The Bibbulmun: day fifty – Sandpatch -> ALBANY

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

Well, this was the final day. I didn’t actually write anything in my journal on this day. It was just done.

I got up early, (still windy!) packed up and headed off. It was another beautiful, sunny, clear morning. Beautiful walk up in the sand dunes for the first bit, then down to the harbour. Rang Mum and Dad as the fam wanted to come in and meet me at the end. They’d only just woken up so it was a mad rush for them to make it in!

I acutally got to experience a couple of little corners of Albany that I’d never walked through before, which was cool. The track showed me some new parts of the town I grew up in (around the old mills and at the bottom of Mt Melville). As I walked along Grey St I saw Dad and Liam drive past. I got to the bottom of Parade St and actually had to get the guidebook out! Of course I knew where the end was, I just wanted to make sure I walked the proper way there.

Rachel and Dad and Liam were all there when I got to the official end, and Mum and Grandma and Uncle Ross were just pulling up. It was actually a little overwhelming having such a big welcoming party! But fun. I had the usual sensation of being next to ‘normal’ people, and becoming aware of how dirty and sweaty and smelly I was. Which was completely normal in the bush. Every time you get to town you’re all of a sudden like, whoops, I’m feral.

I signed the last track register book, then we walked up to Gourmandise cafe and I had a (good!) soy latte and a croissant. Second breakfast. And then, back to reality.

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. 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.

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

The Bibbulmun: day fourty nine – Torbay -> Muttonbird -> Sandpatch

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

Well – it’s the final night. + Tomorrow is the final day. Slept v badly last night. Aching left hip. Got up around 11pm to take pain killers (panadol wasn’t cutting it, needed voltaren) and have a wee – saw that stars were so good I went back to hut for camera to do a little night photography! Still not that good at it. Saw a shooting star. Finally got back to (restless) sleep. Awake 4:30, got up. Left hut early thinking I’d walk to cosy then make a coffee. Got there around 6, to SUCH a beautiful morning – went for a dip instead! Couldn’t resist the early morning sea. Shower after to remove salt at the public toilet block there, the shower water was colder than sea (gave me a cold headache, instantly!). Mum arrived with a brewed coffee in a travel mug from Dad! Perfect. And Poet. She walked up to end of Perkins with us, then drove everyone’s packs and Alison around to Muttonbird.

Walk on beach was so cruisy without packs, and was a glorious morning. Light breeze, sunny, water unbelievable jewel/aqua colour. Many surfers @ Mutts. Reached top of stairs 5 min before Mum! She was bearing fresh apples. She ended up walking through to wind farm carpark from Mutts. Was nice, good chatting. 1 x tiger and 2 x legless lizards or baby pythons.

Around the wind farm, saw pod of dolphins moving along the coast the same speed as me. Fishing first, then surfing! So magic to watch them*. Long and dragging last 2.5 km to hut – very windy here. Got in around 1pm and did all the things. That feeling/dilemma of what to do first is still here! Every time I got into a hut it was this frantic feeling of like, should I unpack? Or eat? Or set up my stuff? Or take gaiters and shoes off? Or toilet? Etc.

Others weren’t far behind me (30-60min). Mum gave me some red wine in my water bottle so have become one of those people I mocked at the beginning of the walk, bringing in alcohol! Want to celebrate/commemorate my last night. Bibbulmun being name of Noongyar tribe known for walking long distances for ceremonial rituals. Must have my own ceremonial ritual for finishing.

Have sore throat – not sure whether dehydrated or actual sore? Have drunk heaps.

Not sure what to think for final day – just doing same as any other arvo- read red book, eat, Harry, write. Last night with hip discomfort and not being able to sleep, was ready to be done. Looking forward to real bed. Going to the gong tomorrow with the gang (March girls and Helle) and Mum and Rachel. Straight back into life.

Feet not too bad today but feeling left hip again. Plus now throat – ready for some comfort. Things I want to do when I get back: Facebook less – maybe only on a Friday? Potentially no social media at all…unsub from more newsletters/emails. Get out of city to proper nature every 1-2 months. Volunteer at horse place. Get some equine assisted therapy/learning at Torquay. Not get on laptop first thing ANY DAY. Not even for yoga/meditation. Too easily swayed. Somehow get more ocean time in.

So looking forward to giving my feet some loving: body, this has been hard and I’ve asked a lot of you; and you’ve carried me well. Thank you body. Very clear signals from body that need to stop – don’t feel could turn around and keep going! Hut mates over the whole trip spanned 18-78 – crazy. Didn’t matter as track important here, not age. Nice learning. Also think will let go of website and change to just be a blog, and not focused on mental health. Just at this instant, I want to be done. It’s blustering/windy and my mossie net/tent is flapping about and there’s no where to escape from the wind, my hips are so sore and I just had a hankering for a shower and comfy bed. It’s good, it helps decrease the sadness about finishing. Going to see now about red wine and cheese.

*see pics of them on instagram

The Bibbulmun: day fourty seven – Denmark -> West Cape Howe

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

Today was the conundrum day – to skip a part or to not skip a part? The track crosses over the Denmark inlet, so you either have to catch a ferry across (which is super expensive…I can’t remember exactly how much but like $80? $100?) or else get a lift around the inlet to the other side and meet the track there. If you catch a lift around, you can either get dropped off at the point where the ferry docks (thus doing the ‘whole’ track) or else skip a few km (6km maybe?) and start where the track hits the road and turns inland.

Lynne and I did the full today, but dropped our packs at the road junction, so had the first little part with no pack on. Was a dream walking without carrying anything. It’s so heavy with food and mouthwash (from dentist for my gum) and big gas (no little gas cans available to buy in town!) etc. Feet v sore (what else is new). Glad I did the full thing, was quite chill for 27km. 2 small snakes, 1 x bobby. Other Lyn also hutting with us now. Was a nice night last night – Helle and I went to pub for dinner, then came back and the March girls were drinking wine at the YHA. Had a cider @ pub then a glass of wine at YHA! MG’s were laughing – joking about going in the float tank at Mt Romance and them not letting us in as our feet would contaminate the tank haha. Googled it, tribal dreaming centre is closed 🙁 so no float tank for me! Gong still going though! Only 16.5km tomorrow – hope I sleep in. (unlikely). Had a good talk during the walk today with Lynne about relationships and career and stuff. She met her current husband (of 30+years) when she was married to someone else. Who knows what life will bring. Not much to report on really; track unremarkable except easy climbing – they mapped it along the contours well! And nice views over lowlands. Especially recognizing lowlands, really have a sense I’m in my homeland. Have done 5km of tomorrow’s section too, in the past – to Torbay! My local! Crazy times. Who knew I could last this long with feet this sore. Awoke before 4am again today – ready for bed now (it’s 5pm).

The Bibbulmun: day fourty six – William Bay -> Denmark

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

1st half of morning glorious. Left at 5:15am, sunrise, early light on beach, A SEAL just chilling on the beach, challenging but good walk up Mt Hallowell, good view from top. Then it was tricky going down the other side; skirting granite on broken pieces, guidebook confusion and not being sure I was on the right track, thinking I was further along than I was (such disappointment to realise you’ve overestimated how far you’ve walked); throbbing tooth (hard to eat anything), sore feet – right foot sore all of a sudden in new place and bruised on top for some reason – somehow stabbed myself with a stick maybe?

Then hit suburbia and too much gravel and bitumen and concrete for my liking.  Felt like a long time from getting to the edge of Denmark to getting into the centre of town. Got there around 11:30am, saw dentist (he fit me in on his lunch break thankyouthankyouthankyou) – luckily not a problem with my filling, but a minor infection of my gum. Hurt when he stuck the pickstick in but feeling better now! Lunch @ Ravens, grocery shopping, and trying to help Lynne change her flight – she was using my phone all arvo to try and get it sorted! So tired after all these 4am wakeups and 20+km days.

 

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 three – Rame Head -> Peaceful Bay

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

Bit of a restless night with achy bits and sharp pain in right toe/foot. Mozzie in the morning around my head. Slow start to morning, which was nice – was a beautiful cost/ridge walk into PB. Talked with mum about many things, some of which prompted tears. How can I think about making these life decisions if I don’t know who/where I am? Of course not happy in work/life/relationship if don’t know where sit in the world….anyway. Dunno. Tapped into some grief about some of that.

Got into town, we had a coffee and went back down to the beach, and I went for a swim (!) it was cold! Dad arrived, fish and chips, bought food for dinner. All good. You get fuck all for $60 a night, what a rip. What are ya gonna do though. Feel like a bitch. Why am I like this? So grumpy and hating on so many things? The story in my head is ‘there’s something wrong with me that I’m thinking/acting like this’.

Saw a family of seals near some rocks, beautiful. Weren’t doing much but were cute all the same. The March Girls are planning a short cut along the beach tomorrow morning, do I do it? My legit-meter is like, ‘ding ding ding’, but I’ve already done a surplus of km…would prob only be a diff of one or two. What if I missed something good though! But beach might be really nice…oh well. Not too much in terms of a dilemma. Two nights through to Denmark…meant to be three hard days, but kind of looking forward to it after these cruisy few days! Going to be finished so soon.

The Bibbulmun: day fourty one – Frankland River -> Giants

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

Happy birthday Mum! First time in years haven’t organized a present for her. Hopefully enough of a present that she is spending another night and day with me on the track tomorrow night. Today was so easy it felt like a holiday. Slept really well last night, 7-5:15, woke a couple of times but each time straight back to sleep and no getting up to pee! Walked with Helle and March girls (x2) all day, so slower than my usual pace – and only 15km! Reached tree top walk @ 1300, did it ($21, ergh) was pretty boring tbh. Short. No better than the free one at the zipline place in the Otways. Then the giant something walk, which was fine, but we’ve seen enough tingles during the Bib! Anyway, whatev, it passed the time. Terrible $3 push button machine coffee, black. Not as bad as 3(3.50?) instant @ Mumbellup Tav. V hungry again. Interested to know how much weight have lost. Don’t think it can be much, think look v similar in mirror. A rap-looking dude and two chicks just wandered past on a day walk – they asked ‘do you guys know where this track ends?’ and we look at each other…‘Um…Albany’ haha! ‘Shit, we’re turning around now then!’. Funny.

My competitiveness is coming out, as I anticipate seeing Mr Deer soon – can’t see him singling these days! Too easy! If Mum wasn’t meeting me would maybe double tomorrow just from boredom/something to do. In fact almost surely. Obvs regained strength in Walpole. Sigh, again, so frustrating to have someone else dependent and not free to change plans at will! What is the lesson here? Was thinking just today about wanting to practice being less independent. Don’t want to be resenting Mum before she arrives. She asked me more than once if it was still ok that she was planning to come, and I could’ve said I wanted to be alone. Hopefully it is a nice night. What’s one night, anyway. I was all afraid of being alone earlier in the piece, now I’m afraid of not enough alone time. At least not doubling tomoz means stretching it out one more night – now that I’m getting anxious about finishing! Crazy mind. Anxious to start, anxious about not finishing, anxious about finishing. Is it never happy/satisfied?

Light rain on the roof, we’re all sitting here reading/writing. All hoping no one else turns up. Darren last night was a ‘character’ – it felt odd to have someone else in ‘the group’. Spend a few days with the same people and you feel like you’ve always been travelling together. The trees around these parts have a story. Put your hand on them and you can feel it. So horrified by the quote in the Tree Top Walk discovery centre from an early settler saying how great it felt to take a sharp axe to the ancient karris and ‘rob them of their majesty’. What arseholes.

No clearer today about life purpose. Feel may not get clearer by end of trip. Or for long time perhaps. A bit afraid of going back to Melb and just falling into Melb life as per usual and then into pit of despair. What have I learned from being out here, doing this? That I can do hard things. That I am ok by myself. That there is always ebb and flow, change and movement. Nothing stays the same. Just keep moving. One step at a time. That I want to live in nature, and especially the sea. That I don’t want to get caught up in the biz. I don’t want that life. Right now I feel (again) like I want to leave it. Don’t want to strive for riches – see that I don’t need much. When you live in a society that has a lot, you want for a lot. When you live with less, you want less. (Sitting here in my mozzie free cave is so great. I can see them buzzing around and landing on the mesh. Fuck you, mother fuckers! You can’t get me!).

I don’t know. How do I know what I want to do? And I feel ashamed that the prospect of working in the business and eventually getting rich is a lure to me staying in the status quo in Melbourne – even though I just declared that I want to lie with less. Maybe I want to want to, but in reality I want to live in a beautiful house and have nice things and travel etc. Already I’m eyeing off other hikers’ down jackets and wanting to buy another (thicker) one. Even though this one has been perfectly adequate for this trip. Sigh. No answers.

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 eight – Long Point -> Mt Clare -> Walpole

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

Another day. Enjoyed most of it except the last about 2km on gravel bitumen road into Walpole. Left early (6:15) and got to Mount Clare around 9:30 – too early for lunch! Went up on a rock at the lookout area and managed to get reception – called the business I bought my pack from and they are express posting me a replacement hip belt, hurray!

Got into Walpole about 12:30. Saw the lady who gave me the apple in town! Haha. Nearly had an exploding poo moment on the way there – all the bush was too bushy to get into and dig a hole! Made it in time though. Phew. Came across a big roo in the middle of track, he just chilled. All the others who were going to stay at My Clare rocked up in town (I thought they might!) So I won’t be hiking alone out of Walpole. Sonja ended up helicoptered out of Woolbales  🙁  and sent to Bunbury hospital for assessment. Very sad. Peter left a note for us at the Visitor’s centre, they bequeathed their resupply boxes to us! Little bit excited – even though profiting from their bad fortune. Free food is free food, after all!

Have done washing, shower, food…Don’t know what to do with myself! Sitting around in the sun! It’s very mood boosting. More rain is coming but will enjoy sun while it lasts. Going out for dinner with current gang, which includes 3 March girls, Helle and Jerry. A motely crew.