After 7 months of planning (which has finally exhausted me), we're about to see how successful that planning has been (scary... ).
The planning is not to be under-estimated: 784km over 45 days and only walking through one town (Thredbo, actually walking off the track to catch the chair lift down): Each one of these planning items is non-trivial on its own–
- Organising the Route: John Chapman's Book and Karen Hardy's tracks made this easy. Fairly late in the process I discovered a great selection of Unmissable Side-Trips, which I just had to merge in…
- Formulating an Itinerary that fits with the restrictions imposed by resupply by Food Drops and our walking abilities.
- Designing a menu that supplies enough energy and variety for 45 days in the wilderness: we based our new and updated menu on Brenda Braaten's Pack Light, Eat Right, which strongly and convincingly advocated for increasing our fat intake.
- Re-Working our gear so that it's more appropriate for the Alpine Walk: lighter and warmer alternatives. These were tested on the Great North Walk, to somewhat mixed results. The Great North Walk also provided a great means to measure things like:
- Toilet paper
- Hand Sanitiser
- Checking our gas usage calculations were correct – gas usage did change with our new Titanium JetBoil
- Then putting it all together:
- Which wouldn't be possible without the amazing help and service of our favourite shops / products / people:
- Camp, Hike and Climb: Our local shop we travel a long way to get to
- Voltaic Systems: Great solar products and unbelievable service.
- Maha Energy: Simply great products and personalised service.
- SteriPen: Complete peace of mind.
- PacerPoles: Evolution to quadrupeds–and not looking back!
- Aarn Packs and WaterWizards: The most natural hiking experience!
… and in between all of that each week for the 2 months since finishing the Great North Walk we've hauled 22kg down and up the Furber Steps 2-3 times a week and a double or triple the weekends... and we're so over the Furber Steps now!! ...but that doesn't stop the walk being awesome:
Food Drops & Rubbish Run
We've got 3 days before we start the walk delivering the rest of our food drops, and 3 days after we pick up our car from Nat & Mon's picking up our rubbish (we'll put our rubbish and the things we don't need back into the buckets, reseal them and re-hide them).
Our trip down to Melbourne will cover nearly 2,000km over the 3 days (we'll be stopping overnight at Omeo and Bright). What a rush… then we'll have 45 relaxed days in the wilderness…
If everything goes to plan, when we walk off the track we'll have a night in Canberra before catching the bus and train back down to Melbourne to pick up our car for the rubbish run, which will be 1,700km over the 3 days back home—stopping at Mt Beauty and Jindabyne overnight (hopefully not inducing too much culture shock).
Our SPOT, as well as being our emergency insurance, will be sending regular pings of our location; the last 7 days of which can be seen on our Shared Map. Facebook and Twitter will also have a copy (if you're into that sort of thing).
Communication over the Walk
As usual, we'll be taking Sandi's old flip-phone as our bushwalking phone; though we're very uncertain how much reception we'll get – and we'll only be turning it on maybe once a day?
If you did want to contact us (and you have the number – it's not actually public ), the best idea is to send a SMS (we do enjoy getting 140 character messages ): Please do not call, as we'll be trying to save as much battery as possible (so if the phone's on, we'll probably not answer it).
You can email us, but we won't get them until after the walk (the flip phone is not set up for email – and it is a wilderness walk after all )
What to do if you're worried about us…
If that doesn't work... just stop!
If that doesn't work... you can contact either Jesse and Briony, Keren and Danni or Nat and Moni: they should be across anything that may be happening.
If that doesn't work... and maybe even if it does, you can pray: we're expecting Jesus to be walking with us, so He won't have far to go to check up on us
On that note, we'd like to say how much we're looking forward to the walk: it won't be an easy walk and is quite likely to take us to the edge of our endurance many times (may be many times a day) — but it's the monastic-like experience of being alone for many days and having a very simple day each day, that we love: and is what entices us – get up – eat and pack up camp – walk – set up camp and eat – sleep — repeat — repeat — repeat… etc.
And that's about it… just a few more sleeps to go! Take care, God bless, we'll catch you when we get back God willing:
Perry & Sandi
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