Day 1 :: Kalamunda to Hewitt's Hill
And here we found ourselves on the day of our departure into the unknown. It seemed amazing that we could have devoted so much time in planning this thing and yet standing on the threshold we had no idea what would really be install for us: if the planning was up to scratch, if our gear would work out... if we were actually up for the 2-month walk!
Anyway, today's plan was pretty simple:
- Get up and breakfast
- Return rental car
- Public transport to Kalamunda (2 buses)
- Start walk
We were starting the walk tired and run-down: I had a bad cold and we both were not sleeping very well. We were too short with each other too often: I think we just had too much in our heads too much of the time! Why we were starting a 1,000km walk in that condition I'm not really sure?
Terrible sleep, cramp in right calf woke me and had a shocking headache, SMS came in but I was too chicken to look at it until the morning. Big rush this morning and quite tense. Got the car back with no dramas thankfully and a quick walk to Busstop1, the bus was late but another quick walk to Busstop2 and a concern we might have missed it... but then along it rumbled driven by a jolly log who discerned we were off to the Bibbulmun Track and said he'd done some in the weekend: all very pleasant.
Arrived Kalamunda no problems, shopped then lost our way a bit and things were tense again; then morning tea at a really great little cafe (The Merchant Tea & Coffee), which had some very wholesome muffins and slices and bickies, and we were able to pack our scroggin whilst there.
When we were weighing out the scroggin back in Perth we were too inaccurate and we ran out for the last section (which was the first, so we decided to buy some at Kalamunda and take it with us). After buying something suitable in Coles, we had morning tea and packed our scroggin in a nice cafe; then headed to the trackhead, where I sorted out my bits and pieces and Sandi bought some lunch to take with us.
I'm not sure how they developed, but develop they did: a hundred little projects to keep track of as we wandered along (I'm sure it just about drove Sandi spare, but she's very patient with me)...
- It all started with planning out the walk: I used the Foundation's Distance Tables with distance/time walking data that I had from previous walks to work out our ability to do the days. Then, of course, I was interested to know how accurate those calculations were: so we had the track log to fill out as we walked along. This data shows up in the Distance / Time / Hours / Speed table at the end of the post.
- Having a GPS and ready data to the days statistics I of course recorded each day as we got to camp. This is the data that appears at the top of the post.
- And we had our SPOT Messenger that we'd told people that we'd be sending each break: and of course I wanted to know how many failed.
- And then we started scoring our Cup-a-Soups and Back Country Meals and eventually we ended up scoring just about everything:
- Cup-a-Soup & Back Country dehydrated meals (sometimes our hut-mates humoured us and joined our scoring :) ); this data appears toward the end of the post (around dinner time).
- Cafes we visited along the track; this data appears at the appropriate position in the post.
- Caravan Parks we stayed in along the track; this data appears at the end of the appropriate post.
- We took portrait photographs each morning and evening for our time-lapse of the track.
- And of course I wanted to take lots of documentary photos of the track that would work well in the blog with the track log.
- We Recorded all our Solar Panel charging and battery use, which will appear in the Voltaic FUSE Review.
Public toilets for water and 3 other patrons all with Bibbulmun Track stories and encouragement! Then to trackhead and while P sorted SPOT and GPS I sourced some lunch from Subway (in the end).
And then, after a couple of photos to mark the start and the first two portraits for our time-lapse, we stepped onto the Track proper: 20 minutes after we'd planned. And the 8 week journey begins...
Day 1 Google Earth Track
Kalamunda Hewitt's Hill
|Length||10.84 km||Day Length||3:22|
|Ascend||465 m||Descend||550 m|
It is a relief to finally get on to the track after 6 months planning, 4 weeks training and 3 terribly intense days of preparation. Maybe too intense and pressured? We were certainly too short with one another too often -- for lots of reasons -- but we can leave that all behind now and get into the "one foot after another" rhythm.
11:03am and off we went through the rather mixed initial part and finally onto track proper. Well, the flowers, simply gorgeous and we've 'oohed' and 'ahhed' and photographed along the way with great enjoyment.
I guess it's a problem with every bushwalk that starts or goes through an urban area, that the track and bush are more weedy and the track gets more used and therefore worn. The Bibbulmun is no different, but the powers that be have obviously taken a lot of time and money trying to ensure that the damage is minimal. The Bibbulmun wove its way past some private properties, one a camel property, before it started to feel like you are actually leaving the suburbs behind; but it was days before we really felt that we were away on the Bibbulmun (actually it was lying on Abyssinia Rock on Day 5 having morning tea that presented that sublime moment).
We ate our Subway rolls on a log beside the track, where two older woman passed us on their way back to Kalamunda to finish their day walk. They enquired about our FUSE Solar Charger that Sandi has on her pack. If I'd received a commission for every enquiry over the walk I'd be a rich man :) Of all our equipment it was the one that generated the most discussions (probably had an unfair advantage as it was the most obvious: sitting on top of Sandi's pack).
Get to hut in great time, though still pleased to get here. Toe gave it's normal annoyance. Spotted a pre-inserted tick wanderings up P's leg, so that was dealt with.
Tent up and teas made. Another older chap has come in about 4pm, just going to North Bannister. So thankful to have started and the weather is gorgeous. Thanks be to God.
One older fellow has just walked in, but we've put up our tent anyway: a little way up the hill. It is so quiet. Today's walk was all I hoped -- a good stretch for our poor muscles that spent 5 hours on the plane, 6 in the car to Albany and 12 delivering parcels on the way back. I couldn't believe that my feet were sore after the driving!!
The "older fellow" turned out to be Alec, who we hutted with until just before North Bannister where his double hutting and our double hutting lost synchronisation.
Today is the first of everything:
- First time organising our track log & diary
- Packing and unpacking
- First time camping in the tent
- First time camping with our sleeping bags
We'd not really spent a lot of time planning exactly what soup and what dehydrated meal went into each food parcel, so each night was a bit of a lottery: in fact, I'd get Sandi to lucky-dip the soup and I'd pick an appropriate meal to go with it :) The following table lists our rankings for the soup and meal, with an average for the day and an average for that type over the whole walk. It seems, from brief checking, that we ranked the soups and meals higher the further we got onto the walk: made me wonder if we got progressively hungrier? The whole walk can be viewed here: Cup-a-Soup Ratings & Back Country Ratings.
|Meal||Beef & Pasta Hotpot||3.5||3.5||3.5||3.8|
And so all things finished for the day, we retired to the tent extremely satisfied with the day. The following table is taken from the Track Log that we filled out along the way that was based on the Guidebook's Distance Tables. I've shown distance, time, hours and speed for each point, daily and total to date.
|Asher Road||9.1||9.1||9.1||1:57 PM||2:54||2:54||2.9||3.1||3.1||3.1|
|Hewett's Hill Campsite||1.7||10.8||10.8||2:22 PM||11:03 AM||0:25||3:19||3.3||4.2||3.3||3.3|
Created by • Last edit by on November 20th, 2018
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