We walked into Denmark even though the trail stopped at the inlet. It wasn't a nice walk into town! I had very sore feet as they had been wet all day and I have a small problem with my right foot that I will get to a bit later. It wasn't far, only about 1.5kms. Denmark is a nice town. It is the largest trail town so far and has a hospital and a nice large supermarket and a well stocked hiking shop. (It's ok, we didn't need the hospital...) We did our shopping and walked to our accommodation which was the local YHA called the Blue Wren Travellers Rest. It's run by Mark who is a South African who lived in Taranaki for 4 years before heading to WA and eventually Denmark. He is cool but he needs to invest in some new beds and pillows. The lodge is great and it has a really nice feel to it, a bit like being at home really. We didn't have a day off in town this time. We have 'finish fever' now and the end is so close. So just a freshen up and resupply and back on the trail the next morning.
All of my blogs so far have been about the trail and what we have seen and done along the way. I haven't said very much at all about us and how we have coped with all the days and days of walking with a sometimes heavy and uncomfortable backpack in the different weather conditions. So I thought for this last trail blog on this trip, I would give you all an idea of what it's been like.
First off, it really feels like way more than the almost 2 months it has taken us. It feels like we have been walking for months and months.. In the first few weeks we were walking in singlets and swimming whenever we could, bathing at the end of the day to try to get rid of the sweat and grime because it was really hot. Into the 30's some days. Now, on a clear night it's as cold as... Brrrrr single figures. As I type this I have to put my hand into my sleeping bag every so often to warm it up again. What we wear has changed, and we now look forward to a hot drink instead of a refreshing cold one at the shelter. We have had a lot more rain as well. It's fully winter in WA now. Our bodies have changed too! We have some awesome looking legs and we have both lost some inches around our middles. I am sure we have gained bone density along with the muscle due to carrying backpacks every day. We haven't done our weigh-in but we can see and feel a difference that's for sure. We have had some really great times with each other and with people we have met. We have talked to each other a lot about what we have seen, where we have been, what we have done, about the past and the future. We are closer now and we enjoy each other's company more than ever before.
BUT it's been hard. Sometimes it's been very hard. We have been outside for 7 weeks, been bitten by bugs, had spiders and rodents climb and walk all over us, eaten dirt and dust, had to drink horrible water and been dirty and smelly for weeks at a time. We have had days where we wonder when the fun is going to start, if at all... Then there are our feet. No words can describe the pain of walking for days and days over hard and uneven ground. At times it's like we are doing permanent damage to our feet that could make us hobble for ever! In the morning, it's impossible to walk properly for the first few steps (It's called 'the thru-hiker shuffle'). Christine has feet not well suited to long distance walking and has suffered a lot more than me. She has resigned herself to the fact that long trail walking will involve some pretty serious pain. I have an issue with my right foot where I develop a corn on my second smallest toe, it's happened on every long trip I've done. It's quite large now and is a constant source of pain with each step, especially when my feet are wet. We both live on a diet of paracetamol to help get us started each day and to sleep at night.
Our packs are heavy. I carry all the food and after a resupply in town, I can sometimes have enough food I my pack for 10 days, (thats 20 days of food for 1 person. Put that in your shopping trolley!) With water, I have had pack weights of well over 25 kgs! My pack is not designed to carry that much weight and it becomes very uncomfortable dragging at my back and hips. I have to keep adjusting it to stop parts of my body going numb due to having no circulation and at times I have struggled to even lift it onto my back in the first place. We have fallen over, slipped, walked into sticks and logs and twisted ankles. During the first week I sprained my ankle and it hurt for the next 2 weeks with just about every single step. Christine has bursitis in her left hip which makes it painful to sleep on either side so good sleep has been elusive.
But the pain will be forgotten pretty soon as it's not an emotion, so it cannot be recalled which is why we have done this a few times before and will do it again! In fact THIS trip is just the warm up to the main event which is to finish the Appalachian Trail we started in 2000. That year we walked more than double what we walked on this trip. 2550kms to be exact. We have 900kms to walk to complete the AT, but it is much tougher than the Bibbulmun Track. Are we ready? Yes we sure are. These walks have given us something no one can take away. A quiet sense of achievement in doing something not very many people can. We love hiking but this is quite different. A lot of hikers will never complete a long trail and a lot of long trail hikers will never do a weekend trip but for some reason, we just love it.
We will complete this trip and a few days later we will return to Perth and get ready to fly out to the USA. 20 days from then we will be back on the trail again. We've waited 16 years for this moment to come and it's hard to believe it's now just around the corner.
it's Our Epic Trip...
David & Christine are from New Zealand and are embarking on a trip around the world the slow way, on foot and by personal vehicle. This could get interesting!