Friday, March 2, 2018

Preparing for the next walk

After a glorious 2 weeks of skiing powder, deep glorious powder, I returned to warm sunny Sydney and jumped straight on a bus down to Canberra. Waiting over half an hour for our ski bags to be produced at the oversize baggage pickup counter, a rush through customs and out the door, over to "Express Pickup" to retrieve my bag of camping gear that I'd left in Coledale - Kathy's partner Graham had brought it up with him - then back around to the bus bays to catch my 10:25am shuttle to Canberra..... needless to say I was a wreck! Luckily the bus was running late due to luggage issues, and so I didn't miss it. Then surprise surprise, the bus driver happens to be someone I'd been skiing with a week before in Niseko! Small world...

I hadn't actually told mum I was coming, and had only just told my brother, so he could come pick me up from the bus station. Doing the school pickup of my nieces also caused a little surprise! It's been a year since I've been back in Canberra and this time I had a little time on my hands. I needed it.

It's coming up to the anniversary of our first section walking the Australian Alps Walking Track. You can read about that here. We decided back then that we would do the next section this year, so the three of us have been communicating a little over email sharing maps and discussing the itinerary. This time we will be walking from Thredbo to Kiandra, officially a distance of 108 km.

The official route avoids the NSW main range, veering off it after visiting Mt Kosckiusko, and detouring along roadways. Why being in the NSW High Country would have unacceptable risks doesn't make sense, as the Victorian High Country walking is even more remote and just as inclement. Needless to say, we will be following the unofficial route across the tops, as detailed in the actual guidebook. And the weather forecasts are looking good....

We'll also be detouring off the fire trails further north through The Kerries and Jagungal Wilderness. Staying in the high country offers more views and the option to climb more summits as we head north, but it's also more exposed to high winds and other unpleasant meteorologic phenomena. We just have to hope the weather obliges.

Because I've been overseas I hadn't done any food preparation, and with a week to burn before we leave, I offered to prepare the lunches and dinners for Matt and myself, he's organising his own breakfasts. Mum has a food dehydrator lurking on a top cupboard (thanks Uncle Mel), so all I needed to do was purchase a vacuum sealing machine, buy some food, and cook up a storm. Poor mum lost the use of her kitchen for the week, got to smell awesome food being prepared, but then didn't get to try them out. Meany aren't I? I shall cook some of the meals for her when I get back.

This trip I tried something new, which was to prepare full meals beforehand, dehydrate them, then vacuum pack them. My mate Bill did this on his Bibbulmum Track walk, with great success, so I am emboldened to do it myself. I've also made a big stash of beef jerky. Yum!!

Our evening meals will be: Spaghetti Bolognese, Mongolian Chicken, Green Chicken Curry, Beef Stew, Palak Paneer and Creamy Salmon Pasta. Don't worry, there are lots of vegetables amongst the protein!

For lunch there's beef jerky, dried tomatoes, hummus, cheese, salami, tuna, and pesto. Any combination of above on crackers or wraps. A girl has to eat well on the trail! Aside from salami and cheese, all the others are dehydrated for reconstitution on the trail. We will be taking 10 days worth of meals, so reducing our carrying weight is essential. And in case you didn't realise, I've done this before!

I'm taking pretty well the same things as my last trip, with a couple of new additions: the you beaut dunny-roll holder, and down trousers. I shall be toasty, and so will my toilet tissue!

Even though Matt and I will be sharing meals I'll still be bringing along my stove and pot, because neither takes up much space or room, and the extra pot actually comes in handy. Plus I don't fancy waiting around for hot water for my morning coffee! Grumpy morning me: not nice...

Getting 10 days worth of food into my 44L backpack has been an accomplishment. Matt has a 55L bag so he has a little more room, but he also has a few more bulky items of camping gear than me.

So I'm all packed and ready to go. We are off to Thredbo tonight, and begin walking in the morning. You can follow our walk here.


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