Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Bibbulmun Track: final UK preparations

z-packs Hexamid Solo
My tent for the Bibbulmun Track: Z-Packs Hexamid Solo
I expected the last week of preparation to be a little more hectic, but I have managed to get virtually everything done with time to spare and I have been able to focus my attention on issues at work and home. There was one matter I couldn't help but tinker with, though; my choice of shelter for the trip.

Until last week, my tent of choice was the trusty Hilleberg Akto, with the optional mesh inner. In total, it was 1.6kg in weight, but I was trying to shed a few more grams before I depart, and at the last minute I came across the ZPacks Hexamid Solo; a shelter that excited me, and was a mere 480 grams with my pegs!

Many cottage industry companies in the USA have lengthy waiting lists as items are made to order, so I wasn't hopeful of getting my hands on one. But then I came across a "lightly used" second hand one in the bargain bin on the website, with the groundsheet and optional beak. This was promising!

After a couple of email exchanges, about delivery times to the UK, I made my purchase, and I looked forward to receiving the Hexamid Solo in a few days.

The tent did indeed arrive in the UK after a couple of days, but for 10 more days the tracking status showed that delivery had ground to a halt thanks to the UK Border Agency. I figured there may be the possibility that the government would want to get their two penneth, but I never expected a parcel, and one that had a guaranteed delivery day of 2nd September, to be processed so slowly.

I finally got my hands on the package on Wednesday 12th.  First impressions; I was blown away by the weight! When I had pitched it, and crawled inside, I was also pleased by the space, but I reckon the mesh floor below the groundsheet might take some getting used to, especially on a sandy surface, and it could be a breezy experience! This is minimalism I am not used to, but I'm sure I'll adapt after a few nights, and there is always the shelters on the track. I had hoped to christen it before I headed out to Perth, but the weather in the UK has turned and I didn't want the hassle of drying and cleaning it, so that pleasure will have to wait until the track.

Sorting out my gear for the Bibbulmun Track
Sorting out my gear for the Bibbulmun Track
So my kit is sorted and my priority over the weekend was to pack! I'll admit I have rehearsed this countless times, and amended the kit list just as many, but it was all decided now and the final task was all done swiftly.

What remains is the cortisone injection booked for Tuesday, to ease the shoulder. A trip to a specialist last Friday showed nothing more than the result of many years slumped in front of a computer, and there is no need for surgery. The answer is physiotherapy, and, unlike the "hands off" treatment I was receiving over the summer, this will be more traditional and brutal. It will have to wait until I return in December, though, but I can handle some pain and discomfort knowing that my trip isn't going to exacerbate the injury and that eleven weeks away from a PC may actually be good for it!

So that's about it! The rest of the prep work has to be done in Australia, next weekend. I can hardly believe, after two years looking forward to it and the last year planning, I am almost at the point of stepping out onto the track!