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MCG - SCG Yatra, Day 41

Canyonleigh - Moss Vale

In my blog for Day 40, I forgot to mention that it rained all day yesterday when we walked through long sections of gravel roads that were subject to flooding. The rain made it difficult for me to walk in the wet weather. But also because the continuous rain was adding to the water level to rise and we were worried about another diversion that we might have to follow. However, the low temperature was conducive to the walking conditions. I would put on the water-proof jacket to protect myself from getting wet. Then it would become too warm to continue with the jacket on or the rain would turn into light drizzle, I would take off the jacket and give it back to Shekhar. By the end of the day yesterday, my shoes and socks, my T-Shirt, my tracksuit pants, and my undergarments, everything was totally soaked. I stopped the walk yesterday, not because we had reached our target for the day, it was because I didn’t have any more energy to continue. We usually stop the day’s walk at an easily identifiable landmark but the fact that we used the marking spray to mark the end of the day’s walk says everything about how tough and demanding the day had been.

Contrary to yesterday, this morning was sunny with a clear sky. We drove from our camping place in Moss Vale back into the forest past Canyonleigh. Shekhar dropped me off at a point where he could turn the van around. I walked from there to the point that was identified with a marking spray. The first half an hour or forty minutes is basically a warm up period for the body. The walk picks up its natural pace and rhythm after that and you begin to enjoy it. I was fully charged and we completed the 4 Kms walk to Canyonleigh in no time.

It is no secret that I like being in the forest, interacting with Mother Nature or just being there with Her, all alone listening to birds twitching and singing in their own language and trying to understand the message therein. Where the cool breeze unfurls as if she was caressing your cheeks and forehead and stroking your hair. It was as if it was Mother Nature’s way to sing lullabies to make you feel relaxed. It is perhaps her way to put you to sleep without having to take any pills. It is perhaps Mother Nature’s way of saying to get back to natural things (herbs and plants) and move away from synthetics and chemicals. It is perhaps because I was brought up in a rural setting in India.

Over the course of my walk, I enjoyed walking through the dense forest. However, it was painful to see the destruction of mother nature at the hands of some irresponsible idiots. When I saw truck tyres, car tyres and other items thrown into the forest, it pained me. Why on earth would you do that when there are ways and means to dispose of these things responsibly. You might think that no one is watching, so let us throw rubbish anywhere. You might not get caught, but at the end of the day, please remember, this country is your home. This country is my home. This country is OUR HOME. Would you do throw all this rubbish in your backyard? The answer would be NO, of course not. Please STOP throwing rubbish around the country. Like many places have signs saying, “Don’t be a tosser. Bin it instead.” Please dispose it off responsibly and take care of this country like a good home owner would do to his/her home.

Ever since the start of this walk, people have been asking me how they could join in to help the country. They say that they have been inspired by my commitment to do something good for the country. But they are not able to join me in the walk because of time constraints or physical limitations. They wonder how they could help or what they could do for the country. There are many ways to help but just a few tips to all those genuine seekers would be as follows. Please do the right thing every time all the time. What I mean by that is you would be helping Australia if for example, you do not take a sickie when you are NOT actually sick. Generally, you take a sickie because you want to go to a game of cricket or footy or tennis or something else, but you are not actually sick. If you are genuinely sick, sure, take time off as much as you need to as opposed to as much as you want to or are entitled to. Please understand the difference between want and need, while want is a desire, and need is a necessity.

Be humble in your dealing with your customers. When you are driving, all road users are technically your customers. Road rage has no place in a civilised society. Whether on the phone or talking face to face, please respect others the same way you would like others to respect you.

When you are walking on a road or a footpath and you come across a nail, a screw or a metal object that could puncture or damage a tyre or injure someone, please pick it up and put it in the bin. At the least, push that object away from the position where it could cause harm to road users. I would do the same if a brick or a rock was lying on the road where it could damage someone’s property or injure someone, please shift this object away from its position. But please always keep in mind to do all these things with due regard to your own safety. You as a person come first and your own safety has to be the top most priority in all your actions.

Some people argue that they are doing something for their own community, be it a religious, ethnic, language or a cultural group. There is nothing wrong with that. It is good if you are trying to help your community group. And so are other people trying to help their community groups. In the process, we are all trying to pull the country in different directions. Consequently, the progress of the entire society is slowed down. However, when Australia as a whole is at the forefront of your thinking, we all benefit. If we combine our efforts and work cohesively to lift the entire nation, all communities would be lifted along. I think, this concept has to be clear to everyone wishing to see this country flourish and reach new heights.

Back to Canyonleigh. It was tough walking as the day began to heat up. I was sweating and sweating. Consequently, I was taking in more fluid, which means more often urinating. It is not easy to find safe spots to pee along the busy road. On a gravel road, it is much easier because of less traffic. Once you start walking on bitumen especially past Canyonleigh, you have a lot more traffic with truckies ferrying various goods. We had our first break and I had a good rest after having breakfast. We continued our walk on the Canyonleigh Road to the M31 Junction. From here on, the Canyonleigh Road becomes Illawarra Road (A48) to Wollongong. With the change of its name to a hwy status, the amount of traffic also changed correspondingly. However, there was also something positive thagt came with the change. Unlike most parts of the Canyonleigh Road, the A48 had a proper shoulder to walk upon.

But regardless of the shoulder, my body was trying to tell me something. I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t going to play a subordinate to my body. I was not prepared to accept a subservient role to my body. I wanted to tell my body, “Hey, listen …, I am the boss here and not you”. I made up my mind to walk until 12:00 PM. When we walked past the Old Argyle Road turn off, I felt like calling Shekhar and telling him this was it for the day. But I didn’t because it was only 11:30AM. I wasn’t going to give up so easily. I struggled with the heat but I kept up the fluid level and the minerals. My trainer, Chris the exercise physiologist told me many times and he continues to remind me to the day to ensure that the level of minerals is also maintained along with the rehydration process. Thank you so much for all your help and advice Chris. You are a true champion my friend. A big thank you!

It was around midday as we approached the Village Road turn off to the right. I called Shekhar and told him to mark the location in his GPS to facilitate our return tomorrow morning. Moss Vale was 7.5 Kms from this location. I jumped into the van and we drove to the Moss Vale town centre. We had a nice cuppa at the Post Office Café. For lunch, we ended up going to Coles and get Coleslaw Salad and other salads along with a variety of green vegetables. After getting back to the showgrounds, we parked the van at the same spot and pulled out the awning, put out the folding chairs and enjoyed our lunch sitting outside in fresh air. Subsequently, I asked Shekhar to set up the Foot-Spa because I thought my feet deserved a treat today.

Initially, I had thought to walk the remaining distance to Moss Vale late afternoon the same day. However, it was simply too hot to walk and moreover, I was still exhausted from the morning walk. We decided to leave the walk until the next day before going on a short drive to Bowral to visit the Don Bradman Museum, named after the world’s greatest batsman. We went out to have pizza but this place was take away only. We didn’t want to try something exotic because I couldn’t afford to take a chance with anything that may or may not suit my stomach. We brought the 8-sliced vegetarian pizza to the camping place. Thank God, it turned out to be a high quality and delicious dinner. After that I worked on my blogs and fell asleep.

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