Coastal walking, it’s gold.

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When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.  Rainer Maria Rilke

I’ve been fortunate to visit several places by the sea of late and I’ve taken full advantage of these visits to indulge with morning walks along the shoreline as well as afternoon frolics. I find the energy of the ocean and a sandy beach satisfies the body, soothes the soul and clears the mind.  It’s hard for me to go long periods of time before returning for more.

After a particularly busy few weeks at work and finding myself unaccompanied for the weekend I went in search of a local walk. My objective was to get out into the fresh air, collect some geocaches and walk for hours. So I hopped onto the geocaching website and found a power tail, by the sea.

I should briefly explain what geocaching is and what power trails are. I was introduced to the world of geocaching about five years ago by my son. At first, I didn’t quite understand how it worked but I was soon hooked once I discovered the places it took me, that it involved getting outdoors and there was a little challenge built-in (I’m a sucker for a challenge). It ticked the boxes for a  fun pastime.

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See those little smiley faces? They represent the caches I found on my walk.

I describe geocaching as being like a treasure hunt. More officially, it is an activity or pastime in which an item, or a container holding a number of items, is hidden at a particular location for GPS users to find by means of coordinates posted on the internet. Once you find a cache you sign the logbook inside, get back on the net and log your find. This creates your personal tally. I have, to date, found 771 caches. Caches are hidden all around the world. A power trail is a path with a large number of caches placed within close proximity to each other. Power trails are a fun way to quickly increase your find count.

Back to my amazing discovery. I located a power trail of about 24 caches along the coast, an hour’s drive from home. Perfect! I packed a small backpack with hat, water, phone (to use the GPS system), pen to log caches, camera to snap the view and sunscreen. Then I was on my way.

The walk I completed is part of a longer walk referred to as the Oceanway which consists of 36 kilometres of walking trails and tracks developed by the Gold Coast City Council. These paths meander along the coast, the ocean is not always in sight but you can always hear the crashing of waves and smell the sea spray. I was delighted with this walk and would rate it as one of the best short walks I’ve done.  The walking path led me across sand dunes, through Casuarina scrub and along beachside board walks. Parts of the walk were quite isolated with little foot traffic, only the occasional bike rider and the beautiful melody of birds. It’s an easy walk along graded tracks and trails, perfect for families to bike ride along. I revelled in the variety, the seclusion to hunt for my caches and the space to clear my head without sharing the path with hoards of people. Though it was surreal at times to step out of scrub onto well maintained pathways fronting luxury accommodation and popular beaches. Despite the small sections of peopled track I was able to power along relatively unimpeded.

I am keen to return and complete the full length of the coastal walk to begin at the spit/ seaway and continue across the state border into New South Wales. It’s not a challenging walk in terms of gradient but it does satisfy my hunger to cover distance. I’ve long had my heart set on returning to Scotland and Cornwall to walk the wild and windswept coastlines. In the meantime, I can satisfy my heart’s desire to meander along the coast with this and a few other coastal walks I’ve discovered at home.

I thrive in the world’s wilderness areas and along her coastlines, the lure is almost primordial. Is there a place that calls to you?

 

 

 

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Cakes, quilts and conversations

Watch the sunrise at least once a year, put a lot of marshmallows in your hot chocolate, lie on your back and look at the stars, never buy a coffee table you can’t put your feet on, never pass up a chance to jump on a trampoline, don’t overlook life’s small joys while searching for the big ones.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

My husband and I attended a small carnival last weekend. I’m not sure how else to describe it as opposed to the big Royal Brisbane show, that takes place next month, except to say it is one of the few remaining country shows in the city. We don’t usually attend but it was the 100th show of the Mt Gravatt suburb and I thought it might be fun.

The show, beginning in 1915, has been held on the present site since 1918 with only a few interruptions, one being WWII. The grounds have some interesting buildings dotted about. There are a few gorgeous little structures, some no more than sheds, and one grand old building. Many of them were sourced, at different times, from across the city and now form part of life at the show grounds as venues for different meetings and exhibits.

We had a lovely couple of hours wandering about and taking in the show jumping and equestrian events. We mused at the new-born, black and white goat that was jumping, no kidding, four hooves off the ground, so full of energy. We laughed when after several particularly energetic bounds it collapsed straight down on its side then jumped up to begin again. There were sheep and donkeys and pony rides as well as the animal nursery.

There were many and varied exhibits to enjoy: egg artistry, wood-turning, bee keeping, old machinery, cottage craft, cooking, cake decorating, horticulture as well as displays of hot rods and four-wheel drives and trucks. All the fun food of fairs was there too: dagwood dogs, fairy floss, candy, burgers, ice cream and my favourite, baked potatoes.

We lingered over the art work and voted for our favourites piece in the people’s choice awards. I marvelled at the work and skill in the quilting and egg artistry pavilions. There was knitting and crocheting as well as doll making and hand-made teddy bears on display.

The rides were attractive but didn’t lure us oldies. What really made my day were the interactions and conversations I had with stall holders. I wowed the beekeepers when I quickly identified the queen bee in a see-through hive. I had a lovely discussion with a woman about punch embroidery. I wondered if my grandmother would have liked this as an alternative to her much-loved tapestry.

I shared a few precious moments with a very gentle man who shared with me how he makes the most divine spindles from different woods, some of which I wasn’t even aware we had in Australia.  His passion, attention to detail and love of wood were inspiring. I could have listened to him for hours. I had an in-depth conversation with a lady manning the photography display over the subjectiveness of judges’ choices in competitions. She invited me to join their club. I’m considering it to be honest. I think it could be fun. Both my beloved and I were intrigued by the photos of Brisbane in days long past. The treasurer of the local Historical Association shared some fascinating insights with us.

We didn’t buy any show bags, I actually forgot about them so engrossed was I in running, like a kid in a candy store, to each of the exhibits. Arriving just after breakfast we didn’t partake of the culinary delights but we did enjoy looking at the home-baked goods and sharing stories from our youth. I had entered a fruit cake and pikelets in the regional show where I grew up. My beloved had, as a school project, entered iced, decorated biscuits. Australians will be familiar with the plain Arnott’s milk arrowroot biscuits that are made enticing by adding candies and coloured frosting to them. We two were like little kids recalling fun times and laughing at the recollections.

The entry fee of fifteen dollars was a small price to pay for a grand morning out. After a particularly busy and tiring week I could have sat on the couch and snoozed but getting out and about was a tonic for my mind and body. Time with my beloved and real connections with people buoyed me and energised me for the week ahead.

This weekend we are stepping out again. We have a couple of terrific options to explore. We could head to Greazefest, a local rockabilly, custom car show with a carnival atmosphere, or the local school fete, usually a very big affair. Both are sure to bring some pleasant surprises and loads of fun.  Who knows, we might go to both!

What fun have you planned for your weekend? What will be the tonic for your tired body and salve for your weary soul?

Shannyn