It's been a bit of a roller-coaster ride since finishing the Great North Walk: fixing things that broke or didn't perform, getting food packed, finalising itinerary, etc, etc… which maybe good preparation for the Australian Alps Walking Trail—which looks very much like a roller-coaster
Organising the 7 weeks walking over the Trail, which only takes us through one town, has been a very full, and time intensive, experience… which started some time ago reading John Chapman's excellent book; which got converted into a spreadsheet. I do love my spreadsheet: it calculates everything from walking times to food required each day and food drop to printing shopping lists and food drop labels.
Once we got our Itinerary into the spreadsheet, we tweaked and tweaked and tweaked it into something close to finished using some great online resources: Bushwalk.com is a gold mine full of experienced users, and Karen Cody's AAWT Page is an almost essential addition to the printed notes. We integrated 90% of North-North-West's Unmissable Side Trips, which all built on the AAWT bible.
Shopping lists were printed and filled over several weeks: it was way too much for a single shop: ~80kg all up… and in the end it felt like we were spending every spare minute at the shops The Great North Walk packaging only took a day for the 15 day walk, we were a little worried how long this 45 day walk would take but chipped away at it each weekend doing a different food (Scroggin, Track Snacks, Meals, etc)
The Track Snacks were divided up into little packets of 25gm of carbohydrates each (which we consume at a rate of one / hour). We'd bought a nifty little plastic bag welder, which we thought we would use to create a vacuum sealed bags, but in the end it didn't quite work with the light weight freezer bags (which we were trying to replace all the clip-lock bags with–we've just about gone fully glad-less!), so it was just used to seal the freezer bags.
Flushed with the success with the Track Snacks, we went on to repackage all our Freeze Dried Meals (soups, main meals and deserts) as well! We saved a whopping 2.2kg without all that packaging! The other side of that coin was that each weekend our living room resembled a tip where the slightest breeze would produce tumble-weeds of wrapping rolling across the living room floor
We bought 10x20L pails for the food drops, which will be dropped off over the three days we're taking to drive down to Melbourne (for the start of the walk): this we did last weekend
Just 3 weeks to go…
So with less than 3 weeks to go, where are we up to?
- Each week we walk down and up the Furber Steps (about 250m up and down) a couple of times a week, and down and up and down and up on the weekend (both carrying full packs) — not exactly training, but hopefully enough to keep our legs in tune for the AAWT.
- Accommodation for the food drops and rubbish run is being finalised: had a major scare yesterday when one hotel we'd book for said that their local Council had closed them down because of fire regulation irregularities So we had to scramble to find another…
- This weekend we'll drop the first two food drops: 12 hours driving there and back
- Getting all the batteries refreshed using the wonderful Maha charger / analyzer
- …and trying not to worry too much and not to get too excited
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