Title graphic by Martin Budd
Site Guide
Main Page
Sponsor Mark
The Walk
The Route
Daily Progress
Contact Mark
About Mark
The Guestbook
Do you live on the route?
It will be cooold in June in the places Mark is going! If any kind soul that lives along the route that Mark is following would like to accommodate Mark for a night during the walk, please contact Mark.
Fancy a stroll?
I am more than happy to have people join me for a day or two as I walk. If you feel like a day's walk through the  countryside, check out the route, pick a day that suits you and contact Mark.


Update 4


The 13 photos for this update and the last, numbered 400 onwards, can be found here.

 June 25:  Robertson to Exeter (34km)
Roy, the fellow whose family I stayed with last night, kindly offered this morning to drop my pack in Moss Vale for me, 22km up the road. Wahoo! Another day sans pack - should be easy! And yet, I remember that I felt exactly the same yesterday, and that day turned out to be very nearly my most painful day so far.

So, before I started, I decided I'd be taking it easy today, and I wouldn't try to get any further than Moss Vale.

As I was walking, however, I found that my cramps of the previous day were slowly abating, and I'd found a way to combat the blisters on my feet - I cut holes in the backs of my running shoes (thank god Nike isn't one of my sponsors). So the walking got almost pleasant. I strolled (I really did! I actually strolled!) into Moss Vale at around 1:30, and didn't feel like stopping (make hay while the sun shines, and all that), so I pushed on for another 12km to Exeter, all quite uneventfully.

In Exeter, I was picked up by Yolanda and Kasse, the lovely couple who were putting me up for the night (they live in Bowral).

But the icing on the cake - the very frosting on the inscription on the icing on the cake - was that (wait for it) Yolanda just happened to be a professional remedial masseusse! I've got no more excuses now - half an hour ago she rubbed all the stiffness out of my legs.

(Aside: I know there are many of you out there that are little interested in the actual nuts and bolts of my walking days, and are tuning into this web site only to see what thoughts, inspirations, reflections and truths I've come up with since I started walking. I know that's true - you've been sending me emails asking me about it. To all those people, please be patient. This walk has really only just begun. I only left Wollongong yesterday morning. I've got at least two more weeks of walking - this first week was mostly spent getting used to this walking thing. Call it a warming up week (I might be fit, but I can tell you one thing - I'm not a natural walker). There are germinations of ideas kicking around in my mind, but it would be premature to voice them at this stage. For the next few days I may just have to bore you with the inanities of life on the road. Thanks for sticking with me this far. End of aside)

P.S. I'm not going through Perisher any more. Instead I'll be getting to Kosciusko via Thredbo and Mount Crackenback (and no, I will not be using the chairlift!).

 June 26:  Exeter to just east of Marulan (38km)
See that heading? 38km!! A new record. I suppose it had something to do with the fact that yet again I wasn't carrying my pack (well, for the first 26km). That damn pack makes all the difference.

Today I walked with Yolanda (my massaging host from last night) for most of the day. We walked 22km together, and it sure made the time fly by. I'd love to be able to walk with people every day. I eventually stopped in the dark at 7pm, but I felt like I could walk on for hours more. I only stopped because I was getting close to the surprisingly loud noise of the Hume Highway, and I wanted to be able to sleep in peace. I found a peaceful spot under some trees and got out my tent. The rural night was gorgeous, warm and still.

So there I am in the middle of nowhere, putting up the tent in the pitch dark, headtorch focused down on what I'm doing, and I hear some footsteps not ten feet from where I'm standing. I shine the headtorch in the direction of the noise, right into the face of a huge bull. Its horns were maybe five feet across.

A pause. A delicate moment. Where did I leave my red cape?

What to do? After a moment I pointed the torch square into his eyes and said very quietly, "Go away."

And he did. He turned around and walked off in the other direction. My sleep that night was interrupted only once, by something brushing against the tent. I was awake and half out of the tent instantly, headtorch in hand, only to discover a tiny horse, not much bigger than a large dog, who seemed to want to eat whatever was under my tent. He took a little more persuading than his friend, but eventually wandered off.

 June 27:  Just east of Marulan to Goulburn (30km)
As I walked out onto the Hume Highway at Marulan (where the twin Burger Kings are), I noticed a sign that said Sydney 165km. I mentally added up my own tally, and found that I'd walked 217km so far. I found it a little depressing to realise that I'd walked an extra 50km - or two days of walking - in order to make my surroundings more scenic and tranquil. Was that the right thing to do? Would it have been better to walk the most direct route, straight down the Hume?

Well, after 21km of walking on that god-forsaken strip of bitumen, I can safely say those were two days well spent. Boring, featureless roadside, punctuated every ten seconds or so by the roar of a car passing at 110km per hour or a truck scaring the bejesus out of me with its air brakes.

Yes, I'm very glad to say that I won't be going near that road again for the entire walk (except on the way back, I suppose). I have a new understanding now of travelling by car. It is so fast.

I carried my pack today, after three days without it. My god - what a difference! At the end of the day, with a new swag of blisters (I'm up to eight so far), I limped - literally - into Goulburn and into the local office of Mission Australia. There, a very lovely lady called Carol took me back to her home for a shower and a hot meal, and a very good night's sleep.

And the best bit? Tomorrow is a rest day! I need it. I've walked nine days straight now, for 245km, and I just don't think I'd be able to do it tomorrow.

 June 28:  Rest day in Goulburn (0km)
What undiluted joy it is to be able to sleep in until 10am, happy in the knowledge that I don't have to walk anywhere today! Well, trust me - it is! How many of you reading this are feeling joy that you don't have to walk 30km today? Did you think this morning when you woke up, Hey, I don't have to walk 30km today. Alright!

Anyway, the rest of the day was boring and uneventful (errands and stuff), so I won't bore you with any of that. See you again in a few days....



The Cause

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
Spread the word
The more people that know about this walk, the more successful it will be.



Back to top

This site copyright Mark Virtue 2000.  All Rights Reserved

Back to top