The 13 photos for this update and the last, numbered 400 onwards,
can be found here.
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
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!).
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
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.
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
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.
Rest day in Goulburn (0km)
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
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....
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.