Stepping off the Spirit of Tasmania and into Devonport I was a mix of emotions. I was glad to be able to get back on the road again; it was great to relax a bit and see friends in Melbourne but I felt as though I had been sucked into the city and lost the momentum of the walk. Perhaps this is part of the reason why I also felt nervous coming into Tasmania. The other part I’ll explain later.
In Melbourne I was able to continue preparations for Tasmania. I also talked to three classes from Collingwood College about what I was doing with 1900 Footprints, which was a lovely experience and the students were very kind and supportive. I wish I could give more school talks along the way and I’ll look at doing this after the Overland Track.
I met with one of my sponsors, John from Globewalker, who recorded an interview for an episode of The Pursuit of the Outdoors podcast, which you can listen to here: https://soundcloud.com/the-pursuit-of-the-outdoors/episode-002-interview-with-tristan-obrien-of-1900-footprints
Amongst all this I managed to spend quality time with my fantastic Melbourne community, which certainly helped to ground me after the disruption of the big smoke.
Incredibly, while on the ferry from Melbourne to Devonport I ran into one of my oldest and closest friends Donna, who is completing her PhD in ornithology at the Australian National University. We had not seen each other in years and it was sublime to be able to spend some quality time with her catching up on each others’ lives. She was heading to southern Tassie to go hiking with another friend and catch up on Tasmania’s fauna - a true naturalist!
Day 35: Devonport and beyond
As I mentioned previously, I had mixed emotions stepping off the ferry. I got my trolley sorted and started off down the main highway towards Ulverstone. Before long I was meeting some hills, another reason for my trepidation about Tasmania. My trolley was far heavier than it had ever been and I was perhaps a little less adapted to walking than a week ago. I met these hills with some resistance but pushed through and only once on the other side did I begin to feel a little better.
Still, today I managed to shave 10 km off my planned route by ignoring Google and instead taking an alternate path to reach Ulverstone after 20 km. I loaded up on fresh food and decided to continue walking to reach Penguin a day early, where I am currently staying with my brother’s friend. This means tomorrow I can do a final prep and then head off into the unknown.
I can only describe what’s facing me over the next few weeks with one word: daunting. And to be honest I am quite apprehensive about what’s ahead. I will need to cover nearly 300 km to reach the Overland Track trail head before November 29. But I will be walking through some of Australia’s most rugged, wet and remote wilderness area in the Tarkine with no secure access to water (some historic mining areas have left heavy metals in the creeks and rivers) and will be carrying up to 16 days worth of food. The road will largely be dirt track, with small sections of bitumen where it is too steep for cars to safely grip the dirt. How will I fare with my only my legs to power me and a burgeoning trolley?
During this time I’ll officially cross the halfway mark (950 km) and more, so please show your support for my hard slog and get as many people you know involved and donating! We’re nearly at halfway mark of our fundraising goal and I’d love to see that reach a few thousand more by the time I return to civilisation!
Until next time.