfing. The support team were waiting at the Lucky Bay camp ground and joined us for a little bit before we headed back onto the trail and off to Thistle Cove.
The trail to thistle is relatively easy, still a bit of climbing but lots of opportunities to look out over the ocean. We completed the first 9 km in an hour. At this point I went on alone. down on to Thistle cove then to little thistle. The the steep sections began. The views were stunning and I took my time at the top of each point to enjoy the surrounds. Then down into little Helfire and onto Helfire bay were I came across a Kangaroo and her joey.
To my surprise the support team had decided to join me at Helfire (they had planned to go the the finish for a swim) and it was really appreciated. High 5's along the beach before the last ~5 km of steep and uneven climbs.
With about 3 km to go I could catch a glimpse of Cape Le Grand beach and the excitement grew. Crossing the little creek I knew there was just over 1 km to go, a steep up hill for a few hundred meters, and then mostly down hill to the finish.
Big thanks to the support team on the day Tyson, Lucas, Lilly, Brett, Leia, Taj, Kai, Isla, Ruby & Levi.
Will I do it again? - I'd love to as it is such a beautiful trail, but I would certainly spend more time preparing for the steep vertical sections. I would also consider running the opposite direction in order to have the flatter part of the course in the second half.