ON A MOUNTAIN SOMEWHERE!

There is a good lesson in this photo. Take note of where you’ve shot a photograph. Don’t presume you’ll always remember where it was taken – no matter how magnificent the scenery might be.

I know that’s me in the photo, and it was taken nearly 50 years ago in the early 1970’s – I am young and still trim! But where I am, I’ve no idea. I know it’s not my home State of Tasmania (Australia), where I first gained my love of bushwalking (trekking). Tasy has some wonderful mountains, but I’m fairly sure the one in the background is not one of them.

From the small pack on my back, I’m presuming I was on a day walk – so definitely not climbing the mountain behind me! Somewhat beyond my ability! I think it may be south island, New Zealand near Mount Cook. But it might be southern France near Mount Blanc. I’ve trekked in both those areas.

At school, I demonstrated absolutely no sporting ability whatsoever. Sports teachers would berate me for my lack of ability in throwing or catching a ball. My running was pretty awful too – though I once won a school egg and spoon race. Being so slow, I was also the steadiest runner, and to my own amazement I crossed the line with my egg still in my spoon, as other faster runners dropped theirs!

In my early teens however, I discovered I had an excellent ability for walking and strong endurance. Along with my classmates, I entered a 30 MILE charity walk in my home town. No one expected me to last more than a few miles, so I revelled in the sense of achievement when I finished the 30 miles – in sand shoes! Ouch!

Completing the walk gave me such immense pleasure. So when I discovered the Hobart bushwalking club several years later, I eagerly joined up and became a very active member for about six years before moving interstate. The club provided me with some fabulous memories and adventures, and importantly, life long friends.

When bushwalking back then, I wore a two pairs of thick woollen socks – the bottom layer was cream, and the top layer was salmon pink. You can see the top layer in this photo. I’m fairly certain they were made in Tasmania, which had world class woollen mills at the time. They were excellent, and I still have them!

I appear to be wearing jeans here, but if it was very cold I usually wore young boys Australian school army trousers as they were sturdy and made of wool. There wasn’t a lot of inexpensive good bushwalking gear available in Tasmania around back then.

In the photo, I’m wearing Tasmanian made Blundstone bushwalking boots. Blundstone is still around, but its boots are now made in China. The Blundstones weren’t pretty, but did the job. Bushwalking boots have come on a lot since then!

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