Experience the Love of Walking in Winter

Experience the Love of Walking in Winter

I find that we are less active during winter and I want to share with you one of my favourite pass times. The favourite winter/cooler weather pass time I am speaking of is bush walking and hiking. Some of my most memorable bush walks are those that have been in the cold and the rain. My husband Mario and I have been very fortunate to have gone on some magnificent bush walks/hikes over the years. My favourite walks that stand out are:

5 Day Milford Sound track in the South Island of New Zealand.

I day walk in cradle mountain in Tasmania.

2 day walk in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

3 day walk on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

All of these walks were truly amazing and all of these walks were experienced in cold and rainy conditions. For you to enjoy bush walking in the winter months it is important to plan ahead and do your homework. I brought a book a few years ago for myself as a Mother’s Day present entitled 50 walks in Victoria. I love that book and have completed at least 25 of them. Here are 12 tips to help you to be prepared.

1. Visit Anaconda and make sure you have everything you need. As you do when you start any new activity. It is a must to have the right gear.

Good walking shoes. It is worth getting a good quality to start with. I have had mine for over 10 years and I will probably have them for at least another 10 years.

Waterproof jacket with hood.

Waterproof gloves. If your gloves are not waterproof it is very hard to keep your hands dry and once your gloves are wet they won’t be any good to you.

Woollen socks. Never wear cotton socks on long walks because they don’t absorb the moisture and you will end up with blisters and wet feet. Good woollen socks keep your feet dry.

Waterproof back pack. Make sure it is light.

Long thermal pants and long sleeve thermal top. These are invaluable because they are warm without having the bulky weight.

Woollen hat. A lot of heat escapes through our heads so having a good hat can help prevent this and help to keep you warm.

2. Make sure you carry enough water even in the cooler weather you still need to keep yourself hydrated.

3. Prepare for 4 seasons in 1 day, especially when you are walking in Victoria and Tasmania. We have many times started our walk in winter woollies and by lunch time we have been down to singlets and shorts.

4. Always sunscreen your face before your walk. Again sometimes the weather can change and you only need a small amount of wind and sun to get burnt.

5. Always prepare more food than usual, especially when it is cold and you are walking. You will usually have more of an appetite.

6. Carry extra snacks such as fruit and nuts. A good trail mix of nuts and seeds is always great for snacking.

7. Always carry a small first aid kit with just basics in it for any unforseen accidents. A Swiss army knife is also handy on long walks in case of an emergency. Just be careful not to keep it in your hand luggage when taking a flight. We were caught unaware once when our knife was accidently left in our hand luggage and nearly lost it by security.

8. Always tell someone when you are going, if you are going on a long walk just in case you get lost. Unfortunately these things can happen.

9. If you are following directions of a walk found in a book that is not a current edition, always Google the walk. Sometimes there has been changes to the area. This happened to us one day when the walk was upgraded and one of the landmarks was missing and we got confused.

10. Always carry a plastic bag with you for rubbish as many walks in the bush do not have rubbish bins and you have to take your rubbish home.

11. Make sure your backpack is comfortable and it doesn’t dig into your shoulders. Take what you need. It can be really hard work if you are carrying unnecessary weight.

12. Wear or take a woollen scarf with you because when you wear a jumper or top that is too constricting around your neck it can feel very uncomfortable. Whereas a scarf you can adjust as you need to.

I hope that like me you will fall in love with the experience of walking and seeing the countryside on foot. The crispness of the air in winter can be very invigorating. Also many times we rely on our eyes to experience beauty and of course there are some truly spectacular views on many walks. Equally though there have been walks where the visibility has been limited due to fog and rain and this is where I have marvelled at my other senses that have kicked in. The smell of the bush and mountains and the sounds of the waterfalls and the frogs have been fantastic. This is especially more prominent on a cold, wet, winters day.

The main thing is to enjoy!