Tuesday, January 5, 2010

AAWT1-0 Mellum (ie the trail won this time)

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement guys.

Just back to civilisation after an incredible experience. Truth was we were too optimistic/unrealistic with our itinerary. We set ourselves a very aggressive time target and it was our undoing. The weather didn't help but certainly wasn't the reason for our short coming. We had thunderstorms two of the camp out nights and the second last morning was a white out but generally the days were good (hot).The combination of difficult navigation on zero trail and bush bashing through thick scrub slowed our progress down to as little as 1km/hr.We blew out our 2 day contingency in the first few days arriving at camp 4 on day 6. Surviving on very little food for these unplanned camp out nights (three instead of one) resulted in us going backwards. We were in calorie debt and although never in trouble (we found ample water and had shelter) we were too beat up to continue after several 12-15 hrs days.

Andy, thanks for (easily) convincing me to come along and share your dream. The planning and logistics involved were huge. We learned a lot and will be much better prepared next time. Dave you crazy bugger, gutsy to the end, even when you pulled the pin your crewing was awesome. Coming down the trail on the last day to meet us with food, a sight for sore/hungry eyes. Kath, you are the epitome of excellent crew. Cook, driver, camp set up, photographer, motivator, unbelievable. Thank you so much for giving up your time to share this experience with us. Tim....next time mate.

The AAWT changes year to year, trail markers go missing and the trail disappears as a result of overgrowth. It requires very careful planning and as up to date recon as possible on trail conditions. Thanks to Mr Dutchie for his invaluable course notes/guidance and major kudos to him for his solo unsupported traverse last year, an astounding achievement that deserves more recognition. Upshot:We managed to cover 200kms, almost one third of the course through what is reputed to be both the most picturesque and difficult part of the entire journey. As IDW mentioned the Crosscut Saw with The Cobbler, Mt Buggery, Mt Speculation, The Razor and the majestic Viking in the Wilderness Area have to be seen to be believed. We were fortunate enough to experience this very special part of our great land and truly run with our feet in the clouds. As ultrarunners we are constantly trying to set challenges to test ourselves and see where our limits lie. Every once in a while we are successful. This was one such time.

Cheers, Phil


Aqua Mirage said...

Hello Andrew,
I've left comments on the section of Final Preparation....
Love Merinda

Mr Dutchie said...

Hi Guys, Just back from Africa yesterday and really sorry to see that you had to pull the plug on this one.

My track notes for this Southern section used some pretty strong language, so in a sense I am pleased to realise that I wasn't just imagining it and that it really was a bit "epic".

Those off track and regrowth sections really take the stuffing out of you. Viking/Razor wilderness zone is spectacular - not many will have done it on a biscuit for breakfast!

The good news. Your done the recon on by far the toughest section.

Awesome effort - look forward to full details in due course