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MCG - SCG Walk, Day - 10

Devenish to Warby Owens National Park

The back-road from Devenish to Wangaratta is a link road with very little traffic with the odd farmer visiting a friend or a relative or the two of them going to a pub for a drink. Otherwise not much happens in a small town such as Devenish. St James is another small town near Devenish with silos art. Before beginning our walk towards Wangaratta, we drove to St James to look at the silos. We were not disappointed. It was worth a drive. We took some photos and returned to Devenish to the starting point of our walk.

This is a very lonely road with little network coverage for phone or internet. So, if your car breaks down, you may have difficulties in getting roadside assistance. The network coverage even in Devenish was very poor. I could not update my daily blog and I couldn’t use my phone either. Tracy and June had told us that they experienced the same difficulties every day. In Devenish, life could be very challenging without the level of communication we take for granted in major towns and cities.

The road from Devenish to Wangaratta passes through the Warby Owens National Park. The winding road begins to rise gently and takes you through a dense forest. The incline becomes steeper as head towards the middle of the national park. I signaled to Michael to stop and got my hiking pole out of the van. Using the pole made climbing a little easier. Pine Gully is a picnic area in the middle of this forest. In Australia, most if not all picnic spots have toilet facilities, and this spot was no exception. This was a typical country style very basic toilet with no flush or toilet paper. You had to bring your own (BYO) toilet paper, news paper or paper towel. This kind of situation forces you to learn how to survive without day-to-day facilities. I walked to a particular point to mark the end of the day’s walk and then drove 10 Kms or so to Wangaratta and organised a place to stay the night.

Parts of Wangaratta were still under water from the heavy rains and recent floods. Following our search for a caravan park, the Google Baba was taking us to a place that was totally inundated. However, some good things also come out of bad things. Where this caravan park was under water, nearby there was a food van providing free food to the poor and homeless. They suggested that we could stay right there. There was a public toilet and a hot shower facility.

We heated up our dinner in microwave and stayed right there near the banks of the river. This spot is often used by the homeless and poor to stay over. One of those people also wanted to contribute to our fundraising efforts and was too embarrassed to offer one dollar that he had. Finally, he mustered enough courage to hand over the dollar to donate and asked me if I would accept it. This question from this homeless guy brought tears in my eyes. Of course, I would accept even ten cents or five cents. But I thought he should keep the dollar to use it elsewhere. He insisted to make a donation to the McGrath Foundation. I finally accepted it. He didn’t want any receipt but it got me thinking. These people may be poor and homeless but they are certainly not heartless. A big thank you to this nameless homeless guy! Hats off to all those homeless people who help each other and stick together to get through these tough times.

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