The Bibbulmun: an afterword

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. I wrote this four weeks after I finished.

It feels like something is happening. A really deep, seismic shift. The deep cores of worthlessness, hopelessness, self disgust and despair are being aired, opened, examined. In a new light – the light of feminism (I was conditioned to hate myself by society!).

There’s a part of me unfurling – it feels inevitable and un-doable. And as though it’s going to change a bunch of stuff. There’s a crack, and I can finally let the light in. I don’t need to hide anymore. I can actually be me. Embody myself. All of myself. With love and acceptance. And without blame or judgement. If feels like I might finally be able to love myself. For reals.

I’m kind of shy and excited to meet this fresh new self who’s emerging, like a soft pink new born. Like when you’re a kid and you see your favourite cousin who you haven’t seen for ages, for a few moments you feel shy and don’t make eye contact. Then one of says ‘you want to go play?’ and then you hold hands and go off together, inseparable until your parents force you into two separate cars at the end of the night. It’s like that, meeting this new, soft and shiny self. Only this time we get to hold hands and run off together, and not leave in two cars. This time we stay and play together.

Right now though, I’m still at the shy part. I’m anticipating it’s going to be fun but I’m not yet brave enough to offer my hand. It also feels good not rushing it. I can sense the unfurling, but there’s no shortcut or speeding it up. It’s going to bloom in it’s own time. Somehow I feel certain that it’s happening though. Even though there’s not that much evidence yet, something feels different.

When I finished the Bibb, I was disappointed that with all the time I spent mulling over the problems in my life, I hadn’t solved any of them. I didn’t think I had any answers, no conclusions about whatthefuckdoidowithmylife. And yet, since coming home, everything is shifted and nothing is what it was before.

Each day, each km, each step – they were like gentle waves on a beach, each washing away another fine layer of silt, to eventually reveal what beauty lay beneath the whole time – beauty that was previously concealed. Me.

The Bibbulmun: day fourty eight – West Cape Howe -> Torbay

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

Beautiful easy day. 16.5km. Wound through quite a lot of burnt section around West Cape Howe, from fires in March this year. I actually don’t mind the burnt parts – visibility is great, no shrubs to hide snakes or scratch you. There’s a kind of stark beauty to the blackened trunks and branches. Up onto a high hill overlooking Shelley Beach – beautiful. Some people on the launch ramp but no  hang gliding action as I watched so kept going. Just continually blown away by the jewel blue/aqua of the sea – especially Dingoes beach. So amazing. So lucky.

2-3 crows/ravens hanging around me at the moment – Lisa would say it’s meaningful. Protectors, or something to do with my soul journey. Got into Torbay hut around 11:30, instant mash and tuna sachet and cheese for lunch – YUM. Chill out, went down to Hartmans beach with Lynne and Alison. Walked another km or so to check out the potential burn diversion but no sign of it – although I could see the burnt section. So many orchids around here – I’ve lived here all this time and never knew! Less than 40km to go now until THE END. It feels weird being here in this oh so familiar land. It kind of makes the whole walk feel surreal, like it never happened. Starting feels so long ago. Halfway feels so long ago!!

Met a girl walking north to Denmark this morn, carrying a huge pack! She had a chunk of foam under her hip belt and each shoulder – too bony, she said haha. Plus it’s a pillow when she stops. Lyn just pointed to the beach and said, so we’re doing the left side of this tomorrow? And I said, all the beach you can see, we’re going to walk tomorrow. No! She says. That’s more than 4km! Uh uh, I said. All the way to the rocks. Haha.

And this hut is where it began. Being here on NYE last year with Mum and Rach, seeing all the entries in the book of solo e2e’s, thinking, I could do the whole Bibb. Maybe I will. And now look at me: I did. Mum will meet us at Cosy Corner beach tomorrow and pick up our packs and take them to Muttonbird. She’ll walk a little way with Poet too. I’m pretty sure this trio of crows is the same trio that was hanging with me down at Hartmans. Also not sure that I’ve gotten that much better at sitting around doing nothing. Still wanting distraction with Harry, phone (when internet avail). Even this writing.

I’ve got a vague headache – have had for last couple of days. Not sure what from. My nervous system is definitely chilled out. It’s nice. Still not sure how I feel about going back to city life. Feet not as sore today so that’s always a thing that makes me think I could keep going. It’s funny with Lyn here, even though she’s a hiker and did the 1st section/s, she’s on a diff schedule/zone to the rest of us. She slept in much later this morn, and the other 2 left without her after she hadn’t packed up and was hanging out having her second coffee. Perhaps that is her normal way, but all the rest of us are so in the habit of just wake up, pack up, eat, go. I woke around 4:50 today – a sleep in! Dozed around listening to waves until 5:30. Fucking mozzies flying around woke me – even thought they can’t bite me through the tent, the noise still bothers me. Just my fingers are brown and tan – and I think I have a few more face wrinkles. I haven’t lost much weight – maybe just the tiniest bit off my legs. I actually don’t want to put it back on. I feel like I already put some that I lost back on, maybe being in so many (relative to first 2 sections) towns and carrying more food? Eating 2 packets of ‘2 serves’ back countries meals a day, on many days! Thanks to Peter and Sonja’s boxes. Also much in the way of energy/protein/fruit bars. It’s my second last night. I’m already transitioning, making plans to catch up with friends when I’m in albs etc.

Enjoying reading the red hut book* notes of Seri, Bacon, etc. Seri wrote one yesterday, I’m bummed I didn’t photo it – something like: ‘if to get ‘track fitting’ means that my body hurts all over but I still keep walking everyday anyway, then I suppose I have gotten track fitting. ‘ So glad I’m not the only one who’s still in pain @ this point in the game! She said she had sore shoulders, back, ankles, feet. I’m mostly feet/ankles. Also hips ache, but that could happen anywhere. I also had grand thoughts of getting track fit and that I’d find myself being this walking machine that just gets through the km without much effort/pain. Nope, not at all. Similarly to Seri, my version of track fit means being in loads of pain and just walking anyway. Hah.

Getting hungry again – 4:40. Might have pre-dinner of more mash and tuna. Bag too heavy! Don’t need much to walk into Albs, only 12km from Sandpatch – assuming I make the double from here tomorrow. How will I manage to stop eating when I get home??

Things I’m looking forward to

– a gong

– a haircut

– wearing a dress

– a bath

– clean toenails

– clean self in general

– shaving my legs

– grooming in general.

I’d actually like to embrace that feminine side of myself more – I have something about wearing makeup/heels/dresses/dressing up, where I have this story that if you do it it’s tacky or tryhard or means you don’t feel good about yourself/are sucked in by consumerism. But why not embrace my feminine side and enjoy feeling pretty? I can be manly and tough when I’m doing aikido. Time for new mental stories. Same with stories about money – if you have it/want it that means you’re spoilt/up yourself/a wanker – GET RID OF THAT STORY – new story – dressing up and wearing heels and makeup and having styled hair can be an enjoyable way of expressing my femininity – and I AM NOT too dorky to do it. (Although someone might need to teach me how to put on makeup (Youtube?))**

*shared journals in each hut where hikers write down thoughts or rambles or draw pictures etc

**Note: my level of dorkiness has not improved since finishing the Bibb

The Bibbulmun: day fourty four – Peaceful Bay -> Boat Harbour

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

Wow a hard day. 8h for 23 km. Lots of up and down, longest distance we’ve had in a while and the canoe inlet crossing – which wasn’t super hard but took time as only one canoe on our side, and we took a few back to the other side, which meant multiple paddling back and forth. Good day though, was starting to feel I was getting soft after all the easy short days between Walpole and PB. No longer! Feet v sore today, between toes/ball of foot on right. Heel on left and arches, and my tooth on left side swelling up again. Difficult to chew anything hard on the left side of my mouth.

Feel very tired. Didn’t sleep all that well – Lyn snored (sharing with three other people for $60 a night!), and I woke early (around 4am) and couldn’t get back to sleep. Needed to pee but toilet block too far away. Oh well. Early night. Sharing hut tonight with Joelle from Switzerland/England/Tassie. Worldly? But unprepared/unorganized and carrying too much. She’s decreased her pack weight (in Denmark) to about 18kg (! what did she start with!). Think with all this pain and a few hard days will be feeling pleased to finish after all! Passed a cool rock shelf thing today, +++roos and went down to sheltered, beautiful bay near hut (Boat Harbour). Such a nice area!

The Bibbulmun: day fourty – Walpole -> Frankland River

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

Big brek this morning before leaving RL, of three eggs, 4 x bacon, field shroom, broccolini, spinach and 4 x toast. With butter. Good. Then bowl banana and strawbs with yoghurt for 2nd breakfast. Called Linton as I was leaving Walpole, had a less than pleasing chat. He hadn’t looked at any of my photos, even though I’d been excited about them and asked him to. So he looked them up while we were on the phone, and said ‘ who’s that random dude on the beach in the last picture? He looks alike a ken doll’. And I was like…It’s me. Then I was really offended and upset and even got a bit teary. (Can I blame it on hormones?). I’m really conflicted by this body image stuff. I understand it’s advertising and conditioning, and society’s fuckedupness, cognitively, but I still yearn to be a ‘pretty girl’ – straight teeth and nice hair and a well proportioned face. The older I get, instead of getting more comfortable with myself it seems like I’m becoming I’m less and less happy with my face shape – I just look jowly to me. Anyway, so I want to not care but I do care. I also want to do my thing without buying into the hype but I find myself conforming anyway. So frustrating.

I also realized that as well as wanting to break up with health, I have also kind of lost my love affair with science. I no longer believe science or its hype, especially related to health. So where does that leave me? When my whole last decade of life has been based on health science? I feel a bit lost and torn and almost like I’m grieving.

I want to be a different person in my relationships – more loving, forgiving, patient… How do you go about changing those parts of yourself, those ways of being? I feel like who I was is slowly draining out of me, all the things I thought I knew about myself are emptying, leaving a big hollow. But what will fill it? Being a creative? Energy healing? (nah just kidding). I want to also drain out those relationship aspects that I want to let go of. How to let them go? It feels uncomfortable, this shedding of a very familiar skin. I’m reluctant. I want things to stay the same. I could have made it in this industry, this niche. And now throw away everything I worked towards for a decade? For what? Something that I don’t even know yet? It’s not like I’m letting go of it to follow some other great passion.

How do I use this time of emptying and space to become the person I want to be? And will that be with or without Linton? What do you do with your life when you don’t want kids OR career?? Beautiful, beautiful walk today through Karri and tingle forrest. Those trees must have some wisdom – 400 years old. A lot of smoke in the air this arvo, hopefully from a prescribed burn. Feel very sore today and walked the 18.5km quite slowly. Started last and arrived last.

The Bibbulmun: day thirty nine – Walpole -> NOWHERE! Rest day :)

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

First rest day in so long. Since Balingup. It seriously feels like a holiday. A lot of that is also because I’m sitting in a cafe writing thoughtful things (long letters to Yael and Linton). Eating cake and drinking iced coffee (with cream AND icecream), there’s bird noise/panpipes playing and a water feature trickling and it’s SUNNY AND WARM! I seriously can’t get over the weather, it’s divine. The only downer is the smell of tar and the roar of trucks as they bitumise the road out front of the café…Other than that I could be in Bali. Had a big (2.5h!) talk with Linton this morning about all sorts, including us and me. And who I am. Became clearer that this idea of health as an overarching value/life direction is no longer the biggest thing for me. But as it has been such a big part of my self identity, now I don’t know who I am without it. I hate the world of health and wellbeing these days. I know there must be ways to do it, live it, that don’t get caught up in the hype and the fakeness, but I don’t see them. I feel disillusioned and want to distance myself from it. It’s become too mainstream? I need to be different? I thought health people were my people, but now they all piss me off so much. So then who am I? Without that? A wandering soul. Linton keeps telling me I seem lost, and I tend to agree.

I do feel like I’ve come to this sense of calm within myself, but it’s a contentedness with myself here, myself at my core outside of society. I don’t think it will last when I’m back in real life. Slash, it won’t be as relevant. Nor do I have any desire to be a wanderer forever. I don’t know why I have this sense that it wouldn’t work to do my own version of ‘health’ that fucks off all the hype….I don’t think I can quite articulate it, but it just doesn’t seem like it would work. It doesn’t appeal to me, anymore. I want to break up with health and wellness. But where does that leave me? Single in the world of life meaning/purpose. And yes, there’s plenty of life meanings to align myself with, but how do I pick one? How do I know which will last the distance? The last one didn’t. Maybe I’m destined to be forever single and purposeless. I’m afraid of commitment now, in case it doesn’t work out again. My secret crush is to be a creative, but honestly I think creativity is too good for me. I’m afraid to even flirt in fear of getting shut down and rejected. I did enjoy this single life, for a while – since I quit my job and just did book keeping, but now I’m getting that twang, the thought that it’d be nice to curl up on the couch with my life purpose and just, you know, hang out. Settle into that comfort of knowing I’ve got a life direction to come home to at night. The adventure stuff gets me a little bit excited, but again, I don’t know about the long term prospects. This short term fling of the Bibbulmun Track has been fun, but there’s a possibility that I wouldn’t have the stamina to keep up with a full time commitment to Adventure. I suppose it will become apparent in due time, the right meaning will fall into my lap and until then I’ll just keep going on dates with whatever comes up – adventure, aikido, wilderness, blogger…writer? Business person? (nah). Photography? Videography? Helping those less fortunate? Traveller? Yogi? Dancer? Movement person? It sounds like I’ve let go of the idea of mind/movement specialist….Interesting. No promises at this point. Grateful for the mental space of this rest day to ponder those things. And the phone call with Linton, challenging as it was, he does help push me to greater parts of myself. Even when I don’t want it.

The weather is tipped to change this weekend which is very sad. This sun and warmth is glorious (although hot to walk in, and snakey). I’m going to move down the street to the next café and have coffee and cake there, to ahem, compare the coffee. Research purposes.

The coffee at the second place wasn’t bad. Pity the server was too over-friendly/slightly offensive. Prefer the place with the unsmiling hostess. What is life? Four walk days then peaceful Bay, three walk days then Denmark, Four walk days then done. Eleven days to go. Of 50. Just crazy. How do you even go about making a judgement of how it is? Although I don’t want to get ahead of myself – I still have nearly two weeks. Feet are still hurting in new places so anything could happen: just look at Sonja! Peter emailed some of the crew this morning, she had a fractured tibia!! I do at least feel somewhat refreshed and rejuvenated by this zero, and feel ready to tackle the next few days. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow after carrying a heavy pack full of food with a broken hip belt. Can’t help myself but take these extra cliff bars of Peter and Sonja’s even though they’re heavy (because, food). Mum is coming to meet me at Conspicuous Beach to spend a night at Rame Head. It’s her birthday. I feel ok about it but also a little protective over my dwindling few days. Already getting anxious about space, even though, as I said, I still have almost two weeks. I’m also thinking I’ll stay at Denmark, which I was originally going to bypass, and not at Mum and Dad’s – would be too much of a sojourn to the other reality. Dad gets it. It seems silly to pay for accomm at Denners but I want to stay in the headspace. Especially if the rellies will be down – don’t want that kind of needing to be clean and polite and, I dunno, ‘normal’, ‘real life-y’. While I was sitting at Top Deck cafe today I did a really loud fart – I just forgot I was in the real world. Luckily no one was sitting near me. How does a person function in real life again??

The Bibbulmun: day thirty six – Mt Chance -> Woolbales

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

Highlight of day was meeting Dad for gas and lunch exchange. I exchanged my rubbish for lunch haha. He had Lara with him (Swiss chick who was backpacking and in Albany). Much talk by hut mates at Woolbales re: sandwich – ‘how was the sandwich?’ ‘bring any sandwiches back for us?’. Guess I went on about it a bit the day before.

Was/is a really weird thing to see the fam while on the track – it’s like this odd brush with another parallel universe, another reality. Where people are clean and cultured and not obsessed with food. And then there’s this odd tearing away when you leave, where you sort of want to turn back and just go home with them, to showers and beds and shoes, but you keep walking and soon enough that feeling fades and you’re back in the bush, at home.

Back to wading again, and deeper than yesterday – pretty much up to my knees. So much for the guy telling us it was only shin deep (half way up shins he said!). The first part of the day went really quick and easy, saw the karri trees I knew (from guide book) the road would be in to meet Dad and thought ‘the karri trees! That’s where the sandwich is! I mean, Dad. That’s where Dad is.’ After leaving Dad it dragged though, felt I’d been going for ages and FINALLY allowed myself to look at the clock and only been about 40 min. (This is after leaving the 16km mark). Crossed some deep sections mostly fine – a couple of dark ones you couldn’t see through which was a bit creepy, and a few with thick, slippery mud. There was this one that was so bad, slipping around, half losing my shoe, using heaps of energy to walk, slow going, would have fallen many times if not for sticks. Lining on inside of shoe has holes rubbed in it, through which sand and mud go, which builds up under my feet, squishing my toes. When I took my shoes off this arv (felt v grumpy when FINALLY got to hut,) I had about ½ cup dirt packed on top of my toes. With my holey socks and disgustingly dirty bandages, Lynn said I looked like a leper haha. Anyway, totally underestimated how the shoes would go wading. I thought light weight runners would be better, but in the mud they are shit house. Boots would have been better. Also really wish I had a pair of camp shoes as mine just wet and fucked, which leaves me going around camp in bare feet, which is cold, sometimes wet and dirty and maybe ouchy!

A wallaby growled at me today. Gave me a fright. I didn’t even know they growled. It was like a dog! Saw 2 hawks yesterday. Hoping for clouds to clear tonight so can head up to summit and get some pics. I feel v tired. Felt so great this morning having a sleep in! Up at 5am for toilet (bad cramps – poop or period? who knows?) then back to bed and dozed til 6, lay around for a bit, got sunrise hill pic, brekkie, sat around, strapped sonja’s knee, etc. Coffee! With found coffee bag someone left behind. Left at 8:30, perfect timing to arrive and meet Dad, stayed there about 1.5 h and still got into hut around 3pm. Should have long breaks more often! Ocean tomorrow. Today is 749km – ¾ of the way there. Far out. Only 250 to go, come on feet…right heel hurt in new place today. Arch joints sore when got to hut, hip aching right now, woke me last night. Want to finish! After crossing the (relatively) deep creeks coming into the hut, you think you’re done and then there’s one more long, boggy, swamp. You can see the hill in front of you that you know must be where the hut is, but have to get through this long deep quagmire…so demoralizing!

The Bibbulmun: day thirty four – Gardener -> Lake Maringup (closed) -> Dog Pool

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

Yesterday’s walk was beautiful, after a late start of around 12:45 thanks to Motel Woman. Wildflowers best yet. Not too hilly and nice soft sandy track. Arrived to no roof on hut (sigh) so put up tent – didn’t rain! Roof builder contractors there, very ‘like, how far youse been walking?’ and barbequing sausages on their portable gas stoves. I was hoping they might share but no luck.

Got up early to avoid rain (woke at 4:44) left around 6:10. Long long fucking day. The ‘temporary site’ to replace the flooded Lake Maringup was literally 2 jerry cans at the junction of the 4WD tracks. Glad I didn’t plan to camp there. 33km total. Also big debacle about which way to go at Chesapeake road junction – all for nothing in the end as Chesapeake road has moved since map was printed. Listened to some Harry and some Amy Poelher Yes Please audio book where she said writing a book was hard –and something about ‘it’s the doing of it’ that is the important part. Trying to remember that with the walking. Feel am just ‘getting through it’ again, hanging out for Walpole. Although enjoying bits today, my body is sore and I am tired and feel I could finish at this point feeling satisfied, if this were the end of the track. But it’s not. Still some 300km to go. So fucking far. The question WHY does come up, but is no longer relevant. Now it’s that I’ve started and want to finish. Don’t know why. Don’t know why it would feel so bad to stop early. I’m not even considering stopping as an option, even as I spend all day hanging out for when I can stop for a break, when I get to camp, when I get to town, when I’m done!

At Dog Pool now, it’s nice but still no shelter. I actually slept better last night in my tent, but like to have the shelter to lie around in. At least it’s not raining yet – only a few showers today, but thunderstorms tipped for tomorrow. Shelter at least tomorrow, if not a fire. Tonight is the last hut with a fire pit! Still 4 more nights until next town. At least tomorrow is only 19.5km. Had my first wading today – avoided first few big puddles but eventually accepted defeat and just went through it. Feet are white and peeling and all the pad of my foot part of the injinji socks I found are worn through. Dirt is ingrained in hands and feet, I’m sticky from dried sweat and can’t even be bothered to wash. Such is life.

The Bibbulmun: day thirty two – Warren -> Northcliffe (Shitcliffe)

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

OMG worst day so far. Started ok with yet another bad nights sleep – waking hot and sweaty, with nerve/pelvic pain. Self conscious of moving about on my sleeping mat for noise factor. But whatev. Still morning, nice @ lake/dam. Got up and ready so early, stoked to be going to town, just wanted to lay with feet up. Left before 6:30am, walk so flat and relatively clear compared to prev week. Big long flooded section between paddocks which I avoided by walking along barbed wire fence line. Some Harry for last hour or so, along hard gravel road. Got to town – no reception. WTF. Went to visitor centre (wifi!), collected box and asked about local accom, was told: motel (recently closed) now taken over by new people – don’t have number. Left pack in visitor centre to walk past motel and get number (on advice of visitor centre helper). Number not there. Went to eat and hope visitor centre lady could find number.

Ate (lol, worst soy latte I’ve had in a long time), saw Helle and Jerry. Back to visitor centre around 12-12:30. Motel available. Not sure on cost but prev around $90/night. Waited there til 2. Motel owner woman came over to get me to check me in. Check in – no wifi, no breakie included, no washing facilities – $160 for one night. GO FUCK YOURSELF. Too late now. 2:40pm. Fuck you, I’m going to eat lunch – went next door to cafe. Café closed at 2:30. Fuckkkk. Then I think, I saw shop next to café with gluten free bread – was open 9-4, can go there and make a sandwich – arrive to sign on door – on Wednesdays, closes at 2. Fucccckkkkk. Give up. Go back to motel room.

Open resupply box. Fuck. Have sent self box with 2 days of food not 6. (Thought it looked small). What will I eat in next section?? Will need to resupply at tiny mega expensive general store! No freeze dried items! Food will be so heavy!

Bought Telstra sim. (So upset! So isolated! Need to talk to a friend!). Taking ages to connect (usually 10 min, the operator tells me!). Waiting, waiting. Get coins from general store. Go to phone booth (haven’t used one in so many years – feeling desperate). Put in 50c, call Linton – goes to voicemail. Phone keeps my 50c. Another 50c and try calling Mum – goes to voicemail. One more 50c and try Linton again – he finally answered and then spent my $3.50 in about 3 minutes just crying and saying fuck this fuck that. Not the most comforting but better than nothing.

Nowhere in town open for dinner. Motel lady offered to give me microwave so I could eat a frozen microwave meal from the general store. They are only super super processed pasta and pizza – all gluteny and taste shit and I just want real food while I’m in town!! She then drove me to nearest pub around 2km away (I suppose that was nice of her. Grudging thanks). 2km long way to walk when trying to rest sore feet. Luckily Peter and Sonja were there and listened to my woes and bought and fed me red wine. Ate steak and chips. Asked at the bar if anyone lived in town and could drive me back. A man who seemed quite drunk drove me home after P and S gave me leftover food from their packs.

I had wanted to stay for rest day but now hate Shitcliffe too much so will go on. Now have so much food can hardly fit in bag. Over compensating for being hungry. Although when left Pemberton thought had heaps of food but ate most of it…think shorter and easier days at least some of this section (I hope). Also, reach the coast! And wading…will battle on. Not all about fun and laughs right?

The Bibbulmun: day seventeen – REST DAY! Collie

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

First rest day!! Got into Collie around 4:30pm yesterday, 36.9km/8 hours walking. Big day. Feet v v sore. Sore by 15km, let alone 37! Phoned Mum and Dad, Linton. Showered. Domino’s GF pizza, garlic bread, choc mousse. Finally not hungry for a little while…Today eating ’til I feel sick. More shower. Picked up food resupply box from hostel. Washed clothes (wandered around the hostel wearing literally only my raincoat while clothes in the wash and the dryer. Felt a little like a flasher. Luckily is a 3/4 length coat). Post Office (sent home some spare stuff, sent some choc and jerky onwards to my self at next town, picked up my heel lift that Dad posted here), podiatrist (got a last minute cancellation appt!) – she was most unimpressed with my shoes and orthotics. ‘Useless, simply useless’. She tried to suppress her anger at how ‘useless’ they were but I could hear her muttering around the corner of the partition in the room. I thought yesterday – although I feel no great passion for my life at home at the moment, nor do I feel great passion/any passion for anything really. Like, there’s no point to doing the Bibb, but also no point in not doing it.

Have been eating ALL the gluten. Farts very bad. Want very much to go back to gluten free. A whole iced apple log thing from bakery, sausage roll, croutons on caesar salad (anchovies! Too much mayo :/ ) chicken noodles in hut the other day, garlic bread…bleh. Mr Deer has hooked me up with a super cheap airmat that is insulated! V happy. $107. Cheaper than I paid for my (not insulated) one. He’s a good boy. Have bought wind screen reflector to go under my current mat to get me though ’til then. V tired. Sugar, food, people – tiring. Plain food, walking, bush – less so. Even though much increased exercise. Have sorted my food for next section. Much more, think I’ll have leftovers. Pack will be heavy though.

 

A dummy run and new biggest fear 3.0

So we went down to Wilsons Prom at the beginning of this week for two nights. To test my gear, to test my walking fitness, to get out of the city.

It didn’t go 100% according to plan.

We were a bit late getting out of the city, then missed a turn off, so arrived three and half hours later at the Visitor Centre to pick up our permit. The woman serving us told us we’d have to cross a river at the end of our first stretch, right before the first camp site. She checked high tide, and it was about 45 minutes before we would arrive at the crossing. Damn. The Boyf was not entirely pleased to hear about this – he hadn’t factored in a river crossing and wasnt sure about the idea. But, what are you going to do. We drove up to the car park and started out, then immediately set about doing the rain dance. The dance being, start off with your jumper and raincoat. Get too hot, stop and take off both jumper and raincoat and stash in pack. Five minutes later it starts to rain. Stop again and put raincoat back on. Five minutes later it stops raining and you’re hot. Stop again and take raincoat off. Repeat

We walked about 10km through the wildly different terrain of Wilson’s Prom – where it seems you can cover rocky mountain, deep rainforest and coastal scrub within just a few km – and popped out onto the beach just as the sun came out – perfect timing! We promptly got naked (the woman at the counter had said, no worries, you’re pretty much alone out there) and forded the wild river balancing our packs on our heads – the woman had warned us it would be up to chest deep, and it ended up being just below my bra line. And FUCKING COLD! After we got across and went the 50 meters to the campsite (Sealers Cove), we realised there was a bunch of about eight adolescent girls on some sort of school trip there. Oops – hope they weren’t watching our naked parade (full of shouted obscenities as well as full frontal genitalia). Oh well.

Fording the wild river
Fording the wild river (I was going to put the photo where you can see his butt…)

 

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tent before attack

We set up – yay, the tent works! Started cooking dinner – yay, the stove works! And rugged up – yay, the down jacket and beanie works! Within an hour or so, I looked up to see the tent shaking – something was on the attack! I ran over thinking – one of the kids?from the school group?! – but it turned out to be a muthafuckingpossum (different species to the cute, adorable possums you may have come across before). The muthafucka had clawed a few holes in my brand-new-custom-made-expensive-lightweight-precious tent!! That mother fucker! I chased him/her away, but s/he only went up a nearby tree and sat there waiting for the next chance to attack. Watching with cruel, calculating eyes. (S/he also came back during the night to have a go at another side of the tent. Fucker.)?

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Look at those eyes…

?

We took advantage of the clear night sky, playing with my camera and getting a couple of cool night shots. Bedded down quite early (8:30 pm?) and the Boyf went straight to sleep. (barstard). I stayed awake because although my sleeping baggie is super warm, my airmat does not have much in the way of insulation. So the ground was just leeching out all my heat. I tossed and turned for hours, eventually laying down both a ground sheet and my raincoat under my bed, finally nodding off with the drawstring of my baggie pulled tight around my face to make a little warm air cave for my head. I think it got down to about 6 degrees.

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stars and moon

Good weather in the morning and some cold soaked overnight brekkie. Boiled creek water for the day’s drinking. Got going at a reasonable time (8:15 am) and set about tackling 14km of mod-hard track. It was quite hard. Which is to be expected for a track rated mod-hard, but we hadn’t looked at the rating before we started, so it was, actually, not entirely expected. Scrambling across rock, walking through soft sand, climbing up steep slopes, only to go back down again. But good, great views. Stopped for lunch at another spot with only creek water to drink, which we couldn’t be bothered to boil because it took too long. So we walked on, the last 9km were pretty flat and easy.

 

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pooped. about 21km in to the second day.

Rocked into the second night’s camp, right near a bit stretch of sea – Oberon Bay. Yay, rainwater! We were the only ones there. It was amazingly still, with only a slight breeze. A bit of cloud, so not as cold as the previous night. Early dinner at 5:30, then we hobbled down to the beach to watch the last of the sunset. Well, the Boyf was fine, but I was hobbling by this stage due to sore feet and sore calf muscles. Another early bed. Read out loud from the Boyf’s Kindle to each other. Such quiet camping bliss. Sleep time. But then I started thinking of how isolated we were. And how, if they wanted to, this would be the perfect place for creepy dudes to hang out so they could prey on people. And it turned out this really is my biggest fear. In my declaration post, I listed the fear of being raped/murdered (I use the terms loosely to include all sorts of creepy man attack), but put it under the category of a fear of failure due to it occurring, and then dismissed it as something unrealistic. Turns out it doesn’t matter how unrealistic it is. Also turns out the fear of it happening is far greater than the fear of failure caused by it. Or really, the fear of the fear that would occur if it were to happen. Put me in an isolated place without other people around, and instead of feeling more safe (there’s no one else actually there!!) I feel incredibly unsafe. Even with the Boyf right there next to me. I have actually been avoiding considering what it might be like to be out in the bush in the dark with the noises and literally no one else around, for fear of, well, inciting fear. And I was right. There’s a lot of fear there. What’s to be done about that though? Not much. Oh well.(Ideas for how to not be scared alone in the dark are welcome!)

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Aaaaand then the wind picked up. I looked at my watch at 8:30, 10:30, 1:30, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30.All night it went (I looked at the weather after we got home and saw it got up to speeds of 50km an hour). It was like someone was physically shaking the tent with their hands. SO LOUD. Sometimes the walls were bending in so much they were phwapping me in the head or the feet (which were, admittedly, quite close to the edges of the tent. Being as it was, technically, a one man tent). I was also worried about more muthafuckas creating more tent damage, so I kept thinking the noise was them attacking. So was the Boyf – at one point my feet accidentally wandered over to his sleeping mat, bumping into his feet. He woke up, sat straight up and was like WHAT THE FUCK, FUCK OFF! Before realising it was me. Whoops, sorry.
By the time 6:30 arrived I was like, THANK FUCK, NOW WE CAN LEAVE! (Caps entirely necessary). We got up and realised that the wind had actually taken very fine sand from outside, blown it underneath the tarp/outer tent, up the walls of the mesh inner tent and forced it through the mesh, coating everything inside the tent with a fine dusting. Lovely.

We prepared brekkie and then went and sat down in the next campsite, a few meters away – which was about 100x more sheltered than where we’d set up camp. Lesson 1: set up your tent in the most sheltered looking spot. Bugger the view. Lesson 2: if it gets very windy early in the night, get up and move your fucking tent. It will be worth it.

All fear of scary men gone (until a brief stint when we walked through one particularly creepy wooded section on the way out) we packed up and made a move. Hiked an easy nine km out on a four wheel drive track, arriving back at the car about 9 am! Who knew you could achieve so much so early in the morning! It was still crazy windy, and the deliciousness of getting into the car where there was not a lick of wind was awesome. Went and ate hot chips and hash browns.

 

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Impressions of the trip were that Wilson’s is a really beautiful area, and I’d definitely like to hike more around there. Also I want a new stove as waiting 15 minutes for boiling water is too long. Much trouble walking once we got back to Melb due to extreme soreness of the calf muscles (all good now). Am left thinking – What the fuck have I gotten myself into?

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