When I got up on Day 60, I was pretty raring to go (a mistake), it was eagerness to get to the border and into Victoria that had me so focused.
But the although focus might be argued to be the opposite of distraction, like everything in life, you get a seesaw of benefits and consequences.
I was focused, which distracted me to all the other opportunities around me, I had blinkers on, and on the way out of Eden, paid the price.
I’d received a bunch of overnight messages, including some breakfast invitations, and there was one from a local cafe that I really regret missing. This lovely islander woman had this ceremonial welcome, a dance that she wanted to do for me. We did end up meeting (more on that in a bit), but I really regret missing things like that – for their poignancy, for their uniqueness, and for weaving more threads (of inspiration) into that quilt (of hope & inspiration) that we were weaving together.
As I headed through Eden, stopped to pick up some breakfast bananas, and took a wrong turn taking me away from this cafe and up a hill leading out of town .. I got this text message from Einstein.
He always referred to his cat as “pussy”, and even now, I’m not truly sure if he was joking or not. Even now I can’t confidently say whether ‘genital’ was a typo for ‘gentle’ or him making fun.
Eden’s a lovely town, but I pushed right through. Bumped into Shaun and his mate (whose name I can’t remember) again and bid them a fond farewell, but otherwise didn’t linger.
Once I realised I was on the road out of town and it would cost me a few kilometres to turn back, I just made a quick “sorry if you were hoping to see me in downtown Eden” post and kept marching uphill and out of town.
The lady who was going to do her cultural dance came out, and to my delight I got to meet her and apologise for my mistake.
Oh yeah, the bloke pictured directly above with his thumb up .. that’s Grover (Darren). Flat-strap lovely bloke, and we’ve stayed in touch since the walk – I think I made a friend that day, but barely noticed at the time – it was just another quick g’day on the way out of town.
Grover is the fella who ended up buying the Captain Australia boots at auction. The mad bugger even did a couple of SHOEYS out of them, something that makes me cringe (and worry for his physical and mental health, haha)
I had about 50km to the border, something like that, and about 10km or so to the last amenities, a place called “Kiah Store”.
As I got closer, signs kept warning me it was my last chance to buy fuel for a long stretch. Not that this was my problem, for me the issue was being able to replenish safe drinking water.
After a pleasant morning walk, I got there in a couple of hours.
I really needn’t have worried about supplies as much as I did.
People like the lady pictured above kept pulling up and giving me these little ‘care packages’ by the side of the road.
It was absolutely gorgeous.
I’m sure some of the people went well out of their way too, driving around trying to find me. I hope they got as much from the encounters as I did (but I doubt it). They were teaching me what light, hope, kindness and healing is available out there in the world.
The weather was spotty all morning, but not too bad.
In a few days I was gifted my Magic Mallacoota Coat .. my Coota Coat – and from that point forward, weather became completely trivial. I shrugged off even severe storms, walking in my amazing, high-vis, completely water repellent coat (thanks to Shanna, Graham and Unya).
Kiah Store was a lovely little servo and grocery store, and when I made it there I was able to buy the very last pastie from the hotbox.
(I suspect it may have been waiting there all day, just for me)
I was able to completely re-fill my 8 litres (8 kilograms!) of water, and also buy a couple of litres of soft drink and flavoured milk so I didn’t have to dip into my water supply that afternoon.
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried, because almost right after the border I ended up stopping at Mallacoota – receiving great comfort and hospitality.
But that day, striking for the border, I was all stocked up and working hard, up long and winding hills, with a much heavier than normal pack, due to the extra water and food that I was carrying.
It was hard, but I also loved it. I was impressing myself with the toil, rediscovering strength and purpose after a long time of hopelessness.
I reckon I continued for about 20km after the Kiah Store, and although they don’t look too severe in the photos, those rain clouds grew heavier and more oppressive throughout the afternoon.
I kept telling myself to ‘give it another half hour’, and if it got any worse, I’d call it.
There were smatterings of rain, but nothing too severe.
I think it was about 6:00pm when I pitched camp, a little earlier than normal (it didn’t get dark until after 7pm)
Except for one lovely encounter with a young family, there were fewer vehicles around, I started to feel a bit more alone and isolated – back to those first weeks of the walk.
(Which was good, a bit of ‘getting back to basics’)
It was good that there were fewer vehicles, because mid-afternoon I came upon a massive carpet python crossing the road.
It was almost the length of two lanes – slowly making it’s way across, even seeming to pause and enjoy the heat of the bitumen.
I didn’t want to see him get crushed (or her?), so I kinda chased her a bit, stomping and shouting and menacing at the massive snake.
(Anyone coming upon us would either have known exactly what I was trying to do — or thought me completely bonkers … maybe a bit of both)
I think I saved it’s life, because pretty much as soon as it slithered into the rocky undergrowth on the other side of the road, a massive logging truck came whooshing past.
Stupidly no video or even photos – I’d been without service for a while and was too focussed on getting the animal off the road, didn’t even cross my mind to share it.
Which was a shame, my kids would have been amazed by the size of the magnificent reptile, it really was a long and chunky snake.
When I set up my hammock and tarp, I noticed little gouges and tears (from sticks and whatnot), and ended up McGyvering up a little – fixing them with bandaids.
It actually worked a treat.
There was an intense storm overnight, but not a trickle got at me.
Had vivid apocalypse-like dreams (again), really intense, I think being pursued by demons who were ending the world and punishing us wicked mortals.
Was up at 5am and ready to cross into Victoria !