“Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot. A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.”
– Bill Bryson
Date 27th August
It was fiercely windy when I went to pack everything up. I had to weigh stuff down with other stuff so none of it would blow away. Packing the tent away was a laugh a minute.
Another free-camper came over from her caravan and offered me cornflakes and a donation. I didn’t take the cornflakes, but I accepted the donation. She came back later and gave me two “muesli” bars. One was made entirely of peanuts covered with chocolate. I wanted to eat it straight away, but I forced myself to stow it in the bum bag for later. I thought it was fitting considering I was walking into the peanut capital, Kingaroy, that day.
I got talking to Kevin, who was doing a crossword puzzle at a picnic table. He was visiting his sister in Wooroolin. I thought he must be freezing because he only had a t-shirt and shorts on, but he didn’t look at all cold. At that point I was considering walking in my flannelette shirt, but when I saw how tough Kevin was, I decided I should suck it up and go bare-armed. I knew I’d only be cold for two minutes until I started moving anyway. Kevin gave me all the coins he had.
Everyone I speak to has been touched by cancer in some way.
I had quite a weight in shrapnel by this time! Probably close to 800 grams. At least the pack was pretty empty and I knew I’d be able to offload the coins and any extra crap I didn’t need to Ash in Kingaroy because he was coming to visit me. I was really looking forward to seeing him. It was the first time since Ban Ban Springs.
I had lots of stuff to look forward to today: Ash, the rail trail, a few days break in Kingaroy with a friend and the ready availability of milk and Doritos. All the ducks were lining up and I felt really good as I set off.
The rail trail was really awesome to walk along. I got thinking that it would be great if the North Burnett and Bundaberg could do the same thing with their rail corridors. It’s certainly heaps better than walking along the road. I don’t have to concentrate as much and because of that I can let my mind wander and I find myself thinking about what it was like to travel on the train when it was running. Sometimes I caught a fleeting vision of the rails shining in the sun as a long-gone train approached around a bend. There were quite a few dog spikes still on the ground and I thought that there’d be other treasures too if I had the time or the ability to bend over to search for them.
Ash phoned and was lucky to catch me in a patch of service. I walked out onto the road to meet him and he picked me up about 5km out of Kingaroy, so I still have 5km to make up, which I’ll probably do tomorrow. It was good timing because my foot had really started killing me for seemingly no reason. I was a bit worried it was a stress fracture, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.
We went straight to my friend May’s house. She had a nice room prepared for me and she made us lunch as I put my stuff away. After stuffing myself with as much food as I could force into my face, Ash and I went for a drive around Kingaroy. I had to buy more socks because I had MASSIVE blisters on my heels and little toes. I should have listened to my friend Jane, who suggested wearing two pairs of socks before I left. I meant to, but I just forgot about it.
I was pretty excited about relaxing at May’s and was looking forward to doing nothing for a couple of days. Ash left in the afternoon. I wouldn’t see him again until Toowoomba.
The rail trail. It made me think of Gillian Welch’s song Down Along the Dixie Line.
Farm view from the rail trail