Sorry, I was unable to upload any of the photos that go with this
Scarborough to Figtree (24km)
|At seven in the
morning, Chris, the bloke I was staying with, dropped me down to
Scarborough to the point where I'd stopped walking the previous
day (well, if the truth be told, it was actually 50 metres
further down the road, but I won't tell anyone if you
I bumped into a nice fellow called Paul as I passed through
Thirroul (the town where I was born, don't you know), who took
me in and fed me some Weet-Bix (did I mention that Sanitarium
declined to sponsor this event?), before walking with me for a
few K's. I left him at the beginning of Northern Wollongong's
extensive seaside bicycle track, and spent the next few hours
walking along the seaside into central Wollongong.
I soon discovered the pleasures of walking on grass!
The cycle track passes through 15km of grassy park, and my feet
were gasping with pleasure (well, okay, not complaining of pain
quite so loudly) as I trod the soft blades all the way to
Wollongong. I had an excellent (and as it turned out, free)
lunch in the Blue Moon Beach Cafe, and marched into Wollongong
in search of some cotton boxer shorts to relieve my incessant
chaffing (they worked miracles, if you're interested).
Twilight saw me in Figtree (3km further south), where I was
picked up by Peter Cahill, a local, and taken to his family
home. We all had a bit of fun when the photographer from the
Illawarra Mercury arrived and suggested that the best photo
would involve me reclining on a big chair with the five family
members pampering me from all sides.
And thanks David for letting me sleep in your room.
There's a photo of the gorgeous Cahill family in my photos
Figtree to Albion Park (25km)
|After Peter dropped
me back to Figtree, the morning passed uneventfully. The pain in
my feet remained and showed little sign of passing anytime soon.
My first bad weather for the trip kicked in for an hour
around nine (a cold headwind and moderate rain), but blew over
after I stopped for a late breakfast.
I was joined for the last 8km into Albion Park by a lovely
soul called Leslie, who walked with me and provided me with
Three km before Albion Park a miracle occurred. Standing by
the side of the road was Paul (from the Royal National Park and
the last 20 years of my life), his wife Sherry and two-year-old
daughter Taylor. They'd decided to spend the night in the area,
and did I want to stay with them?
Does the pope shit in the Woods?!?
I finished the march into Albion Park limping slightly from
the machinations of a muscle I never knew existed, and strode
straight into the post office to collect my (extravagant pause)
Nike Air running shoes that had been mailed to me from Sydney by
my friend Greg. The boots and the sandals are going back to
Sydney with Paul. Furthermore, Paul and Sherry are going to drop
my pack in Robertson tomorrow so I don't have to carry it for a
whole day! Yippee!
Albion Park to Robertson (25km)
|This was supposed to
be a good day. My running shoes would be sorting out all the
problems in my feet, my pack would be magically waiting for me
in Robertson, and I'd finally leave the coast and start getting
up into the rural areas.
One out of three ain't bad.
I started out well, briskly marching down the road, until a
small, normally well-behaved muscle behind my left knee brought
me to a screaming halt after less than 90 minutes. Stretching,
massaging, Dencorub - nothing would stop it cramping up. It was
like a shin-splint, only round the back behind my knee, and it
totally prevented me from straightening my leg. My walk became
more of a waddle.
On top of this, my change of footwear had brought with it a
generous and enriching new set of blisters. These kicked in
after two hours. My stroll up Australia was reduced to a trudge
up Australia, and eventually to a stagger up Australia. It was
at about this time that I decided to revise my daily schedule to
a slightly less ambitious pace of 25km per day. I'll be a couple
of days late to Kosciusko, but at least I'll get there.
I'm sorry to be going on about my bodily aches and pains, but
you have to understand - these issues pervaded my whole day. It
becomes hard to concentrate on anything else - life, careers,
spirituality, etc - when every step (only 80 every minute)
brings with it a rather acute pain.
The day did have some joy. I had a marvellous climb up
through the National Park to the top of the Macquarie Pass at
Robertson (a height of 2,300 feet - nearly a third of the height
of Kosciusko, don't you know). The view at the top was
gratifying, and gave me a sense of accomplishment, even if I
could see the town I started in not too far away below me.
Finally, I pulled into Robertson, collected my pack, and was
picked up by my host for the evening, Roy, and taken home to
enjoy a lovely home-cooked meal with his wife and son.
Just so you all know, until my leg and feet improve and I can
start truly strolling (or even striding!), I'm going to try to
carry my pack as little as possible. It does make the day so
much more manageable, and I hope noone out there will begrudge
me the relief it brings. Surely it's not cheating tooooo
All monies collected on this walk will be donated to Mission Australia
to care for the homeless. To learn more about their work, visit www.mission.com.au
more people that know about this walk, the more successful it will be.