“You cannot travel on the path before you have become the path itself”
– Gautama Buddha
Date 17th August
Today didn’t seem as hard as yesterday. I think it’s the hiking poles. I used them all day and they really seemed to help. It was a looooong day though. It’s because I started so late (9am). I’ll have to start earlier otherwise it feels like I’ll never get there.
I stopped at Byrnestown and asked a lady for water because the stuff I’d gotten the night before from the cattle trough was really salty and I couldn’t make a decent cup of tea 😦 I talked to her for a while and her neighbour came over too. I was hopeful for a cup of tea, but she never offered so I had to suck it up (tea and coffee become an issue over the course of my journey!).
I got going and around the corner I came across a cantankerous old man who had nothing good to say about anything or anyone. I didn’t care for his observations on people and the state of the place, so I got away from him as quickly as I could!
Some cyclists stopped not far from the crossroads and asked me what I was doing. They gave me a $10 donation, which was pretty cool. They said they were training for a cycling challenge to be held in France for gynaecological cancers. I thought I might’ve seen them the day before and I reckon I did because they told me they were staying at Mingo Crossing.
Just as I was arriving at the campsite a man in a ute rolled down his window and handed me a bottle of water 🙂
I set up the tent, replaced the murder-boots with sandals and headed across the road to get water from another cattle trough. It was a bit of a walk and man, I’m so glad I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Having those sandals is just the best idea. Thanks Cheryl!
It took a while to filter 3 bottles of water and while I was doing it all the cows and heifers came up to drink. I talked to them while I was there because I didn’t want to freak them out and have them run off, alerting the owner, who might come and yell at me. As it was, I was mindful that a farmer on a quad bike was watching me from a ridge across the road, but I just kept telling myself that no one is going to mind if a charity walker takes 5 litres of water from a cattle trough. I probably looked like I was doing water testing anyway with the way the filter works.
As I walked back towards the fence to leave all the cattle followed me. I was very glad at that point that I’m not afraid of cattle! Some were close enough to touch and I was sorry I left my camera at the tent. They were really quiet. There would’ve been at least 20 of them.
Ash came with the dogs and it was really awesome to see him. I didn’t know he was coming and I was already in bed when he came even though it was only 7.30pm.
It was raining, so I got into the car with them all and March and Biggie licked the hell out of me. Biggie covered me in dog hair because he just couldn’t stop himself from jumping into my lap, but Congo sat pouting out the window.
“What’s wrong with him,” I asked.
“Oh, he’s just grumpy from being locked up,” Ash said.
Congo is the most ’emotional’ of our 3 dogs.
Ash left after about 20 minutes and I went back to bed, soaking my bum first on the pack raincover and again on the fly. I expressed my dissatisfaction using words beginning with the letter f and dried it as best I could with the chamois, but it didn’t make me very glad!
Ugh, it was hard to sleep. I was really thirsty (probably from the salty cattle trough water) and I was too hot in the sleeping bag. The road was pretty busy too, so that probably didn’t help. I meant to get some earplugs off Ash before I left home, but I forgot to ask him.I didn’t get scared at all. I only got a fright when a massive branch fell off a tree not far from my tent.
General observation: Today I wondered why people think it’s helpful to tell me stories of dangerous situations. For example, the story about me needing to be extremely careful of ‘wild dogs’ because they are viscous and chased old mate up his windmill and he was stuck there for hours, or a story about someone who was abducted from the highway, or a story about someone getting hit by a car that was driven by a drunk driver, or a story about getting mugged, etc, etc. I guess people are just trying to relate to me in some way by giving me what they feel is valuable advice and I don’t hold that against them, but it never made me feel particularly positive after hearing a story of this nature.
Campsite A3 Crossroads. Hiking poles leaning against the tent. I would have struggled completing the hike without these, which is saying something because I have always refused to use poles in the past. There was so much grass here! It was difficult to find the ground to bash the tent pegs in.