I’m excited and nervous all at once as I leave work around 8:30am to drive up to Mount Mee. It’s only an hour away and the 13km Somerset Trail looks like a great way to start my challenge to walk 12km a day to raise awareness and money so the Australian Red Cross can continue helping refugees who are fleeing war. I don’t have to be back at work until 4pm so this is a perfect way to start.
I set off on the trail. These are the first steps of my 372km+ walk. The path is littered with leaves and slightly damp from recent rains. But not wet enough to make mud. I start to unwind almost immediately.
I know I’m in a good place when I’m noticing the small things along my walk. Water drops sit on leaves. Bark peels from trees reaching for the sky. Bicoloured fern leaves soften the edges of the trail. And palm trees create beautiful silhouettes against the blue sky.
The trail is well signed. And, yes, I ignore this graffiti warning.
The trail takes me through a variety of landscapes. There’s a patch of rain forest, which is cool and damp. Pine trees grow in places, making me reminisce about my Kumano Kodo pilgrimage in Japan. The open eucalyptus forests are hot and dry. And the heath land is so green it seems impossible, particularly given the lack of rain we’ve had this summer.
Somerset Lookout marks the midway point of the trail. A steep rocky cliff drops down off the escarpment, leaving me with views of the valleys and dams to the west. Grass trees grow in the poor shallow soil between the boulders. These trees always seem to thrive most in the worst soils around. The trees generally grow slowly and are more fragile than their black bodies seem. I stop for lunch and to enjoy the view for a while. This is living.
Leaving the views behind I walk back towards the carpark. The walk is undulating but not too challenging. There are many places where I have to cross gravel forestry roads. In one place the markers are missing but I spy the trail about 50m to my left. As I approach the end of the trail I start to notice chop marks in some of the larger tree stumps. These must be the scars left by the timber getters in days gone by. The same timber getters who had need for the gantry that remains up at the Gantry Day Use Area where I’ve left my car. I can’t say that I’m terribly fond of our history of cutting down forests so I can’t get excited by this historic structure. But I guess it tells part of the story of our history.
Distance walked: 13km
Total distance for challenge so far: 13km
I am walking to raise awareness and money to help people who are walking to flee war. For more information, check out my profile on the Australian Red Cross website.
All donations over $2 are tax deductible and you’ll receive a receipt from the Australian Red Cross. Will you help me change the world? Donate here.