The Hiking Crew and Muddy Shoes

The other day I took some people hiking. I’d never done anything like this before and I was surprised that 1. People came, 2. They all liked it, and 3. They didn’t seem to think that I was a dickhead! In fact, they all said super-nice things about the experience on our local community Facebook page, which made me feel really good. Yay!

This is what they looked like when we got back. Four of these people I already knew and four of them I’d never met before:

What I bang on about throughout this website comes down to this: Don’t let fear hold you back. It wasn’t easy to put an invitational post on a Facebook group with over 600 members, especially when some of the people who use the group are vitriolic haters, but I did it and look what happened: I met four new people and the people who came on the hike all got to meet new people too, all while having a new experience. Not only that, since I put the invitation on the group’s page there has been lots of interest from the community about future hikes, which isn’t something I thought would happen when I decided to do this.

I’m always going, blah, blah, blah, people should be more active, blah, blah, blah, but I never actually DID anything about it. This shows what can happen when you take physical action and offer an opportunity for others to step outside their comfort zones or to try something new. It kinda blew my mind that it was little ol’ me that made this happen! It might not seem like a great big deal to some people, but it’s a big deal to me and who knows what kind of big deal could flow on from it.

The next day, with an inflated sense of my own greatness I took off on a 30km ride on Fatty to check out one of the new hikes I’ve mapped in the national park. I rode 7km to get to the trail head, and this is what it looked like:

At the end of the formed track my stupid little hand drawn map didn’t tell me if I was meant to go left or right, so I went right. It was the wrong way (of course). It appeared that I wasn’t as great as I initially thought! No big deal though because I know the tracks, so I could just find my way back to where I was meant to be, which was here:

That’s fine for me, but not so great for anyone else who might try to ride off into the wilderness. Obviously I need to do a lot more work for my maps to actually be usable.

About an hour away from home I’d gone back to the inflated sense of greatness I’d started out with, but that didn’t last long. At a muddy track I decided that it would be no problem to stay on the narrow dry strip between two deep wheel ruts. My mind said, nah, it’s easy, you can stay on that no worries, stop being a pussy, and then in one revolution of the pedals I was in the mud:

I was not pleased and I said some nice words beginning with the letters f and c. At least I didn’t get hurt, even though I got covered in mud and so did Fatty. I had to go to the beach when I got home to get all the mud out of my shoes before putting them in the washing machine. I felt sorry for the pelicans when they all flew over to eat the fish scraps they thought I had. “Sorry guys, it’s just muddy shoes!” I yelled at them and disgusted, they promptly flew off.

The bottom line is this: You don’t have to know what you’re doing before you decide to do it. Ducks have a habit of not lining up and if you don’t act now, you may never get to, and even if you fail (you fall off in the mud or get hated on by moronic idiots), it doesn’t matter because:

From boldness courage flows

 

 

 

 

Hikes of Fire

Last year we had some really bad bushfires in this area. The national park was closed and there was no access to the two walking trails (The Melaleuca Circuit and the Banksia Track) until QPWS cleaned them up and deemed them safe. The fire fighting effort meant that the firebreaks in the park and on council bushland were widened and upgraded. Once everything was burnt to a total crisp, it was easy to see through what had once been inpenetrable, dense wallum scrub and Melaleuca swamp, and I took the opportunity to explore areas that I didn’t realise were accessible. I got a bit excited about this and thought it might be possible to work with QPWS to develop a hiking network in the Woodgate and Kinkuna sections of the national park to begin with. Delusions of grandeur have led me to believe that the entire park (taking in the Buxton, Burrum River sections and Bingera NP) can eventually be networked with hiking trails and walkers camps similar to those found on any of the awesome hiking trails we already have in Qld. Click here for a description of what I’m talking about.

After much frustration due to the images being updated on Google Earth last month, I was able to come up with three new loops and an overnight hike. The loops all utilise the caravan park at Woodgate as a campsite. The overnight hike utilises Burrum Point campsite. Speaking as a hiker, this kind of thing is more likely to attract hiking visitors to the area because hikers like hiking and presently there are only the two short walks in the park, which wouldn’t really attract visitors who are keen on covering long distances. Basically what I’m saying here is that people aren’t going to come here for hiking because there’s nowhere to hike. In fact, this whole region doesn’t have many opportunities for long distance hiking, which is kinda silly considering the Burrum Coast National Park covers 26 000 ha, which is quite a chunk of land and is considered an ‘outstanding example of Queensland’s natural environment and cultural heritage’ according to the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

So far this is what I’ve come up with. I’m not a cartographer and I don’t expect anyone else to understand these stupid maps, but I had to start somewhere, which is what you’ve got to do if you want to make change. I do not recommend that anyone attempt to follow these ridiculous maps! Don’t do it, just don’t! I’ve emailed QPWS and hopefully they’ll come through with the goods to improve on what I’ve got and we can eventually have lots of awesome trails in this area:

This is the map I started with. You can see why I wouldn’t recommend anyone attempt to follow this!

 

First loop: 17.73km

Second loop: 23.68km

Third loop 21.62km

Overnight hike: 34km

These pictures are crappy, I know that, but that’s OK because there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself out there if you want to make change happen. If I waited until everything was perfect before I did anything, I’d never get to bloody well do a single thing!

So, it was shitty that we had the fires and some of our houses nearly burned down (mine included), but if that never happened I would never have come to find these new hikes that will not just benefit me, but others who are interested in living a life made of adventure.

Appreciating nature is what humans are made for and the more we can get out in it, the healthier we’ll be, the happier we’ll be and the more likely we’ll be to be able to overcome the crappy things that seek to tear us down, like fires, viruses and mean-spirited arseholes. 

Flame a new path and fire up your mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi. I’m Jen. I’m an everyday person who loves adventure. Check out how you can become adventurous too. It’s not as hard as you think!

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Adventure can be anything you like. It doesn’t have to be a massive feat of physical strength and death defying endurance where you freeze your butt off on mountainsides or get chased down by a gang of rabid koalas looking to make even all the wrongs of their past. I mean, if that’s what floats your boat then by all means go for it, but I’m guessing that for most people (me included) the koalas are out and so is the mountain…for the time being that is. Once I build my skills and my self belief and maybe even my own crew I’ll be able to get Zen with that mountain and perhaps convince the koalas that revenge isn’t the best tactic for a peaceful revolution nor for their image. I used to think they were so damn cute before I wrote this. Now I’m not so sure.

Adventure is for all of us. It’s inclusive and is something you can pursue in your everyday life. All it takes is the first tiny step outside of your comfort zone.

Step onto the path and courage will find you.

 

 

Over and Out

I’m removing myself from the crazy shit that’s going on in the world by going totally offline: no email, no website, no social media, no Netflix, you know, the whole shebang. I’ll get back on once there’s a little more normality and sense, so for the time being, this is goodbye.

I’ve always been really passionate about the environment and the only way I could cope with the environmental destruction that was underway the world over, was to disengage from it. I knew the ins and outs of the ills of the world in terms of environmental catastrophe and became down-trodden with the burden of knowing everything I did, but having the power to change it nil. This virus is the same. I’m not passionate about viruses, but I am passionate about my own freedom and autonomy, so I have to get going while the getting is good before I basically get royally fucked. The capacity to disengage is something I have complete control over in this ridiculous bullshit situation, so that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve written this on the wall of my house next to the front door:

I’m excited about disengaging. It’s already given me back the ability to sleep through the night. The extra brain space is going to give me the capacity to be more creative and complete some projects that have been taking a backseat for too long, like my new hiking memoir (One Foot After the Other), my children’s book (Warrigal), and my yet unfinished novel (Don’t Turn Your Back on the Ocean), not to mention playing my banjo, gardening and various handicraft projects that I’ve been making excuses about for too long.

This song is by Green Day, who I’ve got a ticket to see in November. Hopefully the gig will be able to go ahead. I’ve already missed out on Violent Femmes and Hoodoo Gurus due to the clusterfuck we are now living in. Anyway, I’ve changed the words  a bit to reflect my exit from the situation. The original song is called Wake me up When September ends.

Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Like our values come to pass
All of it wiped away so fast
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my isolation again
Becoming who we are
As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Play the music live again
Like we did when spring began
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my loneliness again
Becoming who we are
As my memory rests
But never forgets…
A wild toilet paper. I caught it in my special trap constructed of dental floss, clothes pegs and an old kettle. Surprisingly, they are easily tamed. I think there must be a nest of them around here somewhere. I’ll keep looking. Hopefully I can trap a few more, but I’ll never take more than I need.
Own your own autonomy
You are still in charge of your own life

Fatty and Skinny in Woodgate

Sometimes people tell me I’m skinny. I don’t think I am, I’m just really fit, so I have a fair bit of muscle and not much body fat. This doesn’t happen by accident because I train pretty hard, which is why I don’t really like getting told that I’m skinny. I just think that people aren’t generally used to seeing women who are my age and look like I do.

When I was a kid, I was teased for being fat. I don’t even know if I was. I do know that I was taller than everyone else in my classes all the way through primary school. It wasn’t until around grade nine or ten did the boys start to overtake me in height, and even then, there were only about four of them. Mr Fell, who was a teacher at my primary school in Hervey Bay whispered in my ear one day, “Jenny needs to go to Jenny Craig” What kind of an arsehole says something like that to a kid?! Ugh.

Me and Fatty have started hanging out a fair bit lately. This is Fatty in his natural habitat. Taken on the latest secret track I discovered in Woodgate:

I found a secret track on Google Earth a while back, so yesterday I set out with a hand drawn map (I don’t have an internet phone) to see if I could follow it:

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I rode for two hours, mostly through deep sand along the secret track and back home again. It would’ve been around 30km. It was a really hard ride, but still, it was awesome, and this time I didn’t fall off, although I came close a couple of times. See, the bike needs to go forward when I’m on it, which is the whole concept behind cycling, and if I don’t have enough momentum when I hit a deep patch of sand, then over I go. It all happens in slow motion and is quite painless due to the soft landing. Getting the sand out of my shoes, and last time out of my hair and ear, is another story, especially when I’m all sweaty.

I fell off once due to a spider’s web. I’m really scared of spiders and I rode down yet another secret track and went face-first into a spider web. All I could think of was having a giant spindly-legged beast on my face or on my helmet and I screamed (even though I’m a girl, I rarely do this and my screams sound nothing like you’d imagine a girly scream to sound)  and jumped off the bike mid pedal, it stopped going forward and promptly fell on my leg. Fatty is heavier than a regular mountain bike (due to his obese wheels I’d say). This was about three weeks ago and I still have the bruise. There was no spider. This is how big a spider is:

 

 

But this is how big it feels to me, even if its non existent:

I looped around back to a track I’ve ridden down multiple times and Fatty said he wanted a rest, so he posed for a photo here:

I love Fatty, but it wasn’t always like that. And the thing is, he doesn’t even belong to me. He belongs to the cool guy I’m married to. When the cool guy bought this bike I told him he was being ridiculous. “It’s a stupid fad these fat bikes. We’ve already got bikes, why do you need one like this? It’s ridiculous, look how big the wheels are!” It’s pretty funny now that I’m the one who rides Fatty all the time and am always going on and on about how great it is to have a bike that can do the things that Fatty can do. There’s no way in hell I’d ever be able to ride a regular mountain bike in the places I take Fatty, and there’s no way I’d ever be able to make a regular mountain bike go as fast as I can get Fatty to go. On Fatty I feel like I’m invincible. I didn’t like Fatty in the beginning and sometimes it’s good to be wrong about things. Mr Fell was wrong about me too, when he believed I was worthless, and I was wrong about myself for a long time believing that I was fat, ugly and nonathletic.

Be wrong and see where it can take you