Snapshot: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Your time spent relishing the great outdoors – forest, desert, ocean, mountain – is your never-ending journey. No matter what your skill level, there’s always room to grow, to learn, and go somewhere different. Likewise, there’s always a place for you to begin.
Where do you start? Maybe you’ve seen photos, or heard amazing stories of a natural place that’s caught your attention? To reach this goal, we consider: gear, fitness, logistics, timing etc. What’s needed is very approachable and easily managed when broken down into managable portions.
Today, you might be on a one hour hike on your doorstep. Next year, you could be hiking the Overland, diving in Moreton Bay, or climbing in the Grampians. The year after, traversing the heat of the Red Centre, our wild Top End, or putting in serious k’s under foot on the Bimbleman Track. The world’s your oyster!
Let’s touch on a few of the formative steps of making solid tracks..
Leave the kitchen sink at home
Knowing what’s essential to take with you takes practice. The more time you spend doing, the sharper you’ll get at understanding what you’ll be needing. Plus, as things become more challenging, you’ll naturally need to up the quality and strength of your gear. For example, from runners, you’ll need to progress to hiking shoes, which will range in size, weight, and price.
Tip: We’ve formed this list of ‘What you’ll need to take’ to get you started. (Found something not on the list, let us know below!)
Finding your potential
Going straight into month long hikes will be a total challenge. But, getting a few weekenders/day hikes under your belt can build your self awareness rapidly. And remember, there’s 52 weekends a year waiting for you to get out and make tracks!
Time your pace and how long it takes you to complete the track. Usually, people average 3-4 kms an hour. Allow yourself plenty of time – don’t rush, that ruins the revitalising impact nature has on people.
Now where do we go?
Where to go? Best bet is seek out your local state or national park. Get to know those trails closest to you like the back of your hand. Witness your fitness improving as you adjust to the terrain changes, and notice your appreciation of the natural world increases as it offers you something new each time.
Other great spots to find new locations can be sourced from local hiking/outdoor stores. Just stroll in and ask. They’ll love a good yarn and really should know more than most people on where you can check out.
Here’s an example hike breakdown of Making Tracks in your local patch.
Also, you can..
Add something extra to give the experience a different angle. Walk with friends or go it alone; take a book; document and share your travels through photography or drawing; take a wildlife or plant ID book; learn rock climbing!
Giving yourself that something extra can compliment and enrich the experience.
When the trip is over
Stretching after (and before) a big day out can do wonders for recovery. So too can a good drink of hydralight/rehydration fluid.
The other side of post-adventure is what you’ve ‘earned’ after a solid effort. The chance to recap whilst: grabbing a cool drink, a minimum chips (maybe a potato scallop/cake or two) with plenty of salt, and breaking up the trip home recapping all your favourite moments.
Tip: It depends on how you get home, but a change of shoes/clothes awaiting you in the car are always a winner.
Like writing in the rain
The beauty of the natural world isn’t just aesthetics.
Whatever your life involves – the highs and the lows – the natural world is there to sustain you. Grandparents take their grandkids to trees on the edge of forest they stood at half a century ago with their grandparents. Throughout a life of activity, these areas have remained unmoved, weathered through blasting summers, storms, frosts and bushfires.
Be you new or seasoned – nature is best appreciated in the now, not in a book or online. Immerse yourself in it, like getting caught in the rain. Learn how you can challenge your skills, incorporate it into your life. Read about it, talk about it, write about it – live and love it!