Last weekend, I decided to take a little trip (surprise, I know) to a place called Wilson’s Prom. There were several reasons for this.
1. The first reason that comes to mind is Tuan Truong. I met Tuan Truong, a 23 year old graduate of UNC Charlotte, on my Doubtful Sound cruise ship in New Zealand. After introducing himself, he quickly began to tell me of his travels in the past few months. Basically, Tuan was really into outdoor activities, and moved to Sydney to be a raft guide after graduation. He was a very ambitious traveler as well, so he obtained a bartending position on a cruise ship in the Sydney Harbour for extra funds.
After a few months of working, Tuan flew to New Zealand with the money he had saved. However, he didn’t have any friends in New Zealand, a place to stay, or much of a plan at all. Basically, the guy just bought some joke car the day he arrived (~$800), and began to drive around the country. Tuan also lived out of this car, cooking food on a portable gas stove, and occasionally stayed in a hostel for a good night’s sleep and shower.
In summary, this dude was literally the man. He was doing amazing things every day, including tons of hiking, rafting, canyoning, kayaking, etc., and on a very slim budget to boot. Tuan also had his skydiving license because, well, he felt like getting it. I’ll even go so far as to describe him as inspiring.
But yea, my trip. Tuan Truong had already been all over Victoria, and he strongly recommended Wilson’s Prom. He told me that he completed a 35.5km hike there in a mere two days. I really like hiking at this point, and I really trusted this guy’s advice. That’s the first reason.
2. I wanted a challenge. I went to Wilson’s Prom on my own, and slept in a tent in the wilderness for two nights. Woo, scary.
3. Many people had told me that Wilson’s Prom was beautiful. I wanted to see for myself, and maybe do a little soul searching along the way. I like soul searching.
Wilson’s Prom was in fact beautiful. My original plan, as shown below, was to go from Tidal River to Little Waterloo Bay on Day 1. On Day 2, I would retrace my steps until I hit the Telegraph Track, and then go up the middle towards Tidal River. 28.8km in total.
However, this is not quite what happened. Apparently, I walk pretty fast, as I reached Little Waterloo Bay at about 1:30pm on Day 1. I quickly decided that I would walk to and camp at Refuge Cove, allowing me to complete the full track. 44.5km in total, shown below.
Overall, the hike was lots of fun. Wilson’s Prom is a National Park, and is actually the southern-most point of mainland Australia. This was cool. In addition, the weather was really nice, I packed plenty of food, and got quite the workout in.
However, despite my good fortune, I did encounter a few problems.
1. It took me like an hour to set up my tent the first night. I had never used this tent before, but since I’m supposed to be like, an engineer, I figured it wouldn’t be much of an issue. Yea, I’m brutal.
2. One part of my tent was this long metal rod. The metal rod breaks down into smaller metal rods (for easier storage), and is held together by a bungee cord. When repacking my tent on Saturday morning, the end of this bungee cord decided to snap. I freaked out for a minute, but was able to feed it back through the rods and tie it at the end. Took a few tries, but eventually worked out. I’m an engineer after all.
3. I misjudged the depth of a river, and got my socks/boots wet. No big.
4. On Day 2, I was a mere 15 minutes from the top of this mountain (Kersop’s Peak, apparently), and decided to leave my pack before going to the top. When I got back, I saw some massive raven on my bag, which quickly flew away. No big.
4a. Nevermind, sort of big. This piece of shit raven had unzipped my bag, eaten part of my muffin, chewed through/dumped out my nuts and gummy bears, and threw my trash everywhere. Actually, this raven was not really a piece of shit at all; bird had talent. In any event, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. However, if I hadn’t over-packed food (always over-pack food, if you can carry it), it might have been an issue. Only then would I have really found out just how independent I truly was.
5. The V-Line Coach Bus driver wouldn’t let me eat my Aussie burger (burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, egg, bacon, and beet root) on the way back. What an asshole. I’m not that messy.
In the end, all of these problems were overcome, and the hike was successful. Solo-hiking proved to be very cool, and to continue in the “number-everything” style of this post, I will list the reasons why.
1. Your success depends solely on you. When you do something like this alone, you have no one else to answer to, and no one else to hold you back. If you stop, it’s because you are tired, not someone else. If you eat, it’s because you are hungry. Simply put, there is just very little noise separating what you feel and how you subsequently act. It’s primitive and logical. It also makes for a really nice weekend.
2. You are forced to solve problems. If you choose to ignore or avoid these problems, it will likely have a direct impact on your comfort and health. You have no lifelines other than, you guessed it, yourself. Furthermore, if/when you eventually do solve these problems, it’s rather dignifying.
3. You don’t waste time. When hiking, you are essentially forced to arrive at camp before sundown. Next, you set up your tent, watch a likely beautiful sunset, and eat dinner. Once done, there really isn’t much to do but sleep. You are dead tired anyway, it’s pitch black, and you can only see so far with your headlamp. What an awesome look, by the way. Gabby, you had it figured out all along.
3a. You are generally asleep by 7 or 8pm. The next morning, you are generally up by 7 or 8am, as sleeping in that tent isn’t all that comfortable. So, you kind of just get twelve hours of sleep, and then hike all day. It’s really not bad. Falling asleep the first night sucks though–bring a charged iPod for sure.
4. It feels great when you are done. You can barely walk. Also, all of the Australian girls are really impressed when you tell them that you hiked 45km (but only after they ask, of course). Sweet.
Yea, solo-hiking is great. Definitely going to do it again.
Finally, before I forget, here are pictures. Congratulations on reading this far without them.
Tidal River to Oberon Bay:
Oberon Bay to Little Waterloo Bay:
One four the books:
Little Waterloo Bay to Refuge Cove:
Refuge Cove to Sealer’s Cove:
Sealer’s Cove to Tidal River:
Great trip. Thanks for reading. Also, please don’t be afraid to leave comments. I really like reading them.
O, and finally, here’s a video blog of my entire journey. I guess it’s a gift for reading this far. It’s about ten minutes long, but you do get to see footage of my reaction to “some f*cking huge bird” running my show. Just keep clicking “play” if nothing is happening. It works, I promise.