Angie, Ivor and myself planned this walk as a difficult trek for Ivor and myself to try. Angie has already done this section once as part of the Oxfam challenge. We were to drive early to the Hawkesbury River Station, leave the car there, take the train to Cowan for the start of the trek which ends where we’ll leave the car.
The night before the walk, however, Angie phoned me and said she’s not yet fully recovered from her flu and would not want to risk a relapse. She offered however, to drive us to the start and pick us up in the end which Ivor and I had thankfully accepted, specially for me as I don’t know how prepared I will be to drive back after a challenging walk such as this. This would be the first time this two (Ivor and myself) intrepid beginner bush walkers will be left on their own devices relying only on track notes, track signs and some false sense of bravado.Immediately, we started at the wrong direction heading towards Berowra Waters instead of Brooklyn. We quickly realised this when we stopped and read the description of the route to the first landmark – the Jerusalem Bay Bridge which crosses the M1 motorway. The tracks are well marked and every time we recognise what was written on the track notes, we became more confident and relaxed. During this exercise, we went off track only once, just after leaving Jerusalem Bay. When the route became very dodgy, we checked the notes which said to keep the body of water on our right. We went back to the last known track and just did that and sure enough we saw another trail mark.
After climbing 400m we sat exhausted on a bench strategically placed on the track, we ponder for a moment that we are training to climb at least 3000+ m with reduced oxygen and no creature comfort waiting for us in the end. The climb we just did barely simulate the condition we will subject ourselves. We are worried already.
We completed the track in 5 hours 26 minutes, around the same ballpark that the notes approximated it to be. There was a slight alternate route at the end, that is to head to Parsley Bay instead of the Hawkesbury Train Station. Angie was waiting for us there working away and at the same time watching pelicans hassle the fishermen at the gutting station. About a kilometer away to this finish, we ran out of water on this mildly hot day. She has a bottle of cold water for us and ice candy tubes. I later learned that these ice candy tubes are used by ambulances to rehydrate patients. It’s great to have a support team who knows what she’s doing.
The next day, the girls and I went to pick up their mum at the airport. She is coming home from her 3 week trip to Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Dubai. Her first word to me was : “You’ve lost weight.” With all these increased activities recently, I have not yet check my weight. When we got home, I stepped into the scale and weigh-in at 89.7 kg, a loss of 6.3kg in 3 weeks, doing what what has always been told – diet and exercise. This is the first time in donkeys of years that I have gone below 90 Kg – well done me.
Photos in Flickr. I have published the GPS Track Details in Garmin Connect and Garmin Adventures.