Welcome home Ally

INTREPID teenage traveller Ally Durr has returned from her 650-kilometre trek with a renewed inner-strength and appreciation for the simple things in life.

Miss Durr spent 36 days out in the wilderness covering the Australian Alpine Trail with the goal to raise more awareness for Lyme Disease.

"I'm so glad I did it, travelling the whole track in one go makes you a lot more appreciative," she said. "Being outdoors without the comforts of home and luxuries, it makes you appreciate everything more when you're back, even something like a lounge."

The 16-year-old set out to be the youngest solo hiker to complete the trail and had her family meet up with her periodically for food drops.

However, after completing half of the trail on her own she made the brave decision to ask for a companion. For the rest of the journey, she was accompanied by various family and friends.

"It was a very hard decision because I wanted to do the trail solo but it was another challenge for me. I had to accept that I couldn't do it by myself and I needed people to help me finish it," she said.

"During the first week, I found it was really, really hard to navigate because the tracks weren't the best. I was by myself and I would get really, I guess, paranoid I was on the wrong track.

"My younger brother Jack joined me and it was so great of him to do the walk with me because he didn't have to do it. We could talk and make decisions together about the navigation and that was really nice."

The Carwoola resident said the track was physically as well as mentally exhausting and there were times she seriously thought about quitting it.

"It was a big mental challenge to keep going. I would think 'No, I'm not doing it anymore, I can't go on'. I'd be quite adamant about quitting and I would wake up the next day and be like 'What was I thinking? I'm not giving up!'," she said.

"I think there are times where things seem hard but you work through it and when you look back it's such a positive thing to know you can get through those hard situations."

Miss Durr had to pause her trek in the last leg as all National Parks had to close because of the risk of possible bush fires, she came home for some respite before heading out and officially finishing the journey on Sunday, January 13.

"It was very strange coming home without finishing the track," she said. "I stayed home for two days before going back out again ... it was kind of sad when it was all over. After so much preparation, it felt a bit bizarre to finish."

Miss Durr said she will have a well-deserved break but she's not ready to hang up her shoes just yet.

"I'm really forward to getting back to race walking, triathlons and fun runs," she said. "I want to do something to inspire young people to get fit and not just sit in front of their tv."

Miss Durr and her family have organised a Lyme Disease Awareness Concert to be held on Friday, February 1 at the Tigers Club. It will feature a presentation by Miss Durr about her trek and also musical acts to raise awareness about Lyme Disease.

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