Why in the heck would anyone want to hike solo??
Isn’t it dangerous? Yeah, it kinda is. Wouldn’t it be lonely? Yeah but that’s kinda the point. Isn’t this just a mid-life crises now that the big four-oh is looming? Possibly…more on that later.
Well, let me tell you a little story them maybe you’ll understand why…
Something awakened in me over summer. Images of the snow-covered crags, dales and moors surrounding my home town in the Peak District National Park, UK, filled my news feed and I devoured them. I took refuge from the 40 degree Australian heat in the cold alluring scenes. A desire was stirring. I wanted to go there and walk those places. But it was more than that. I have lived in Australia for most of my life but had spent my formative early teen years in the UK. My fondest memories of it were of going on long walks through the hills with my father. Upon returning to Australia this is what I had missed the most. So these images tugged at the heartstrings. This was my home, and it was beautiful! And I wanted to go back.
Which left me with a problem. I’m married with two young children who are Aussies through and through. There was no way I could uproot my family and drag them halfway across the world to live l in a cold dreary country that has seemingly replaced all of its beach sand with pebbles. Yet try as I might I couldn’t get the feeling of homesickness to go away and I finally decided that I would need to walk the country and be done with it. My father had once told me of the Pennine way so I figured this was the walk I needed to do in order to get this feeling out of my system. I started researching the route and considering gear. I’ve walked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, I could surely do this! I was going to make this happen!
Of course it wasn’t that easy. I couldn’t take such young kids along on such a trek and it would not have been fair on them to leave them for three weeks while my wife and I enjoyed ourselves on the other side of the world. Yes I have family in England that I could leave them with, but it would be just wrong to dump the kids on them and run. The kids would never forgive us.
Not quite! Alongside all of this recent yearning had been a longstanding desired to check out Jindabyne near the Snowy Mountains. I had even considered moving there but job opportunities seemed lacking. I soon came to realize that I had shifted my gaze to this area precisely because, from a temperature and vista point of view, it was as close to my old home as I could find in Australia. I didn’t take too long to put two and two together and decide to walk this region instead!
Where am I now?
After much research I have decided to walk the Main Range circuit from Guthega as shown on the Wild Walks website http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-and-hiking-in-nsw/kosciuszko-np-south/main-range-circuit-from-guthega.html. This is a four day walk that provides both challenge and grandeur. The challenge will be met through adequate training and preparation. Upcoming posts will outline my training regime and gear choice and testing. I’ve also chosen a few other destinations for the future.
What about the mid-life crises?
Yeah. I’m about to turn forty. I see my Dad wanting to return to UK and do some walking but his legs are weaker than they once were so he will only be able to do some very limited walks. He’s old and although the will is there, the physical ability is starting to wane. I don’t want to get to that point. If I want to walk, I should start right now! Why wait? If I don’t make room in my life for it then I’ll be 70 and unable to do the more challenging stuff. So yeah, there is definitely an element of mid-life crises here, but what is a mid-life crises other than a renewed energy to do the things you’ve always wanted to do?
Well, I don’t actually always want to go solo. I’ve rather go walking with my wife. We walked the Inca trail together and strolled around Wadi Rum in Jordan together. We should do everything together. I want the kids along. But it’s just not possible. And in the end this is all about meeting this need within myself to experience the beauty of my home without permanently leaving the best country in the world. But whether I’m with someone or trekking alone I am doing this for myself. I need the challenge. I need the focus. I need the solitude. I need the beauty. I need the grandeur. I need the experience.