Planning: The Four Very Important Things
As I mentioned in my previous post, there were four very important things I’d have to do differently this year to ensure that I completed the 7 Bridges Walk.
The first and easiest thing was starting earlier. Back in 2014, I had started at 9:30 – so this year, I would instead start at 8:30 (I could have started at 7:30, but to a night-owl like me even that seemed too early).
The second thing was starting from somewhere different. Back in 2014, I had started from the Observatory Hill Village at the south end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which had been one of the closest starting points to where I live…
…but ever since 2014’s experience, I had been thinking that it would be better to start from Milsons Point Village on the north end of the Harbour Bridge. It would take only 20-30 minutes to cross the Harbour Bridge, especially if I was starting fresh – so one bridge would be knocked over easily.
Which led to the third thing. Starting from Milsons Point Village would be good – but getting there first thing in the morning from home would be a drag. Having to get up even earlier than usual, walking 15-20 minutes to the nearest railway station, waiting who knows how long for the next train, the worst-case scenario of the train somehow being delayed on the way there…blah. I wanted to somehow get up and spend as little time as possible getting there…
…which gave me the glorious excuse of staying in a hotel close to Milsons Point Village the night before the Walk began.
There was one spectacular-looking hotel in North Sydney that was barely 10 minutes’ walk from Milsons Point Village – but although I could afford it, it was still a little pricey.
There was a pleasant-looking boutique hotel further up in North Sydney that looked appealing, and I came close to booking there…
…but on the same street as the boutique hotel was the Rydges North Sydney, where I had stayed one night a few years before. I had liked it, so I thought I’d give it a return visit.
After further thought, I decided to book three nights at the Rydges. I would check in the night before the Walk; I would use the second night and the day after the Walk, a Monday, to rest and recover; and I would head home Tuesday morning. I would be working Monday and Tuesday, but fortunately I could connect remotely from the Rydges via my work’s laptop PC.
Finally, there was the fourth thing – pain management.
Back in 2014, the last part of the Walk through Sydney’s Lower North Shore had been murder. I had recovered afterwards when I took some Nurofen painkillers during dinner – but I wanted to deal with that pain long before, as it was a major reason why I had mostly hated that last part of the Walk through the Lower North Shore.
That meant taking Nurofen before hitting the Lower North Shore – with encouragement to do that coming from several sources I had read a few months before.
Back then, I had been reading (and re-reading) a lot about thru-hikers on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails in the US. Several accounts had mentioned the benefits of painkillers and using them proactively as opposed to reactively.
This year, I would do the same.
Planning: These Shoes Are Made For Long-Walking?
Apart from those four very important things, there was another thing that was perhaps the most important consideration of all.
Back in 2014, I had worn Colorado boots – but since then, I had moved on to Rivers and then Dr. Martens.
From late last year until earlier this year, I had regularly worn Dr. Martens boots outside of work…but I had found them disappointing, especially for long-walking. During walks like this one earlier this year, they had always given me blisters.
Eventually, I replaced them with the Dr. Martens shoes I had been wearing to work and dress-up social occasions since late last year. They had never given me grief, they were very comfortable to wear (in fact, they may be the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn) and ever since they’ve become the shoes I wear everywhere.
But were they practical and suitable for the 7 Bridges Walk?
I didn’t see why not. For one thing, one of the first groups of people that Doctor Martens footwear had been designed for were postmen. Docs were made for walking, indeed.
For another thing, for the past couple of months I had been preparing my Docs for long-walking, in a way. On most Sundays, I had developed the pleasant routine of getting the train to dinner at Montezuma’s Crows Nest on the Lower North Shore, and walking home afterwards – which was a distance of about seven kilometres (and included crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge). And my Docs had not given me any trouble.
Okay, then – but still, were Docs really suitable for something like the 7 Bridges Walk? Wouldn’t something like hiking sneakers be better, aesthetically and practically?
I did consider looking at sneakers, but ultimately three things stopped me. One thing was that even if somewhere along the way my Docs turned out not to be suitable, so what – thanks to the support services in place for the Walk, like buses, I could return easily enough to the Rydges if my Docs broke or melted away or whatever.
The second thing was that if I did buy hiking sneakers, after the Walk I would be wearing them infrequently – and very infrequently, at that.
And the final thing for sticking with my Docs – and ultimately, it was the most inspiring thing – was THE MISTRESS OF AWESOME.
Regular readers may remember who I’m talking about, but if you don’t she was a remarkable-looking 7 Bridges Walker whom I saw a couple of times back in 2014.
Here she is again, as first mentioned in this post:
She was wearing a long-sleeved top and long pants.
And a rainbow-striped plastic top-hat, and rainbow-striped leggings over her calves.
And, most of all, a long red velvet cape labelled with THE MISTRESS OF AWESOME in large silver letters.
If THE MISTRESS OF AWESOME could walk the Walk like that, I could certainly walk it in my Docs.
So by the last weekend of October, when the Walk was due to take place, my plans were in place.
The only other thing I was worried about was if something work-related would arise at the last minute to torpedo part or any of my plans…
…but fortunately, by close-of-business on Friday, 28 October, nothing did.
I was free to take on the Walk again.
TO BE CONTINUED