One step at a time

WHILE most of us will be tucking into Christmas lunch or watching fireworks to ring in the new year, 16-year-old Ally Durr will be in the midst of her 650 kilometre trek of the Australian Alpine Walking Trail.

The Carwoola teenager is leaving on December 8 to spend up to six weeks of her school holidays completing a solo hike from the Alps of Victoria to Tharwa.

The Karabar High School student said by doing the walk she wants to increase awareness of Lyme Disease which is an infectious disease transmitted by ticks and other insects.

"I decided I wanted to raise awareness for Lyme Disease and to inspire young people to get our there and challenge themselves," she said.

Miss Durr was motivated to take up the gruelling challenge by a close family friend, Hannah Coleman who has Lyme Disease.

"Hannah was a big inspiration to do the walk, she was very active, she was unicycling when she was bitten by a tick at a Girls Guide camp in Sydney," Miss Durr said.

"Hannah has [the disease] badly, she almost died and is in a wheelchair most of the time ... I'm doing it for her, doing what I love because she can't do it [what she loves]."

Miss Durr will navigate the course carrying a backpack weighing about 16 kilograms filled with a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, food, three litres of water, gas cooker, utensils and clothes.

She will also have a phone, gps and an EPIRB to keep her on the right track.

"I hope to walk an average of 18 kilometres per day with one rest day per week," she said.

"Mentally I'll just have to keep going, it can get hot and lonely but you can't just stop, you have to keep going. I'll have to navigate myself and stay concentrated so I keep checking where I am. When you're tired you stop checking and that's when you can run into trouble."

Miss Durr's parents will be shadowing her journey by driving a similar route. They will meet up with her every few days to top up food supplies and any other essentials.

The adventurous teenager is a keen hiker who tackled the Kokoda Trail with her father, Greg and younger brother, Jack earlier this year.

She said it had prepared her for this next challenge.

"I like being away from the city, technology and stuff that we don't need, you appreciate what you have a lot more when you come back," she said.

"Going solo is just stepping it up to another level, I like being by myself so I'll be ok hopefully."

In true generation Y fashion Miss Durr will be blogging throughout her journey.

Readers can follow her at

www.allydurr.com

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