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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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Rogaining Red Hill

Every year, about 130 bushwalkers get lost.  Not wanting to be a statistic, and knowing the best way to improve our navigation skills was by practise, we entered two teams in our first 6 hour rogaining adventure.  Rogaining is an outdoor adventure strategy game, a big social treasure hunt, and a fun way to explore a new area.  The challenge is to set a strategic route and then successfully navigate using map and compass to the controls (checkpoints), collecting as many points as possible in the time allowed.    (more…)

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