Friday, 19 August 2011

Day 80: Manly to Bondi...FINISHED!!!

Wow I can't believe that the last day of the walk has arrived. The time has passed by so quickly that it feels like it was only 3weeks not 3months since I left.

I woke up quite early to make the most of the last day. Weather was ordinary to say the least. I think cyclone Larry has decided to do a John Farnham special and do a comeback tour starting down south. Boy it's windy today!

Skirted the north shore of Sydney in the early hours and although still dark the early morning light did give up a sneak peak at what must be the best harbour in the world. Old man Phillip said so when he found it in 88' and I don't think he was too far wrong.

As day broke I rounded Mosman penninsula and laid eyes on for only the 2nd time in my life the opera house and coat hanger. They looked so close I could almost touch them. This really is it. I'm actually in Sydney I thought to myself. But that was as far as any emotinal thought venured. Well it's more a case of mixed emotions really. On one side of the fence I felt elated to at long last be in sydney and on the other it felt a little sad to have to end this chapter. And although I did cross the finish line with Jane and Charlotte from Sydney's Oxfam team waiting, it doesn't in some respects feel like the end at all, for somewhere in the back of my mind I know there is much more to be done!

But for now this is it. I have finished my Walk Against Want. As much as I would like, I fear it would be impossble for me to try and summarize this long and epic journey right now. But through the highs and lows it has been an amazing experience and one which has raised a few dollars to help those living on the brink.

So if you haven't yet made a donation now is the time to do so! For those who doubted whether I could actually finish this walk you now have your answer. The walk was possible and likewise it's possible for you to make a real and significant difference in the lives of those living in poverty! Your donations and contributions to organisations like Oxfam are as vital as ever before and will litteraly save the lives of those living in the most abhorrent of circumstances. So please, before you do anything else, make a donation by calling Oxfam or follow the details below. Don't use the excuse that you don't haven't any money or your strapped at the moment. Compared to those in Africa right know all of us are living a life of luxury.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughtout the walk. There are many people who I should mention but I would undoubtedly miss one of the many out. Thanks to Lisa Hemmings from the Warwick Daily News and the many individuals and businesses from Warwick who got behind me for the walk. And lastly I couldn't have done this without the help and support of Mum and Dad. Thank you so very much to all. Although the walk is over I will keep a couple of more posts coming to keep everyone in the loop as to how the whole fundraising finished up.

So to donate call Oxfam on 1800 088 110 or log onto

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Day 79: Monavale to Manly

From the very start I never actually gave too much thought to Sydney. I never worried about the distance or how I might feel when if and when I might arrive. But now that I've stepped foot on Sydney's northern beaches the realization of how far I've come has smacked me In the face and awakened my senses.

The latest walks have by in large been much shorter than all previous others. But bcuade the end is in sight I think the butter is starting to melt. The bag weighs the same. The terrian is pretty easy and yet the shoulders seem to hurt more than ever. I kind of wish I wasnt aware of where the finish line lay. That way I wouldn't expect to be there any sooner and take any more notice of the niggles.

But Manly it is. And what a cracking day. Sun shining. Not a cloud in the sky.
After dong an inteview with the Manly Daily I was back on the streets in search of donations. Man it's tough getting donations sometimes. Like drawing blood from a stone. When I mention the walk to some people it's like an automatic switch is flicked and a pre-recorded 'no sorry Im not interested' is spurted ever so quickly from their lips. One lady in a chemist asked how I was going with the donations to which I replied it's pretty tough. She then remarked that I shouldn't have any trouble around here and with that went off to speak to the half dozen other staff members about donations. She came back with 1 gold dollar coin and affirmation 'you're right it is hard getting anything out of people.' But then there's some at the other end of the spectrum who take a genuine interet in the cause and offer what they can...even if it is just an ear or a word of encouragement. In my experience these are the minority but do provde an overwhelming amount of the inspiration to keep going.

So while Manly has been an absolute pleasure to visit, the search for donations here has been tough. If you're reading this for the first time and would like to donate please call Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110 or log onto

Sydney town here I come!!!!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Day 78: Ettalong Beach to Monavale

Ettalong is situated on the northern shore of the Brisbane Waters bay. To stick to my beach walking guidlines as closely as possible I caught the ferry across from ettalong to palm beach. Not long after stepping off the pontoon did the heavens open. Although only another short walk today it did rain for enough of the walk to make it irritating.

As I might have mentioned these posts will be short n sweet so I can spend most of my time in the afternoons funraising. So that's what off to do.

To make a tax deductible donation call Oxfam today on 1800 088 110 or follow the link:

thanks to all those people have donated or supported the walk against want already.

Day 77: Avoca Beach to Ettalong

Knocked off another 16k's today no worries.

Thanks to the Ettalong beach tourist resort for providing the accomodation and wonderful hospitality. If you're ever in the area you should most definitely make a stop at the Ettalong tourist resort. It has over 100 little CAfes; resturants shops and markets and cinemas all under the one roof and with a flavour of Italy. A rich vibrant cosy hub definitely worth your time.

These final days are flying by. Only 60km to

Don't forget to donate by calling Oxfam Australia on 1800088110 or jump onto:


Day 76: Terrigal to Avoca Beach

Nothing too excitng to report on here. Did the Terrigal to Avoca Beach.

A huge thankyou to the Avoca Beach Heritage Villas for putting me up for the night!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Day 75: The Entrance to Terrigal

Tramped to Terrigal today. A seaside town with million dollar views and million dollar villas to suit. Sure there's plenty of doe Ray me to go around but it wasn't the money which attracted me to this town. The people of Terrigal were so receptive to what I was doing and why and communicated a genuine belief in Oxfam and the need for their work and other charities like them. 9 out of 10 didn't hesitate for a moment to donate towards the cause and offer a word of encouragement. The support of terrigal and it's business community has given me a new found hope and faith in fundraising during these final days of the walk.

A sincere thanks to all those I met and spoke to in Terrigal today. Your support has warmed my heart and easily persuaded me to return someday soon.

Sydney is only 70km away. The finish line looms and I grow excited.

Please if you get a chance go swing a dollar or 2 my way by calling Oxfam 1800088110 or logging on to: those in the greatest need would be ever so grateful.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Day 74: Budgewoi to The Entrance

Smashed out 15km in 2.5hrs today. That's a speedy average of 6km/hr. Lucky there were no speed cameras on the road otherwise my wallet would be a lot lighter.

Arrived at The entrance at 852am and spent the next few hours on the hunt for donations. A few people mentioned they had seen me walking into town. I Thanked them for not offering me a lift.

Although only a short walk to town today the feet were kept busy until dusk. Off to bed...

Watch out Terrigal you're in my sights.

Call the crew at Oxfam on 1800088110 they'd love to take a donation on my behalf. Or give the credit card a little workout by loggin on to: and swing a very worthwhile and needed donation my way. Pleeease.


Day 73: Swansea to Budgewoi

Today was a much longer walk than the last couple. Walked for a solid three hours to haul my sorry self to Catherine Hill Bay, an old coal mining Village in one of the most stunning coves. I stopped at the renowned pub on the hill for breakfast which i'm sure to your surprise didn't include any amber ales. The publican and staff were iconic Australians, if there is such a thing. Wonderfully warm, welcoming and down to earth. After an hours break and a barrel of laughs I hit the road again.

Tried to take myself on every short cut possible but all were dead ends! Defeated I took the long and known road to Budgelwoi.

Long day = tired = awesome sleep.

Please donate by calling oxfam on 1800088110 or log on to


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Day 72: Redhead to Swansea

Arrived in Swansea around lunchtime today. Haven't seen much but looks beautiful so far. Starting to feel closer to Sydney. The finish line is in sight and its getting exciting.

This is just a quick note before I head off to roam the streets for donations.

Please donate by following the link: or

By calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110.

Any donation great or small is sincerely appreciated.

Day 71: Newcastle to Redhead

The weather man sure does like to forecast rain for my departures. left in light drizzling rain but without a rain coat. Rain became heavier so i put on the jacket.....rain stops immediately. Can't complain though the sunshine was very much welcome.

Just a short walk today down to Redhead. great to be back on the walk!

Day 65: Stockton to Newcastle

Enjoyed a sleep-in today and a leisurely stroll to Newcastle. After spending so much time alone in some rather remote locations it was a little daunting getting off the ferry and walking through the streets of a city again. But it didn't take long to get accustom to Newcastle. The people were warm and very supportive of the cause. Historic buildings, great beaches and loads of trendy cafes and made the weeks stay very enjoyable indeed. There's not long to go now and soon I'll be setting off on the last stint of the journey. The past 10weeks have absolutely flown by. It seems like only last week that I left the Gold Coast.  And on that note time is short so I must be off to ramp up the fundraising.  Stay tuned!

Please donate by following the link: or

By calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110.

Any donation great or small is sincerely appreciated.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Day 64: One Mile to Stockton

Sand. sand. sand. Everywhere I look Stockton sand. It's under my feet. It fills my shoe. It's in every pocket of every bag. It finds it's way into every nook and cranny it can find. It lines in the creases and crevices of folded material and covers the flater surfaces entirely with time.  There seems to be no stopping the extent to which it will explore. It's in the clutch of every wave, and the wind laced with its granules. It's in my eyes and alas it's sand that fills my mind.
Anna Bay

Anna Bay

Anna Bay to Stockton

The Stockton sand dunes connecting Anna Bay to Stockton were my world today. Crossing over the last rocks at Anna Bay there was sand as far as the eye could see except of course for the deep blue ocean blanketing everything further east. Now on this little walk of mine I've seen a sand dune or two and I've seen some pretty big ones too. But sand dunes as big as these, surely there are few?

I walked for a good hour or two along the hard flat sand at low tide before my curiosity led me into the heart of Stockton sand dunes. What lay before me was mesmorising. Some fellows I had spoken to previously likened the dunes to those in the Sahara desert. Such a comparison indeed seems fitting given that the movie Sahara was apparrently filmed here. And yes amoungst the largest of the dunes where no life appeared to exist, not hint of ocean or of trees, I certainly did feel like I was in a vast desolate desert. The vastness, the size and colours were captivating. Every dune had been individually sculptured by the wind. Colours and patterns on the faces appeared to show signs of the moisture content. The peaks of the dunes, at least one side, were defined clearly by a firm crisp edge almost like that on a solid block of wood. In some places the sand was hard and firm. In others it was soft as a fresh fall of snow. Regardless of how keen the eye was in its analysis, the difference in colour or texture of the surface gave very few, if any, accurate clues of it's structure. Only by trial and error could one determine the profile.

One such trial and error occured while I was making tracks back to the beach. Standing on the highest peak I could find, I gazed out towards the distant sea. At the bottom of this dune, in the large wide swale the recent rain had given birth to an expansive network of freshwater pools. From my perch I decided on a route back to the beach. One part of the route would take me between two pools of water. As I mentioned before, it's virtually impossible to determine the structure of the sand by simply looking at it. The sand between the two pools was at least 10m wide and appeared very dry. I couldn't have imagined what happened next.

As I took a step onto the sandy path the right foot sunk about 10cm through the thin crusty surface. By this stage momentum already committed me to taking another step which sank even further. I was now up to my knees in sand. Scenes from old Westerns where cowboys and their ponies got caught in quicksand pits flickered across my mind. I wondered if I moved any further if I might just continue to sink so far that the sand would swallow me whole. After 600 plus kilometers what a way to go?


I thought about turning around but had no hope of doing so without falling down in the process. If I did fall I didn't like my chances of moving much further with the heavy load and nothing firm to hold onto. I dared to take a third step. It too sunk to my knee but no further. That was a bonus and a tentative permission to sludge on. After 8 steps, all as deep as the previous, I was out of the quicksand pit. Shoes, socks and feet were completely soaked. Perfect conditions for blisters. Impatient to finish the leg and/or just too lazy to change footwear I walked on. As anticipated, blisters arrived not long after. I did not stop.


As I had experienced a couple of days ago the first hour went really well. During hour number 2 discomforts nagged and threatened to halt progress. I pushed on. Hour 3 and 4 the senses became somewhat numb. I was beyond caring about how far I'd come or, have to go, or about the discomforting backpack. But by 4.5hrs I cracked and had to stop. I had discovered that 35km of sand is a bloody long way to walk in a day. At one point I imagined that an enormous hour glass so large it contained all the sand on the beach was the actual timer being used to measure today's journey by. The previous 4hr cycle continued but with much shorter intervals.


Sea Snake

I passed a sea snake and a ship wreck on the beach as the sun began it's decent towards the horizon. Light grew longer and weaker and a noticeable cooling began. F/A-18 Hornet jets from the nearby Williamtown RAAF base seemed to stalk me for most of the afternoon. The huge dunes blocked out the roaring sound of fighters tearing through the sky and so concealed their presence until the last second when they were already upon me. The squadron practiced dog fights and landing and take off sequences. When two jets simultaneously commenced a take-off it sounded like they were tearing the very fabric of the atmosphere apart. What a hair raising thrill it would be to pilot one those jets. Time ticked by and as the last grain of sand trickled into the lower bulb of the hour glass I had at long last conquered Stockton dunes.


F/A-18 Hornet

Only a hop, skip and ferry to and I'll be in old Newcastle town tomorrow.

Please donate by following the link: or

By calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110.

Any donation great or small is sincerely appreciated.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Day 63: Tea Gardens to One Mile

While travelling down this great coast of ours one thing I have found some deal of curiosity in is the naming of towns. As I review the plans for the route ahead or as I reflect on the road taken I alway give a moments wonder to how and when these locations came to be known as they are and who was repsonible for their naming. Some like Tea Gardens, or One Mile have presumably taken their names from the obvious physical characteristics. But others like Hat Head and Old Bar intrigue me. And then there's places like Murder's Bar, Jackass Flats, or Sheeps-head gully-sinister or satirical I'm not quite sure what to make of their history. As many of us know a large number of names have Aboriginal origins. Or towns like Woolgoolga, are derivities of, in this case from Wee-Gullga, a name for a native plum in the area. But given the complex indigenous language and the very poor ear that european settlers apparently had for aboriginal phonetics it is very likely that many words and names were incorrectly translated by early pioneers and planners.

Port Stephen Headlands

Rain clouds loomed and threatened from the moment I woke until the time I went to bed. From Tea Gardens I crossed the harbour to Nelson Bay by ferry and then followed the coastline past Tomaree Headland, Shoal Bay, Fingal Bay and finally onto One Mile. Every bay and headland was picturesque in its own unique way and if only the sun were shining a little brighter would they have been revealed in their true glory. For most of the day I trudged on through the rain until I had had enough and made camp at One Mile. I let the pics speak for today's walk.

Fingal Bay

Fingal Bay

Dunes at Zenith Beach

Zenith Beach

The final hurdle to One Mile

Tomorrow its off along Stockton beach. A number of people I've spoken to have made a particular note of the remarkable topography of the Stockton sand dunes which I'm about to encounter. I'm very much looking forward to checking them out.

Please donate by following the link: or

By calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110.

Any donation great or small is sincerely appreciated.

Day 62: Big Gibber to Tea Gardens

The plan of attack for today was to make it to Myall Shores to restock for what would then be a following day's saunter down to Tea Gardens. But things didn't quite turn out as I expected...

Sunrise from Gibber
Walking 15km down the beach from Big Gibber I turned westward and entered the brush again to cut a short track across and onto Mungo Brush Road. Consulting my gps maps I felt reasonably confident that I could find myself an old mining road track to lead my way. Disappearing into the vegetation I hacked my through no more than 100 maybe 150m of greenery before coming to a prolonged stop at the base of the second dune. Faced by another wall of branches meshed together bravado was put aside and common sense pravailed. I turned around and went to go the long way round.

The not so short short-cut to Mungo Brush Rd.
After an unknown amount of time, probably not that long, I stumbled on a 4wd track connecting the beach to the Mungo Brush Road I was searching for. Heading north on the black stuff I back tracked towards Myall Shores which was 5km further up. Along the way I noticed that all of the designated camping sites to my left had been inundated with water. It wasn't until the following day that I would learn that the water line is usually 10m back from where it currently stood and in most places was lined with a sandy shore. To my right a swamp of reeds and tea trees expanded from the shoulder of the road back east towards the sea. Discovering this swamp I was very much glad I didn't persue the short cut route only to find myself faced with this unbeatable obstacle.

Swamp at the back of the dunes

Myall shores is actually on the northern shore of Myall lake but it's usually connected to the south by a small ferry. Following the road between lake and swamp it was with great disappoinment I soon discovered the ferry to Myall Shore was out of service. The flooding lake made it impossible for passangers to board or disembark on either shore. Instantly I realised there would be no clean water and no shops to restock for sometime yet to come. After already backtracking I was guttered by the situation I found myself in. With a deep sigh and momentary thought of self-pitty I turned on heel and walked south once more towards Tea Gardens.

By this stage my water reserves were running reasonably low. I had about 600ml of water to last another 15-20km. The situation wasn't critical but it was certainly far from ideal. If desparate I knew I could drink the brackish lake water. To conserve energy and water consumption I focused on slowing my breathing. 8 breaths per minute if my memory serves me correct. I kept my mouth closed and breathed only through my nose. I allowed myself one mouth full of water only when partched. It's difficult to ascertain the impact of such measures but I suspect they were probably more akin to a placebo. Whether it was more mind than matter I did discover some benefits from adopting the practices noted.

Tramped twice: The road to and from Myall Shore

When faced with a challenge like this it is interesting to reflect on the cycles one's outlook turns through. Personally I found that an inital short-lived frustration sweeps across you when you first realise what lay ahead. Then a train of rational thought begins and practical plans begin to take shape which will hopefully provide a successful solution to the problem faced. As progress is made this planning phase is succeed by a powerful sense of empowerment, a real confidence that the distance can be made, and maybe in a shorter time than previously conceived. However, physical discomforts slowly gnaw away at the positive mindset until you find yourself just wishing that you were already at your destination. Are we there yet? No. Are we there yet? No. Are we...... the child in the back seat continued to ask.

In these mad times I often wish I had my Ipod. Surely I could call upon hendrix, the zeps, the stones or any number of the 15000 or so tracks stored to distract me from the present and whisk away my mind to another place and time. But I left the Ipod at home for a purpose and this was it. I wanted to be completely conscious of every thought and emotion I experienced on this journey. I feared that if I did use the Ipod in such a situation I would fail to discover and experience these emotional troughs. Despite their heavy black weight, I now know these lows are just as important as the highs, for they serve as reference points, markers against which the good times can be compared. Just as a black text would never be as bold without a white base, so too would the emotional and scenic highs be lacking of luster without the adversary lows. It's times like these that give the great moments the distinction and rememberance they deserve. Ever so slowly I began to come to grips with the situation,the discomfort and the great distance still to cover. Slow and steady, one foot in front of the next, numb became the mind as I learnt to embracing the moment. Time permits all endeavours and as she passed hour on end I found myself at the destination I yearned for.

This was not the way I had planned to spend the last 2 days but I guess on the bright side I've caught up an extra day. I've said all it is I have to say, its now time to hit the hay.

Throw a dollar or two this way.

Please donate by following the link: or

By calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110.

Any donation great or small is sincerely appreciated.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Day 61: Seal Rocks to Big Gibber

Lighthouse Beach
Again I was fortunate to share today's walk with another, Terry the lighthouse keeper. The morning being clear and sunny the mercury climbed quckly. After considerable consultation with national park staff regarding the intentions of my walk and the path which offered the greatest of sights, I made plans to follow the old gibber track which very roughly disected the park from south west to north east. This track would lead me towards Shelley beach on the southern shorline of Myall Lake then south west on to Myall Shore for restocking of water and supplies. However, Terry who had lived in the area for a number of years, assured me it would be far more enjoyable and quicker to follow the beach once again. The only obstacle was Big Gibber Headland.

Before setting off that morning I was under the presumption, based on Terry's advice, that the headland could be passed with little fuss. But as I was to find out this was not quite true. The large seas, a remnant of the significant weather system that had only started to clear yesterday, had driven the waterline further up the beach than Terry or I had ever expected. From an initial observation the headland could not be passed around the waterline as we had hoped. Terry first clammered around the relatively small rocky headland searching for a track across the top and I followed shortly afterwards, after attending to some pesky blisters. Terry soon discovered a very rough track leading towards the interior of the park but which soon disappeared. My gps maps backed up these observations but provided no definitive route around the headland to the southern beach. After 20 or so meters the track had been taken over by banskia, wattle, casurina, leptospermum and other natives along with the perenial pest Bitou bush.

My last view of Big Gibber
For the next two and a half hours Terry and I tried to find our way through the scrub. Early on in the piece we followed pink surveyor's ribbons but that only led us to the top of the headland and only 10m south of where we first left the northern beach. To get to the beach we would have to cut a path throuh the bush in a south westerly direction before turning easward again. For the next  hour or so I tried to imagine I was a green recruit at Puckapunyal completing my basic training, crawling on hands and knees, sometimes squirming on my stomach under branches to get through the obstacles course. For the small distance that needed to be covered progress was slow.  In some places the wall of vegetation made me doubt if I would ever get to the beach. At times I looked at the blockades for a few minutes quite certain I couldn't get through or around them. But I had come too far to turn around so I might as well call an end to the pointless deliberations, suck it up and just push on through it. Climbing, stomping, falling and crawling, under, over around and through the bush I did eventually step onto the sands south of Big Gibber. By my calculations this little adventure had taken near on 3hrs from the time I stopped on the northern side of Big Gibber until that moment in time I stepped foot on south beach. With an average walking speed of 5km/hr that little detour had cost me 15km of walking and a considerable amount of water and energy reserves.

A view south towards Hawkes Nest

After saying farewell to Terry, who had decided to return home via the trechorous waters edge, I decided to set up camp for the night. Although I had imagined I would have been many kilometers down the beach by this time there was little to gain from pushing the journey on into the night. Plus the forced encampment  allowed me time to enjoy the unique landscape and solitude.

Tomorrow I must get myself to Myall Shores to restock on water and supplies.

Please donate by following the link: or

By calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110.

Any donation great or small is sincerely appreciated.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Day 60: Sandbar to Seal Rocks

Leaving Sandbar I made my way around the northern shoreline of Lake Smith. Rain clouds lingered but did little more than spit intermittently. Winds wipping across the lake made the walk a little chilly but my attention to it was short lived as I stumbled across two black swans. The pair taking turns to duck their head below the water and grab some brunch amongst the reeds. Having never seen black swans before I was delightedly surprised by the luck bestowed upon me at such an early stage in the days walk.

Swan Lake

Swan Lake

Leaving the swans behind to continue their breakfast I began to cross a thin stretch of sand that separates two bodies of water, the Tasman Sea and Lake Smith by no more than 20m. On rare occaisions the lakes fill with so much water that the sand bar is opened by drawing a thin line in the sand between the two. Fresh water from the lakes begin to trickle along the newly formed passage eating away the sand as it makes it's way towards the sea. With all the rain the lakes district has recieved in the last month or so the sand bar was articficaly opened but fortunately for me had self-closed by the time I arrived on this Sunday morning.

The Sand Bar

Crossing the sandbar I made my way for the nearest ridge line searching for a break in the trees to find a rough track leading away from the beach and up into Myall National Park. Although over grown the track was easy enough to distinguish. As the tracks began to disappear or branch in several directions I was again aided by the wisdom of Rob and Richard and I was able to find my way through without too many troubles.

The way ahead

The track

From the snippets of sky I could see through the canopy the clouds had apparently disappeared but as I brushed passed, under, over and around various trees and shrubs laden with water on their leaves and flower heads I nevertheless became as wet as I would have been had it been raining. After a couple of hours navigating my way through the scrub I popped out on to the sealed Seal Rocks road which, would you believe, led me to Seal Rocks. The view over the last crest was gob smacking...

Seal Rocks

Winding down past Seal Rocks, a hamlet no more than the beach, a caravan park and maybe some houses not to be seen, I climbed back up toward the light house.
Making the most of the afternoon

After dropping my gear and settling into one of the cottages at Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse I followed the keeper's advice and climbed the steep path up to witness the show the lighthouse puts on in the dark of night. Looking up into the dark night sky I was surprised to find 16 beams up light bursting out of the house and spinning around it's central axis. I always thought there was just one beam emmited but obvioulsy I was very wrong. Captivated for a short time the cold winter wind high atop the rocky headland soon forced an unfortunately retreat back to the cosy warm cottage below.

Seal Rocks Lighthouse
Please donate by following the link: or

By calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110.

Any donation great or small is sincerely appreciated.

Day 59: Forster to Sandbar

After meeting Richard and Kerri-anne at Forster's Main Beach we set off to meet up with the fourth member of our party, Rob, before continuing on with the day's walk. Richard, Rob and Kerri-Anne are members of a Forster adventure racing team who take part in 24hr and 4day races involving running, swimming, paddling and bike riding through spectacular rugged landscapes. I met the team in Forster while riding out the bad weather and they were kind enough to allow me to join them on their Saturday training session. Well I should more accurately say they were kind enough to give up a good part of their training session to help me get as far down the track as possible.

Kerri-anne, Rob and Richard making their way towards the rainbow arch
Once again today was one of those tough days where you just have to put your head down, grit your teeth and just keeping going. My pace started out well enough but as I strode along the third beach things really slowed as my shoulders began to hurt under the weight of a very full pack. I've always tried to set the pack up correctly to carry the load as near to my centre of gravity as possible while also distributing the weight around the hips where stronger muscles can take most of the load. Unfortunatley with the large weight I'm carrying there is little that can be done to distribute the weight in a way that minimizes strain. When the weight is placed on my hips the large load actually disrupts the natural movement of my hips and legs. This creates strain and pressure on my hip flexors and groin. After longer distances the side effects then become noticed in the knees and feet. To alleviate the pain I release the hip straps and the weight of the bag immediatley falls onto my shoulders. The reprieve is most wellcome and my stride returns to normal. But it doesn't take long before the shoulders begin to scream out. To share the pain and strain I alternate between carrying the load on my hips and shoulders giving each muscle group a chance to recover but eventually the cycles become shorter and my mental strength to push on shows signs of cracking under the pressure. After 2hrs I had to have a break. To signal the break I used the excuse of stopping to take a photo but there was no fooling Rob who could clearly see that I was begining to struggle and that a rest was on the cards. After a short break it was back to work.

A tough day at the office
Rob, who had by this time taken it upon himself to be my support in stride, had previously pointed out a stand of Norfolk pines that marked the three quarter length of the beach. The huge pines made the distance seem apparently attainable within only a short time frame but that was very wishful thinking on my behalf. Continuing on trying not to show too many signs of weakness I couldn't help but ask myself if I was ever going to get to the pines. But time ticks by and so do the steps until eventually we made it to the end of the beach.

Very hazy view south towards Boomerang Beach
After a bite to eat, together we traced around the south eastern shore of Wallis Lake and then did a misty moutain hop over a couple of hills at the back of Boomerang and Bluey's beaches. At one stage as we crossed a saddle Kerri asked if this was the hardest walk I'd completed to date. Although the walk from South west rocks to Hat Head was the longest, this was by far proving to be the most strenuous of legs. I reflected on that question later this evening and wondered if I would have been able to complete this Forster leg without the wonderful support of Rob, Kerri-anne and Richard. After several hours and I think 27km the group and I arrived at Sandbar caravan park. After bidding farewell to my amazing support crew I made plans to set up camp for the night. It was great to have some company that enjoys being active, respecting, appreciating and making the most of the remarkable natural environment that surrounds us.

Misty Mountain Hop 1
Misty Mountain Hop 2

So as the nightshades begin to fall I turn towards, may I say, I well earned sleep. I have thoroughly enjoyed the walk today and especially the company that I shared along the way.

Tomorrow I shall be the crossing of the sand bar.

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