On our trip to Joshua Tree National Park, someone in our group borrowed a tent but didn't set it up in their yard beforehand. Only after we were in the park did we discover that the fly was missing, the zippers didn't work, and some of the poles were missing. The temperature was supposed to… Read More »
The Great Wall is a highlight of any visit to China. What a lot of people don't know is that the wall doesn't exist in one continuous stretch. Instead, the Great Wall has many sections, some totally restored, others original. In many sections, you can walk for hours without seeing anyone. You can even camp on the wall. Beijing (my current home) is less than two hours from the wall, so I've had many chances to go, to different sections and in different seasons.
I took the bus to Deloraine the next morning. Greg, his wife Kate and her daughters Kym and Menon, along with Menon's husband Jason and their children were also there. It was quite a large family gathering. Unfortunately, Menon, Jason and the kids had to fly back to the mainland that afternoon, so we didn't get to talk for long. Before he left, Jason showed me some pictures of him and his son, walking on part of the Overland Track. The photos showcased snowy mountains, dark green forests, wide open grasslands and happy people. It was as if he and I had visited different countries entirely.
It was time for a change of pace. I had finished the Great Ocean Walk, then spent two days sea kayaking and relaxing on Torquay's beaches with Craig and some other friends. So far on my Australia trip, I had only seen Victoria, the southernmost state on the main continent. But Australia had a large chunk of land further south, a land so forgotten, it was often omitted from maps of the country. Even its name sounded exotic. Tasmania.
It was the easiest day on the trail. There were no monstrous hills, and no monotonous sections of beach. The temperature remained nice and cool. I spent almost the whole time in the forest, walking with the wallabies. My biggest mental challenge happened when I saw a sign for free beer and hot dogs, and it turned out to be nothing but a sick joke. I felt a bit hungry after that, but not for any of the carbohydrate-laden food I was carrying. I wouldn't be able to eat anything fatty for a few more days...
I gulped my water and realized that I might need five or six liters to avoid another episode of severe dehydration. The Melbourne hikers caught up with me while I rested. They said “hi” and continued up the hill, on a mission. When they were out of my view, my mental challenge increased tenfold. As far as I knew, there were no other hikers on this section. If the heat knocked me out, it could be a day before anyone would find me. Given my limited supply of water, would I even last that long?