Tag Archives: walking

These boots were made for walking

When I started my walk from the mouth to the source of the Derwent River, my Teva walking boots hadn’t covered many kilometres – maybe only 20.  They were already comfortably worn in and I loved wearing them.  Not too heavy. Not too rigid. Providing all the ankle support I needed.  Giving me confidence I could walk anywhere.

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Not so long ago these boots had to be retired. The uppers kept their good condition. The insides remained intact. But the soles … well, there wasn’t much left of them.  I kept walking despite almost no tread. I kept walking despite the ground eating into a shoe through the sole.  I began to slip on mossy rocks. I began to feel the points of rocks.  I knew my wonderful boots would no longer keep me safe.

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I fervently wanted to complete the walk in these friendly boots but it wasn’t to be.  I hunted through the shops, I tried the TEVA manufacturers, and I browsed through Gumtree and Ebay sites in the hope of finding another pair. Alas. These excellent boots are no longer produced and it seems not a soul in the world had a pair to sell.

With sadness I searched for a new pair of walking boots. From experience I knew I had purchased many boots over the years and after not much time found I could only wear one shoe in and not the other, or the boot stayed too rigid and did not provide the flexibility I needed – such expensive boots were then sold as second hand. I didn’t want to waste more money. Regrettably boots are not a commodity that can be taken away and tried and then if they fail you can return and swap for something else.  So it was with delight, and quite quickly, I found a Mountain Design pair of walking boots which, in the shop, had all the characteristics I wanted.

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I walked out of the shop wearing them and, after only a few successful short strolls in my neighbourhood, I decided to test them out on a day bushwalk.  You may smile, but I carried my old walking boots in my day pack – just in case.  But they weren’t needed. That day and since then my new boots have carried me across all sorts of terrain safely with comfort.

Silly, I know, but I still haven’t been able to ‘bury’ my favourite boots that were there for me through thick and thin.

Walking between Gretna and Lake Repulse Dam – 1 of 3

I no longer believe that walking the Derwent River from the mouth to the source is possible as a normal public option. The reasons why others should not follow in my footsteps and expect to walk the length of the River include:

  1. Private landowners will not grant access permission to cross their land for a range of very sound reasons.
  2. There are no public pathways, roads or tracks near most of the River.
  3. Fences and gates make forward progress difficult or impossible.

Let me explain by focusing on the situation in one inland section.

The Derwent River winds around mostly cleared hills between Gretna and Lake Repulse Dam, and on two occasions its travel is impeded:  by the Meadowbank and Cluny Dams. The Derwent between these two locations measures approximately 52 kms.

As a result of privileged access and after a series of recent walks, I have covered the majority of these kilometres, sometimes walking on one side of the River and sometimes on the other.  I expect to finish this section by filling in the few small ‘gaps’ in the near future.  Once the 52 kms are completed then I will add the details into my blog under USEFUL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. Weather (not snowing, raining, excessively windy or hot – I’m not fussy!) and the availability of chauffeurs will influence when and where I walk in the future.

Some of the many landowners along the way have granted me permission to walk on their land with the proviso that specific details which allow identification of them and their properties will not be provided.  I understand the reasons for their positions and will not share the information. Unfortunately, so many of my glorious panoramic photos of the Derwent River feature rapids or other indicators such as hills, dramatic cliffs and distant properties which show the side of the River on which I walked. As such, these would help locate the properties on which I walked.  Therefore, for the first time, I am disappointed to include only a couple of River shots in my blog posts.

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Many blog followers have enjoyed the details of what I see and experience in each walk.  Without providing identifying information, I will do my best to present some of the ‘flavour’ of the River between Gretna and Lake Repulse Dam in the next couple of blog posts.

Thanks to blog follower Jeanette, I was chauffeured to some starting points and collected from destinations in the section between Gretna and Lake Repulse Dam.  In addition, she walked with me on one occasion. At the time we tried out hand-me-down walking poles (my doctor says they will support my knees) but since they were no longer collapsible, we soon discarded them.  For blog followers wondering how my knees are holding up – very well, thank you.  Now that I wrap and support them, walking has become so much easier.

Brilliant bird’s eye view

Thankyou blog follower Ju.  Recently Ju connected me with a woman with a husband who has a Private Pilot’s Licence.  Once I made contact, Michelle and Dave were delighted to fly me in their four seater plane, a Cirrus SR20 which Michelle referred to as the BMW of the skies.

Today we flew.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Clean blue sky. Hardly a breeze.  The landscape rich and varied.  The Derwent River sparkled from start to finish.

The experience was stunningly magnificent.  I love words but I find it difficult to express my excitement, my pleasure, and the sheer joy of the flight in the depth which I felt.  There below me was the river I have come to love and know a little more. There below me were the tracks, paths, roads and landscape over which I have walked – and I laughed occasionally remembering certain experiences during my walks. There below me were logging tracks, dam roads, and fading vehicular pathways.  And then we were flying over impenetrable sections which may not be walkable.

We left Hobart airport and flew to Storm Bay by rounding the Iron Pot, then we followed the river upstream to the source. Dave flew on until we reached the northern most point of Lake St Clair. The return journey was equally as beautiful and engaging. The light had changed presenting us with a ‘new’ landscape.

Of the hundreds of photos taken by Michelle, friend Chantale and myself, I include a tiny selection here.

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The photo above taken by Michelle caught me totally preoccupied by the view.

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MIchelle’s photo above shows the Derwent River snaking around the Claremont Golf course with Cadbury’s Chocolate Manufacturing buildings in white to the left.

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The photo above shows a straight section of the Derwent River before the township of New Norfolk on the upper left.

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The photo above shows the Derwent River circling part of Reid’s cherry orchards.

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Chantale’s photo of the Pumphouse Point accommodation projecting into Lake St Clair, also shows the dam across the Derwent Basin where the water enters St Clair Lagoon.  The source of the Derwent River starts to the right of the photo.

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Michelle’s photo above shows part of sprawling Hobart set against the Derwent Harbour.

Those photos taken while flying over the river westwards of Gretna will be incorporated into the stories of my walks from Gretna onwards, in future posts.  From now on, you can expect both ground-based and aerial photos to enrich the stories.
I feel like the luckiest person in the world for the opportunity to travel in a smooth flying small plane, to see the Derwent River winding through the landscape in glorious blueness, and to be reminded Tasmania is a superb place. A truly wonderful and memorable day. Thankyou to all concerned.

Fruit trees further than the eye could see

After enjoying the river edge for a short while, I arrived at a demarcation line. From that fence, I could see a tiny portion of 700 acres of cherry orchards before it extended over hills and was lost from my view.  While the fences were impassable an ordinary gate fastener made it easy for me to enter the paddock.

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Soon I arrived back at the river edge; in the photo above the river was flowing on the other side of the prominent evergreen tree. After walking a short while, I rested in the deep shadows of a giant wattle tree for a lunch break and enjoyed the smooth rush of the water.

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This was the property of Reid’s Fruits. The Reid’s family’s website proudly announces they grow ‘undoubtedly the best Tasmanian cherries!’  What I saw were trees still dormant, others beginning to bud and a few showing their first blossom. It will be near Christmas and into the New Year before the bountiful harvests reach our tables and make it overseas.

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Another Special Anniversary

Implementation Milestone remembered:

22 August 2014 was the date when I made the first walk and commenced my long journey from the mouth of the Derwent River on the northern side, in the South Arm area.

On that first walking stage I recorded the weather as: “The sky was blue and cloudless but I was rugged up and beanied to avoid the early morning chill.” At the start of stage 2 on the 5th September the blog recorded:  “The sun is shining. Air is crisp.”  I recall that on both occasions the day warmed so the walking was very comfortable.

Perhaps walking has similarities with cycling passions

As an avid spectator of professional international cycling (despite never having ridden a bike), when I watched the short video Pleasure in Pain – A Cycling Movie filmed in South Australia, I felt so much of what was said was true for me when I walk.  I listened to well-loved race commentator Phil Liggett’s dulcet tones as he explained the aspects which cyclists enjoy.

For ‘once cycling is in your blood you cannot get rid of it’, I would substitute ‘once walking is in your blood you cannot get rid of it’.  One of the quotations used in this movie reads ‘Sometimes I ride my bike to nowhere, to see nothing, just so I can ride my bike.’  Sometimes as I walk, I look down at the ground without seeing, and enjoy the sense of my body moving, feeling the air pressing by, and noticing the day heating or cooling my body, but all the while moving my feet one more step at a time. Walking just to walk. Being directly connected to the environment through which I am passing. Thrilling!

I suspect Phil’s sentiments also hold true for all manner of other athletes and sportspeople who push themselves outside their comfort zones, but love it despite the pain and go back for more.

The Santos Tour Down Under race will be held again next January in South Australia; information about the race and more about the video can be read at this link.