Why Bushwalk?

In an Internet forum for bushwalkers, the question was asked “Why do people go bushwalking or hiking?”
These are a few of the answers.

For me it is mostly the experience of being away from civilisation and all the pressures, hustle-bustle and responsibility. I like the feeling of being in the bush, and especially on wilderness backpacks, being totally reliant on my own skills, knowledge and preparation. But I also have interests in history, photography, aboriginal art, etc. And I like a nice day (or several) out with my closest friends.

The challenge, the scenery, the camaraderie and the exercise

I walk to escape a built environment, for time by myself (even if walking with others), to go somewhere I haven’t been before that isn’t going to be full of people, to see different places and environments and just get away from life for a bit. Exercise is an added bonus.

I love going to bed and rising to the sun, not worrying about watches.
Having a background in endurance sports, I enjoy the fact that it can be a physical and mental challenge (should you choose). And you know what: I really like sleeping in tents. It’s always been fun.

First and foremost the social event. If you have a good group you can wander along left to your own thoughts or be engaged in social conversation. With a good group camping can be the highlight of a walk. There is nothing like a good walk to find out the best qualities of people and as such resuscitate my faith in human nature.
Secondly, a feeling of accomplishment and completion. I have a job that at times there are some things that never seem to be put to bed. When you have done a section of a walk it is done. This makes headaches and stress disappear after a short while. To hell with OH&S and the nanny state. You come across a problem then it is up to the people you are with and yourself to solve it, which inevitably you do thus re-enforcing independence and team work better than any “training course”.
Thirdly the scenery. I live in a very pretty part of the world and it is great to see it and get out the camera. Honestly I love the seasons and when walking you get them all, often in one day. It makes me feel part of nature again and you can not fully experience the rain forest without the rain.
Fourth, the exercise. The first fifteen minutes of a walk is hell in Tassie as it nearly always is up but then a rhythm sets in and I can feel my body responding.
Finally to appreciate life’s little comforts. As much as I enjoy being out, a good shower or bath plus proper bed takes on a new meaning when home. We take these things for granted in our normal lives but have them removed for a while and I understand how much more comfortable is modern life compared to the past. I’ve always found that walking appeals to my love of exploring new and different areas, what’s up that gully, what’s over that hill etc. It’s a fascination that has never been satisfied nor can be. Still love it after all these years.

1. It is there.
2. What might be over there?
3. Never been there before, I should go and have a look.
4. I liked it last time.
5. Can’t wait to get back out there again, I need to recharge my sanity.
6. I’ve just got some new bright and shiny things to try out…..
7. You really can’t see it through the window of the 4WD, so I had to get out and do it.
8. Wow that was exciting, dangerous, close, wet, cold, muddy, hot, hard, adventurous, spectacular, re-invigorating, mad and we maybe shouldn’t have really gone but it was worth it as we came out with a new look on life……Oh the list just keeps going for me.

We enjoy getting to places that there is no other way to get to (the OT, for example, and Kosi).

By trekking I get away from time and stress and move into a better more transcendent space. Some People once asked me what time is it when I was hiking around Wilson’s Prom in the warmer weather , I said I don’t know what day it is, let alone what time it is ….. and that is how it should stay !

…for that first sensation of cool water entering your socks & engulfing your warm feet
…for when the wind drops & the air is filled with quietness of falling snow
…seeking shelter from a angry buffeting wind trying its best to blow you off the mountainside
…surrounded by a thick eerie mist, walking almost blind & trying to navigate
…a walk-in by moonlight
…greeting the morning sun rays, thigh deep in one of Tassie’s numerous trout filled lakes
…early morning start & having your heart miss a beat as a startled wallaby ‘thumps’ its way through the bush
…a pitch black tiger snake warming itself in a sunny patch on the track
…swatting slow moving horseflies when having a brew up
…cupping your hands in a stream & drinking from it
Some simple things that make my bushwalks enjoyable….
There’s more ….but that’ll do little pig…..that’ll do.
Mountain views are good for my soul…& getting to them is good for my waistline

If you were to try to summarise these responses, it would come down to these six things:

  1. Escape from stress
  2. Wonderful nature experiences
  3. The thrill of exploration
  4. Challenging yourself
  5. Fitness and exercise
  6. Companionship and social aspects, or for some, the solitude, sometimes at the same time

Aren’t they good enough reason to go bushwalking? Enough talking…..let’s get walking !