Man what a crazy few months. Between the summer bushfire crisis and now the covid-19 pandemic things have been a bit chaotic. With only a few weeks left to go before heading across to Western Australia to hike the Bibbulmun Track I was super excited to be getting away and heading bush for a month. I was busy prepping gear as early as last night.
It has been a hard decision but one that I reached late today – I will be postponing the Bibbulmun epic to later in the year and all beacuse of this bloody virus. Everything has flipped upside down and people are flipping out.
For starters, backing onto the Bibbulmun Track trip I had planned to climb South Australia’s highest point and peak bag another State 8 mountain. But unfortunatley this trip has been cancelled. Woodroffe is located on the lands of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjararemote (APY) people in the north-east corner of SA. Access to the lands requires a permit, which we had, but the permit has since been cancelled due to risks associated with outsiders potentially bringing Covid-19 into remote Aboriginal communities. I respect that completely and have no issues with the cancellation as I still had the Bibb Track to look forward to. How quickly things change.
Within the past week, things have just become more and more challenging. Not quite out of hand but alarming none the less and enough to reconsider travelling at all. Life as we knew it has changed… at least for now.
With travel bans and expected cutbacks everywhere, Qantas has massively down scaled operations and is laying off hundreds of workers temporarily. Nation wide it is recommended that all non-essential travel interstate be posponed. Now while the Bibbulmun Track is essential travel in my mind, in reality it’s not and it would be selfish of me to think otherwise.
Even with flight cutbacks I was pretty sure I could get to Perth but I wouldn’t want to be stuck 3,000km from home in case the situation deteriorated any further and flights back home were stopped. Hell, Tasmania is talking about keeping any non-state residents out and there were rumours floating about that WA might consider the same thing.
OK, so even if able to get to Perth there was the issue of getting to Albany with REX regional airlines as planned and hiking the Bibb Track back to Perth. REX are reviewing their entire flight schedule in Western Australia at the moment and it is likely that my flights would be impacted. I could always change my plans and head south-bound instead heading from Perth towards Albany but the situation would remain the same in getting back to Perth. There are always other options I suppose like hitching or bussing it and I had plenty of time with an extra week up my sleeve with the Mt Woodroffe trip cancelled.
But then there is the food situation and potential for empty shelves along the way. How would I resupply in small country towns when in my own regional town people are continuing to panic buy and clear shelves of food? There is always the option of Vegan food though – no-one seems to be panic buying that shit. I have no idea how long this craziness will last and it’s just not worth the risk of having to bail out due to the lack of food.
I was thinking a month in the bush would be the best form of self isolation but with zombies behaving badly at the moment I think it best to stay closer to home for a few weeks.
So the Bibbulmun Track is off for now, not gone, just postponed. What is better is if I delay it to spring I can hit the track in peak wildflower season which I hear is spectacular with 12,000 species, 60% of which are found nowhere else in the world. Until then…… time to go hunting and fill the freezer.