Do More Things

To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, “You must do more things you think you cannot do.”

In my last post, I mentioned taking on something I thought I could not do related to the music I share with the kids at my school.

I didn’t think I could do it but I did.

Okay. You did it. So now what??

Um. More things I can’t do?

A number of years ago, my ‘the thing’ was to run a marathon. It was meant to be one of those One-and-done-tick-it-off-the-bucket-list things for my 50th birthday. Right.

I’ve done six, including a 60km ultra marathon*. And one was a 44km extended version (standard marathons being 42.2km).

*This is only a kinda sorta ultra. It was the Great Ocean Road Virtual Ultra Marathon so I ran it around the river path near my home rather than the windy, winding GOR and it took me 7hrs15mins to complete, 45mins over the official cutoff time for the real event. But I still ran (and, cough, walked) 60km in one hit so it still kinda sorta counts.

Maybe it was all the virtual events or maybe I got sick of the river path or maybe I couldn’t be bothered anymore with hours-long training runs but I’m a bit over long distance running.

I need a new thing.

So I’ve taken up hiking. Solo hiking. Solo overnight hiking. Solo multiday hiking.

I keep my mind busy researching gear and food and trails so I don’t scare the bejeesus out of myself.

I did my first overnight hike last weekend. It rained. I got lost. More than once. The first time within the first hour. πŸ™„

I learned a lot.

Like, how useful it is to actually use your compass so you don’t go the wrong way and add an extra 3km loop to your walk.

I absolutely loved it.

I mean, when you walk in a cloud of butterflies for most of it, how can you not?

Did being alone worry me? (I only saw two other hikers the whole two days and I was the only one in camp.) Nope. Not with birds and frogs to keep me company.

The loud one is a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, the jerks of the Aussie bird world.
Guess which one is the Pobblebonk? (Otherwise known as the Eastern Banjo Frog.)

When I got home, I rang a friend and gushed at her for a full hour. Then I booked the Great Ocean Walk (7 days 6 nights) for the week after Easter. I’m hoping to do the two week Great South West Walk in September. Everything is great around here.

So, enjoy some photos from last weekend’s adventure and I’ll see you on the trails. I’ll be the one checking my compass.

63 thoughts on “Do More Things

  1. I am SERIOUSLY impressed. Hiking? Yes. Overnight? Alone? I don’t think so. Just the thought of the pack alone would be a deterrent for me!!! And don’t get me started about getting lost. Anyone who has ever done an outing with me knows that β€˜lost’ is a very bad thing. I was introduced to the app Alltrails and it has been a game changer for me. The cost has been worth every penny to me.

    Kudos!! I wish you many, many happy trails. Btw – Misha would join you in a heart beat. Backpacking is his thing … just not with me πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m still working on the pack. I’d certainly have loved to just go out and buy all the gear that all the YouTubers recommend but I couldn’t justify that kind of money so I’m trying to get things as light as I can with what I’m prepared to pay. But I did need to do some serious adjustment after my pack weighed in at 16kg for that last overnight hike which is nuts. But I do have a good pack and I actually managed it really well. Didn’t even stop for a decent break on the second day because of the rain and did the 18km straight.

      I have the Alltrails app! Haven’t gone to the paid version yet but I’ll have to. Being able to download the map would be fantastic.

      Misha would be welcome! I’m actually planning to do the Goldfields Track (in two halves) with my brother after the GOW.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll have to ask Misha how much their packs weigh when they go backpacking. I thought he said they were around 16kg, but they were gone for 3 nights. Their goal this summer is to go on a 5 day portaging trip. They say the downloaded maps from AllTrails work really well and saved them on their last trip from going badly off-course.

        As I’m writing this I’m thinking I should get him a satellite phone for his birthday. I know they are guys in their mid-30s, but they are still my babies 😏

        Liked by 1 person

        • I looked at the satellite communication devices but couldn’t justify the monthly subscription cost so went with a PLB. I can’t send updates (if there’s no phone reception) but at least the family know if I’m in serious trouble I’ve got a way to communicate that.

          I’m trying not to get too caught up in the ultralight hype of “my pack is lighter than yours”. My pack weighs 2kg on its own but it has a frame so I can comfortably carry more weight than if it were an ultralight frameless pack so I think things will even out.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I may do a marathon some day (yes, your 60 km ultra counts!), but that type of hiking is more my style. I did “backpacking” a lot as a kid and enjoy very long hikes by myself, but haven’t done an overnight hike in ages. Anyway, very cool you did it, even if adding on some extra. Hope the week long hike goes well and makes you ready to do even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I did the ultra, Melbourne was under really harsh restrictions where they could only exercise 1 hour a day within 5km of home so the organisers made it so you could complete the distance over a week. So at least I did do it in one go. (We’re regional so our restrictions weren’t as bad.)
      You should definitely tackle a marathon. Although, maybe get that health thing sorted first!
      We never did camping when I was a kid. I was a Girl Guide and camped (under canvas!) once a year at Easter. I think I got the bug doing the Community Project trips to Peru and Nepal. And I love walking. I could walk all day.
      I’m also planning the Goldfields Track from Ballarat to Bendigo with my brother after I finish the GOW. But we’ll break it into two pieces because I can really only take a week long trip in school holidays.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love walking and can go all day. Never been to Nepal nor Peru, but have done some pretty long higher altitude (up to 3000+ meters) hikes in the Rockies in the US west a few times. Love it and could see doing a week of that type of hiking. Some day when I am retired, I will talk my brother ( who does backpack in the mountains) to do a week hike like that.
        A marathon? Not counting it out, but I haven’t run more than 10 km in quiet a few years (typically i do just under 10)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Heather, you are quite the athlete, which I admire greatly. You’d get along good with my brother and his partner, who are now hiking the mountains of Colorado – they moved there last year. My brother loves to go camping as well, and he’ll do it alone, same as you. I think that’s brave. Do you have to worry about crossing paths with any dangerous animals? How far do you hike in a day?

    Did you read my posts from last fall? If not, there are two that you might find interesting, especially the one where my brother and I got lost coming down a mountain. That was crazy.
    https://maryjmelange.wordpress.com/2021/11/15/my-brother-tried-to-end-me-part-1/
    https://maryjmelange.wordpress.com/2021/11/22/my-brother-tried-to-end-me-part-2/

    I’m glad to hear you are enjoying life and your time in the woods. Nothing compares to being out in nature – not shopping malls, amusement parks or theaters. It breathes new life into us, don’t you think?

    Have a great week and when you are done with hiking, I suggest a bicycle if you have trails or safe roads near you. Just as much fun, but you go faster. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing those stories. They were fantastic. You do tell these things so well.

      Now I have a craving for raspberry pancakes for some reason…

      Fortunately we don’t have the big scary things like bears. Snakes are our biggest problem so you probably won’t see me doing long hikes in the summer. Maybe in Tasmania where it’s a bit cooler.

      The only time I was anxious on this hike was when I had to walk along the road. Alone in the bush, no problem. Exposed to randoms passing me on the road, not so comfy. In fact, a guy on a motorcycle road past and then stopped and came back, hopped off and was chatting to me. I’m sure he’s actually very nice but I was nervous so I made nice then I pretended I had to go up a track next to the road, hid in the trees and waited until he left to come back down to the road. Give me sleeping alone in a hike-in only campsite any day.

      On this hike I did 17.5km on the first day and 18km on the second and felt okay. The GOW is generally done in 8 days with distances between 13km and 17km a day but I’ve cut it back to 7 days with a 21km day in the middle. At least it’s really well signposted so I don’t expect to get lost.

      I live at the top of a very long, very steep hill. Would you push a bike up Pancake Mountain? Going out on a bike is great. Coming back, not so much. (Having said that, it’s on the cards for if/when my knees give out.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, I bike because hiking long distances is more difficult for me. I surprised myself with the Colorado hiking last year, but I most likely survived because I was biking all summer. I don’t know that I could keep up with you at 17-21 km a day…maybe I could bike alongside. :-p

        I understand what you mean about not wanting to bike along the road. You leave yourself open to guys on motorcycles stopping for a chat. I’m sure you’d much rather chat with the butterflies and frogs. My biking buddy is amazed that I go biking on wooded trails by myself, but I’ve never felt in danger from anyone.

        Biking is a lot easier on the knees and hips. A friend of mine who suffers from RA and used to jog told me her doctor suggested biking as it would be easier on her body. You can always walk a bike up your hill, you know…

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Mosy, that ‘hygiene station’ .. Erhmm .. No, never mind.
    Your equipment looks terrific, btw: how did you know what it needed to – well, be ?
    Them butterflies ! – they were saying to each other “Someone ! – thank all the gods ! We’ve been so bored ..”
    My Brisbane friend D loves hiking, but not on her own. She does lots of those small group tours – all over the world. But I think she might love the Aussie bush best, when it comes down to it ..
    Well done you, you mad creature ! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • I spent the summer holidays watching a LOT of YouTube videos and reading a LOT of reviews. Hm. Still do, truth be told. It’s hard to stop once you start. I couldn’t buy all the top recommended gear because, well, lots and lots of moolah, but I searched for the best I could justify. Although, after last weekend and the weight of my pack, part of me wished I’d just splashed out all at once at the beginning. But I’m figuring out weight savings in other ways. And my pack is actually really good at carrying weight so I need to factor that into the equation too.

      The butterflies were my favouritest thing of the trip.

      I don’t think I could do the small group tour thing. At least, not in Australia. Obviously I’ve done it for overseas. I like the challenge of doing it solo but feel safe in my own country.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great to hear you have found an activity gentler on your knees, Heather!
    I like walking but am particular read fussy) about the environment. It is too hot for me in the heat up here, unless it is a shady rainforest.
    Carrying a heavy pack would be a strain on your heart health? Or has that been resolved?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t see myself being much of a summer hiker. I’d rather walk in rain than heat (and no snakes!).

      Body is good and I was surprised at the pace I could maintain even with what would, in these ultralight hiking days, be considered a heavy pack. (The difference I think being that ultralight packs are frameless with little support whereas my Osprey seems to make the weight lighter once I’m strapped in.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good ergonomic design! Excellent for your back and hips, and knees of course.
        I would walk in the rain too, but snakes up here can also be active in the rain…. plus there are leeches to consider. I guess you don’t have the leech problem so much either?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing, Heather. You never cease to impress with going out there and doing what you set your mind to. Even getting lost a few times can’t stop you, and not even the rain. It sounds so fun, and you looked like you had a lot of fun too with that big smile. Aside from the couple of walks you’ve booked, maybe we will next see you climbing up some mountains πŸ˜„ Cheering you on πŸ₯³

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I let myself think about it too much, I can get anxious about doing it alone but then I imagine doing it with a group and my anxiety shoots up higher. I enjoy solitude and the freedom to please myself. But I’ll be really interested to see how I go for a week.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your photos are wonderful as is your determination to do new things. I bet Eleanor Roosevelt is proud of you. I do new things, but they tend to be inside the house, often involving food. πŸ˜‹

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow Heather you are proving my theory that there is nothing you can’t do! Overnight on my own? I’d like have a heart attack worrying most everything under the sun. Here it would be bears. How about there? Any creatures to be concerned about? Loved that banjo frog recording. Perfect name for that fellow. Best of luck in your upcoming adventures .Inspire on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure I could do it either if there were bears. No big mean animals to deal with here (although I would always give a male kangaroo a wide berth); it’s the smaller things that can kill you like snakes and spiders. I encounter snakes often on the trail close to home. If you leave them alone they’ll leave you alone. Watch where you’re walking and don’t step on one and you’ll be fine.

      Of course you do have to be careful to avoid the drop bears. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Great Ocean Walk – I’m Mad But Not Stupid (Mostly) | Master of Something I'm Yet To Discover

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