• Kay

Day 19 The lovely old gentleman Barry

Monday 28 October

Start 7.35am

Finish 4.40pm

Distance 24km

Steps 43,969

Flights 168

Weather: Sunny and warm

Today was a mixture of bush track and road. The start from Shirley's place took me past many more car wreaks, and houses that remind me of the movie 'Whale Rider'. I missed one turning on to the bush track and found myself at an abandoned, creepy property. The plastic covering the roof snapping in the breeze and giving me a fright. I checked the map, back tracked quickly, and found out this evening that three others made the same mistake.

A leaky home

Russell Forest was beautiful. A stream track for about 4km, that was only calf deep. The challenge was the map showed a track running along side the stream, but the notes said to follow the stream. On the basis I couldn't find the track, the stream it was. It is slower going but the cold water was bliss on my sore feet. I can reliably inform you that it is possible to get blisters on blisters. My feet do not appear to be hardening up much.

The elevations after the stream were gentle and the Nikau trees were everywhere. It felt very tropical.

The group has divided up. The unknown name guy has long gone, racing ahead. I was followed through the stream part by another French girl, who joined us at Shirley's place later last night as she had walked rather than kayaked. She has minimal English and seems very unsure of herself as the app she has, has not downloaded properly and had no contours or landmarks. Luckily I had reloaded the app and it was now working properly. She stayed with me until we reached the road. She stopped at an earlier camp with two of the other girls.

The caravan has seen better days

The road walking is incredibly hard on the feet. It was a very warm day, so the tarseal makes your feet hot, and the surface is unforgiving. My little toes are suffering the most today. My left little toe is the one with the blister under the blister. The last 13km today was all road walking, with the last 3km being particularly painful. I listened to my audio book to distract myself. By this stage I was walking with Thomas and Amin and just as we were coming into Helena Bay, the intended camping spot, a lovely old guy called Barry invited us all to pitch our tents on his lawn. He gave us free use of his shower and toilet.

My tent in front of Barry's vege garden

I am so incredibly grateful. Shortly after, the others from last night arrived and also stayed. I got chatting with Barry, and he said he does it because he likes the company. His wife of 55 years died of cancer 18 months ago and he misses her so much.

I can hear Morpork at the moment. I love the sound they make. Here's hoping tomorrow my feet feel better. It is mostly tracks in the bush and over farmland. Then it is a night in a campground with hot showers and the possibility of a bed in a unit. Yay. Only 24km between me and a bed. Unfortunately I haven't yet acclimatised to tent sleeping. I still wake several times a night despite how tired I am.

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