I joined ABW in May 2015 with previous experience camping and hiking, albeit very separate activities. Turning the big ‘4-0’ prompted me to set a new personal challenge and as I sat in the cinema watching ‘Wild’, I decided overnight hiking was going to be my new ‘thing’. I started trawling the internet for a hiking group abundant with good looking, successful, well dressed 40 year old single males ….but I found ABW instead.
My first qualifying walk with Trevor May up Mt Falkland (June long weekend) has been the most memorable. I was expecting to follow a lovely well-trodden path meandering past overflowing fresh water tanks… So after 12 people re-filled their water containers from a trickling creek bed puddle surrounded by paw prints, I remember standing at the bottom of Mt Falkland looking at the top and wondering… ‘Where’s the trail? How do we get up there?’. The answer (to my terror) was ‘vertical and difficult’. I slipped and fell twice, cried once (secretly), and was picking spinifex out my hands for 2 weeks. This walk pushed me to my limit and remains the most memorable because I achieved a summit I never thought I could reach. I recall the experienced members being tough but encouraging. I suppose we all need to remember we were ‘green’ once and save some patience for newbies.
As the year progressed, my biggest challenge emerged with hip and ITB issues. It’s devastating to think this can stop me hiking and I’m determined to resolve it. Not a fast fix, but I’m getting there.
During the summer as I’ve sat at my work desk, I missed the random group of oddballs who wander the back country searching for the middle of nowhere and incessantly talk about their gear and why it’s better than mine. I can’t wait for the 2016 season to start and fill up my yearly planner and book my leave. The rattly whirl of the dehydrator is calling.
My ‘top tips’ for new members:
- Andrew Cope calls mountains ‘bumps’.
- Packing up takes twice as long as you think it will.
- To remove a stubborn snake from a path – try taking a photo of it.
- Rehydrating pasta that’s been cooked and dehydrated is confusing.
- Jetboil stoves ruin the serenity. I’m sorry.
- In the hiking world, it’s very rare the cheapest item does the best job