Peter White has completed a 900km journey down the Lachlan River in 41 days.
He’s chased a goat out of a hollow tree so he could sleep in it, dragged his kayak for nearly two days when there wasn’t enough water to travel and (on a lighter note) once picked up the Deep Heat instead of his toothpaste.
But he achieved what he set out to do, and it looks possible that he’s the first person since John Oxley to make the journey.
“It was amazing,” Peter said, back home and recovering on Wednesday. “But I would never do it again.”
Peter reached his destination because of his drive to raise funds to start conversations to prevent youth suicide.
He reckons there were many times he wanted to give up, and when he got to within 70km of the “finish line” at Booligal he thought his trek was over.
Water levels in the river were quite low for much of the journey, and there were many large fallen trees, but things got really tough at the end.
“It dried up really fast, 10 foot wide, six inches deep and full of snags,” Peter said.
He pushed ahead on foot, dragging the kayak with him. He’d already dragged it up dozens of steep banks and over hundreds of fallen trees.
It took everything he had, along with the urging of his support driver son Bruce and supporters at the Gulf Horizon, to continue.
Peter’s focus now is on drawing together people and resources to run seminars in the district’s high schools focussing on youth suicide prevention.
His plan is to bring together speakers, then host barbecues and give kids space to talk.
Peter himself has a story to tell: he reckons his physical journey, riddled with snags and cold nights, isn’t a bad analogy of how life can seem.
“Don’t give up, hang in there,” is his message.
For all the tough times, Peter also had some incredible moments on the river.
The wildlife and scenery he saw were incredible, and he had some funny and touching moments running into fishermen, farmers and others along the way.
He is also assisting with mapping areas of the river and gained a wealth of kayak experience.
Donations towards Peter’s cause can be directed to the Gulf Horizons Foundation, a charitable foundation with a focus on rural communities surviving and thriving.
They’re excited about Peter’s vision for the seminars as well as the potential for establishing a leadership program for young people.
You can support this cause by donating to the Gulf Horizons Foundation BSB 633 000 Account 148232630 with the reference PREVENTION.
You can find out more about the foundation at facebook.com/australianhorizonsfoundation
You can also donate by SMSing PREVENTION to 0437 371 371 and following the instructions.
Donations are tax deductible.
If you need to talk, phone Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 131114.