Bridge Five: The Gladesville Bridge
I headed north-west through suburban Drummoyne.
And as I neared the Gladesville Bridge, I was surprised to find that it was almost noon.
Back in 2014, I had reached the bridge by noon.
And yet, despite starting an hour earlier this year, here I was again at almost the same time.
Was I going too slow?
And if I was, would I not finish the walk yet again?
For a moment those thoughts bugged me, until I told myself to knock it off.
I was still one bridge further along than I was previously.
The section of the walk between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Pyrmont Bridge had been longer than in 2014.
If I was walking slower, maybe it was because I was more relaxed.
And most importantly of all, there was something more immediate to worry about.
Almost right on noon, I turned onto Victoria Road and began ascending towards the Gladesville Bridge.
Back in 2014, there had been an unending mass of Walkers going over the bridge with me.
Today, there were still many, but not as much.
As I headed upwards I kept away from the railing overlooking the Parramatta River far below; tried not to let this year’s lesser protective barrier of Walkers worry me; and told myself, yet again, to knock off the worrying.
Soon, I passed over the top of the bridge and began descending.
And as I did, some unexpected help appeared.
Just ahead of me were a man and woman who appeared to be my age.
The woman was wearing a pink T-shirt and a pair of skintight grey leggings.
Her bottom looked spectacular.
At first I admired the view, scolded myself for doing so, tried to look away, resumed looking…and then found that I now had a focus that stopped my mind from worrying.
So, as we continued down the north-western slope of the bridge, I followed her at a respectable distance until I eventually overtook her and her partner (partly because I was walking faster, and partly because I scolded myself again that enough was enough).
Shortly after, I arrived at the next Bridge Stamp Point.
I got my next stamp and checked the time. It was 12:12pm.
I had crossed the Gladesville Bridge in barely 12 minutes.
I never saw that man and woman again, but I will always be grateful for the help she unknowingly provided during that crossing.
Five Bridges crossed, two to go.
Bridge Six: The Tarban Creek Bridge
I crossed Huntleys Point and turned north to the Tarban Creek Bridge.
Eight minutes later at 12:20pm, I was across and getting my next Bridge and Village stamps at Hunters Hill Village.
One more Bridge and two more Villages to go.
But now, it was time for lunch.
Village Five: Hunters Hill Village
Back in 2014 at Hunters Hill Village, I had still felt full from my big breakfast so I had limited myself to a Granny Smith apple and a can of Pepsi Max.
Today, however, I was hungry after not getting my hotel breakfast, so I decided to treat myself.
I ordered four sausage sandwiches and two cans of Pepsi Max.
Because of the crowds there was a 20-miute wait for food, but that didn’t bother me.
When my sandwiches arrived, I found a nice spot under a tree.
I settled in, opened one of my cans, and eagerly took my first bite of my first sandwich…
…to find to my great disappointment that the sausages weren’t beef, but instead pork.
Blah. And groan.
I tried a few more bites until I stopped kidding myself that the pork wasn’t somehow going to get tasty at all. So, I settled for eating some of the tomato sauce-soaked bread and binned the rest.
Both cans of Pepsi Max went down well, though, and I also finished my last two chocolate bars.
About half an hour later, I popped some fresh chewing gum into my mouth, drank some water at the free taps, and sat down to ensure that my socks and Docs were fitting comfortably.
As I did, a woman nearby asked, “How are the Docs going?”
I replied, “They’re going well.”
She smiled and said, “That’s good!”
I smiled back and wished her well.
It was good, indeed – the Docs had given me no trouble at all.
A moment later, I used one of the Portaloos and then hit the trail again.
It was 1:30pm.
Bridge Seven: The Fig Tree Bridge
I headed north into Hunters Hill, and down the same long steep slope that in 2014 made me glad that I wasn’t ascending it.
Finally, the slope ended at the Lane Cover River.
I crossed the short and flat Fig Tree Bridge.
And at 1:42pm, I got my final Bridge Stamp.
I had crossed all seven Bridges.
It was a wonderful feeling.
Not far ahead was that nasty incline from Burns Bay Reserve to Riverview.
And further beyond that were those nasty last six kilometres of the Lower North Shore.
And once again, I began wondering if I would complete the whole walk in time.
But overall I felt pretty good, especially with the seven Bridges now behind me.
I kept walking.
TO BE CONTINUED