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Days 4 & 5: Hammies from Hell, Help from Heaven

I finished my last post before the day was finished, but my ol' mate Nick Hepper from school drove all the way past Murray Bridge to bring me a birthday donut, some donut balls and rehydration drink (which I subsequently needed yesterday and today). He even stuck in some candles to say "1900". What a legend!Now if you've been playing along since the beginning, you'll remember that NIck has his own walking fundraiser called Walking for Ataxia starting in May 2018. I urge you to check it out.


Starting my day on Thursday felt good and I was making good pace but as I reached Tailem Bend I could feel something wasn't quite right.

My hamstrings had started to tighten up and I obviously wasn't stretching them properly as there was very little I could do make them feel better. My ankles were swollen and taped and I was definitely slowing down.

A quick dip in the Murray Distracted me for long enough to realise that my solar system hadn't been charging my devices either! Suddenly it seemed like everything was going wrong. As my battery drained Steve, my solar contact, guided me through troubleshooting and eventually helped me realise I had just drained the battery! So I probably won't be in touch as often as I would like, sorry everyone!

I continued through Tailem Bend for another 20 km or so to finish at 36 for the day, camping on the side of the road and getting a decent night's sleep after some intense downwards dogs.

David Paton and I


I woke up feeling fairly decent, though I could barely walk. I start each day with some meditation and more downward dogs to get the hammies warmed up, and there had been a fair amount of dew overnight so I dawdled a little while the tent dried up a bit on the side of the road. I left by about 7.30 am.

My target today was Meningie, probably only 27 km away. After a few km I realised I would need a rest day to sort myself out so I wasn't going to push it. Still, pretty soon I was again in agony. Luckily plenty of friendly faces made themselves available to have me arrive in Meningie in good spirits.

First, David Paton (Director of BioR and my old professor) stopped as he was passing by on his way to do some bird banding with Wilderness School down the Coorong. We had a brief chat but it was enough to enliven my long face.

Next Roslyn stopped her car in front of me as she has seen me way back before Murray Bridge and wanted to know what I was doing. I told her about the project and she gave us a generous donation. Thanks Roslyn!

A bit later on I met Michael and his father as they were riding past. Michael had ridden from Germany (yes, Germany!) and down from Darwin on his way to Tasmania. We talked for a little while about the logistics of these trips, health, food etc and then found out we were both raising money for similar causes! Amazing! I'd put the name of it here but for the meantime I've lost his card in the messy cataclysm that is my trolley box.

When I reached Meningie I soothed my aching hammies in the cool waters of Lake Albert for a little while and sunbaked on the lakeside to dry off. As I was getting my things together to pick up some groceries, Colleen approached me on her bike to see what I was up to. We chatted briefly and she offered me a place to stay for the night! Having already had my accommodation sorted at the Wilderness School Outdoor Ed Centre on the Coorong, I politely declined but asked if she knew where I could get a big bowl of salad or veggies.

Michael and his father from Germany

In one of the nicest gestures I have ever experienced, an hour later she returns having cooked up a FEAST, fresh Coorong Mullet, home made jams, cheesy cauliflower/broccoli, roll ups and salad included! All of the fresh produce was from her own garden! What an amazing character this woman is and I plan to visit her again when this big adventure is all over. We chatted for a good few hours before another friendly face, Sally from Wilderness School, picked me up.

Colleen's Feast!

I'll be staying here tomorrow to rest and give the attending Year 9s a talk about what 1900 Footprints is all about and why conserving Threatened Species is important. All things going to plan, I'll be back on the road again on Sunday, but the forecast is looking foreboding with 50 + km/h winds. Fingers crossed.

But what an incredibly delightful-person filled day!

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