Overland Track

In December, I hiked the Overland Track in Tasmania. This hike was amazing! I absolutely loved it.Shel Sweeney - A Worded LifeI was invited by a friend who was hiking the Track with her siblings, several of whom had pulled out. I was a tag along really but invited by my friend because she knew I was planning on walking the Camino de Santiago and thought this would be good training for me. I jumped at that chance. I have wanted to do this hike for years, but somehow never gotten around to it.

Six days and six nights in remote, pristine wilderness. I love these adjectives: ‘remote’ and ‘pristine’. You read them as almost cliché – you’ve heard wilderness described like this before…right? So have I, and yet I still use them here because it was remote and it was pristine in ways I have never known before. Perhaps these descriptions are clichés elsewhere, but when used to describe the Overland Track, they are spot on!

I came into a pass one day and burst into tears, crying loudly and freely, completely held in isolation by the absolute remoteness of the place. There was no one around for miles to see me dripping tears and snot, no one in earshot to hear me sobbing. And this was utterly liberating.

Shel Sweeney - A Worded LifeOn other hikes and walks I have done, I have always seen weeds. This was not even something I have been particularly conscious of until I hiked the Overland Track and in the absence of weeds, I realised that the environment hiked though was unspoiled…pristine.

Tasmania, Overland Track: remote and pristine – this is the perfect description for a beautiful place.

Six days, six nights and you carry everything you need on your back, and you carry your rubbish out with you. My pack weighed about 16kg. I developed a love-hate relationship with that pack – despite eating away through my food stores, I swear it got heavier! Essentially, you carry a tent, sleeping bag, all food, cooking equipment, clothes and enough water for one day. There are shared cabins at the end of each day’s hiking – but given these may occasionally be full, or that you may face inclement weather along the way, you have to take a tent – plus, you may not like sharing the cabin with a dozen or more strangers and choose to set up your tent.

Shel Sweeney - A Worded LifeSix days – though the days were not particularly long, and I made it to our camp each day in time for lunch.

Good news is that my ankles held up pretty well. They were sore sometimes and slow to warm up in the mornings. Occasionally, I stopped to do isometric holds, but not as often as I thought I would need to. By day three, I was taking 2 Panadol in the morning and 1 Nurofen in the evening, then using Voltarin gel at the end of each day’s walk. I also took every opportunity to soak my feet/ankles in the icy creeks whenever I could. This helped with the pain and swelling. Actually, I was surprised at 1) how it wasn’t a painful/unbearable as I thought it might be, and 2) how well I handled the pain. I think the whole walking in nature thing really helped distract me – it was so beautiful.

My knee was fine too…perhaps a little sore on occasion, but considering the up and down hiking and the terrain, that was not surprising. My walking poles were invaluable!


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