Packing for a trip can cause even the calmest person anxiety. It’s almost a fine art, knowing exactly what you need to be as comfortable as possible, without over-packing and wasting space and weight. When you prepare for a more technical trip (as compared to a general holiday) it poses an even greater challenge. Yes, even for something like a high altitude trek there are ‘nice-to-haves’, but there are of course some very important necessities, and you would be kicking yourself if you forgot to pack these.
Keep reading for what I’ll be packing for my 9 day Northern circuit trek up Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, which will be followed by a 5 day safari. Tara’s list is essentially the same since we doubled up when purchasing, besides the obvious male/female items, and a few different choices in tops and bottoms.
For those of us who have to, you know, work for a living, and keep up with general life commitments, it can be challenging to find adequate time to train. But all is not lost! If you look hard enough you will usually be able to find time in your schedule to do something. And doing something is much better than simply doing nothing.
In this post I will share some of the activities we’ve been undertaking in order to best prepare ourselves for our upcoming Kilimanjaro trek. We are very aware that if you fall victim to altitude sickness, there’s nothing you can do, but I’m guessing that becoming stronger and fitter is a whole lot better than remaining sedentary. If you want to know more, please keep reading.
What stuck with me even weeks after this day hike at Bunyip State Park was how I felt standing next to these huge granite boulder formations, known as the Four Brothers Rocks. Of course, these are just pebbles in comparison to many other wonders in the world, but there’s just something about standing next to a mass of granite that reminds me of how small we are, and how powerfully dwarfing nature can be. The feeling of being this tiny micro speck compared to huge mountains and canyons is both frightening and exhilarating at the same time. I can (at least partially) imagine how dizzying would be looking up at K2 or into the Grand Canyon. Maybe one day I’ll find out for myself what that’s like. Probably not K2 though, we recently watched The Summit so it’s been on my mind, but I really don’t think mountaineering is for me at all!
This day hike saw us tackle the northern section of the Cathedral Ranges in Buxton, Victoria. It was the first time both of us had actually been here so we kept at bay any expectations.
Arriving at our starting point at Jawbone car park nice and early, we passed many kangaroos, wallabies and even a lyrebird in full bloom, all of whom made haste when spotting our car. We had perfect blue skies that morning which added to our excitement, so we were both eager to hit the trail. There’s something really special about walking these tracks nice and early in the morning, when the dew has barely had a chance to evaporate, and the wildlife are going about their morning. We both knew we were in for a special day.
One of my biggest challenges in finding an appropriate day pack is getting the size right. Of course, this is an extremely important characteristic to get right, but if you have a reasonably petite torso like me, you get used to store assistants informing you that unfortunately the brand does not make a smaller size, or if they do, the store does not stock it.
So, you can imagine my delight when a sales assistant at REI in Boston had a very suitable recommendation for me: the Osprey Sirrus 24 day pack in the Small size (which is actually 22L). It felt great in-store, but what you probably want to know is how it weighed in after actual and extended use.
I have used this day pack exclusively since November last year and if any of you have read my account of the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km event in Melbourne, this pack was on my back for nearly 31 hours straight. Here are some of my thoughts.
For those unfamiliar with this event, the trail is 100km and you undertake it in teams of 4 over a maximum of 48 hours. The trailwalker event for Melbourne in 2014 followed this route: (start) Jells Park in Wheelers Hill > Churchill National Park > Lysterfield Lake Park > Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground > Olinda Reserve > Graham Colling Reserve > Woori Yallock Primary School > Warburton Golf Club > Wesburn Park (finish).
This is a pretty long read but I wanted to document it mostly for my benefit, so that I don’t ever forget my experience.
Before I begin, I would like to emphasise that despite how it may sound, it was overall a very positive experience for me. I don’t want any of the ‘gruelling’ details that follow to discourage you. To complete this feat is amazing achievement for anyone, and I admire those who have the physical and mental strength to do it year after year. The event itself was run so smoothly and professionally with many fantastic volunteers. If this is something you’ve ever considered doing, you should most definitely give it a go.