Away from the Lyell Highway in southern Tasmania, while looking at the lime kilns, I had enjoyed relative silence, but once back on the road the endless traffic continued to roar past and box my ears.
Have a look below at the video of a car coming towards and passing me. Listen to that sound. Imagine this noise multiplied many times over and over, and then deeper and more invasive when the many trucks passed. For most of the day’s walk.
There was a pleasant moment when a scattering of comparatively slow moving vintage cars were interspersed in long lines of suffering traffic. I smiled at all of them and they waved back glad to have someone appreciating their passing.
I loved the geological drama exposed by road cuttings.
Along the way I enjoyed signs such as the one in the photo below. Has anyone ever seen a kangaroo lifting a car? Before you send me an email indicating your outrage at my ignorance, I know the sign’s message is for motorists to beware of kangaroos hopping across the road and doing great damage to their car and perhaps injury to themselves. But I also realise it’s not the fault of kangaroos and wallabies that mankind built roadways in their normal travelling routes.
By the time the day was heading towards mid-morning, the bright quality of the sunlight still indicated the air was still hard and cold. At this stage I was setting a steady pace, and had great ambitions of reaching New Norfolk very quickly. Before long I reached the start of a long marshy area known as Murphy’s Flat.
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.
The Derwent River flowed on my left when I headed southwards to Pearsons Point, and on my right when I returned northwards to Blackmans Bay.
On occasion I could look down the slippery gravel drop offs:
From time to time, surprised wallabies crashed away through the bush. I never knew whether I was more surprised than the wallaby. I watched wild hens roaming cleared paddocks. I listened to all manner of froggy sounds emanating from dammed creeks. The occasional cyclist, with tyres whispering along the gravelled bitumen, passed me unexpectedly. These road bikes were always ridden by women and we exchanged brief hellos.
By ten to ten in the morning I reached “Hidden Cove”, a property which promotes itself as providing a Day Spa and Retreat service: appointments are essential. For a split second I thought I should make a booking for my walk back to Blackmans Bay from Pearsons Point. The idea of a foot massage later in the day was very appealing although I had no idea whether such a service was on offer. I did take note of the phone number 03 6229 6050 in case I wish to try it out when I return for my walk to Fossil Cove. Their website makes the business look attractive: http://www.hiddencovedayspa.com.au/
One of the highlights of my walk was seeing casuarina trees ‘weeping’ with the weight of their strands of blooms. Seemingly so delicate.