“Goosey, goosey she-bear
where shall she wander?
Up hill and down dale,
In Our Lady’s playground”
A friend wrote that little poem for me last time I was walking and I was reminded of it today as I walked up and down many a hill and dale (four!) of the Helena valley. It’s my fourth day today and the end of my second full day on the track. Today was the first real test of the legs!
I’m writing this by torchlight in my bed in Beraking hut which is a total 5-star hut complete with landscaped outdoor area with two picnic tables and red pea-gravel underfoot, Grass Trees and granite boulders for perching on as you admire the stunning view over the valley. It’s windy though! Not so bad now, thankfully. At least the wind keeps the mozzies away. It’s only 7:30 and it’s almost completely dark. I had no idea it got dark that early! Three nights on the track and no one yet to share a hut. I’m finding that manageable but it’s nice to have people to yarn with at the end of the day. I did meet my first walker today, an end-to-ender coming up from the south – so nearly finished! I had a massive grin when I saw him and enjoyed exchanging a few customery track words. It’s funny to be out here and in some respects, so alone, and yet there’s a whole community of people out here, ahead of me and behind me. Some are even just a few huts on, whose stories I follow in the log books and who will never know I’m here – and some, I can only imagine, behind me who know the ups and downs of my walk that I will not meet or know of either.
You’ll be pleased to know that my blisters are not giving me any more trouble and are on their way to being well calloused-up. I’ve been taking really good care of my feet – patching them up, giving them massages with Arnica and lavender oil and changing my socks a couple of times a day to keep them dry. After two pretty horrible days of walking through the burbs on roads and footpaths, they were very sore and quite blistered so I’ve been giving them lots of love as well as good care. Now the weather’s turned cooler too which is the biggest relief. It means that rather than getting up and out at the crack of dawn to avoid walking during the hot part of the day, I’ve been able to take it really easy in the mornings (which translates to: up about 6:30, on the road at 8 ) and this is the time that I open up the “blister surgery” and do my work.
The landscape is… so beautiful and soft up here and varies so much – closely wooded jarrah forest; long stretches of flat granite with wild flowers still blooming; big fat white-barked Eucalypts growing sparsely along a spur peppered with Grass Trees; groves of Sheoaks with their lovely soft needles to walk on… The colours are a thousand greens, a thousand silvery greys, a thousand browns, the blueish hills across the valley, the sparkling sky, the pearled white clouds, the rainbow of wildflowers. It is truly a sight to behold, here in our lady’s playground.