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.