26th March 2014 Monotony
So today started off interestingly. Then blurred into a repetitive, tough and painful.
First off Jamie did not want to part with his cart at Mt. Gambier. He suggested I bought a bike trailer, not modified like his. It wouldn’t be as useful as his, but it would carry my crap.
A crap carrying device that doesn’t weigh me down is becoming increasingly necessary, as my shoulder’s started to be a c*** and hurt constantly.
Today was my second longest day: Warrnambool to Port Fairy. I started out in a coffee shop in town, met a guy called ‘Ohmygosh McCosh’, he showed me his ID to prove it. He used to be a scaffolder but found it too dull and repetitive so swapped to stand-up comedy. A lot of the time spend walking today was hot and sweaty, making slow progress on a beach, getting lost and frustrated. Ended up walking across a golf course, not a single buggy stopped to offer me a lift, and I contemplated stealing a wheeled golf bag.
The last 8km seemed to go on forever, on the highway after spending the day on beaches and sandy paths my feet began to feel the pain. Mentally as well, after 32km, eight seems like nothing. But it’s almost two hours of consistent walking, which when you shoulder hurts and your blisters have begun to grow blisters, is no fun at all. Literally fell into the campsite, luckily there were showers and I could tape up my shoulder. Going to lance the blisters when I get to Portland.
Monotony Monotone Mono
27th March 2014 Durability
I’m writing this whilst on a bus. Yup, woke up the the rain this morning, wearily caterpillaring* onto my back and saw my tent poles, now snapped and sharp, had ripped two holes in the now-not-so-waterproof canopy of my tent. It’s not bad at the moment, a bit of water gets in, but if it gets bigger it won’t be fun.
I hobbled to the shops, bought supplies, had breakfast and hobbled back, mind made up as the rain got heavier. It was 4 medium distance days to Portland (92km) where I can repair the tent and waterproof my “waterproof”. Although the rain is only light at the moment, the weekend hints of heavier water. After my last two experiences with rain, I don’t want to risk it when there are no towns between here and Portland, and I have a tent that isn’t waterproof and does’t even like the idea of standing up. My blisters are awful, my feet are actually bruised, and my shoulder wants to come apart. If something went wrong, the likelihood would be that I’d have to call it in and may be held back by weeks, if not indefinitely. Hyperthermia is not a great one when you have no way of drying off.
I’ll do the four days on my way back to melbourne if my ego needs it.
Durability: the ability to withstand wear, pressure or damage
Ability: Possession of the means or skill to do something
Wear: Damage, erode, destroy…
Pressure: Continuous physical force exerted on something
Damage: Physical harm that impairs the value, usefulness or function of something
Walk: move at a regular pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn
30th March 2014 Continuation
So what, I took three rest days? I needed to drain blisters, repair tents and chill. The campsite was cheap as well.
I’m camped out in the bush again. I didn’t start walking today until 2pm and even then I was slow with lots of breaks (heavy pack with 6 days of food), including one which couldn’t be helped, a tiger snake slooooooowly creeping along the path ahead.
By 19:15 I’d only covered 17km. Having said that, it was 3 hours 40 minutes of actual walking. So when I did walk, I was at a decent pace even with the extra weight.
Realised that today is day 18. I said I may take a week break after 21… The thing is, I know if I went back to Melbourne for a week, I wouldn’t want to leave again. But to be halfway through does feel good, even if I do keep day dreaming of breaking my ankle and having to pull out. I might not be halfway either, I might do the whole loop of the Great South West Walk. Very dependable on my mood when I get to Nelson in 5 days.
Definitely going to get a hand cart at Mt. Gambier. SA may have lovely beaches, but I need to get to Adelaide before my plane home…
31st March 2014 Cake
Started late today. Was really enjoying sleep. Not a clue why. I didn’t leave until 11:25am.
Ended up that I definitely wouldn’t have made it to my planed campsite (Mallee) last night; it was still a good 6km farther. 2km after this was Cape Nelson and Isabella’s a cafe run by the appropriately flamboyant Steve. We sat and chatted for a few hours, along with his sister. Really nice people. I ended up getting a free slice of cake, a coffee, a pie, some biscuits and a biggie. (I’ve been told by Steve not to call it a fag…)
The walk from Cape Nelson to Trewalla was awesome until the beach, which wasn’t sign posted and as it grew dark (I’d been chatting to Steve for a few hours), I got very frustrated, screaming at the sand for being there. Finally found a signpost off the beach, which then made me think I’d overshot Trewalla. Now dark, I was glowing with vexedness (it is a word), but did eventually find camp and it’s school group. I hate school groups, I feel like the people in charge always feel the urge to ask if I’ve been CRB checked.
2nd April 2014 Sand
Couldn’t be arsed writing yesterday, wasn’t particularly tired or late, just didn’t wanna…
Woke myself up early this morning (7am), had planned on doing 34km around Mt. Richmond to Swan Lake, but took the 21km beach route instead, immediately wishing I hadn’t. Soft sand and the odd far reaching wave soaking me…hours of it… On top of that, now that I’ve committed to it, I have two more days of the same.
Thinking of heading back to Thailand when this is through. Cheap and easy, a good way to make 2 weeks fly, because in truth, I want to go home. This walk is dragging on but I can’t quit from boredom. But I want a bed to call mine, friends, family and some good fucking food. I’m almost halfway and hopefully nearly done with the backpack. The second half will be more expensive though…
I’d better feel fucking smug when I’m done.
3rd April 2014 Discontent
Yeah, more beach walking today. Was repetitive. Stole a bag of tortilla chips from a school group this morning. I’ve been seeing a lot of them because it’s Easter holidays and they do their Duke of Edinburgh award over here too. They kept me awake last night so creeping into their food tent after they left and taking some snacks seems justified. Who knew you could get 35 grams of protein in tortilla chips!? (500g bag)
Really starting to think about quitting. I mean, I’m 19 and I’ve walked 500km solo. 1) this is not a normal thing for a teenager to do with his time, 2) That’s enough to go home and tell people about. But thinking about what I’d do if I quit is enough to keep me moving. Also I’ve still been reading ‘The Art of Happiness’ and the difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure would be going home, having my parents tell me it’s okay and sit under a duvet watching Netflix (tempting just talking about it). Happiness will come with knowing, always, that I did this.
4th April 2014
Yet more beach walking. Another 20km of it at least. Jesus. But I did see a whale’s spine washed up on the beach, which was awesome!
Also at Nelson, which is HALF WAY!!! Fucking yes! And if all goes to plan I won’t be carrying a backpack anymore!! Push carts all the way!
Tonight I met two elderly German couples (apart from Keith, he was Aussie), Hilda, Herman and Barbara. Had dinner with them all squashed into their teeny camper van, drinking nice wine and pretending they were my own grandparents. They tried to persuade me to write a play about them in a caravan… could work.
Early morning tomorrow, getting a lift to Mt. Gambier where I may rest up for a few days. May come back here, cheap campsite, but the food isn’t.