Sarah Longland, Sue Miles and Gael Mclean, aka “The Weekend Warriors”, WA
23 January 2012
The Weekend Warriors have a collective age of 150 years and one of our three had already been walking the Track for ten years and had not yet reached the half-way mark of an “end-to-end”. Fortunately the other two were keen to “give the Track a go”, and so on September 13th 2008 we set off from Kalamunda; the first objective was to see if we could manage our packs and “get into it”.
Ten minutes into the walk and we were committed, which may have been due to the band that was playing to send us off (they said they were welcoming in the 10th Anniversary end-to-enders, but we prefer to think it was for us!).
The whole odyssey took 18 months, lots of weekends and some four to five day hikes. The sales for Fixomul went up considerably. In fact if you have shares in the company, my advice would be sell, sell, sell!
What did we learn?
- Double hutting can push the limits.
- There is a bus stop on the Bibbulmun Track, but do not be fooled and wait for a bus.
- We live in an amazing place - at the right time of year, in the right season, Western Australia can be a botanical garden.
- 10 to 12kg is ideal to walk with. Not the 17kg we started with.
- The burgers at the Mumballup Tavern are really good.
- Fixomul can be used to fix poles.
- Poles are not just for Europeans and exotic dancers, but are an essential part of Track equipment.
- The pumpkin pasties at the Mushroom Cafe in Balingup are incredible. The pub and Dwayne are great too.
- Lunch at the very welcoming Graphiti Café is not to be missed. They also help fix poles. (Ed: sadly the café is currently closed.)
- Not all the snakes are on the signs, so make lots of noise.
- Don’t eat your sandwiches walking through Donnelly River Village unless you want to share with the locals (the ’roos and emus are all very welcoming).
- Food is important. Trail mix can get dull, whereas chocolate never does, and you get your dairy!
- Always remember your loo paper and a trowel named Doug.
It’s lots of fun following others footsteps and wondering if you will meet friends at the shelter ahead. We have met lots of great people like Swiss Franc (you have to be a certain age to find that pun funny, or spend too many nights on the Track). There was 18 year-old Bryan from Moora (Tigger), with his umbrella and completing his end-to-end, which we celebrated with him.
The best thing we learnt was from the Snail, Tortoise and Hare, and that was the joy of a foot spa in the shelter. I will leave you to ponder that…
So it’s a wrap from us now, and after all we have spent at Mountain Designs to keep the economy running it’s on to the Cape to Cape, the Milford Track, Camino etc for us. Yes, we are hooked.
We should be very proud of our Bibbulmun Track, and really it does not matter how you do it---shelter, B&B, tent, hotel, or mix it up. Just do it!
Our thanks to the Track volunteers, the BTF, all the helpful people we met along the Track, and for the Track itself. You are all terrific.
We will be back!
The Weekend Warriors