Today I went on my first walk as part of the tramping club. My preparation was less than ideal: I (stupidly I guess) stayed awake till 2:40 this morning to listen to the second men's Aussie Open semi on the radio. The 4¾-hour match had as many twists and turns as a snake slithering down a spiral staircase. From what I could tell neither Djokovic nor Murray was quite at their best, but it sounded like a gripping contest, at least when that Aussie commentator (whose focus was on everything but the tennis) got out of the way and Richard Evans and Chris Bowers took over. Perhaps the pomminess of those two announcers endears them to me, but they do seem extremely knowledgeable about the game. It was a shame, after such a close-fought match, that Murray couldn't quite make it. I'm now listening to the women's final between Sharapova and Azarenka. It's 3-3 in the first set; if it remains close you can expect the gruntometer to hit record levels. I saw Sharapova play in Melbourne in 2005 - the grunting on that occasion was almost hilariously loud. For the record she thrashed Li Na, who wasn't anything like the player she is now. Update: Azarenka swept to the title without losing another game! Mum said she played out of her skin.
Fortunately the walk started at eleven but I still felt badly starved of sleep. We met at Karori Park and walked the Skyline Walkway over the top of Mt Kaukau to Johnsonville. It was a nice day for it - OK it was windy as heck, but we had bright sunshine the whole way. I took a few photos and chatted to some of the others in the group to begin with, but I tired towards the end. It was the first real strenuous exercise I'd had in ages, and of course that's one of the main reasons I joined the club in the first place. I carried my new backpack, which I bought in Auckland, but it was too big for a trip lasting a few hours like today; I might try and get a smaller one off Trade Me for my next day trip. The trips are categorised into about six difficulty levels - today's was the second easiest level. On the club's website it says "You can be as fit or as unfit as you like!" I'd dispute that - if you were really unfit, you'd have struggled today. Maybe that's a measure of my pomminess - being brought up in the UK gives me an idea of what "really unfit" is.