Location: Luke Pen Walk, Albany
Distance: 7.2km one way
Trail Marker: Start, Middle & End only. Download KML file below
Duration: 3-4 hours
Cost: $0, free entry
Toilet Facilities: Yes, at south trail head
Dog Friendly: Yes
Date Hiked: 4th October 2018
The Luke Pen Walk follows the Kalgan River much to hubby's delight as he could fish while I hiked so I was dropped off at the Upper Kalgan Bridge, the plan to walk downstream. This walk is named after Dr Luke Pen, a man passionate about rivers, and the services provided to humanity by them. More info can be found on the trailhead interpretive sign. The river is rich in Aboriginal history with 20,000 years of bringing people together. The Noongar people of the region gathered by this river to fish, socialise and hold ceremony. Today, local people and tourists do much the same.
As I began to make my way along the trail, it was easy to see why they say it is a Grade 3 trail with lots of steep inclines and declines presenting themselves already and I knew it would be a pretty decent afternoon workout. The river sure does have a lot of side creeks, streams and wet areas running into it. I seriously don't think I have crossed so many bridges before in one walk but it did provide some beautiful little wetland areas to the side and small waterfalls. It wasn't long before I came across this gorgeous old cottage home surrounded by pines trees. Unfortunately I don't have much information on this cottage's history but am really looking forward to finding out. As tempting as it is to want to get a closer look, please respect the land owners rights and take note of the Private Property sign.
I found further remnants of history a little further down on the riverbank. Some old machinery, a jetty and the remains of some sort of boat launching rails lay near as well as a recently used small dinghy, a sign of regular visitation to the area, and why wouldn't you. I took some time out here to reflect on the area, such peaceful still waters, the surface only breaking from local birds getting their afternoon feast below. It was easy to sit back and imagine a time when the local Noongar people hunted and fished for their meals. Apparently there are remnants of fish traps hidden behind one of the islands but going by the picture on the maps they lie on the other side of the river so not accessible unless your in the water, another good reason to paddle up first.
Crossed over another bridge and found what looks to be an unused jetty pier on the other side. I noticed more and more exposed rock in the river which made me think of "Dreamtime' and I remember reading the dreamtime story about how the Kalgan River was formed. On approach to the half way point I came across another interpretive information board, again showing an informative map and other useful information. This is accessible by car, an option for those not wanting to walk the full distance. The information on the right panel of the interpretive sign provided some great insight into the rivers history.
The sight of the Kingfisher Shelter signals that the end of the trail is only metres away. The shelter is an amazing metal art display depicting the beautiful Kingfisher bird with it's wings spread wide. Initially I could not find any information about the artist who created this amazing sculpture but was recently contacted by a lady who had read this blog and reached out to let me know that it was in fact her brother Timothy Booth who created it 22 years ago along with some of the other metal installations in 2016. Timothy lived on East Bank Rd and loved all things to do with the Kalgan so she felt he would of enjoyed reading about my experience. Sadly Timothy passed away in 2017 at 60 years of age from mesothelioma.
RIP Timothy Booth