I made it!

A forum for discussing the Australian Alps Walking Track. This is a 655 km long track from Walhalla (Vic) to Tharwa (ACT)

I made it!

Postby bigkev » Sat 02 Dec, 2017 4:34 pm

With 80% satisfaction and 20% relief I wandered into Tharwa through the rain at lunch time today. After around 40 days of walking I made it. I've done harder walks than the AAWT but I've never backed up day after day on a harder walk, there aren't too many easy days on the AAWT. As the terrain eases off to the north I found myself walking bigger distances - so I was still shagged out at the end of each day.

The hardest section is easily the Walhalla - Hotham section. The Hotham - Thredbo section was a surprise, a good,clear and well marked track generally. You do need to keep an eye out for clues though as the track marking is quite hap hazard and that applies for the whole AAWT.

I used Chapman's stuff as well as a few topos in areas that I thought may give me trouble. I carried Rooftop maps for an overview. To be honest I only really used Chapman's maps and notes out on the track, only breaking out the compass for the short stretch north of the 'Bidgee (I have walked some of the trickier section before though).

If anyone has any question then fire away, the forum was a good source of information and inspiration for me.

Cheers
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Re: I made it!

Postby anne3 » Sat 02 Dec, 2017 5:00 pm

Well done Kev, great news.
My trip is a bit side tracked at the moment. With the weather predictions down here I decided to come home and wait out the rain. Rod picked me up yesterday on the Jamieson-Licola Road near Mt Shillinglaw. At this stage I will be back out there Monday morning.
Enjoy all the things we miss on the track.......chairs, showers, bacon, beer........
Walking the walk
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Sat 02 Dec, 2017 5:54 pm

Hi Anne good to hear that your safe and comfy - I only copped 1 day of this latest rain so I got pretty lucky. I went for a massage his afternoon - how soft is that hey :D

Good luck with the rest of your walk.

Cheers
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Re: I made it!

Postby neilmny » Sun 03 Dec, 2017 7:08 am

anne3 wrote:Well done Kev, great news.
My trip is a bit side tracked at the moment. With the weather predictions down here I decided to come home and wait out the rain. Rod picked me up yesterday on the Jamieson-Licola Road near Mt Shillinglaw. At this stage I will be back out there Monday morning.
Enjoy all the things we miss on the track.......chairs, showers, bacon, beer........


Good move Anne.......mmmmm bacon and beer :D
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Re: I made it!

Postby neilmny » Sun 03 Dec, 2017 7:11 am

Congratulations Kev, you are a machine. :wink:
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Re: I made it!

Postby Dreamer » Sun 03 Dec, 2017 7:44 am

Congratulations Kev, that's a real achievement - mentally, physically, logistically - I really admire those who have completed the whole track, especially as a thru-hike. Enjoy the luxuries of civilisation!
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Re: I made it!

Postby eggs » Sun 03 Dec, 2017 10:51 pm

Congratulations Big Kev.
And glad you are safe Anne.
I was thinking of you a lot as I was heading out of Victoria on Friday - before the really bad weather hit....
My 6 days in the area saw the same pattern of clear skies, but hot and humid conditions in the morning followed by cloud build up and thunderstorms of varying location and intensity in the afternoon before clearing away at night.
I found it very sapping and I could only admire your endeavour at doing this day in day out for so long.
Oh - and the drenching rain and hail and the nearby lightning strikes are the things that will ensure that the memory of the trip lasts a long time.

Cheers
Brian
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Mon 04 Dec, 2017 8:03 am

anne3 wrote:Well done Kev, great news.
My trip is a bit side tracked at the moment. With the weather predictions down here I decided to come home and wait out the rain. Rod picked me up yesterday on the Jamieson-Licola Road near Mt Shillinglaw. At this stage I will be back out there Monday morning.
Enjoy all the things we miss on the track.......chairs, showers, bacon, beer........


Hi Anne,

I drove down through the hills picking up my food boxes yesterday, I'd probably hold off for another couple of days if you can? The rivers and creeks are still very high, I wouldn't fancy that wade of Black River this afternoon :shock:

Stay safe.

Cheers
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Mon 04 Dec, 2017 8:09 am

neilmny wrote:Congratulations Kev, you are a machine. :wink:


Dreamer wrote:Congratulations Kev, that's a real achievement - mentally, physically, logistically - I really admire those who have completed the whole track, especially as a thru-hike. Enjoy the luxuries of civilisation!


eggs wrote:Congratulations Big Kev.
And glad you are safe Anne.
I was thinking of you a lot as I was heading out of Victoria on Friday - before the really bad weather hit....
My 6 days in the area saw the same pattern of clear skies, but hot and humid conditions in the morning followed by cloud build up and thunderstorms of varying location and intensity in the afternoon before clearing away at night.
I found it very sapping and I could only admire your endeavour at doing this day in day out for so long.
Oh - and the drenching rain and hail and the nearby lightning strikes are the things that will ensure that the memory of the trip lasts a long time.

Cheers
Brian


Thanks for the nice regards guys, it was definately the hardest long walk that I've ever done.

Has anyone heard from AAWTTrekker? I'm thinking she was a couple of days behind me so would of been crossing the Cotter and Orroral Rivers in the worst of the rain.

Cheers
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Re: I made it!

Postby anne3 » Fri 08 Dec, 2017 6:48 am

Hey Kev,
I made it!
I decided to get dropped back on track on the Walhalla side of the Black river. It was a hard decision at the time, but after seeing the rivers all up i was glad. When i got to the Thomson it was still too dirty and fast for me to cross, so I did the 1 k bushbash up to Eastern weir. I was hoping to leave no trace while I was out on the AAWT, but my floppy cream hat is somewhere out on that section :|
Thanks for all your track info,
Cheers Anne
Walking the walk
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Re: I made it!

Postby neilmny » Fri 08 Dec, 2017 8:06 am

Congratulations Anne. A tricky business working around the amount of rain we've just had and it seems are still having.
29mm overnight here at the foot of Mt Dandy.
I love being out in the bush but I'm in awe of anyone who can perservere through 650km of heavy pack carry through whatever nature throws your way.
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Re: I made it!

Postby ribuck » Fri 08 Dec, 2017 8:57 am

anne3 wrote:I was hoping to leave no trace while I was out on the AAWT, but my floppy cream hat is somewhere out on that section :|

Just pick up someone else's lost item, then you will be trace neutral.

And congratulations on a fantastic achievement!
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Fri 08 Dec, 2017 10:27 pm

anne3 wrote:Hey Kev,
I made it!
I decided to get dropped back on track on the Walhalla side of the Black river. It was a hard decision at the time, but after seeing the rivers all up i was glad. When i got to the Thomson it was still too dirty and fast for me to cross, so I did the 1 k bushbash up to Eastern weir. I was hoping to leave no trace while I was out on the AAWT, but my floppy cream hat is somewhere out on that section :|
Thanks for all your track info,
Cheers Anne


Hey Anne that's great news, I was a bit worried when I thought that you were heading down to Black River on Monday. The AAWT has really thrown everything at you over the years hasn't it.

My boss heard you on Macca the other day....now he believes that the AAWT is a real thing and I wasn't just making up an excuse for six weeks off work :wink:

Hey I picked up an empty white food drum up at Mt Spec today while I was up there getting mine, it wasn't yours was it? If it was don't bother heading back up to collect it.

Cheers Kevin
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Re: I made it!

Postby neilmny » Sat 30 Dec, 2017 9:27 am

Kev, your Goin Feral write up is fantastic. Champing at the bit for each installment here :D
With a few health issues for my better half and I severly slowing our/my walking down at the moment it's great to do the AAWT armchair style :lol:
Thanks for the great effort your putting in on it. :wink:

For those that are tempted - http://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot.com.au/
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Sat 30 Dec, 2017 7:43 pm

Cheers Neil, I glad to hear that you are enjoying it. I love living vicariously through other peoples adventures too, if you can't get out there for some reason then it's the next best thing :D I've just got back from a week in Singapore today and have a couple of days before I go back to work so I'll try and crank out an extra post or two in the next week. I'm getting close to some very nice country, from Mt MacDonald to The Viking is some of the best walking in Victoria I think.

That's bad news about your partner I hope the health issues resolve themselves OK.

Best wishes and have a safe and happy New Year.
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Re: I made it!

Postby GBW » Wed 31 Jan, 2018 3:33 pm

Well done bigkev...it's a great read!
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 7:28 pm

GBW wrote:Well done bigkev...it's a great read!


Cheers GBW.

I've finished writing up Walhalla to Bogong if any one wants to check it out http://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot. ... lpine.html

There's a link back to the start at the end of each post or you can navigate using the Blog Archive on the right hand side of the home page.
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Re: I made it!

Postby neilmny » Mon 16 Apr, 2018 9:54 am

Well done Kev, I just read the last episode.
Thanks for going to the trouble of doing such a comprehensive, warts and all report on the whole thing.
A great read. https://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot.com.au/
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Mon 16 Apr, 2018 7:20 pm

neilmny wrote:Well done Kev, I just read the last episode.
Thanks for going to the trouble of doing such a comprehensive, warts and all report on the whole thing.
A great read. https://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot.com.au/


Cheers Neil,

Writing it up and sorting the photos was almost as hard as the walk for me :? I'm very happy that some people have found it helpful, it's nice to be able to give something back - I've certainly enjoyed reading plenty of other magazine articles and blogs over the years!

If anyone wants to check it out I've listed important stuff like where I found water, tricky navigational spots, camping spots, maps I used, spots where I got phone signals, etc at the end of each post in the final paragraph that I call 'The Dirt'

I ended up walking well over 700 kilometres and climbed more than 28,500 metres over my 39 days on the walk, it's definitely a solid walk!

The easiest way to navigate the blog is via the the archive index on the right hand side of the home page,

To help here's a link to day 1 https://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot ... w-baw.html

Here's a link to the day I headed north from Hotham https://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot ... lpine.html

and finally here's a link to the last day https://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot ... -aawt.html

Thanks again for all the good wishes and advice from people on the forum over the journey, it's certainly helped to know that people were backing me when I was out on the walk :D

Next big one might be the Heysen Trail in a couple of years, I've got to rejuvenate my sick looking annual leave balance first though!
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Re: I made it!

Postby sunshine » Wed 18 Apr, 2018 5:06 pm

Well done Kev.

Mrs Sunshine and I completed the walk, Northbound, in January and I've been struggling with what to post since - my writing style is not as witty or entertaining as yours. I have enjoyed reliving each section as you have posted.

A few comments about our walk:

* We took 53 days (including 3 rest days). The objective was to take it at a relatively relaxed pace and to enjoy being out there and do some of the side trips. We certainly achieved that but the mental side of being out and not making progress towards the end was a little challenging. I was reminded of the old running adage that it's "harder to run a 5 hour marathon than a 3 hour marathon"!
* As everyone else has said, the section from Walhalla to Hotham is the hardest.
* We departed Black River on the morning that the storms lashed Victoria (Nov 30th from memory). After walking through heavy rain for most of the day, we picked up our food drop at Rumpff Saddle, and hunkered down in the tent for 36 hours.
* The one part of the track where we gave up and followed the road was the section just north of Murray's Hut site. After faffing around trying to follow the track, for 30 minutes or so, we decided to retrace our steps and follow the Twins Track. Not sure if we were just having a bad day but the road made for a far easier day.
* From Hotham (we had 2 nights at the General - highly recommended), we headed south east and picked up the start of the Cobungra Ditch track and the Huts walk. This joined the AAWT just west of Derrick Hut (pole 77 from memory) and was a nicer start to the day than heading back up the road to the Mt Loch car park. Well, we thought so, at the time, but the extra 300m or so of ascent was a challenge at the end of the day!
* We were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the section from Johnnies Top to Cowombat Flat. The river flat walking was really pleasant and very different from anything else on the walk.
* The overall highlight was the section from Kosciuszko to O'Keefe's Hut. New Year's day on the Main Range was stunning and our couple of days in the Jagungal Wilderness has us wanting to return for more.
* We did head north from Happy's Hut up the scrubby spur. It was not the worst of the off-track scrub that we encountered (that was the descent into O'Keefe's Hut) and it probably saved us 30-40 minutes over choosing to follow the fire tracks.
* Our lasting memory will include the kindness and generosity of almost everyone that we met - from a ranger at Cowombat Flat giving us some of his leftover lunch to other bushwalkers (Kev included) who picked up our empty food drums or offered us a lift.
* The campsite where the AAWT crosses the Orroral River was one of the nicest spots that we stayed. We did not expect such a pretty or sheltered spot given Chapman's (lack of) description!
* The best campsite of the trip was on the grassy river flats alongside Buckwong Creek - it may have helped that the weather was perfect and we arrived in the early afternoon of Christmas Eve.

More generally, I was very impressed by the state of the track. Yes there were areas with significant treefall and yes there were areas that were more challenging - but all of the official track appears to have been well signposted. Even where there was significant treefall, usually the way was obvious, if not easy! I cannot imagine completing the walk without the work done by various Parks departments and volunteers. Thank you all.

We are still wondering what our next challenge will be!!

Sunshine.
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Re: I made it!

Postby DavidB » Thu 19 Apr, 2018 5:29 pm

G'day Sunshine

Glad to hear the two of you completed the AAWT. Good memories of sharing some campsites between Walhalla and Hotham including the enforced layover at Rumpff Saddle during that big storm. All the best with your future walk plans.
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Re: I made it!

Postby surly 17 » Thu 19 Apr, 2018 9:19 pm

Well done big Kev loved the blog you copped some poor weather along the way great effort
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Fri 20 Apr, 2018 10:17 pm

Congratulations Sunshine, I'm glad I could do a little bit to help. I walked it in 45days including 6 rest days (3 at Hotham and 3 at Thredbo where my partner came came up to meet me). I would of liked to take a bit longer but unfortunately I couldn't get any more time off work. If I ever have another go I'll wait until I've retired I think and take a bit longer as I was going a little harder than I'd of liked to sometimes, especially on days when the weather was a little sub optimal :oops:

surly 17 wrote:Well done big Kev loved the blog you copped some poor weather along the way great effort
Surly 17


Cheers Surly,

Yes, I haven't actually worked it out, but a rough guess has me thinking that I got around 7 days without some form of precipitation over the whole walk! :D

I went in early spring hoping that it would be easier to find water along the ridges in Victoria, so that all worked out pretty good. The dodgy weather wasn't too bad really, it just meant that peak bagging was largely a waste of time and some of my photos are a bit 'grey'.
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Re: I made it!

Postby sim1oz » Tue 24 Apr, 2018 8:36 am

Hi BigKev,
I've finally finished reading your blog. Great stuff! Loved the photos and track details, especially the stories of what you were thinking and how you were feeling. You sure had a lot of rain. You have provided some useful information for others who want to do the walk. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Cheers,
Sim
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Wed 25 Apr, 2018 3:49 pm

sim1oz wrote:Hi BigKev,
I've finally finished reading your blog. Great stuff! Loved the photos and track details, especially the stories of what you were thinking and how you were feeling. You sure had a lot of rain. You have provided some useful information for others who want to do the walk. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Cheers,
Sim


Thanks sim1oz, I like to tell it as I find it, so hopefully the info will come in handy for other walkers. :D
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Re: I made it!

Postby kanangra » Tue 22 May, 2018 12:46 pm

Congratulations Big Kev on making it through and for such a great write up in your blog. I really enjoyed reading it.

What's next?

K
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Tue 22 May, 2018 6:02 pm

kanangra wrote:Congratulations Big Kev on making it through and for such a great write up in your blog. I really enjoyed reading it.

What's next?

K


Cheers kanangra,

The next 'big one' might be the Heyson Trail in a few years? In the short term I wouldn't mind climbing Mt Wilhelm in PNG or maybe the Huayhuash Circuit in Peru :D So much to see and do and so little time and money to do them :|
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Re: I made it!

Postby Bushwalker99 » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 6:15 pm

Hi Big Kev,
A wonderful description of your walk and a great reminder of the walk that 5 of us did in 2014 in 44 days. The photos bring back so many memories!
Well done,
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Re: I made it!

Postby bigkev » Sun 03 Jun, 2018 2:40 pm

Bushwalker99 wrote:Hi Big Kev,
A wonderful description of your walk and a great reminder of the walk that 5 of us did in 2014 in 44 days. The photos bring back so many memories!
Well done,


Cheers for that, it's great that my blog bought back some nice memories :D
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