What should I pack? A gear list

It’s time to hit the trail – but what do I need to pack?  There is no straight forward answer – it depends on the duration and remoteness of the hike, the season, the terrain, and any other risk factors. Gear lists are personal, what’s essential to you might be unnecessary extra weight to me. Here’s a check list for you to think about as you pack.


Continue ReadingWhat should I pack? A gear list

How to be a good hiking partner

The final steep climb up to the 3726m summit of Mt Rinjani in Indonesia is relentless loose scree. I’m exhausted, desparately counting out slip-sliding steps upwards between rests. We left our crater rim camp at 3am, and have already climbed over 1000m. The summit is within sight, but I am doubting I can manage the remaining stony climb. As my friend passes me, she reaches into her pack and gives me her last five jelly beans. I eat them. Slowly. One brightly coloured sugar-laden jelly bean at a time. (more…)

Continue ReadingHow to be a good hiking partner
Pack it in, pack it out
Satin Bower Bird Nest, with collection of blue found objects

Pack it in, pack it out

Armed with two very large rubbish bags and a “nifty nabber” claw, I set off from  the checkpoint  close behind the last team of the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2015. I was a volunteer trail sweep. I did not expect to fill such large bags. Bushwalkers are healthy, community minded types who love the outdoors. Surely the Oxfam teams wouldn’t litter? Sadly, I was wrong.

I can report from ample evidence that Oxfam trail walkers love to eat bananas. Lollies of all forms are eaten on downhill stretches, but never while going uphill. No-one takes a bush comfort break within a couple of kilometres of a checkpoint. (more…)

Continue ReadingPack it in, pack it out

Trekking Poles

“Pole-pole” (pronounced polay-polay) is a common swahili expression. On treks in east Africa, you’ll be advised to take it slowly or “pole-pole”.  My two trekking poles help me tackle steep ascents and tricky descents pole-pole, even if I lack the elegance of a light footed African gazelle. (more…)

Continue ReadingTrekking Poles