Update 2, Day 9

Update number 2 since I’ve been out here. I’m slack, yes I know, but I am keeping up with Instagram and Facebook (and learning a lot more about both. Anyway, its day number 9 today).

There might be a lot of things I have mentioned already on social media, but hey, this is a blog update.

When Baz and I turned up to windy corner carpark at Falls Creek and started sorting out our ‘sleds’ everyone was very intrigued, especially when I told them my story and that I am spending 3 months in the VIC Alpine Area camping near huts to raise awareness of mental health. I spoke to the local ski patrol and head of SES, exchanged numbers, and spoke of my rough plan. They wished me luck and Baz and I started carting approx 150+ kg of stuff for 11km with a vertical gain of 200m. We arrived at dark and slept in the hut absolutely exhausted.

Upon arrival there was 6 days straight of bluebird weather, but with a punchy melt freeze crust it meant the snow wasn’t that enjoyable and the wind was a bit light till day 4. Then on the day Baz was leaving (day 4) we got some good wind finally. Baz was stoked and I was stoked for him to not have to tour his sled and kite it instead 😊.

Edmondsons hut is rather chilly and full of hungry mice and rats, so all it is good for is having breakfast and dinner, and hanging stuff out of the cold. Other than that it’s warmer to do activities during the day, have dinner, and head into the tent. It’s surprising the sorts of dinners you can do with dehydrated food and raw food (see some of the pics below).

I have been doing all sorts of things to keep busy and warm on down days (such as collecting dry wood from trees and coming up with a system to dry off the ice, turning snow into clean water and storing it, building walls around the tent to keep it from being battered by wind, and snow kiting or ski touring when conditions are suitable). Everything that normally is basic takes a lot longer up here. however I seem to be getting a lot more efficient everyday.

I have also noticed that my body doesn’t crave sugar and junk food. I bought some Cola cordial with me, and dark choc to go with the trail mix, but I was over the Cola cordial very quickly and didn’t touch any of the choc until day 7. I have been enjoying maple syrup in my porridge and 2 sugar tablets in my morning coffee though 😋.

Surprisingly I thought I would go crazy being alone and being in silence a lot of the time, and prior to leaving Melbourne I got very stressed to the point of getting sick, trying to get everything ready by the 23rd. I didn’t think I was mentally capable of doing it anymore and started panicking. However the more people I talked to the more people that reminded me ‘I got this’. As soon as I was touring away from Falls Creek village I felt a sense of peace and a first step of achievement.

My mental state up here has been incredible, keeping very busy and focusing on very basic day to day activities. I do get a tad worried both financially and what I’m going to do when I return from my journey, but then I just focus on tasks that need to be done at that particular point in time. It is doing wonders for my headspace and wellbeing, and talking to the people I meet up here creates quite a surprised reaction.

I have wanted to snow kite, or ski, Spion Kopje everytime I have looked that way from Falls Creek, so that is my first goal before moving base. I am also due to do a village day trip to recharge batteries in the next couple of days, and will also have some friendly faces to catch up whilst there.

After I have kited Spion Kopje I intend to start heading to dinner plain for a 4 day catchup with friends and do some snow kite lessons/guiding whilst there (plus I have always wanted to do the Falls-Hotham journey and back). The party/catchup is on the 19th July so hopefully I have plenty of time to get there and pull my kayak ‘sled’ using wind instead of touring

Below is some links to some of my more memorable trips in the last 9 days (including a GPS whiteout ski tour to West Mt Nelse, using only GPS to tour and ski to Johnstons hut, before touring back to base):

– Initial trip to Edmondsons hut to setup base: https://www.relive.cc/view/1656405258

– A good snow kite session: https://www.relive.cc/view/1662484043

– The blind trip during a storm to find lee-ward goods (which there were some nice tree runs just before Johnstons hut): https://www.relive.cc/view/1670830451

I’m still working out WordPress & gofundme on my phone, so I have waited till close to the end to put pics of tent life and hut life, rather than trying to break up the text with images (hopefully next time I am successful with that…):

Another bluebird day ski touring

Strange ice melt at Edmonsons hut

Setting up camp

Peek-a-boo

Food reorganisation

Got some good wind, and bye bye Baz

Typical food prep

Curried rice and mushrooms

Instant mashed spud and chili

Drying out icy firewood

Drying out gear

Waking to a foggy day

Before the storm

The morning during/after the storm

GPS skiing in the storm

(And don’t forget to keep donating/supporting so I have something to restart life with when I return, I appreciate the support a lot ☺).

https://www.gofundme.com/help-simon-with-mental-illness

Also at this stage I have to:

– Kite SITTING IN the kayak ‘sled’ when its suitable conditions (which was a goal for 8K, thanks Nick)

– Kite a full moon (or close to) at night when the conditions are right (which was a goal at 8.5K, thanks Baz)

– Spend a week only using and sleeping in a snow cave when the goal hits 9K (thanks Brandie)

And I’m very open to trying realistic challenges during my journey at certain targets, send me a message on Facebook ☺.

Much love,
Arohanui,
Simon