I have just emerged from a walk in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory and I am amazed how the experience has been so relaxing, particularly while I still remain convinced carrying a backpack for 12 or so kilometers every day really sucks.
However the experience was both impressive and humbling but the nuts and bolts first ….
I left two things behind which had repercussions: one, my sleeping bag; two, my hat.
I borrowed a pack and sleeping mat and for some reason believed that a sleeping bag was in the pack also (yes I should have checked). The consequence was on the first two nights I was limited to a cotton sleeping sheet, a themal t-shirt, a merino t-shirt, a merino long sleeved shirt and a rain jacket with the hood up to keep me warm. Why I brought a rain jacket in the middle of the Dry is a mystery, but it sure was useful. The nights were spent in a fetal position waking from the cold to change sides and fitfully nap again. Fortunately the last three nights were extremely mild requiring one layer only.
The lack of a hat, left forlornly on my couch at home, resulted in a a heat related, triple-Decker headache on the third day.
Three pieces of equipment my companions had, and which I now covet, are a trangia, a kerosene fueled compact stove system, a dehydrator for pre-prepared meals, and a thera-rest seat which uses your sleeping mat to be reconfigured into a chair with a backrest. Pure gold in the bush setting.
Get up at light, or just before on longer walks; breakfast; walk until lunch time or thereabouts by which time the next camp is reached (anywhere from 8 to 18 kilometres); have lunch; explore the waterfall cascades, swim, rock climb; meditate; wonder at the geological cataclysms that have created this country of rock and water; enjoy wine time (one glass per day); dinner; chat; bed. Bliss.
I was fortunate to walk with a colleague from school, her partner and Tasmanian friend. All were veteran bush walkers and ensured a pleasant time. Also on the track were Sarah an A&E doctor, Michael and his son (10 yrs) and nephew (8 yrs) who amazed with their continued energy and resilience, and Strat and Lindel, expert users of the recorder and mandolin who entertained us daily with their beautiful music.
The experience was impressive because it was the complete DE-stresser; and it was humbling because of the magnificence and beauty of the country through which we traveled over the six days.