21 October 2021

Joash Taufa'ahau's hike to end hunger continues with daily laps of Lake Burley Griffin

| Lottie Twyford
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Joash Taufa'ahau with his hiking boots

Joash Taufa’ahau has put his hiking boots back on for a daily double loop of Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Supplied.

As if hiking 1400km of the NSW coastline to raise money for OzHarvest wasn’t enough, Queanbeyan man Joash Taufa’ahau is now trekking a scenic double loop of Lake Burley Griffin for the same cause.

And it’s not just the popular 5km loop, either – he’s walking the whole thing twice a day.

Joash has mapped out an 18km route so he is walking around 36km a day, five days a week.

His latest hike, which he will aim to complete during the next few weeks, will serve as an opportunity to raise the final $3000 of his $10,000 for the OzHarvest charity, which saves food from being wasted.

It’s a cause Joash says is practical and simple, and very close to his heart.

“All of us have a responsibility,” he says. “We can all stop buying what we don’t need.”

Joash’s message is particularly pertinent given the scenes of panic buying observed during recent COVID-19 lockdowns around Australia.

Empty toilet paper shelves in Coles supermarket

Canberrans rushed to supermarkets on the day COVID-19 lockdown was announced in August, despite being told they would remain open throughout it. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

He is adamant hunger can be tackled through education, and hopes he is doing his bit with his hike to raise the profile of issues such as food wastage and global hunger.

Walking around Canberra wasn’t always part of the plan, but Joash – who works in the education sector in Queanbeyan – found himself with a bit of time on his hands.

Having received only one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Joash has to wait for his next jab before he returns to work.

Rather than sitting around during the few weeks of downtime, he saw an opportunity to keep hiking and to potentially “finish what he started”.

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Putting his boots back on and walking again wasn’t as easy as Joash may have hoped as he says his body is pretty sore. In fact, sorer now than he can remember it ever being on the coastal hike, which some people may find hard to believe considering at the start he managed to cover a whopping 75km a day. Although this did slow to around 40km a day by the time he hit Sydney.

“It has been a shock to the body again, but mentally I don’t think I’ve lost it,” says Joash.

In terms of the mental lessons he learnt on his coastal hike, Joash says it’s all about remembering he has done the walk before and he can do it again.

“You just keep taking one step and then another,” he laughs.

Red tent pitched on grass

On his NSW coastal hike, Joash Taufa’ahau slept in a tent every evening. But on his daily walk of Lake Burley Griffin, he returns home each evening. Photo: Supplied.

Unlike the scenic NSW coastline, Joash is contending with the fact he’s looking at the same body of water every day on his Lake Burley Griffin loops. Although the walk is not as solitary as the last one.

Along the way, he has been joined by friends and family, as well as Elizabeth Kikkert MLA. Joash says he is grateful for the support.

Another change from his coastal trek – which Joash undertook from the border of NSW and Queensland to Victoria in March 2021 – is a slight difference in nutrition. Instead of fuelling his body with sugary, fatty servo treats, he’s appreciating the comforts of heading home every evening for dinner and a good rest.

“I also think the coast was fuelled by a lot of adrenaline and Red Bull,” says Joash. “Sometimes I was by myself for long periods of time so I’d need my senses on high alert.”

READ ALSO Queanbeyan man’s hike for hunger a quest to end food wastage

He says coming back to real life after his coastal trek wasn’t particularly tricky.

“I’ve always looked at any adventures I go on as not separate to the reality I live, but an experience in it,” says Joash.

While Joash isn’t planning any future charity hikes once his Lake Burley Griffin trek is complete, he’s looking forward to heading off on other hiking adventures as well as heading back to work when he gets his all-important second jab.

You can follow Joash Taufa’ahau’s progress as he hikes around Lake Burley Griffin by visiting his Facebook page, Hike For Hunger – OzHarvest. If you want to donate, visit his official Hike for Hunger fundraising page.

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