Walking the Back Roads

My upstate New Yorker blog follower (https://deescribesblog.wordpress.com/about) who came to Tasmania recently and walked with me along GASP to MONA, alerted me to the blogsite (https://walkingbackroads.wordpress.com/about/) re “Walking the Back Roads: A Hundred Years from Philadelphia to New Hampshire“.   She recognised my broad interest in people who decide to walk paths that are not normally walked. Thank you.  I love followers alerting me to such sites.

The walking the backroads blogsite has been inspired by a range of different books written by walkers of the highways and backroads of America through the 19th century. The blogger examines their stories.  He refers to the walk which he undertakes as ‘the long walk home’. Very interesting.

The concept of walking on backroads is instantly appealing to me. I wonder how many backroads exist which connect with Tasmania’s Derwent River in some way. I guess there may be hundreds and that they would all lead to interesting, mostly remote places. I imagine our backroads would peter out into bushland where sheep or cattle graze, rabbits multiply, indigenous wombats might run, Tasmanian devils fight for scraps of native food, or wallabies roam.

Suddenly the question comes to me; what is the definition of a backroad? When is a road no longer a main road? Is it a matter of how many people live along its edges?  Is it a matter of how many vehicles use it? Is it a matter of the road being unknown to the majority of the surrounding population? Is it possible to have a backroad in city areas or can they only be found in rural areas? Or are backroads, roads which are out of the way, difficult to find, and often not on maps?  And does a vehicular unsealed track count as a backroad?

In other words, how would I know if I was on a backroad? Is it sufficient that I make the decision?  Guess it would be. And I guess the locals may not refer to their road as a backroad even when I might.

5 thoughts on “Walking the Back Roads

  1. marybuchananbailey

    Oh I love the idea of backroads. Must be still speeding a little as I first read it as walking backwards and I thought how exciting it would be to walk backwards down backroads and see everything from an entirely different perspective. I just looooove backroads so maybe one day next week using my car not feet and going forwards not backwards lets explore some backroads!!!

    I think I need to slow down and have a bit of a rest and maybe light a fire. I have set it with sticks and wood from last summer’s dead wattle so that it should smell gorgeous. Take care xxxx m

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  2. DeeScribes

    As someone who grew up learning to drive on backroads, I think a crucial part of their definition is they must be sufficiently narrow enough to cause a new driver to look at her father with great suspicion when she is learning to drive on said road and he commands her to do a three-point turn and she doubts she has enough space to turn the car horizontally across the road!

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    1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

      Very amusing. I can imagine just what the situation could be. The father would be smug ‘I’ll teach her/him a thing or two’and the learner driver would be thinking ‘this is not real life, no-one comes on these roads,this is ridiculous’. But as you will have found if you can turn a car on something less than its length then you have mastered a great skill. But lots of being hot and sweaty and stressed in the learning.

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