Day Sixty Four (27 February)

It was the 27th day of the Second Month of the Year of Our Lord 2022, and our bold hero, Captain Australia, had passed into Victoria.

In these foreign and hostile lands, he was navigating a long stretch from Eden to Orbost that he’d been warned would have NO amenities, and he should carry about 10 kilograms of surplus water.

(He saw this is a good thing, it was making him stronger, the toil of it all)

But here’s the thing – all that advice didn’t account for the simple human kindness I found on the road, like my lovely friends pictured here, Shanna, Graham & Unya (the Mad Mallacootans – self titled)

When I set out on Day 64 for Cann River, I was nourished, fed & hydrated, and not wanting to be complacent, I was carrying about 8 litres of extra water.

I should have had more faith, because as you’ll see, I could have just kept going and relied on the people on the road to nurture me. Even in isolated stretches, I still found kindness.

I walked about 35km or so on Day 64, a long and winding stretch between Genoa and Cann River.

It was a long and rainy day, but the weather wasn’t too bad, and I have to tell you, my Magic Coota coat resisted even the worst weather WONDERFULLY.

The upcoming stretch was through some remote forested areas, damaged by bushfire, and as I walked I occasionally heard trees falling, the rain weakening them enough to come tumbling down.

A cautionary warning for pitching camp, and one i took to heart.

This lovely bloke Grover from Eden found me that morning, he’d driven out (about 70km) to find me, and brought a brekkie wrap, coffee, and a foldy chair.

What a lovely bloke, I think we’re proper friends now, staying regularly in touch. It was lovely to meet him and have breakfast that morning.

He’s mad, but .. a wonderful type of mad, you know ?

I think we sat together and chatted for about an hour, talking about all kinds of stuff, from backgrounds and personal stories, to views on stuff like political changes in the world around us, what next with covid, the invasion in the Ukraine.

After we parted ways, I just had a long and pretty solitary day of walking.

The bag was intensely heavy, and the hilly terrain and intermittent rain meant that I would cycle between cold and hot & sweaty, but even though it was hard, I really enjoyed the day of toil.

I think a reflective and introspective mood is .. well .. my normal. So as I walked I found myself singing and today it was Neil Young songs like this bloody classic “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” (It’s only castles burning)

The video to the right has me musing about “Heart of Gold” which to me was always a song about a fruitless search for love, but with the changes i was facing, I was responding to it more as a slow process of finding and building my own heart, polishing it until it’s golden

Toward the end of the day, this lovely lady Jodie, who owns the pub at Cann River with her husband Graham, pulled up on a winding and remote stretch of road.

She has a very thick chinese accent, so we sometimes struggled to understand each other, she offered me a lift (which I explained I could not take) and then invited me to come and stay at the pub when I got to Cann River (which I gratefully accepted)

That was my only encounter, other than Super Grover.

If you’re fit, rested and carrying nothing, you could probably pretty easily walk 35km as a one-off in about 5 hours, but I think my pace .. laden and uphill .. was probably about 4km per hour or maybe even a little less.

So that long day had me trudging from dawn through until dusk, and it was a pretty relentless battle of will. (The thing is, it was no contest, I was resolute, and although I’d take tactical rests, I not once thought of packing it in, or finishing early)

There were plenty of iffy roads and bridges with little or no shoulder, but at one point I reached some construction work that lasted a kilometre or so, and was a lot of fun to navigate through.

As you can see from the photos, there were places on the road where there had been significant rockslides in the wet, another cautionary warning for me.

Keep your eyes open, old man. Be careful.

There’s no backup plan, protect yourself at all times.

I was never particularly safe, but I was smart and careful.

If I were safe it wouldnt be an adventure, just a holiday, so for my Healing Quest to work, I had to place myself ‘in the hands of God’.

It taught me acceptance, trust, hope, self-belief.

At about 7pm, I started looking for a nice, safe, elevated place to set camp – no/small risk of flash flood or falling trees was my major concern.

I found my spot, then did a long and chatty goodnight video (below), before falling into a deep and restful sleep.