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MCG - SCG Yatra, Day 20

Corryong (Victoria) - Khancoban (NSW)

Satyajit, Rohan and I got ready and we drove to the Corryong Post Office to start this morning’s walk. I got off near the roundabout and paid my respect to Mother Earth and began walking on the Murray Valley Hwy towards the New South Wales (NSW) border. When we were halfway through the day’s walk, a ute pulled over near the van that was ahead of me. Rohan was driving the van at the time and had parked it clear of the hwy. Rohan called me over the walkie talkie and told me that somebody was there to make a donation. I told him that he/she would have to wait until I got there. The person was in no hurry, so no probs at all. Finally, I reached the spot and met with Steve Kelly who said that he was so proud to meet me. He made a cash donation, took a photo with me and drove off to Khancoban.

When I crossed the bridge over Murray, the longest river in Australia, I also crossed from Victoria into NSW (Australia’s Premier State). Technically speaking, I was no longer in my home state. However, the whole of Australia was my home and I was so proud to be a part of this beautiful country “down under”. Steve Kelly had told us about the caravan park on the right-hand side of the hwy, which on the Victorian side was called as the Murray Valley Hwy, but in NSW, it was known as the Alpine hwy. The caravan park was located right at the entrance to Khancoban. Steve had already called the owner of the only caravan park in Khancoban and alerted him of our imminent arrival.

Tony Rowlinson, the owner of the caravan park had already been waiting for us right near the hwy. We told him that we would come back to check in after having lunch in town. He told us that there was only one good restaurant and he told us how to get there. Before we left for town centre, Tony also made a generous cash donation.

Rohan and Satyajit parked the van outside “Pickled Parrot” and as we walked into the restaurant, Cameron the owner greeted us with a glow on his face and told us that the lunch would be “on the house”. After telling Cameron about our vegetarian requirements, I walked to our table. An elderly man, who was sitting with his wife next to our table, got up to greet and tell me that he was so proud to have met me in person. He looked so happy and excited. He told his wife about the fundraising walk for the McGrath Foundation. She was equally happy and impressed.

For Cameron, the restaurant owner providing us with lunch wasn’t enough. He was looking for ways to do something else to make our journey more comfortable. He asked if liked having fruit during the walk. When I said, sure, I didn’t know what he was going to do. He went into his storage area, and filled up a cardboard box with mangoes, apples, nectarines, Kiwis, mandarins and bananas. He knew that I wouldn’t accept that much fruit for free, after such a lavish lunch, he wouldn’t give me the box but carried the box himself to the van in the car park. I am absolutely lost for words to appropriately thank Cameron for his generosity that was beyond anyone’s imagination. All I can say is that my dear friend, you are absolutely incredible. Thank you so much for everything Cameron!

After lunch, we drove to the information centre that apart from providing information about Khancoban and surrounds, is also responsible to issue a pass for entering the Kosciuszko National Park. Our scheduled plan was to walk through this famous national park for the next four days at least. The girl at the reception told us that she couldn’t issue the pass today with a validity starting from tomorrow. She also told us that at that moment, there was no online facility to obtain the pass. Someone would need to come in personally, if the office was open, the passed would be issued by the office. Otherwise, use the automatic machine outside the office to print the pass and stick it on the driver’s side of the windscreen of the vehicle. We didn’t want to purchase the pass today and lose a day when we were staying the night at Khancoban.

We returned to the caravan park to check in and have rest. Tony’s wife was at the reception. She checked us in and allocated us a site but didn’t want to take any money. She said, “What you are doing is incredible, and to host you at our caravan park is an honour. Providing a site free of cost is nothing compared to what you are doing.” Thank you so much for taking care of us. You guys are an incredible! Thank you.

Rohan liked the huge dining hall at this caravan park and decided to cook delicious pasta followed by fresh mangoes as dessert. His cooking was so good that there was nothing left in the pot. It was so yummy. Thanks very much Rohan. You are a great help in so many ways. Thank you.

It was tough for Rohan because there was not a single on-site cabin available at the caravan park at Khancoban and the poor guy had to settle for the front seats for sleeping. I am not sure how much sleep he got but he drove the next morning without any hassles. Perhaps Rohan gets his strength from his dedication to twice daily meditation. Keep up the great work you are doing Rohan. May God bless you!

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