A campervan trip around Tasmania was the catalyst for my joining ABW. After several days of hiking near Cradle Mountain with some friends there was talk of the Overland Track and I thought that sounded like a great goal to aim for. I did some research and decided that ABW looked like the best group to join to work towards my goal whilst enjoying some of the walks available around South Australia as well. My first club walk was the new member’s weekend in Kuipto. It was a very damp affair and my first experience at throwing an 18kg pack, with everything bar the kitchen sink on board, onto my back and heading off down the fire tracks. As I reflected on that weekend as I walked to work in the rain a few days later, I couldn’t get over how much fun we had, especially sitting around the camp fire in the evening in the rain, and not being bothered one bit by the downpour – no such thing as bad weather only inappropriate clothing being the saying that came to mind at that point. The new members’ weekends are a good place to start for the uninitiated, not too intense on the walking side of things and you get to learn a lot about different items of kit, what you need and where to find it.
I didn’t manage to do a lot of walks with the club last year, having joined midyear, a lot of the walks were already full by the time I started looking, but I have now learnt to put your name on the overflow list, you will often be lucky enough to get a spot when it gets closer to the walk date.
It’s difficult to pick a favourite hike when you have not done many. The June trip to the Flinders Ranges though was spectacular and I cannot think of a better way to spend the long weekend, when the weather here in Adelaide is likely to be miserable, to escape to the magnificent Flinders. The Christmas in July walk was also a lot of fun and is one to be sure not to miss.
My biggest challenge is trying to love hills. My experience of day hiking when I was younger was mostly in Queensland with lots of rain forests and meandering steps (often steep, but steps none the less) carved into the hills and gullies of the national parks, so the number of fire tracks we encounter here on walks was a surprise. Fitness at climbing those hills is my challenge. At least I haven’t had to worry about leeches here in SA though.
I think the main thing I am still trying to refine is over packing. Always trying to ensure that every contingency is covered adds lots of weight to a pack. So applying the – it must have at least 2 purposes rule – for anything new that finds its way into my kit can be hard to stick to. Over packing food is another pitfall. The kitchen scales are my new best friend on this – weight everything would be my top tip for new members – everything that goes in the pack and with your food, everything that returns from a walk uneaten. Nothing worse than sitting around the campfire at night trying to offload the excess food that you have carried all day, or even worse having to carry it back out.
The greatest thing about joining ABW is not just the fantastic places you get to see, for me it has been the fantastic group of new friends I have made since joining the club.