23rd February

There was no doubt that it was going to be a hot day. Fran and Brian came out to meet us again but they were a bit late so I flattened two tyres to give Brian something to do. That’s not quite right but they did turn up when I was climbing the rise from the bridge over the Molonglo River. The kayak was too wide for what may have been a footpath. The traffic was heavy and there wasn’t much room so I was in the grass both sides of the bridge. That’s when the prickles went through the tyres. I thought the hill was just getting steeper so it was a relief to know it wasn’t me.

After a quick tyre change Brian and I walked past the airport and into the Canoe Club area ready for the final short paddle on Saturday. After a celebratory drink we loaded Old Yella onto the car only to have him slowly sag at the front. We pushed him back a bit but had to take him off later to sit on the ground and straighten out. It was warm but I didn’t realise he would start to melt.

It is nice to have the trip behind me. Old Yella can retire. I can finish writing the book and continue to battle the ignorance of people hell bent on destroying our future. For now though, we have a busy weekend, Monday at parliament house, the drive home and maybe a day or two just playing in my shed.

IMG_4813Nasty little prickle

IMG_4810Ya won’t want these any more will ya.

IMG_4832The walk is over. I think Lyn is as relieved as I am. I knew it would be tough and it was but there was no doubt in my mind that when I said that I would paddle/walk to Canberra that I would do it. To beat climate change we just need to have that attitude and get on with it. The trouble is that many of our leaders are just plain dumb and I don’t know how to deal with stupidity.

IMG_4833With Fran and Brian at the end

LYN      Last day on the road today, and it’s a very different road. No dirt, cattle or sheep as we have seen on the many back roads travelled. No friendly toots as Steve has heard along the Kings Highway as today he is in the midst of city traffic.

 Twenty five minutes into the journey I get a phone call from steve to let me know he has stopped to change a flat tyre, no problems he said as we had placed one spare in the kayak in case this happened, just letting you know what’s happening. A few minutes later I get another call, ‘ Ah I do need you after all I now have two flat tyres.’

 When I arrive Brian and Fran are there, Brian is going to walk the last 10km with Steve. They change the tyres and find a small burr with a large thorn in each tyre. So we did get to use our spare Moruya tyres!

 Steve and Brian head off and Fran and I go ahead. We meet them at the usual 4km stop, all good. We then head off for the final destination, Molonglo Reach.

 After a couple of wrong turns, we get there before the boys; though Steve comments later. ‘How could you get lost when you only had to go straight on one road.’      Mm I won’t reply to that…..except to say this is the city!!!!

The four of us sit in the parkland and have a little celebration, I know it’s only 10.45am but what the heck. We toast the end of the walk.

 We still have the official paddle in and welcome on Saturday but I want to take this opportunity to thank the MANY people who have helped and made this journey a success. There are so many to thank it’s impossible but I have to name a few. Firstly Margaret Hender, without whom none of this would have happened, not only has she organised more than I can explain here but she has also become a friend. Our families, for their ongoing support and love. Jenny Goldie and Brian Weavers for walking with Steve. Lyn Smith for her unending support. The numerous families that have welcomed us into their homes along the way. Thank you dearly to those mentioned and the many others who have helped.

Another person who Warren and I agree helped and at times hindered our journey was Ethel (Warren named her. Her surname is Alchol) The beast’s Sat Nav, she led us up and down and in and around many out of the way places! But hey we got there in the end, often when we just ignored her constant recalculation….

Some statistics that the support crew worked on along the way with some input from ‘our leader’ are:

Paddle strokes 1.5 million

Footsteps over the 180km 300,000

 Finally I would like to offer one of my favourite poems which I believe epitomises Steve walking journey.

 The road not taken     by Robert Frost.

 Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.