In August 2014, we spoke with Darren King who was aiming to tackle the 1000km Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia to help raise money for type 1 diabetes. His wife Jenn was diagnosed with T1D in 1988 when she was seven, and Darren is determined to help find a cure.
Darren has now completed his trek, but not without some challenges along the way! He fills us in now on how it all went.
The long trek was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Every day, there were times when I wanted to go home. Walking kilometre after kilometre by myself in silence was extremely difficult. I couldn’t even take music with me, as I couldn’t keep anything charged.
The conditions didn’t help either – it was freezing at night and difficult to sleep, and boiling hot during the day. Luckily it didn’t rain! I was drinking up to 20L of water every day, and ended up losing 7kgs in three days. Given that I had to carry everything with me along the way, I ate mostly dehydrated food – a lot of beans and proteins. I definitely developed some cravings for certain foods.
There were other challenges – venomous snakes in the area that I had to keep a constant eye out for, as well as the time that I came across a herd of wild pigs that could have charged on me and seriously injured me.
I met a man on the trail, who lives there year in, year out, who supported me along the way. When I developed really bad blisters on my feet and ended up having to return home and spend time recovering, his words encouraged me to return to complete the trek.
“No one has ever left the trail and then come back to try again.”
Well, I was the first one – I returned after my blisters healed, and I went on to complete my mission to finish the trail!
I learnt a lot along the way about myself, and what I can achieve when I put my mind to it. I didn’t realise my own physical strength – I actually ended up walking 40kms on an ‘off’ day, and 70km on an “on” day.
There were beautiful moments on the walk as well. The wild animals you encounter – kangaroos, wallabies, emus, bobtails, echidnas…it’s breath-taking. The moment I arrived at the Southern Ocean, 2/3 of the way through the trip, was a big moment as well.
I couldn’t have done it without my primary motivation though – donors, my wife, the cause – thinking about them helped push me along the course.
Darren has completed his trek, but you can still donate here.