By then it’s all about chaff, sunburn and blisters
Walking has become dear to the heart lately and not just because the surname is Walker.
If any such connection existed between what you do and what you’re called, the surname would be Lazy, or Grot.
No, walking is dear to the heart because we’ve been doing lots of it lately.
Amped up by the primal fear that if you don’t use it, you lose it.
The ability to move I mean.
Which is ironic because the more you use the ability to move long distances, the more you lose it, with any grace that is.
But that was to be expected post-Christmas, having half-hearted committed to a mega-bushwalk.
One of those overland, six-day, in-the-footsteps-of-the-pilgrim-type treks, so popular with mid-lifers.
Complete with luxury lodge, warm showers and three-course meal, of course, washed down with local wines at the end of each day.
Just like Jesus did, or at least exclaimed, when his feet blistered up back when pilgrims really put in.
The big question between the lodges was the 12km slogs. Six days in a row.
The plan with all the walking was to gauge whether it would be a good time, or an expensive exercise in exercise.
We called it training and after a solid seven days we concluded it might actually be torture.
Mainly for the rest of the trekking party, who might have to abandon us on the mountain.
Interesting how rusty the joints get, though, particularly after the Christmas break.
Gets to the point you need some kind of shakedown.
And with that a Donald Trump figure emerges in the mindset tasked with the pipedream of making this body great again.
Complete with a Sean Spicer press secretary berating your bones about holding muscles to account.
Yeah, heard that all before, on The Simpsons. Thought it was an alternative fact but turns out to be reality in the post-truth era.
So against that backdrop we have been eating up the kilometres trying to escape the latest pronouncements from Washington.
But you don’t have to head to the hills. Newcastle is a walker’s paradise and it’s all on the doorstep.
Your Fernleigh tracks, your Bathers Ways, your Harbour Foreshores, your Blackbutts and of course the awesome Glenrock Reserve.
Quite incredible the number of tracks that wind up and down, round and round that reclaimed wasteland, like a Playschool ditty or a developer’s lament.
Proof surely that there is a silver lining to rampant mining, quarries and gun clubs.
A fantastic space to flog yourself in nature.
Almost against nature in those early stages when the body is protesting.
All within a kilometre of pristine coastline.
Pristine, notwithstanding the power lines and sewerage works.
Not that you should take those facilities for granted either, because they come in handy if you get lost.
Which is almost impossible at Glenrock, but if you do get disorientated, and the Glenrock novice can get a bit muddled, remember that roaring in your head isn’t just the blood pumping.
It should be the ocean, or City Road, and therefore you don’t need to trigger the EPIRB.
The reason you can lose yourself, apart from being unfit, is because walking is such an absorbing activity.
What else are you going to think about after you’ve walked so far away from your car, except walking so far back to it.
One foot after another, trudge, trudge, trudge - it soon begs the question, Am I brain dead?
And there you have the true beauty of walking. It’s mindless.
But not in a Donald Trump kind of way. It helps clears the head of that kind of concern by narrowing all thought down to one basic tenet – did I bring the mossie repellant?
Nothing else matters after about the fifth kilometre except trying to get your walking app to pipe down.
Every five minutes, a robotic announcement. “You have covered 1.76 kilometres, average speed 10 kilometres per hour, YOU ARE 10 MINUTES BEHIND YOUR TARGET SPEED. I AM SO DISAPPOINTED .... EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!!!!!!!!”
So embarrassing when fellow nature lovers stroll by and you’re trying to silence your smart phone with a rock.
I don’t even know why our walking app has started going on about target speeds. We never set one. Knowingly. Beyond “stop”.
It seems to know more about us than we do and I suspect is hacking into our bank accounts.
Not that money matters by the 15th kilometre. By then it’s all about chaff, sunburn and blisters.
Ah the joys of walking, and falling asleep in the car on the way back home.
Just make sure you’re not driving.