The invite sounded great ‘come trecking on the bibbulum track’
‘Where are we going exactly, how long for?’
“3 days, 2 nights rest assured it’ll be fun!” my companion encouraged. Hell then, why not! Always up for a bit of an adventure… how hard can it be, trecking a few kms (16) in the beautiful karri forrest near Pemberton encased by nature in all its glory?
There were a few questions I hadn’t thought of asking, like, how fit do you really need to be, what happens if your feet blister? And does the backpack get heavy after a few km’s… ? My well travelled Bibbulum track girlfriend reassured me all would be fine. ‘I’ve taken lots of newbies out there – lots!’ she grinned.
And so, in the early hours of Sunday morn, we took off to Northcliffe one hour drive from Bridgetown and entered “the track.” There were 5 of us, 3 novices,( 2 of those under 30) …. My friend and her walking mate have completed the track ‘end to end’ which takes around 50 days. Yep. 50 days. Walking with a pack laden with your food, sleeping gear, tent, water…… are you getting the picture? It’s a massive undertaking, one that I have a whole new respect for. Throw in the variable weather in the south west – you really must love hiking to complete an ‘end to end; 1,000 kms all up!
A couple of considerations that need to be taken seriously before embarking on an ‘easy’ hike for a couple of nights. 1: the pack. Sturdy yet lightweight. FOOD: enough for 2 nights/3 days including snacks and water! 2. CLothes: virtually what your wearing plus thermals for night time. 3: Sleeping bag, mosquito net, air mattress, pillow of some description, toiletries, a torch. My pack weighed 12 kgs.
4: shoes. Ideally, worn in hiking boots that offer your feet support. I wore gym shoes that I forgot rub my feet in various places and offer little support on uneven ground. I totally overlooked the impact this would have with the added pressure of a 12 kilo back pack.
The first few kms were ok. About 5 kms in I needed to get a dressing for a hot spot on my big toe. It was getting really sore. I tried to focus on the surrounding bush, bearing in mind not to take my mind away from where I was walking. Some of the ground was pretty uneven, there was the odd hill and occasional log which you had to climb over. I sure didn’t want to roll an ankle out there. My friends hubby broke his a couple of years ago walking the track, poor guy.
My well laid hiking plans came to a crashing disappointment when 12 kms in, half my toes were burning, starting to blister and I still had 4 kms to go. Suddenly I wasn’t focused on the beauty of the bush any longer, nor the solitude … My friend put bandaid guaze over my hotspots which offered a little relief but my ankles were also getting pretty sore by this stage hence the last few kms were challenging. I was pretty relieved to finally see this shack – ahhh seats!
After a couple of boiled eggs and a packet of crackers I hobbled down to enjoy a swim in the refreshing lake. The shack was open aired and well laid out, a toilet located up around the corner and a water tank to refill our bottles. My feet and legs were not in any fit state to continue on and I made an executive decision to get a lift back to town. It certainly was an experience and one which I realise the importance of wearing the right shoes. Also, carrying a 12 kg back pack gets heavy when your not used to it after a few hours….So for this lil black duck, I think I’ll stick to day hikes from now on…..