It’s interesting what comes up when you’re away from your usual routine, work or otherwise; assorted thoughts and observations, philosophical ponderings and random reflection. At least that’s what I’ve found and particularly during our trip away to Tasmania (continuing the theme from last week) and more so while we were enjoying a walk, well a hike really, around the Freycinet Peninsula.
We started with the 2 km walk to the Wineglass Bay lookout and then decided continued on 12 km circuit via Hazards Bay around the base of Mt Amos. It’s a lovely, scenic, unspoilt part of the world within the Freycinet National Park and there weren’t too many others despite being a warm, sunny day with the odd light shower and occasional refreshing breeze. A good 3.5 hrs all up and one of those walks that you finish feeling exhausted yet satisfied.
Part of what I love about walking is you never know what to expect along the way, and sometimes that’s a good thing!. You know approximately how far it is and therefore how long it might take you but not much about the terrain and how you will fare; we’re always well prepared because of that with the right gear, plenty of water and snacks etc.
Nick likes to take photos when we walk, which is a wonderful way to capture the essence of the place and he has a great eye for that. I take a few along the way too but prefer to capture various sights, sounds, smells and sensations in memory as much as possible which offers plenty of time for mental meandering, hence my comment about the philosophical ponderings and random reflection. So here is what I came up with, nothing new in terms of concept but timely perhaps.
This path was well marked and looked after and it was dry underfoot which is always a bonus, There were uphill bits, downhill bits and flat bits which are always welcome. Steps, rocks – large and small, gravel, leaf litter, sand, beaches, tree roots a broad variety of surfaces to walk on. There were forested parts, bushland, scrub, rocky outcrops, open areas and unexpected vistas at various points of beautiful bays, white sand and the stunning colour palette of the ocean from deepest blue to aquamarine and turquoise. Shifting clouds and low cloud caught in the treetops, overcast then bright sunshine, dappled in the bushy areas.
While it’s tempting, and delightful, to keep looking at the views and savour the moment when your attention is drawn to them, you also have to pay attention to what’s immediately ahead, particularly underfoot. With constantly changing terrain, ignoring or taking your eye off where you are stepping next can, literally at times, trip you up or cause you to lose your footing.
And isn’t all of this like life?
We all believe (we can’t know for sure), that we have a certain amount of time here on the planet, a lifetime which will vary for each of us. We don’t know what or who we will come across along the way or how we will fare and some of us will be well prepared for some of it, or at least as prepared as we can be.
There will be parts that feel like an uphill struggle, others that feel like a downhill run and others that feel like the welcome flat bit. There will be beautiful sights along the way, areas where we can’t see ahead at all or can’t lift our head to look. Sunny days, rainy days, light breezes, gale force winds, fog, light cloud, drizzle and heavy rain. Large boulders to climb over or around, loose gravel to slide on, tree roots that trip us up, slippery surfaces that catch us unawares. All of this and more.
We never know what’s around the corner and sometimes that a good thing but will the unknown halt our progress? Maybe. At times. And it’s at those times that we may need to stop, look around, appreciate where we are and how far we have come. Acknowledge that we may be exhausted, take a break and once rested, walk on. Just one step at a time.
Is it your time for a break?