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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

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The 13th Canberra Two Day Walk

A small but valuable contingent from our club attended this year's walk in Canberra - to explore if this International Event would be of interest to the rest of our Club. The results were an overwhelming Yes! It is definitely an event that we will put on the calendar for next year (2-3 April 2005).

The following will give you some idea of what we encountered. We all pre-registered by post (which saved us $5) and got our card, which was used on the walk to check into the check points and grab a drink of water, which they supplied. The total cost for the two days was $15 per person, which covers the certificates and medals etc. It is a non-profit club. Daphne, Sylvia, Mary, Barry and Barbara, Leila and Ray also did the 10 km walk.

It was highly organised at the YMCA in Canberra. Thank goodness that is was. Yuriko and I were scheduled to start at 9am. We drove to the car park and found the YMCA, but couldn't see any people outside. Entering the front door and finding ourselves in a very big hall, there they were - the walkers. Now let me give you some statistics about the size of this event.

There were four groups (by kilometres) - a 5 km walk, 10 km walk, 20 km walk and the 30 km walk. They started at 8 am, 9 am and 10am. On the Saturday 797 people walked and finished the walk. I was on the 20 km walk and there were 330 walkers. After a very quick check-in, getting our map, ID tag for the bag, and a 5 minute briefing we all (330) started a precisely 9 am. This was a bit of a shock, but over the first bridge or 5 minutes after the start the line thinned out and everyone walked very orderly on the left of the track, so people could pass. Now, it is no race and speed has nothing to do with this walk. It just has to be finished by 4 pm. Yuriko and I got back at 2:30pm each day. We walked 4 hours and covered exactly 24 km, averaging 5.33 kph. The normal morning tea and lunch stop used up another 1 hour.

The 20 km walk was around the Eastern end of Lake Burley Griffin, through the wetlands, passed the War Memorial, though the suburb of Turner and back through ANU to the YMCA. The Sunday walk was the western part of the Lake and completed the totall circumnavigation of the Lake passing the Parliament House, Law Courts and back to the YMCA. This was a little slower, because of our legs. 21.9 km @ 5.15 kph.

Who were we walking with? Lots of Canberra and Sydney bushwalkers, all sorts of clubs. 16 Countries were represented, the biggest group from the Nederlands, lots of Germans, and Scandinavians from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The English were there too and lots of Kiwis. (Two weeks before, this International walk was in Rotorua and many walkers had been there as well). One American Lady whom we met at the YHA had been to Rotorua on her 3 week vacation from her job in Washington D.C. By doing the Canberra walk she was eligible for a Pan Pacific Medal and it was her 35th International walk. Yuriko was happy to speak Japanese to many of the 3 groups of Japanese who had come to Australia for the walk. One Japanese lady and her husband, who both looked like they couldn't walk to the shop, told us we haven't done any walking till you walk in Holland. They did the 50 km walk in Holland in 10 hours; they said it was nice and flat. This was their 10th International walk.

On our walk the youngest was 13 years old (her 6th walk) and the oldest was 80 yrs of age. I met people who had done 15 walks and had medals to prove it.

We finished (a bit tired), got a certificate and a bronze medal for doing the 40 km for our age bracket. It was well worth doing and we are going next year for sure. So join us and meet the walkers of the world. Believe me we are a very small group compared with this lot, both in enthusiasm and age. Come along and look into another world.

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