The Wrap Up

2 01 2009
So, the journey is complete, the bag unpacked and the feet attended to. It all hasn’t sunk in yet and I woke this morning restless feeling at a loose end with no tent to pack or campsite to clear. I’m sure in a few days those things will all be a distant memory.

However before I sign off from this final post there are a couple things I want to share and encourage to all those who have shared this experience with me.

Get the most out of life. I’ll be honest and say that before this trip I thought that I had done pretty much most things. Overseas travel, courses and general life experiences. I’ve been proven very wrong over the past ten days as I can’t believe what I’ve missed sitting basically right at my doorstep. It doesn’t have to be a ten day hike but a desire to try new things and an open mind. The reward is a varied, interesting and happy life.

Get active. We need to forget words like exercise which have a negative connotation. Replace them with words like activity, which is basically anything involving movement, walking, dancing, bowling, sight seeing…. the list is endless. The Amercian College of Sports Medicine says that as little as 90 minutes a week of “activity” will give significant physical and mental health benefits compared with those who are inactive.

Be conscious of the little things we do and say to others, both good and bad. The small acts of kindness people showed me on my trip I have say made the difference between success and failure. Never underestimate the power a smile, comment or even a look can have on someone, both good and bad.

So I’ll just finish up by saying thank you again for your comments, your generous donations in tough times and sharing this amazing experience with me.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about the Great North Walk or for suggestions and advise regarding getting active.

All the best for 2009.

James

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Mission Accomplished

1 01 2009

The final day, and ahead of plan and I can tell you sitting on the other side of it that I’m so glad to have gained those extra kms yesterday.

I woke up to the new year with the same routine i’d become acustomed to. Sort my gear, pack my tent and pack my bag then have some breakfast. Was off to an early start and made great time from Teralba, through Warners Bay then Charlestown. Then things started to get a little fuzzy through the rest. Merewether was beach walking in hiking boots (not recommended) then up a massive hill and round into town. Fatigue was really setting in as well as the anticipation of completing the task. After frequent 500 metre stops i finally made Queens Street Wharf. Happy that a nice restaurant was open to refuel ten days worth of lost nutrition.

Ended up choicing to come home by train and couldn’t believe the ground I’d covered in ten days. It’s amazing how innocent the bush looks from a distance but how I know I will never see It in the same way again.

So the mission is complete, and to plan. Just one more entry tomorrow once I’ve let all my thoughts settles and aches ease.

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NYE and the last night of the GWFL

31 12 2008

I’ve learnt something quiet simple if anything over the past nine days. The hardest day is the one you are in. On the Great North Walk every day is completely different from the last with new challenges and scenery.

I started today nice and early, 6.30am leaving the old forestry campsite in the Watagans National park and happily travelled east. The big debate today was whether to finish in Wakefield or Teralba.

After six hours of “jungle” and i do mean Jungle as i had to use vines to climb down steep sloops and crouch through overhang ledges to get to Heaton Lookout where i got my first sight of ocean……and Newcastle. It wasn’t till i’d binged again at the service station further down and had a much needed rest that i pushed on over another mountain range, Sugarloaf. I was making excellent time and got in that determined frame of mind, I’m pushing it to Teralba.

My feet are so sore as are my legs but i’m so glad to have completed track five and only have one to go, Teralba to Queens Wharf in Newcastle.

I just can’t believe that I’m only a day away from ending. I’ll be happy not to have to walk 25kms + a day, but there are going to be many things I’ll miss I know when the time comes to be sitting back at my desk. The peaceful evenings when the tent is up and all i need to do is eat and relax for one. Nothing beats relaxing after a hard day when you know you’ve done what you set out to do.

Fingers crossed for a good day tomorrow, oh, of course…. and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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First of the Lasts

30 12 2008

Today was planned to be a big day kilometres wise and it didn’t disappoint. Started out wet although nothing in my special purpose built “rain catcher”, hey i tried. Packed up for what  was meant to be a day of easy walking…. Started that way but missed the big hill in the middle which was almost as bad as yesterday, then finished off with a marathon 13 km to the campsite.

At first i was devastated as the water didn’t seem to work. There was a father and his sons there and he must have seen the look of distress on my face. So, another public thank you to the Lester family for the water and BBQ. Words can’texpress how thankful i am and how needed that was after my 32 km day.

So this is the last big km day and the last day i have to worry about running out of water….

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Good from Bad

29 12 2008

Today started nicely. Shorter distance so didnt rush. Pushed on a nice solid three hour block of walking which saw me well on my way. However it was the roughest day so far.

First it was the leeches which seemed to be everywhere, shoes, legs, bag… even found (i hope) one last stray one under my sock an hor ago. Then it was as i described before “my everest” It was 1 kilometre of the steepest driveway you can imagine, then the storm….. it was just after lunch and i heard the sky crackle, then a little louder. Well then it poured and blew with thunder and lighting. Ran off track found a rock and made a little shelter complete with “load bearing” beam to protect me from falling branches. So the good from the bad is i wasn’t doing so well with water so i used the time to harvest it off my shelter. Happy to say i got four litres.

Finished of which is the custom steep uphill climb to camp… early for a change : ) I can really see the end now. I can’t believe i’ve done what i have already.

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102kms to go!!!!!!!!

28 12 2008

Yesterday started out nice and early, 6.30am,and was happy that most of the morning walking was through lowland country area. The track then lead up sharply to 300 metres. After what seemed like ages i arrived in Yarramalong and was so relieved to see the shop was open. After an inital binge i was in doubt about whether to stop or push on. The owner of the store was so nice, let me charge upp all my equipment so i rested and pushed on walking 13 kms in 3 1/2 hours and in what seems to be a habit rushing to put my tent up before the sun went down (8.30pm).

Can’t believe its day seven already, can’t believe i’m only 6 kms off the original plan. This weird world of worry about water, campsites and kilometres has become my new world and I’m really enjoying the simplicity of it.

Today is a big day. Short distance but thr mountain is 600 metres (my own little Everest), twice the height of any thing i’ve done so far, plus i have to carry 8 litres of water to last me two and a bit days.

Thank you again for all your comments and sorry if i can’t reply just yet to them individually, i just need to be careful with the battery.

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Thank you to the Golsbys….

27 12 2008

Okay, first off survived the night on a rock ledge. What a view to wake up too. Regrettably had to go four hours out of my way to get water but was rewarded with another nice creek swim. Natures bath…. Mooney Mooney was a breeze except fot the mozzy swarm… i’ve never seen that before. So on to Somesby to stock up on water on supplies…….but…… the one little store in Somesby shut earlyfor christmas. I was stuffed.

Lucky i had numbers of people close by on the trip and ccalled one of them. My first idea was to get a cab, but Justine Golsby offered to take me and as i had little charge in my phone couldnt waste time on a taxi phone queue.

I have to say this was the closest i”ve come to breaking one of my rules. Almost stayed in a hotel to recharge everything and make a fresh start where i left off in the morning. Not sure if it was the redbull or thelittle rest in thecar but asked Justine to drop me back (6.30pm) and hiked as fast as i could to get to the site, must have been 4 -6 kms,

Made it by 7.50pm, so glad i didnt opt out for a hotel and makes me think about how sometimes you can’t do it without a little help, whether it be family, friends or Lifeline…..Thank you to the Golsbys.

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