Congratulations to Foot Health Clinic community member Catherine on her recent solo hike of Fraser Island.
Her six-day 99km hike included Kingfisher Bay Resort, Lake Mckenzie, Lake Wabby and the Valley of the Giants.
Read more about Catherine's adventure, what preventive measures she undertook to prevent injury and her tips for anyone looking to undertake this naturally beautiful hike.
Where did you go?
I undertook a solo six-day full backpacking hike on Fraser Island - Kingfisher Resort, Lake Mckenzie, Lake Wabby, Valley of the Giants, Lake Wabby (via beach), Central Station, Kingfisher Resort.
The shortest day was 12km hike and longest days was 23km. The total distance was 99km.
Why this adventure?
I love multi-day treks and the sense of self containment backpacking brings. I had a week and wanted to hike somewhere naturally beautiful and diverse. Fraser Island’s beauty is stunning. The lush rainforest and huge Satinay trees, the improbable lakes, the endless beaches (particularly if walking), the recent and ancient history....I love being immersed in it all.
Besides, being able to catch a ferry to and from Kingfisher Resort negated the need for a four-wheel drive vehicle, I could hike a loop that was easy and led me to walk-in camp sites nightly (this always meant daily water supply).
I have walked the Fraser Island Great Walk in its entirety twice with companions, so I was comfortable with the Island and its facilities. I wanted to try a solo hike. It is often too difficult to arrange time off with family and friends and as a shift worker I like the idea of going when the ‘hiking mood’ strikes me and I have time off.
This was my first multi-day solo hike and I loved it. I had 3 nights when I was the only person at the campground, and they were some of the highlights of the trek - the night noises were strangely hypnotic (or maybe I was too buggered to care!). It was great packing up in the mornings and leaving when I was ready, walking at my pace, stopping when I wanted, making my own side trips, singing and dancing (if the mood took me!!) etc etc.
How did you plan for your adventure?
Planned route knowing distance I could comfortable walk and where the camps where.
I increased my daily walking distance mainly through local conservation parks.
I have previously completed a number of multi-day hikes so had the necessary gear. It just needed to be checked and packed.
I decided to go for less weight in the pack and not go for taste so ate nutrition bars, dried biscuits and pre-packaged dinners (bland and repetitive) - also had no time to dehydrate meals myself.
I had sessions of Foot Mobilisation Technique. I provided my itinerary to a responsible person.
What equipment (including shoes/socks) did you need for your adventure?
Scarpa R-Evolution hiking boots (note available for purchase in person at Foot Health Clinic), short gaitors (essential in sand), Marmot single tent, Luci inflatable solar lantern, head torch, Jetboil, thermals and hiking clothes, walking poles, good first aid kit, hat, sun-smart shirt, book, water bottles for 3 litres, mobile phone, powerbank (did not work), spade, bag for rubbish, general other hiking camping gear.
What preventive measures did you take to prevent injury during your adventure?
Blister Prevention: Injinji Liner Socks and WigWam Cool Lite Hiker Pro outer sock.
Foot Mobilisation Technique (FMT) session pre walk (have not rolled ankle - was a frequent occurrence, since having a session pre each major hike).
Using hiking poles.
General fitness and health.
What was the best thing about the adventure?
Being on Fraser Island by myself, doing what I love and being in the moment.
What was your biggest achievement?
Don’t have one!
Every day is an achievement and each adventure presents different challenges...just grateful to have had the experiences I have had.
What is one of the things you wish you knew before you undertook this adventure?
How much I would value and learn from being by myself, hiking and surrounded by nature.
What tips and hints would you give to others looking to undertake this adventure?
Buy hiking clothes/gear in a variety of colours and textures. Much easier to find a particular item in the bottom of a backpack without emptying everything out.
Refill water bottles daily and drink more then you think you will need.
Enjoy and Relax.
What’s your next adventure?
In October I am going to Nepal and a 20-day organised trek looping up to Everest Base camp.