Yesterday a friend An drove me up along the Derwent River where we stopped off at a few dams, power stations and lakes. I was studying the terrain at ground level (our most recent Service Tasmania maps are aged and Google Earth photos are not current either), seeing where forestry and hydro tracks existed and determining where I will need to make my way through bush ‘with walls’. I can see a line of fiction here – turning an almost impassable density of bush into a character (an evil character – even though the bush is sublimely beautiful and bountiful) that has to be overcome. My strategy will be as always, one slow step at a time and then the bush won’t even know I have come and gone (although my muscles will).
I walked some small sections yesterday, but I won’t write them up until I have walked in the areas westwards from Gretna to those sections. I know now that it is difficult for some local readers to understand where I have been and therefore, if I change the blog posts from being a chronological record, it may be even more unclear. Besides, by writing the stories in order and finishing with the last walk to the source it will be clear I have walked the Derwent.
Yesterday explorations and walks were as uplifting as the previous day’s flight; it was as equally wonderful, just different. I feel gushy with delight when I am in the bush on a blue sky day, with no wind, and with a temp that rises sufficiently but not so that I boil. Once I am sitting on rocks in the river bed with my lunch, listening to the birds, and sensing the spirit of the place, my life feels so right. This is the place for me.
Then, despite the day’s experiences already being a treat, life added a new wonderful surprise. Recently one of my blog followers, Justy, alerted me to the fact she and her partner were engaged in creating a new work of art for GASP beside the Derwent River at Glenorchy, a city in the Greater Hobart Area. As part of their project, they had already walked along the Derwent River in Cumbria, England and now were planning to walk from the sea to the source of the Derwent early next year. I hadn’t met them and only communicated a few times by email. But yesterday, as An drove me towards Cluny Dam, I saw two women step from their car. I waved and smiled as you do on a country road. As we drove on, I said to An “I bet they’re the two women who are engaged in the GASP project, out conducting a reconnaissance trip”. There was no reason to believe this except I felt I knew it to be the truth (the bush works its miracles). Nevertheless we continued on and had parked near the northern end of Cluny Lagoon when the two women drove past us. Again we waved. On a later road we found ourselves coming towards each other from opposite directions, so An waved them to a stop. The women looked at us queryingly. “Are either of you Justy or Margaret? we asked.” “Yes”, they responded. Instantly I called out, “I’m Helen”. Their nod of acknowledgement followed. And then we all poured out of our cars, and hugged and had a lively chat standing on a dusty road in strong Spring sunlight. It was a brilliant unexpected meeting and capped off what had been a day of immense discovery and pleasure.
Best wishes for your project Justy and Margaret!