Our view

Walk­ing and why it ap­peals to any age

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Contents -

HIK­ING, BUSH­WALK­ING, trekking, tramp­ing and ram­bling. Five uni­ver­sally recog­nised terms that all de­scribe the favourite ac­tiv­ity of AG Out­door read­ers: walk­ing.

Whether it is a short hike with very young kids , a day walk, an overnighter or longer jour­ney, walk­ing is still the best way to re­ally ex­pe­ri­ence the planet. I know more than a few peo­ple who have taken ex­tended leave and headed off into the great un­known to tackle a multi-week (even months!) walk that has seen them come back far richer for the ex­pe­ri­ence than any amount of money could buy. By walk­ing you are in­stantly and fully con­nected to your im­me­di­ate en­vi­rons… and its peo­ple.

Few things break down bar­ri­ers more eas­ily than the sight of a back­pack-car­ry­ing hiker am­bling into a re­mote town or vil­lage. In­vari­ably, the lo­cal res­i­dents are cu­ri­ous, and also very happy to see you. For one, they are no doubt se­ri­ously chuffed that you’ve cho­sen their re­gion as a place to ex­plore, and two, your ar­rival also gives them a chance to learn more about your own back­ground, as it does in re­verse for you as you ex­plore a new world.

One of the main ap­peals of walk­ing is it is just so sim­ple to do. I am a pad­dler and cy­clist as well as a se­ri­ous walker, and it is al­ways with some re­lief that I know that, when set­ting off on a mul­ti­day ad­ven­ture – or even for a few hours with the kids – there seems to be a lot less ‘stuff’ that needs to be sorted be­fore­hand. I re­ally en­joy slip­ping on my trusty hik­ing boots and then just grab­bing my pack and head­ing off. There’s no worry about get­ting the bike ser­viced, car­ry­ing spares or trans­port­ing it, and the same goes for a canoe or kayak. With walk­ing it is the sim­plic­ity of the ac­tiv­ity that en­sures its uni­ver­sal ap­peal no mat­ter how young or old you are.

I have al­ways been an avid walker, and I was stoked when I got to take our two kids (four years and 20 months) on their first real bush­walk, a bril­liant 3km-re­turn track be­tween two beaches at Twofold Bay, Eden, NSW. Watch­ing them soak up the ex­pe­ri­ence, hear­ing them ask a mil­lion ques­tions and sim­ply see­ing them have a

Af­ter a crazy year in the bloody,city goodit was time great wasto have fan­tas­tic. noth­ing more to think about than putting one foot in front of the other, and ab­sorb­ing that sense of place that comes from mov­ing slowly through the Aus­tralian wilder­ness.

Yep, I reckon we all should all walk a lot more…

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