Pushing your limits

G’day nature lovers,

Top of a Swiss Mountain
Top of a Swiss Mountain (1997)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when walking up a mountain, going for a long hike or bike ride, I think, “Why on earth am I doing this when I could be relaxing with a nice glass of wine”. Then you get to the top of the mountain, end of of the hike/ride, and you think “I’m so glad I did that”.

I think I’ve always pushed my limits in the outdoors a bit. As a kid my family were’nt really into nature, don’t get me wrong, they didn’t hate nature, they just weren’t as into it as I was.  As a family we’d go to nice places for picnics on our Sunday drives but the closest we got to camping was hiring a caravan at The Entrance. As an 8 year old, I was given a tent. I would go camping our Sydney back garden, practising putting the tent up & down and moving it around as if I was on a trek. I’d spend hours snorkelling pretending I was a marine biologist. I also won a book prize award when I was in primary school for a book I wrote on Australian animals. So, I guess I was never going to be an accountant.

While I was at Uni (studying to be a Park Ranger), I was exposed to heaps of outdoor pursuits, especially through the Outdoors Club, where I would go; cross country skiing, caving, abseiling, hiking.  During this time I climbed Mount Kosciuszko (Australia’s highest mountain 2,228 m) about 10 times (more often than not, doing the 20km lakes walk). One time I even tried cross country skiing to the summit, but we had to turn back becasue the weather closed in on us -the only time Kosciuszko beat me. I will do Kosciuszko again one day soon (probably not on cross country skis).

It was while I was at Uni, I made the crazy decision to ride my bike from Melbourne to Sydney, with some of my Uni mates and about 2000 other crazy people.  Our group of 10 people did a couple of training runs of about 10 kms, then set off on a 1000km bike ride. I was playing a lot of sport at the time, so suppose was fairly fit but hey I was 22 and I had my trusty  $120 Kmart 10 speed, what could possibly go wrong? Some days were easy some were hard, but we just took each day as it came and on the 14th day we arrived in Sydney. Only 2 out of our group of 10 didn’t crash their bikes (I was one of the two). I’m glad I did it but don’t think I will do it again.

Castell Dinas Bran, Llangollen, Wales  (1997)
Castell Dinas Bran, Llangollen, Wales (1997)

Fast forward about 20+ years after travelling around the world, more mountains, hikes, bike rides, canoeing, snorkelling, now living on the North Coast of NSW. My fit days of my youth are definitely behind me. I still enjoy nature and prefer to go for a walk outdoors than stride aimlessly on a treadmill in a gym.

rainforest walk 2
Giant Strangler Fig

I guide people on the Minyon Falls Walk about once a week. Some people find it easy, some people find it more difficult. As a guide I think it is my job to help them experience nature, give them with a rich, informative, insightful experience and leave them wanting to explore more nature, in the future.

I go for lots of adventures with my mates too.  One of my walking mates Kris and I are always pushing ourselves a bit further on our walks, “Go to the lookout?”, yeah, “Kris’s Hill”, yeah, “Lighthouse walk?”, yeah , “saddle rd”, yeah, “lets go for a paddle tomorrow”, yeah.

Camping with my mates at Black Rocks
Camping with my mates at Black Rocks

A few weeks ago I was camping in Bundjalung National Park with my mates. Most of them were sick with colds and hangovers and didn’t feel like a walk. So Kris and I embarked on the 2 hour, 8km Jerusalem Creek Walk, Kris had done it before and suggested we walk along the beach until Jerusalem Creek, then walked back on the track. This sounded like a good idea in theory, but we were only 2 hours away from high tide. Something in my gut said to me that this wasn’t a good idea. But I thought “don’t be a wuss, we can turn back if it doesn’t work out.” – push your limits.

Walking on the coffee cliffs
Walking on the coffee cliffs

We climbed up and over the sand dune, the tide was up quite high, so we decided to walk along the coffee rock cliffs. Once again, I told my gut not to be a wuss – push your limits and followed Kris along the cliff top path. After a few hairy moments with slippery sand and a narrow pathway, the cliffs became impassable, the tide was in, my limited was reached. So we thought we’d follow a path back over the dunes after following the 2 paths that lead nowhere, so we went back to where we started and took the proper track behind the dunes. It seems that our alternative route had only taken us 500m, and took us an hour.  I should of listened to my gut. We then walked for 2 hours on the proper track and were a bit tired by the time we got home. I felt a bit pushed to my limit, I would do the walk again, but make sure we walk along the beach at low tide.

I think its great to push your limits. Its also great to have like minded mates who can push each other along. Its more rewarding than walking on a treadmill, sitting watching TV or sitting in a pub drinking. I shall probably go for a paddle next weekend, if the tides permit.

Push your limits- enjoy your journey.


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