The Bibbulmun: day thirty one – Warren -> Schafer

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Originally I was going to double through here and go straight to Northcliffe. Glad I didn’t – lots of hills plus 627000 trees to climb over/under/through. Also Shafer is really nice hut overlooking dam. Got in up to my thighs and splash washed – nice, after sweaty day. Solid poop – too solid. Where have the runs gone? (joke). Top of left foot still v sore. Not great sleep last night – new hut mate Jerry snoring like death rattle/growling animal. Then woke sweating several times. Too hot/too cold. Damn these warm nights! Where is my non-insulated mat when I need it!! Thought of two things today that I’d like to do and actually felt excited! Creative writing course and or photography course. Ideally adventure photography but doubt legit course exists for niche. (No e-courses!).

Hunger is cranked up big time. Must be losing weight again. Hunger abated after eating loads during rest day at Balingup. All day I’ve been slipping on karri bark, going downhills, and stumbling/tripping over sticks on track. SO many sticks/branches/trees on track! For last 100km. Since just north of DRV. Also, as above, hoarding my days in case I ‘need them later’? Do same with food –especially treats. Choc/Cliff bars/back country meals – will not eat/hold off on eating just in case want to eat later. Why stockpile treats and not just enjoy them on the days I planned? Scarcity mindset? Haven’t been feeling depressed, although 3 months no meds. But what would depressed look like out here? Different to what it is in a city, in a normal life? The only real task is to walk, and the only alternative is to not walk. Which leaves you exactly where you are. Feel like there is a meaningful analogy about life in there. Had a good day today, although the walking itself felt tough (or my body is tired) – overcast all morning but didn’t get rained on or wear raincoat! Best thing of the day. Just felt more upbeat in general. Didn’t listen to anything. Think the weather made a huge difference to be honest. Even a little patch of sun to warm up after dip in lake! Saw little bandicoot or similar running around near hut. Cute.

 

The Bibbulmun: day thirty – Pemberton -> Warren

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Slept badly in the YHA with temp regulating difficulty (like, feet out, sheet on, doona just over my ribs, too hot, too cold. V frustrating). Then crazy bad snorer started up just after midnight. Was going to check with him if he had sleep apnea but seemed rude. Could have stayed in caravan park with March Girls another night and taken a rest day but figured would just keep walking. Left about 9am – after 6am bacon eggs and coffee at bakery with Helle, Jerry and Mr Deer, then 8am second breakfast bowl of carmens muesli with yoghurt and strawbs. Filling up! Called Linton and chatted while I walked to Gloucester Tree. Climbed it –fucking terrifying!! Rungs so steep and also cold and slippery. Seems like if fell would slide all the way to bottom at high speed (53m). Called L back and chatted a bit more til reception ran out. 1st bit of walk ok. Put on podcast (Being Honest with my Ex) for couple of hours. But same weather – blue, sunny, cloudy, rain. Repeat. Raincoat on but whole body then covered in sweat. So shitty. Over it. What is the fucking point. Up and down a million hills. Go on 2 month trip to Bali next time, not walk 1000km. Fucksake. It’s HARD.

Ate white choc and macadamia cliff bar, was highlight of day.

Weather predicted much the same for next 4 days. Now hutting with 2 new people – Helle from Denmark and Jerry from Tweed Head. Bit older than Mr Deer (and me!). Seem nice. Left Bec and Fred behind in Pemby hurray! (#sorrynotsorry). Listened to podcast on mental health. Triggered thoughts of: do I want to get involved in mental health stuff again? If so, how? No answer yet. Want treats. Want already to be in Northcliffe. Want room to self. Want bath. Want ugboots. Want couch and TV. All mod cons. Feel have had enough, but still 3 weeks to go! 400km. (380). Feels such a long way still. Pride says can’t stop. Also think would feel unfinished (duh). Also what else would I be doing with my life? And now finally have strategy where feet aren’t totally fucked (just little bit fucked) – bandage, tape, shoes unlaced (cut quicklace with knife before long double to make more space on top of feet) and relaced to only one hole on left, 2 on right so can make big enough for feet to fit in with bandages on. Feel tired in body. Perhaps need a rest day…Saw Mum/Dad emu with 5-6 little ones running up path away from me. So cute! So vulnerable! Notice this about self –every time do a double, instead of using spare day to have rest, want to keep spare day up sleeve to ‘maybe use later’. Like to have safety reserve – same as saving $$. Also, learned lesson: 1) if you make ‘sandwich’ with tomato, cheese, avo, lettuce, cucumber – on corn-crackers in morning to take for lunch, they will go very soggy and mushy. 2) when hungry in bush you will eat them anyway (hungry, plus wouldn’t want to carry them) 3) They will still taste good – standards so much lower! Cuc still have crunch! Used to 100% mush, they have texture in comparison. Hips are aching. Rest day or ibuprofen? Why so against rest day?

 

The Bibbulmun: day twenty nine – Beedelup -> Pemberton

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Woke last night with the feeling of a rat? friendly marsupial? climbing up and over my sleeping body. Not the most pleasant haha – but at least I didn’t wake to it walking up and over my face! Walked into town. Harry* for last few hours as so bored and over it. Got real hungry – ate allll my food. Room at YHA – ok, but no soap, towels, books, character, even things like salt and pepper. Thought about having a day off as one day early, but felt bored even just being here for an arvo. Bought too much food at IGA – whole chicken, had some spinach, cucumber, hummus and avo. Sah good. And cheese. Strawberries and yoghurt. Had more chicken and cheese and cuc and tom and cooked broccoli and sweet potato for dinner. Vegies! Yum.

Also turns out the friendly marsupial ate several holes in Mr Deers’ pack. Unlucky. Right in crucial parts of the pack, too.

*Harry Potter audio book

The Bibbulmun: day twenty eight – Boarding House -> Beavis -> Beedelup

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

With terrible weather predicted, got up at 4am to set off at 5 to avoid worst of it. Raining as left, in the dark. Didn’t rain that much all day in the end. Hail 6-8-10 times. Crossing trees was more fun and interesting than hard. Got to Beavis at around 10am. Too early to stop! So Mr Deer and I decided to do a double through to Beedelup – 43km. Smashed. Write more later. So achy.

The Bibbulmun: day twenty seven – Tom Road -> Boarding House

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Had a reasonably peupty day. Morning was nice, left just after 6:30, and it was really nice walking along river. Then the clouds came over and it drizzled for 1.5 hours and I was just like, fuck this. Realised that I keep doing the same thing with people – putting up the emotional walls, which then makes me shitty at anything they do. The question is, why? And how to stop it? Just writing this I’m like, why do I need to ‘stop it’/fix it – Can I just let myself be??

Got to picnic ground – almost ½ way – by 9:10am. Too early for even 1st lunch. Ate some doritos (left over from ages ago!) while resting with my feet up. Passed the ‘linear’ 1/2 way point but didn’t even see it. Left rest spot, crossed suspension bridge (1 tree bridge) and kept on. Just felt grumpy. Got to where guidebook said ½ way is, had heard there was a marker there but didn’t see anything. Felt pissed/ripped off. Saw a piece of duct tape on ground – handmade ½ way sign. 100m on, real ½ way sign. Took selfie – horrified by selfs face. Sad that still think that about myself. Created witty self-deprecating insta post reminding others that thru hiking is not what you do if you want to take good selfies. Sigh.

Another couple km, passed 2 women who were camping. Sat near river for break. Mr Deer caught up to me, walked last 5.5km together (at quite fast pace, set by him!) it fucking dragged, even with two people. After chapel bridge, track was covered in such deep water that I scrambled up onto top of railway cutting to avoid wet feet. Got to hut around 12:45 – had HOT LUNCH (thanks Mum) and snickers as reward. So tired. Two rangers came and said (as many in book have said) there are 2 x big karri trees down over the track in tomorrow’s section –already meant to be a tough day. Plus forecast is predicting rain, hail, strong winds…Mr Deer and I are going to get up at 4am again to try and get a few hours done before weather really sets in. Bucko (old dude) might just stay in the hut – he was going to turn around at the next hut anyway. Not stoked about the prospect of getting saturated again tomorrow – with two more days still to go before Pemberton. Anyway. Just a grumpy whingey day today. Tried strapping tape plus ½ bandage – worked ok on right foot but on left too much pressure on top of foot/bone and it hurt SO much. CAN’T WIN! Had first moment of actually looking forward to being able to not have to torture my feet every fucking day…like a normal person , just throw on any old pair of shoes and not think about it! Imagine!

 

The Bibbulmun: day twenty six – Donnelly River Village -> Tom Road

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Nice cruisey walk into hut, around 4 hours. Feet hurt a bit – tried strapping with rock tape instead of bandages – hurt more today than bandages. Might try combo tomorrow. Meant to be showers tomorrow 🙁  then RAIN, thunderstorms and hail the next day 🙁 🙁 🙁 Felt a little anxious leaving Mum and town today – always a bit of a rip required to pull away from showers/food/comfort.

Such a gorgeous day though, sunny and warm – got sweaty for first time in couple of weeks!

My feet – have never known such a burden as that which I’ve placed on them in last 500km. They are doing well. Love you feet.

I thought I’d be spending more time writing and nutting out my life – I seem to be spending more of my hours in the huts listening to audio books and eating and chatting with people. Mr Deer and I, old bloke Phil (heading to Pemby, ‘Bucko’) and father and son duo going Pemby –> DRV. So much for solitude! Had lone male hiker at 2 nights between Balingup and DRV.

Not happy about weather forecast – was so enjoyable walking in good weather today! So enjoying being in karri tree land too. Finding when talking with other people I’m struggling to find empathy for them. Just don’t have much giving a shit for much these days. Depression? Not sure. Certainly haven’t felt depressed in last 3.5 weeks, but my mood/thoughts/behavior yesterday was pretty typical of when I’ve depressed. But now I wouldn’t say I’m depressed and yet find myself thinking/acting similarly – what does that mean? Told Linton about this conundrum and he said ‘Great! More things for you to thinking about with all your time walking.’ It is helpful to be able to head out into the bush and just have alone time, to soothe the soul. Could be hard to transition back into Real Life. I mean the luxuries are nice but the nervous system feels very settled here. Exercise, sunlight, 12 hours in bed…Noticing that sunlight hours are increasing. Even though rain is hard, I like being connected to the weather. Very easily forget it though.

The Bibbulmun: day twenty five – Gregory Brook -> Donnelly River Village

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Left earlyish to try avoid rain. Not a bad day’s walk but I got a tiny bit sick of not being along. Waiting for someone else, etc. We had a bit of a tension-y walk but did discuss it. I was just so shitty and resentful but then felt so bad about being resentful that I ended up just coming across as withdrawn and grumpy. I was like, I want to want to spend more time together but I also just don’t…

Got into DRV, Lynn (March Girl with Mum’s car) didn’t want to stay in bunkhouse (Fred and Bed had whinged to her that it was super gross) so we drove to Manjimup (1/2 hour) and stayed in a motel! It was nice – hot shower, heater, movie on TV (Zoolander 2). Surf and turf with chips for dinner. The tension left when we left the bush. Funnily, I was also really put off with me being dependent on her (buying me dinner etc). This independence streak can be a bit extreme.

The Bibbulmun: day twenty four – Blackwood -> Gregory Brook

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

RAINING. Most rain so far. Fair bit of wind too. Mum and I had about 45-60 min of alright, tiny light showers, then it mostly just rained. Sheltered under trees from time to time and then just got so wet that sheltering seemed pointless. Mr Deer caught up with us and we all walked together for a bit. Had the shortest of breaks around 5.5 and 6.9km then basically didn’t stop ’til the hut (18.2km). Strapping with bandages helped my feet somewhat. Peed in a ½ squat with pack still on for the 1st time – great discovery! No need to stop and take pack off! Couldn’t tell if I peed on my pants because they were so wet from the rain anyway. (Just kidding). (I hope).

Talked a lot today so not so much thinking. The talking made me realize how much thinking I’ve done over the last three weeks though. New track name – One Boot Man Slayer – with ‘cock blocker’ the hat, obvs. Pretty cold here, although I was ROASTING last night with my new insulated mat – had to take off leggings and socks and long sleeves. I assume same tonight. Feels super gross putting dry feet into wet wet wet cold shoes but teeth/toilet must be done. It is 6:30pm after all – bed time. Didn’t sleep that well last night – too hot and uncomfortable joints – hips mostly. Oh well, never satisfied, eh?

The Bibbulmun: day twenty three – Balingup -> Blackwood

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Not a bad day, few too many km on gravel road for my liking, and feet seem worse than ever. Not sure if can go on with them like this, pain wise. Couple of awkward moments for me in last two days of cooking breakfast/doing dishes for group of Bibb people all staying in the backpackers, and thinking – I’m not here to do shit for other people. Lol, uncharitable much? People are also doing things for me.

Feel v sad that fitness/energy is enough to 30+km, just feet are not. What is the intended lesson here, universe? To stop and let go of the goal of doing E2E as a thru hike? So not keen for that. Pushing through pain can only take you so far – and don’t want to end up with disabling injuries that could affect aikido training…Talked a fair bit today about ‘what I want to do with my life’ – no conclusion. Blackwood is very exposed – any surrounding trees cut down post-03/16 fires, but it’s nice view over the valley. Windy though. Only carrying two days worth of food, feet can’t even handle this. Feel so happy to be back in hut – didn’t sleep all that well last two nights, despite mod cons of bed, pillow etc – there was a mozzie (!) (irony!) the 1st night and too hot/cold, dog barking 2nd night. Also exit sign outside door throwing green light making me thinking it’s dawn every time I roll over. Anyway, looking forward to 12 hours in bed and cosy bag.

The Bibbulmun: day twenty two – REST DAY! Balingup

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Resty rest, big brekkie of THE MOST amazing rye sourdough, eggs, left over roast veg from last night. ‘Lunch’ at Lady Marmalade in Kirup – consisting of lemon meringue cake, coffee, almond croissant. BEST. Dinner at Greenbushes ‘exchange hotel’. Sunday roast – with Clare and Lyn (from the March Girls). Basically just the most amazing food in this tiniest of towns – Balingup is so little there’s literally no where open for dinner. You have to drive to the next town to find somewhere to eat.

**Note: I am still craving the taste of that rye sourdough. Also I looked up the lemon meringue cake recipe when I got home and I’ve made it several times. It’s the best.