What’s your goal? What do you want to achieve?
Before you dive straight into hiking, take a moment to consider these questions. Are you aiming to complete a bucket list walk? Are you wanting to improve your headspace or fitness level? Do you enjoy being in nature or want to get the kids outdoors? Identifying what you want to achieve, will help guide you when choosing your level of hike, the training required and the gear that you will need. There is no point going out and buying $500 boots if you are only likely to walk fire trails and through suburban parks.
Regardless of your goal, start small. Know your capabilities before you start to push yourself. Local parks are a great place to start, as they have well formed paths and you can’t get lost! From here start to look at popular walking tracks in your area. Again, you will find well-marked trails and plenty of other people around, to help you feel safe.
When choosing your walk, be sure to check the grading first. There are some great websites that feature track notes and will give you an idea of what you can expect, and what level of fitness is required. Grading, including Take Shape Adventures’ system, considers the technicality of the walking (slippery, rocky, off-track, scrambling) the distance and the elevation. Our beginners walks are Grade 2 and our most challenging are our Grade 5 walks – think Cathedral Ranges Southern Circuit – steep ascents and exposed climbing. So much fun! Knowledge is power.. You can never know enough about a walk, and the better prepared you are, the safer you will be. Grading is also a great way to track your progress. Start at 2 and aim to build up your fitness, aiming for one of our Grade 5 walks. There’s a goal!
Once you’re ready to start pushing your boundaries and taking on the challenge of a more difficult hike, make sure that you familiarise yourself with a map and compass. Don’t assume that the trails will be well-marked, and don’t rely on a mobile phone to tell you where you are and where you’re going. Take Shake Adventures runs Navigation Training – this course will teach you the basics of how to navigate through the bush. Not only useful, but a cool skill to have!
If you’re training for a particular hike you want to choose walks with a similar surface and gradient. For example, you want to join us at Larapinta next year, you need to train on steep rocky trails, to best prepare your fitness, legs and head! If it’s Bay of Fires you’re looking at – get down to the beach and do some distance on sand. You will feel better prepared both physically and mentally, if you train right.
Identify your goal, know your capabilities and get out there! Don’t wait for nicer weather, or until you’re fitter or skinnier or less busy, or until your friends can join you. Just make it happen! And if you don’t want to go by yourself – Come with us!