The benefits of getting outdoors are well documented. It's good for your body, mind and spirit. Every once in a while we come across a story that brings that message home better than any research project.

The Bibbulmun Track stretches nearly 1000 kilometres from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills, to Albany on the south coast of Western Australia. At each of the Track's 49 campsites there is a hut with a walkers register. These registers record the thoughts of walkers on the track. The hardy end to enders, the weekend walkers or families and friends talking a 2 hour stroll. The entries are poetic, sad, inspiring, amusing and occasionally moving. They give us a glimpse of the personal journey that the Track provides for many walkers. We recently came across a tribute to the Bibbulmun Track from Andy Bud, an end to end walker. We think its worth sharing. Thanks Andy.

Seven Weeks (A tribute to the Bibbulmun Track)

For seven weeks I was there,

and I was….

Seven weeks looking down serrated limestone cliffs at a rugged shore no other eyes were seeing, or looking up at the giant tingle trees, ancient and majestic, of standing beneath their outgrown roots and never feeling so small or insignificant.

Seven weeks of deep forest, Southern Ocean, flood plains, swamp flats, of the White Horse Hills and the Darling Range, the Murray, the Donnelly, the Gardner and the Warren, of shimmering granite domes or Pemberton soil, pebble-pocked and ruddy and rich.

Seven weeks of blackbutt, of karri, of ghost gum, of marri, of wandoo and jarrah, of kingia and balga, and

Seven weeks of brush wallabies and grey roos, echidnas and emus, whales and wedgies, birds filling the air with the disjointed dawn chorus of a hundred competing vocals, of tiger snakes and wolf spiders, oblivious to the fear they inspire in us, revelling in a land made for them.

For seven weeks I was there,

and I was…

Seven weeks wading knee high through inundated trail, water sloshing through wet shoes, of an overladen pack driving ankles into beach sand the colour of crushed bone, of cresting coastal dunes in sapping sunshine or rain that drenches to the marrow.

Seven weeks of bush-bashing around impassable obstacles, in mortal terror as storms crash branches like lightning against shelters, of razor grasses slashing at a face ashen and sinking with hunger, and yet….

Seven weeks of loving every minute. Even those hated minutes, once the hate was done with. 

For seven weeks I was there,

and I was….

Seven weeks where no matter your wealth, all you have is the load on your back and the roof over the next shelter. 

Seven weeks of rainwater, of the faint chlorine taint of Micropur Forte. 

Seven weeks of jelly beans, dried foods, chocolate rations, powdered milk, of flasks of bourbon and JW.

Or that one night drinking reserve pinot noir from a plastic water bottle, the makeshift luxury, the merry lightheaded thoughts.

Seven weeks of Leave No Trace, Pack it in Pack it Out, Use this Water Sparingly, Walk Wide, Keep to the Marked Trail.

Seven weeks of Dunny donors, of More Thinking, Less Stinking, of Only Use the Toilet Provided (and not the toilet that wasn’t provided).

Seven weeks of Phyto-fighting, of Never Leave Fires Unattended, of the Blackwood diversion and the charred remains of the Southampton Road bridge lying submerged and useless on the river bed. 

For Seven weeks I was there,

and I was….

Seven weeks where the buzz of bees replaces the drone of politicians, the squawk of cockatoos replaces the screeching of brakes, and

Seven weeks without billboards, jingles, slogans, cold calls, without being sold a single thing.

Seven weeks without credit cards, bank statements, utility bills, without the endless blaring of TV in the background.

Seven weeks without channel hopping or site surfing, without poking or liking or unliking or unfriending or share-if-you-agree or any of that fauxcial networking junk.

Seven weeks without you….but that’s okay, cos I thought about you every day, and I know you thought about me too, and

Every day for seven weeks I missed you, but in that fond yet distant way the land, glorying in a springtime bloom misses the winter rains, taking comfort that they’ll meet again and naively believing that nothing will have changed.

For seven weeks I was there,

And I was…

Seven weeks where every person you encounter is an event, not a shoulder to avoid on the pavement.

Seven weeks of tale-swapping, of giving, of receiving, of Track Magic, of the best in people, of solidarity in challenge, of the Wilson Inlet and insisting that a well-meaning man just take me round to where the track picks up again in Denmark and not drive me all the way to Walpole.

Seven weeks without mirrors – think how wonderful that is! Because all that matters about the face of a person is whether it is smiling or hurting.

Seven weeks of this because for days, there would be no other faces at all, and because phones out of range are just dead lumps of plastic and glass.

For seven weeks I was there,

where nine to five becomes sunrise to sunset.

Seven weeks of having the time to write this, or to read that, or to do nothing at all.

Seven weeks of six hundred miles, of discovering true solitude, of that line between peace and loneliness, of watching your own footprints disappear beyond the horizon, of the track stretching ahead, beckoning around the next bend, over the next hill.

Seven weeks of nothing but the trekker and the trail, the walker and the walk, of man or woman and the land, that vast expanse of ever-changing, ever-welcoming, ever-forbidding and ever-magnificent country to hide in.

For seven weeks I was there,

and I was nowhere to be found.

 Andy Bud, Sheffield, UK. Walked solo from Albany to Kalamunda between 30th June and 17th July 2013.

To start planning your own Bibbulmun Track adventure, visit our community partners The Bibbulmun Track Foundation. To find other outdoor park adventures try our parkfinder tool.

Photos Andy Bud, Bibbulmun Track Foundation, DPaW