Wow, you have no idea how close you all came. Ten minutes ago I was either going to (a) launch into my review of Malcolm Turnbull’s excruciatingly disappointing term-thus-far in office, or (b) sarcastically congratulate Mel McLaughlin for leveraging a moment with cricketing boofhead Chris Gayle into a nice fat $$$ contract with Channel 7. Another time maybe, because I’ve come across something else I just have to talk about. Meet Sarah Marquis, solo explorer, who walked the face of the planet from Siberia to Australia, and this week released a book called Wild by Nature which, if they had invented rocket packs, would have seen me strapped in and jetting off to my nearest bookstore. Her theory is that we were born with two legs, and should use them. Life should move at walking speed. I wish!
In that spirit, I’ve decided to do the Overland Track in Tasmania instead of Kokoda [imagines wife breathing huge sigh of relief in background] — several persuasive reasons for the change of venue: the expense ($6000 vs $1000), my disinterest in mosquito-borne diseases, to avoid being attacked by savage cannibals, wanting a trip that’s more photogenic, and also avoidance of prolonged humidity and dehydration, my natural enemies. Built for northern winters, I’ve opted for an alpine trek across the most mountainous island on Earth, versus a muddy slog through the jungle, and I have to admit I share my wife’s relief. Mood reversal from anxiety to exhilaration. I can’t wait! Just have to remember my obsidian dagger in case White Walkers interrupt me while I’m communing with nature.
Dragonglass aside, I have almost all the new gear I’ll need — one windproof light fleece to go — and then some serious gear-testing in the Blue Mountains. Fingers crossed for some truly shabby autumn weather. I want cold and very wet in order to test my new hardshell’s waterproofness, the warmth of my new down jacket, and how gripworthy my new microspikes are on rocks and roots. To get my pack under 20kg, I may have to drill holes in my toothbrush and substitute my bootlaces with fishing wire. Or lose some weight before I go! That said, given the likelihood of appalling weather, it might be useful to hook up with a fat guy. Never know when you might need him.
My wife often notes — and the appropriate adjective here is, ruefully — that I’m never so excited as I am when I’m preparing for a bushwalk. Of course that’s not true, but it does preoccupy my waking moments inordinately. Should I take fresh socks each day, or just three I can wash and reuse? Underwear? Do I go full-Commando or buy some merino boxers, and admit I am only half a man? Exactly how many recycled plastic shirts will I need? What happens if I spot a Tasmanian Tiger? Will I need snow shoes? How long does poop remain if buried in snow? How many knives can I carry on a Virgin Australia flight before somebody gets nervous?
At least my clothing is all sorted. I really had no idea what to wear in the jungle. I was assuming it would be much the same as what you’d were in the the urban-jungle, so this was the Kakadu outfit I had in mind:
Anyway, I doubt this will be my last pre-adventure post. I can’t help myself. There will at least be one more in about a fortnight, after I go bush for a gear-test. Happy trails, faithful readers.