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Bibbulmun Track 2011 :: Wrap-Up
This walk took a lot of planning... I'm not sure how long it takes other folks, but all up we were planning and training for about six months prior to starting the walk. This included trialing our gear on shorter walks (Mittagong to Katoomba) and training closer to departure time (Week -4, Week -3, Week -2 & Week -1); not to mention the huge spreadsheet I developed to manage every aspect of the walk from the Itinerary through to the parcel labels for the food drops.
And now, at time of writing, it's 8 months since finishing the walk, 10 months after starting the walk and an amazing 16 months since starting the planning. As indicated in Our Walk in Numbers we recorded 44,416 words and 9,621 photographs on the track: these have been turned into 58 Blog Posts with 99,500 words and 4,359 photographs (no wonder it's taken 8 months).
Financial Cost of the Walk
It was our biggest single holiday ever, and knowing that, we'd decided that we were not going to skimp on expenses or even worry about them until it was all over. So it was very interesting to do the final accounting. This does not include equipment purchases, non of which were done purely for this walk though.
|Transport to/from Track||$1,093.00||3||$364.33|
|Delivery of Food Drops||$575.78||2||$287.89|
|Walking the Track||$2,663.61||54||$49.33|
|Holiday / Entertainment / Post-Walk||$890.24||6||$148.37|
$25 / person for the duration of the walk is pretty good I think; though, at least, I need to add the transport costs in to give a realistic minimal cost of doing the track at $3,756 or $69.57 / day, which is $34.78 / person.
Our Walk in Numbers
I love numbers, and the spreadsheet has not troubles totalling up all sorts of numbers The following just refers to one of us, generally Perry...
|35||kg food eaten|
|316||hours of walking|
|1,021||kilometres of track|
|49,036||metres skipped down|
|49,407||metres trudged up|
|90,919||GPS points recorded|
I had heaps of little, and not so little, projects on the go during the walk: probably drove Sandi spare, but she coped most of the time
- I decided well before the walk that I was not going to worry about how many photographs I took on the walk, that if I saw something that framed itself up nicely I'd take it and worry about if it was a nice photograph later. I ended up 9,621 overall – 9,106 of which were taken actually on the track. 8,615 photos were good enough to be publishable, and at the time of writing (I've just done the minimum to do the blog posts) 50%, or 4,359 photographs, have been published.
- Flora: Kalamunda – Donnelly River
- Flora: Donnelly River – Albany
- Orchids of the Bibbulmun Track
- Trees of the Bibbulmun Track
- Stumps of the Bibbulmun Track
- Fungi of the Bibbulmun Track
- Photographs of the Bibbulmun Track developed quickly after starting the walk: I'd take a close up photo of the track as the track changed its nature. The surface of the Bibbulmun Track changed from pea gravel to sand to sea water to sand dune to inundation to concrete and paving stones.
- Panoramas of the Bibbulmun Track were taken using the SONY using sweeping panoramas, which detail the changing environment over the 1,000km, others were stitched together using AutoPano.
- Fauna of the Bibbulmun Track details what we did see (which didn't seem much): We were amazed at the lack of fauna we found.
- Photographs from Week 1
- Photographs from Week 2
- Photographs from Week 3
- Photographs from Week 4
- Photographs from Week 5
- Photographs from Week 6
- Photographs from Week 7
- Photographs from Week 8
- 54 Day Timelapse
- Over the 54 days of our trek, we took a portrait photo each morning before setting off on the day's walk and then each afternoon when we'd reached camp -- often capturing the morning's optimism and then the afternoon's pain of the journey on our faces.
- I plan to produce various photo-mosaics with the photographs. See The Bibbulmun Track :: The Mowbray Version for further details.
- Track Log
- The Bibbulmun Guidebook has a distance table that I used to make sure we'd be able to walk the intended itinerary. The itinerary predicted when we'd pass each point, and when we did pass each point I jotted down the time. Bibbulmun 2011 Distance Table.
- GPS Tracks
- Our GPS unit not only is great for getting us back on track and GeoTagging our photographs, it also allows uploading the tracks for others' benefit. I had some difficulty getting GPS tracks for the Bibbulmun (as the Foundation does not publish them), finally finding Bibbulmun Track & GPS (which is a great site, who I've sent my tracks to for inclusion into his published tracks).
- I also publish our GPS Tracks as Google Earth files which are available at The Bibbulmun Track :: The Mowbray Version
- Once we started rating things (The soup and the back country meals were first), we started rating everything! Cafes, Camping Grounds, store bought bread (for hiking).
- Back Country Ratings
- Cup-a-Soup Ratings
- Much to the amusement of our fellow walkers we'd rate the evening's Cup-a-Soup and Back Country meals. These were chosen, generally at random, using a lucky dip method. We were very happy with the Back Country meals, which worked out as a very easy meal at the end of the day. The cup-a-soups that we were able to source were not as nice as what we were used to in New South Wales.
- Bibbulmun Cafe Ratings
- The track towns were a highlight (mostly) on the walk, one reason was the ability to sit in a cafe and have someone else cook you something (that wasn't dehydrated first). Our experience showed there is quite a difference between the cafes we tried.
- Bibbulmun Track Camping Ground Ratings
- All the camping grounds we stayed at whilst on the walk also kept our food drop, which we'd delivered before the walk (for which we are very thankful): but they were all very different.
- Bread Ratings
- Another thing we had to do in each town was to purchase something to put lunch on, as we needed it to keep its freshness over the 2 month walk. We had to get creative in a couple of towns, and the overall ratings surprised us!
- I wanted to record, in reviews, our experiences with our gear:
- SPOT2 Messenger – Review: 54-Day On Track Review :: SPOT2 GPS Messenger
- Garmain Oregon 300 – Review: Not done yet
- SONY HX9V Travel Camera – Review: Not done yet
- Voltaic FUSE Solar Charger – Review: 54-Day On Track Review :: Voltaic FUSE Solar Charger
- Keen Newport Sandals – Review: Not done yet
- ThermaRest NeoAir Trekker – Review: Not done yet
- Monte-Belle Dow Hugger – Review: Not done yet
- Mountain Hardware SkyLedge 2.1 – Review: Not done yet
- JetBoil Personal Cooking System – Review: Not done yet
- The Guide to the Bibbulmun Track – Review: Not done yet
Things that didn't work
- Didn't take food parcel list
- The saving of one piece of paper's weight meant we didn't know when the next gas was due, for example, and created needless nerves, which lead to buying and carrying a spare, unused, gas cylinder... the whole track (which is much heavier than a piece of paper).
- Tea Calculation
- Was way over what was required, needs to be definites (breakfast + dinner, plus % of optionals (lunch and pm tea))
- Hot Chocolates and Coffee Calculation wrong
- Had both hot chocolate & coffee for Sandi, not either. Plus, the usage changed over walk -- I started having hot chocolate for supper.
- Muesli Bars
- Too much reliance on muesli bars. Prefer something more savoury.
- Weight Loss
- Sandi says I lost too much weight. I ended up 74.3 clothed, though I did try to eat more late in the walk → more kilojoules and better food? Beef jerky? Beef tea? I think my weight loss was minimal in the Southern Half, probably because the towns are closer together and we really ate well when in town!
- Mountain Design rain jackets
- Did the opposite: See Day 13, which meant we purchased ponchos at Collie and basically used our 'wet weather' jackets for warmth only. Not replaced by Mountain Designs because they were so old – but they did give us a 50% voucher on something else.
- Black Diamond head light
- The programmes failed, then can't turn on. Replaced by Mountain Designs.
- Sandi's socks
- Holed in one week each (the new ones from Collie were OK for the rest of the walk). Replaced by Mountain Designs.
- Grinding noise, focus on blue or pink dodgy or non-existent when small, zoom can be slow then fast and finicky
- FUSE Solar Charger
- When cloudy / hazy / canopy in second half.
- Needs 3 sets of batteries for GPS & camera → more than planned (luckily had SteriPen batteries).
- 12 volt charging when walking.
- didn't need it, although nearly caught out between huts when we forgot to fill up with track water
- Calculation for lollies
- was too many -- should be based on difficulty
- Difficulty rating
- not very accurate (length and time). Maybe include ascent / descent?
- Missed a haki-sak
- good wind down exercise? Maybe get / make light weight one?
- Wet weather pants
- Can't put the Mountain Designs pants on over boots.
- My Track pants
- Can't put on over boots.
- Shopping bags
- Not best for some items in pack (pack zippers kill them).
- Clip-Lock bags
- Not good for keeping smells in or out (eg: laundry powder taste in muesli).
- Gas Calculation
- Didn't include gas for hot washes.
- Clothes pegs
- Were too small and broke easily.
- Cloth loops may be better for pack hanging too.
Things that did work out
These notes don't substitute for a full review of our experiences, but it's what I jotted down directly after the walk.
- Planning and food parcels
- I don't think I need to elaborate here: everything was just about perfect – maybe a little over done?
- Very much a light-weight home away from home.
- Only used all pegs in Peaceful Bay (storm)
- Need to be able to attach together. [Thermorest do sell a strap that'll do this]
- Sleeping bags
- 'stretchable' gives lots of room (at least until tent wall is reached).
- Great and easy shooting in most cases [% OK?]
- HDR backlight is a great function I use often
- Panorama (4 ways)
- Battery use (2 days @ 150 photos / day)
- Gives accurate ability to follow track-notes and tell Sandi where we're up to, how long to go, etc.
- Geo-locate photos (better battery use of camera)
- 2 days per battery set.
- Would be good to have part statistics and savable with waypoint [What I meant by this was the ability to break a track into sections with section statistics as well as the whole day statistics.]
- Didn't change batteries
- Success rate? [Was 96%]
- Lots of interest
- People followed trail on site
- Best track notes we've ever used
- Although there are glaring mistakes in some odometer readings and DTP
- Just made it!
- Could feel every non-conformity through the soul by the end. See: Sandi's boots.
- Laces just survived.
- Only just OK == very sweaty
- But good enough to encourage further investigation: See Essentials for the perfect poncho
- Good in drizzle
- strap (chin) = effective and comfort
- Bushwalking Shirts and shorts
- light, quick dry, strong.
- Mountain Hardware shirt has great ventilation == noticeable difference in sweat smell
- Calculation for staminade
- based on difficulty of the walk (calculated on distance and time).
- Fruit leather
- real serves of fruit.
- Blister treatment and prevention for Sandi.
- Comfeel (equivalent) and hyperfix worked a treat. Sandi even managed to treat anyone else who complained about blisters See Blister Treatment
- just made it with heal strap. See: Sandi's boots.
- P's socks
- Comfortable and warm.
- A little hard to dry.
- OK when wet.
- Clip-Lock bags
- Great for lots of little things
- Though life can be a little short on some, got a few failures in last weeks.
- No entertainment
- Meant we focused on the day and track and experience.
- Waterproof liners
- Thankfully not tested with immersion.
- Bottom section of P's pack not protected, therefore pack with waterproof stuff.
- Loop on tea towel
- For hanging on pack buckle for drying.
- Sea to Summit garbage bag
- No smell, no leaks.
- Perfect to hang on outside of the pack.
- Gas calculation
- I'd used our usage rates on our previous walks and applied that to our intended menu: More than enough!
- Venetian Cord
- Great clothes line and OK for hanging packs if necessary.
- NZ Dog whistles
- Not used often though.
Essentials for the perfect poncho
- Fitted to pack
- tied onto pack when not in use
- easy to untie and put on
- Waterproof and breathable
- Sleeves with velcro
- allows fixing above elbow
- Hood with adjustments
- to pull tight in wind or loose in humidity
- Length over gaiters
- Good air-flow through
- Ability to tighten in wind / bushes and loosen otherwise
- or easy use of clothes pockets and pack pockets
- slits or covered (velcroed) folds
- Wearable with hat over
- saves holding
Got a big tight blister on left second toe at end. Lanced blister and gently grained serous fluid then applied comfeel (equivalent) and hyperfix over it to keep it in-situ. Left it there and just reinforced hypafix to keep it all in place.
Showered with it on at night, then put on camp socks to protect it and assist it to dry. Likewise, if it got wet in boots.
Only removed it when after a day with wading it was very "swollen" (the dressing not the toe) and very dirty looking. Found it healed inside blister and baggy old skin of blister hanging there.
Let it all dry in camp socks with no dressing and haven't needed anything except hypafix, just as a precaution for 1 day.
Seems fine: old skin dried and shrivelled, haven't tried to debride that at all, think it gives some protection.
Heels with some "hot spots" but no blisters evident unless they're really deep; have put 2 layers hypafix and just jeft it on until it's falling off or so disgustingly dirty that I'm shamed into changing it.
Once comfeel went on blister, it didn't feel sore in boot, also wore boots tighter to stop foot sliding down so much.
Blisters in the Blog Posts