From French, literally “already seen”, is the phenomenon of having the feeling that the situation currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past. Wikipedia
I set off on the Bicentennial National Trail Friday, October 20 2017. Many things about the experience leading up to this date, and the few days after, were strangely familiar, it was like I had experienced this before. Oh wait a minute - I have! Those of you who have been following me for a while know I had a tilt at the Trail earlier this year. It begs a very important question. Am I restarting, or am I resuming? Truth be told, I don’t know yet. When I set out the first time I was quite clear, “I am hiking the full length of the Bicentennial National Trail”. Even a couple of days prior to the trouble with my leg flaring up, I was confidently telling anyone who would listen, “I’m hiking all the way to Healesville”. The first tilt, and the time since, has taught me to be a little more circumspect. So the right answer for now is, “I’m hiking the BNT to get as far as I can, and I’ve set aside a year to give it a good crack”. Therefore the answer to “restart or resume” will remain open, to be contemplated if I get close to Lake Lucy in the Valley of Lagoons.
That said, the first tilt was a bloody good practice run, and it taught me some good lessons. Whilst I will be a little more cautious in my optimism, I am more determined than ever. Post recovery, I have trained hard, done further detailed planning, and have changed out quite a bit of gear. So whilst some of the feelings in planning and setting off are the same, I’m feeling more relaxed.
Setting off from Healesville felt good, it is where I live. I know the area, and have walked the first 3 days of the Trail before, in a number of different combinations. I haven’t walked it knowing I’m setting out on the trail to get as far as I can - that felt amazing.
I was lucky the BNT AGM was being held in Narbethong this year, with the date enabling me to fold in attending it into my plans. It was held on JoAnne and John’s property, the section coordinators for these parts, which is right on the trail itself. It was only a 14 kilometre hike, mostly down hill, and I arrived mid morning to pitch my tent and relax. The AGM event was held over Saturday and Sunday, and it was great meeting some past and present trekkers, BNT supporters, section coordinators and the BNT board. The Kasch family worked like Trojans, facilitating a great event, and kept us all fed and hydrated. The food was marvellous and I certainly wasn’t upset to skip some of my dehaydrated meals. I was also honoured to be asked to do a quick presentation of my BNT experience. I had all this pre-prepared on a USB stick a week out, but was mortified when I discovered all of the image files I had saved were corrupted. Lucky I had a copy on my phone and was able to upload it to Facebook as an album; even luckier, I have a fairly mundane Facebook profile so no rude shocks for the audience.
It was a beautiful 24 kilometre walk to Marysville. I got away from Narby around 7am, and averaged a solid 5km/h, resting every hour. It was great to get to camp just after lunch, pitch my tent, and then stroll across to the caravan park to buy a $5 hot shower - I made sure I got my moneys worth.
I’ve planned to rest every second day for the Victorian section. Everyone is telling me how tough and steep the Victorian High Country is. Jack, my son, and I had a little taste of this when we had a mini adventure putting out my food drops a couple of weeks ago. Tasting it in a 4WD certainly will be quite different to what is ahead of me now. I set out tomorrow morning for Keppel’s Hut, marking the start of the serious stuff - as tough as it will be, one thing is for sure, the rest days will be welcomed and the views will be awesome!
At 47 years young, Chris Anthony, who is married with 3 wonderful kids, tried his hand at being an adventurer for the 12 months tackling the BNT.