Any research online will show that this section of the TA is rated as some of the worst. I would have to agree. It would be great if it involves a single day of hiking, but this much was a little bit too much!
I woke at 5:23am after a rough night sleep with pain and many considerations as to being able to complete any walking today. Knowing there is “90 Mile Holiday Park” 17 away, and the end is only 14km further, I decided to get it done and push through.
Spent a good 30 minutes dressing my blisters and wrapping tape on my feet – tried my boots and then took them off to reapply more bandages to the sensitive areas.
I hit the beach at 7:40am, and put in a solid effort to get to the Holiday Park around 12:30pm. The sign “ice creams here” gave me the push to get to the stopover – but was met with disappointment as they hadn’t turned the freezers on as it wasn’t “busy enough yet”. They did stock sodas and packets of lollies, so I rewarded myself with some sugar. It tasted so good!
Taito, Katy, Claudia and I had lunch together then pushed on to complete the final 14km. I really started to value the advice and assistance my fellow TA hikers were providing. They had all completed some previous long distance hiking, and the assistance they offered was invaluable. It was also good to hear they too were hurting, had blisters and I was keeping up with them. While I don’t like to hear people are struggling, it was good to know it wasn’t just me because of my limited experience.
The last 6.5 km was the hardest, I spent most of this journey looking down at my feet, pushing through the pain. The sun was out in full force and I was dragging my feet and shuffling. I only raised my head occasionally to spot the boat ramp, the marker for the end of the beach.
I spotted what I thought was a break in the sand dunes and convinced it was the boat ramp – was completely disappointed when Taito pointed out we had 1.5km to go. We both took a break, exhausted and sore, sitting in silence waiting for a burst of energy and motivation to complete the last part of the torturous beach.
Driven by the opportunity to get wifi and speak with my family, I pushed on. Coming in 100 metres behind the rest of the team, I made the climb on the road up and towards accomodation. I opted for the motel across the road from the YHA.
The lady who checked me in was awesome, she gave me a Mountain Dew, and filled a bucket with dettol for me blistered feet.
My emotions were all over the place, satisfaction, pain, relief… I had to compose myself before attempting to call home. Oh how sweet it was to see my family and speak with them, despite only being 5 days away – it felt like an eternity and that I had been through and achieved some much on my “long walk on the beach”.
Rest days lie ahead while I heal and recover!
What have I learned today?
- 90 mile beach lives up to its expectation set by previous TA hikers – it’s all true, all of it!
- Take care of small blisters straight away, if left they spread, become bigger and more difficult to manage
- Nothing drives me more than knowing I will be able to see and speak with my family
- Spark mobile coverage is terrible! My fellow hikers had full coverage with Vodafone
Statistics for today;
- Distance: 31 km, 101/3,000km
- Breakfast – backcountry breakfast
- Lunch – cliff bar + coke + soda
- Dinner – beef jerky
- Snacks – lollies + orange