Back from our final training
We are back from our eight
day hike from Kosciuszko to Mt Hotham and are pretty tired. The hike turned
out to be an epic, and although it was tough while we were in the midst of it
all, it was good physical and mental training for the rigors of climbing Mt
We wanted a hike that would
push us a bit, so in planning the route Fiona increased the distances that we
would walk in a day. We usually find that we walk faster than expected, so she
increased the distances significantly compared with our normal amount. What we
didn't take into account in the planning was that much of the route of the
Australian Alps Walking Track between Kosciuszko and Mt Hotham is through
untracked bush, and consequently the going is much slower. Partly this is due
to the extra time spent navigating (we don't have a GPS), but mainly because
of the need to constantly battle your way through the dense scrubby
undergrowth that has sprung up since the 2003 bushfires.
For four days in a row we
woke up at 5:30am, were walking by 6am and at 10:30pm at night we were still
walking! To save weight, we had only bought one torch with us, so this
certainly didn't help things (not the smartest decision in hindsight!).
Normally we would cut back a bit on food to save some load in our packs, but
we didn't want to skimp on meals this trip as we are conscious of maintaining
our bodyweight so that we have plenty of energy stores before we get to Nepal.
From past experience we have lost a lot of weight on climbing trips, and
Everest promises to be harder and longer than any others.
The first six days were
really hard going, but the last two were relatively much easier, allowing us a
bit of time to recover. Our friends Chris and Bridget met us on the last day
and it was great to have some company. Much of the walk was very remote and in
fact we didn't see a single other person for the first five days. On day six
we were quite excited because we decided to make a detour so that we would
pass through a small town marked on our map (Glen Valley) and could get some
more food. The long days had made us really hungry and with the heat we were
particularly looking forward to an ice cold drink. About three hours of
walking through untracked bush later, we emerged at a small cemetery on the
outskirts of the town, and rested there for a while. Some tourists were
visiting the cemetery and came over and talked to us, as they were curious as
to what we were up to - just appearing from nowhere! We explained and asked
them if they had been through the town and if there were any shops. They said
that they hadn't got to the town yet, so didn't know. They drove off, but
about five minutes later came back with some terrible news - apart from a
couple of houses, the town was almost non-existent. They then proceeded to the
back of their car and gave us a couple of cold drinks from their ice box,
saying that they knew how disappointed we would have been! Needless to say we
were extremely grateful.
On the hike we saw a black
snake right in front of us. When we saw it we froze and it froze, allowing us
to get a picture! We also saw a small green grass snake on another day -
strange as we have never seen snakes before on other hikes. We also saw lots
and lots of brumbies, however they would always hear us before we got too
close and would run away, so we never got a good photo of them. We couldn't
work out why they seem so timid when they seem to have no predators and are
interested to hear from anyone who knows why?
We finished the walk at Mt
Hotham yesterday and are happy to have done about two thirds of the Australian
Alps Walking Track - will have to finish off the rest later, but definitely at
a much more relaxed pace.
More gear has arrived while
we were away - crampons, vacuum flasks, a head torch, thermals and socks. We
have had our last vaccinations today and have been researching the medication
we will take with us - more on that later.
Gu Sports, the makers of Gu
carbohydrate gels and energy drinks have agreed to sponsor us and provide us
with energy gels and powered sports drinks. For those who aren't familiar with
Gu Sports Gels, they contain both simple and complex carbohydrates in an easy
to digest form, giving you a quick burst of energy when you want it, and also
slow release energy to sustain you for the next period (about an hour). Thanks
guys, we will need it!
Til next time, Paul.
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