By The walking Traveller
What should I take?
Remember we are all different in our capabilities, what our needs are and where we love to hike.
Start with a good size backpack, anywhere from say a 20L to 30L, or big enough for a days hike and what you will carry. I also like to have a pack that has a water bladder hose hole and or side drink bottle pockets. Other things to look for is a well ventilated back, adjustable straps and a good balance on your back. Remember you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince so this also applies to your packs. Try, Try and Try on again to find one that suits you.
What would I have in my pack you ask ?
Gear, I live in Melbourne so most times I will carry gear for four seasons in one day.
Check out the weather for the day and take appropriate clothing. Let someone know where you are going to walk. Your friends and family don’t want to hear on the news that another hiker is missing, hence the PLB.
The other unmentionable things I take in a sealed bag is toilet paper, ( a zip lock bag to carry out used paper) a trowel, hand sanitiser and a pee cloth. To me the pee cloth is essential, no more seeing tissues spread over our beautiful trails. The ideal gift for any hiker friend.
When I hike I love to sense where I am so I have a little rule of being aware of 5 things. So along the trail I will smell 5 things, touch 5 things, hear 5 things and look for 5 different things. Depending on the season it could be fungi, autumn leaves, feathers, shells, birds, animals big and small, ferns, and so many other things. It makes me more in the presence of my surroundings and makes the walk more enjoyable. I also will stop every 5 k’s or roughly every hour and a half. Take the pack off, maybe even have a snack, on a hot day I’ll take the boots off to cool the feet, better still if you are beach walking go for a paddle. I’ve even been known to lay out a ground sheet and lie and watch the clouds drift by or if you’re lucky watch an eagle soaring in the wind currents.
Most hikes you'll find a pot and stove in my pack. I love to have a cuppa on the trail, if you haven’t tried this on a half day or full day hike give it a go. On a cold day a cup of hot soup can be a godsend.
Just watch the envy in the eyes of other hikers as they walk past you.
It’s also a great way to test out your food if you are practicing for a multi day hike.
Planning your day hike.
What do you love? Are you a beach hiker, do you love walking alongside soft gentle waves lapping the shore or wild and windy coastlines that invigorate the senses and blow you along. (That’s me by the way) Perhaps you love the bush, walking through beautiful tall ancient trees that seem to reach the sky, and make you giddy as you stretch your neck to see their tops. Or you’re the one standing on the jutting rock looking out to the ongoing misty horizon of mountains that go on forever. Maybe you love to walk under the canopy of tall stunning ferns with their curly frons waiting to unfold. Their floor is carpeted with small dainty bright green moss and fern. Maybe a leech or two will befriend you and hitch a ride. There is a lot of information regarding where to hike on apps, books and socials.
How far should I walk?
“I have to walk how far “you ask !
When you are starting out in the hiking world, find the distance that you are comfortable to start with and grow from there. It could be the distance that you go by or time. it’s what works for you. Also give yourself permission to say I’ve had enough today and turn around. We all have days that we just want to admire the view. Don’t get wrapped up in what other hikers are doing on the socials. As someone taught me many years ago, “Hike your own Hike.”
Planning where to actually hike is the fun part. Lots of hiking apps, guides to day walks, as well as hiking and bushwalking groups to join.
Find what you love, grab a friend or friends and see what there is to discover and experience.
Also walking with friends or a group is a great excuse to have a super picnic half way along the trail.
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