Cooloola Great Walk 30th March 2018 - Preparation

Introduction

Cooloola Sandblow

Cooloola Sandblow

Welcome to the first Outdoor Adventure Australia blog!  These blogs are intended to be fun and informative and hopefully enjoyable to read.  Time will tell :)

This particular blog will focus on a hike occurring on 30th of March 2018.  This is a hike that Outdoor Adventure Australia offers clients as a paid facilitated hike but is gaining popularity as an unguided hike.

I won't give you all the details of the hike as this is located on our website here and on the National Parks website for all and sundry to read.  I'll just be providing comments, observations, hints and tips for people who are looking for more of an experiential read :)

So let's get cracking!

Preparation

In general

Hike prep has always been extremely important for me.  This probably started when I was walking through the bush alone as a very young fella (as far back as I can remember) and was further solidified when taking my Scout groups on hiking trips.  Nothing like having the lives of young people in your hands to bring out your 'A game'.

I've heard many comments over my time from people who 'pack the night before' with very little prep.  I certainly understand this and I know that for most of the time, this works fine...until it doesn't.

Over the years of hiking I've come across many challenging situations that have been presented by my physical environment, the climate, health, wildlife and more.  I like to be prepared for what's foreseeable and deal with the exceptions when they occur and adjust my future plans accordingly. The way you hike should be dynamic and therefore flex according to all of the reasonably foreseeable variables of each individual hike (within reason).

We're blessed these days with the availability of relatively cheap and lightweight Personal Location Beacons (PLBs) for the times when things go very bad very quickly.  If you're on a hike by yourself or in a remote location with little access/foot traffic, one of these is a must. 

This hike

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naismith%27s_rule

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naismith%27s_rule

Luckily because a hike like this is not an unusual occurrence in my life, I have a set of standardised documents and systems that help me with hike prep.  I'm also lucky enough to have Pru Hansen from Restless Explorers to help out with getting dietary requirements on point...which has always been one of my weaker points :)

Also, because this hike is a designated 'Great! Walk', a fair amount of information is already available on the track and there's no need to dive too deeply into topographic maps and applying 'Naismith's rule' in order to figure out how long it will take you to get from A to B to C and so on...although I still did it anyway lol

Where

This hike is by far one of my favorite medium length lightweight hikes.  And it's local!  Anyone who has the opportunity to do this hike and is capable of undertaking such a hike, should definitely do it!

When

Whenever we can fit it in.  Although this track does not respond well to wet weather with some very low lying and flood prone areas...so with the last month of bad weather that we've had...it's going to be interesting...I'm anticipating wet feet, mozzies and possibly leeches lol

What to take

I'm not going to provide a detailed list of everything that I take because as I mentioned, it does generally change from hike to hike because we are 'dynamic hikers' remember? :)  However, I will give you a bit of an outline on things that are a little more specific to this hike at this particular time.

In general I split my gear into about four (4) groups;

  1. Hiking
  2. Camping
  3. Eating
  4. Emergency

Hiking

This group consists of everything that you will need in order to walk from one point in the morning to another point in the afternoon.  Generally it's things like good hiking boots, light protective clothing, a good quality hiking pack, hat, water bladder, adjustable hiking poles, map etc

For this particular hike, it's predominantly sand or soft ground so I've fitted the medium width cups to the bottom of the poles to stop them disappearing into the ground.

Waterproof hiking boots would be advantageous...mine are just about due for replacement and are not waterproof...I will regret not replacing them sooner, I have no doubt lol

Camping

We will be in National Park so it will be camp stoves only as there are no fires.  The smaller and the lighter, the better.  I bought my personal cooker from Kathmandu about 10 years ago for about $90.  This is very expensive but it's an incredible piece of gear that has never failed me.

Lightweight tent is obviously a must.  Three season tent would be more than enough.  Other types of shelters would also be fine however I like the luxury of a tent and I enjoy getting away from the bugs.

We will cover other things such as toiletries another day because that's a whole blog to itself lol

Eating

We will also cover this another day because it's a massive topic however thanks to Pru's input and my administrative skills, we have achieved maximum calories and health for weight ratio.  I'm exceedingly pleased with the result of our hours of number crunching.

Always pack enough water tabs for an extra day of hiking.  They are light and it's better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them.

Emergency

Again, this won't be exhaustive as we can cover this another time however with this track, we know it is not used a lot and it does get a little overgrown in places so a PLB is an absolute must just in case of snake bite or other emergencies.

I also like to bring things like a few zip ties and a good length of para cord just in case we get things like shoe blowouts or bad weather that needs us to further secure camping gear.

Obviously a fully stocked first aid kit is essential.

In conclusion

With still another four days to go until the hike, everything except for clothes and a couple of bits and pieces are packed and we are keeping a keen eye on the weather forecasts because the last time that I looked, it was possible that four cyclones were going to be floating around Australia while we are hiking...I love Australia!

Keep an eye out for future blogs! I'll keep you posted about all of our endeavors :)