The Third Bridge: Iron Cove Bridge, Rozelle-Drummoyne NSW
Like the 1955 original that I had crossed back in January, the 2011 duplicate Iron Cove Bridge was easy and pleasant to walk along.
Barely 10 minutes later, I was across and receiving my third Bridge stamp.
Fortunately, the trail to the Gladesville Bridge wasn’t over the large hill occupied by the drab downtown of Drummoyne that I had walked through back in January. Instead, us Walkers – of whom there were still plenty – made our way through pleasant suburban streets.
About 15-minutes later, the trail came to an intersection with the ever-busy Victoria Road.
And as I turned west onto Victoria Road, there it was right ahead – the Gladesville Bridge.
I glanced at the time on my iPhone.
It was just before noon.
The Fourth Bridge: Gladesville Bridge, Rozelle-Drummoyne
I wasn’t frightened about crossing the Gladesville Bridge again, but I was wary.
My main concern was that, like last time, I would unexpectedly freeze in my tracks – and this time amongst hundreds of people.
At the same time, however, having hundreds of Walkers with me was reassuring – if they were blocking the view to the water far below, and if I was preoccupied with paying attention to walking in a large crowd, then perhaps disaster could be avoided.
So up I walked onto the bridge.
And as I walked, I encountered an interesting situation.
Back when I had begun long-walking, I found that inhaling and exhaling deep breaths as I walked up hills and slopes helped me to get over them. I’d inhale a deep breath, hold it for four seconds, exhale, wait another four seconds, and repeat.
And as I did this while ascending the eastern slope of the Gladesville Bridge, my breathing sounded very loud and pretty much drowned out everything else.
It reminded me very much of the scenes in 2001: A Space Odyssey when a character was inside a spacesuit and the only sound was their breathing.
The rhythm of my breathing and thinking about 2001 helped me to keep walking.
Also, like I’d thought, having hundreds of Walkers with me helped.
As well, it was a splendid day and unlike my last crossing there were no strong winds.
Soon, I was at the summit.
And soon after that, I was descending the western slope of the bridge.
Finally, I came to the path that wound its way downhill from the bridge to Huntleys Point Road beneath it.
I had made it across the Gladesville Bridge without incident.
I got my fourth Bridge stamp, took out my water bottle and spent the next 10 or so minutes resting and drinking.
Off in the eastern distance, I could see the last bridge I planned to cross – the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Although the Harbour Bridge was only about five kilometres away directly from my present position, I would have to walk another 13 kilometres or so to get there.
But, especially now that my main nemesis of the Walk was behind me, I was very hopeful that I could make it.
The Fifth Bridge: Tarban Creek Bridge, Huntleys Point-Hunters Hill
Less than 10 minutes from the Gladesville Bridge was the Tarban Creek Bridge, which was nice and short and flat and low.
And shortly after the Tarban Creek Bridge was the Hunters Hill Village, where I got my fifth Bridge stamp and my fourth Village stamp.
It was just before 12:30pm.
It was time for a 30-minute sit-down break, and a light lunch.
There was a sausage sizzle in progress, but although I love sausages the thought of having even just one sausage sandwich at that moment was off-putting.
Instead, I made a gold-coin donation to the fruit-stand that had kindly donated its produce to the Walk and got a Granny Smith apple.
I also grabbed a can of Pepsi Max – which is not a drink I would usually consider with a Granny Smith apple, but as I sat and relaxed for the next half-hour or so they went down well together.
I had been walking for just over three hours (or even longer, if you counted my walks from home to City Extra, and then to Observatory Hill).
I had covered approximately 14 kilometres and crossed five of the Bridges.
Ahead lay another 13 kilometres or so.
It was approaching 1pm, and the Walk would close at 4:30pm.
The next few kilometres were unknown territory.
And beyond that, the rest of the Walk wound through parts of the Lower North Shore that I was also unfamiliar with – but from other parts that I had experienced, I suspected that those last several kilometres could be “quite” hilly.
Would I complete the rest of the Walk in time?
There was only one way to find out.
I binned my litter, put some fresh sugar-free gum in my mouth and resumed my Walk.
TO BE CONTINUED