Exercise Just for the Fun of it…Really.

I can see you rolling your eyes and scoffing, is exercise ever really just fun??  Absolutely, when the sun is shining, the temperature is perfect, you have a great group of friends gathered and a sense of adventure and anticipation in the air.  This is exactly how it happened a couple of months ago.  It started with a conversation about the legend of the Rock Cairn in Pannawonica.

Legend has it that a local townsperson would walk his dog to this location, making sure to pick up a rock from Pannawonica and transport it to the hill.  Over many years the Cairn of Pannawonica was built.  Every now and again a few townspeople will go for a wander to find the cairn, have a look, and take a rock with them from town.  I loved the story and every time I looked out in that direction, that little mound on top of the hill called out to me to come and visit.  Between a couple of us we locked in a date and then opened the invitation to  anyone who wanted to join us on the journey over unmarked trail, through spinifex and snake territory.  Sounds amazingly fun right??

Exercise doesn’t always have to be to achieve something, or to improve fitness, sometimes it is great to exercise just for the fun of it.  If you haven’t grabbed a group of friends and gone on an outdoors adventure then you need to do it now.  Go on…..

 

Hitlist Number 5

I didn’t quite get a chance to post my new hitlist prior to going on holiday to Wollongong, New South Wales.  I love holidays and I love the chance to explore new backyards.  Half the fun for me is checking out what sights are around and what might be possible to visit.  I like to keep exercising on holiday and it is a great chance to have a little break from the gym, get outside and explore.

After living in Pannawonica, where a 2 hour drive to the closest shopping centre is no big deal, I often look at places to visit anywhere in a 3-4 hour radius from Wollongong.  One year we did a family trip to Canberra and this trip I did look at travelling to the Snowy Mountains to hike Mt Kosciuszko, the tallest peak in Australia.  I changed my mind for our family trip because the new location had a lot more to do in our short timeframes and lots of fun for young and old.  I have also included a couple of items to help me kickstart my health and fitness when we arrive back in Pannawonica.  Short and sweet for this hitlist.

hitlist5

 

Happy New Year Everyone, I hope 2016 sees you crossing off all your personal hitlist items!

My Top Tips for Exercising with Kids

For those of you that may be thinking of exercising with your kids but don’t know where to start, this is a post for you.  As I have mentioned here and here, kids can struggle to meet the minimum requirements for physical activity as recommended by the American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM), especially as they head toward their teen years.  Current guidelines are as follows:

  • Children and adolescents should accumulate a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity daily as part of transportation, physical education, sport, free play and planned exercise. The activities should be a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity. Moderate intensity is defined as activity that increases breathing, sweating, and heart rate and vigorous intensity substantially increases breathing, sweating, and heart rate.
  • Sedentary activity is a strong contributor to overweight and low physical fitness. Sedentary activities such as television viewing, computer and telephone use, and inactive video games should be limited to < 2 hours per day.

While my kids are pretty active, I know I can be guilty of leaving them on technology for >2 hours per day especially on weekends.  Progress not perfection.  I believe that the first part of the equation is teaching our children to value and enjoy exercise and this is one of the most beneficial things that we can do as a parent, coach or trainer.  Here are my top tips for exercising with children.

  1.  Monkey See Monkey Do – Exercise in front of them.

We can try and teach our kids healthy habits in many ways but at the end of the day they will be watching and learning from the habits of those closest to them. Typically, most of us will head off to the gym or out the door for a run or ride on our own and sometimes the kids don’t get to see us actually exercise.  Trust me, I am all for a bit of time out while exercising but I also think it is important for them to see us huffing and puffing, sweating, and finding it difficult too.  This may mean taking them to the park and doing your workout while they play, taking them for a jog/walk in the pram, letting them scoot or ride beside you while you run, using attachments for bikes to take them along for a ride, or simply putting on a fitness DVD at home while they play.  More often then not I bet they join in.

2.  Variety is the Spice of Life

Mix it up, keep them interested.  Exercise doesn’t always have to mean running 4km, doing lap after lap in the pool, or just training with your sporting teams.  Although all of these activities definitely have a place, participating in a range of different movements has many benefits for kids.  These can include reducing the risk of overuse injuries and providing opportunity to develop a large range of movement skills, therefore increasing their confidence and the likelihood that they will continue to exercise long into the future.  Research shows that children who do not develop these
skills early in life may be less likely to meet or exceed recommendations for daily physical
activity later in life.  So get busy moving with your little ones.  Check out my earlier post on 7 Ways to get the Kids Active and Outdoors for some inspiration, or if you are stuck indoors (because it is nearly 50 degrees celsius outside as in Pannawonica at the moment), one of my children’s favourite games is ‘Just Dance’.  I have attached a YouTube link so you can see what’s involved but you can follow this link to purchase, it even comes as a smart phone app.  Just quietly, it is hilarious watching your kids playing when they don’t know you are looking.  I love it because they drop the ‘too cool’ facade and just boogie!!

You got up and gave it a go didn’t you??  Go on admit it….

3.  Watch out for Overheating

Be mindful that children have a large surface area of skin when compared to their little bodies, as such they are more exposed to heat and are also less efficient at cooling the body down when it does heat up.  Basically, this means try to avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day, make sure they keep up the fluid intake not just during exercise but also in the lead up to physical activity, they will need more frequent breaks when it is hot, and keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of overheating.  You can read more about it here.

4.  Exercise as a Family – What is good for one is good for all…

Some of our favourite moments have come from being active as a family.

Just get out there and be active.

5.  Strength Training is OK

There is a lot of misconception surrounding strength training and kids but the research supports that it is safe and beneficial when performed correctly.  I found a great article that busts common myths and misconceptions surrounding children and strength training and you can check it out at this link.  My recommendations for introducing kids to strength training are as follows:

  • For the most part, body weight exercises are the perfect introduction to strength training and with all the variations you should be entertained for a long while.
  • Don’t expect perfect technique straight up, it takes time and repetition to develop new skills.  I find that I give them the basics and try not to pick at them the whole session.  As long as they are not unsafe I will cut them a bit of slack, especially in the first few sessions of a new program.
  • Stay with the same program for at least 4-6 weeks.
  • If at all unsure pay for an Exercise Physiologist or qualified health professional to design a program for your family.  You can have peace of mind from anywhere between $60-$120 depending on who you approach.  You may even be able to claim these sessions back through health insurance.
  • Technique, technique, technique.  Children need to master good technique and good body awareness before they even start thinking about introducing weights.
  • Should you decide to introduce weights to a program keep it simple.  Make sure you are very confident in the person instructing your children and the focus must always be on good technique.

Surprisingly kids love boot camp sessions.  We have recently started family boot camp sessions and apart from a couple of spots of whinging here and there, my kids are more than happy to work out .  I think they also know not to waste time trying to get out of it as it doesn’t work with me!  We keep these sessions short and sharp, usually all finished in 30 minutes from start to finish.  Crank out some great tunes and happy days!

6.  It does not always have to be fun.

Shock, horror, I know.  Nearly every article I read is about making sure exercise is fun for kids, blah, blah, blah.  It does have to be enjoyable but that is not where our jobs stop.  I think that if we set kids up with the expectation that exercise and physical activity is always fun I believe we are setting them up for failure.  Instead we should be encouraging them to find the satisfaction and joy in completing something difficult and teaching them how to deal with situations when the going gets tough.

Not everyone will agree with me and that’s OK. Not everyone will understand why I do crazy things such as 4km fun runs with my kids (and expect them to actually try and run it all) or complete boot camp sessions as a family and I am OK with that too.  For me it is simple, how can I possibly ignore four years of university training, nearly 15 years of working in the health industry, a multitude of research articles and my own experience with exercise, when it tells me that staying active is one definite way to increase our chances of living a full and healthy life.  Time will tell, but I am enjoying the journey in the meantime!

 

 

Over To You the Weekend Warriors

Over the last three months I have been so inspired by my newsfeed from family, friends, and The Exercise Hitlist followers.  So much so, that I thought I would share some of the photos of all of the fun everyone has been up to.  I have tracked down most of you to ask for permission to share your photos but if I have missed you please feel free to let me know and I can remove them if you so wish!

Pretty impressive isn’t it??  What are you waiting for, get outside and explore!

Conquering Walsh’s Pyramid

Along with Mt Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest mountain that I climbed a couple of years ago, the Pyramid in Gordonvale has also been on my exercise hitlist radar.  Each year in August, the little town of Gordonvale hosts the Great Pyramid Race.  Legend has it that the race originated when two local cane farmers were sitting having a drink at the pub.  The men decided to settle an argument by seeing who could make it to the peak of nearby Walsh’s Pyramid first.  A wager was made and the day set for the very first race.  It generated so much interest with the locals that a bookie took bets on the outcome and The Great Pyramid Race was born.  The first official race ran in 1959 and the fittest and bravest come to compete each year.  After climbing the mountain at a comfortable pace I did wonder how people ‘race’ the Pyramid and am not surprised that this quote is used in promoting the race!

 “A never-ending uphill scramble and a ‘controlled’ downhill free fall”

One thing I love about an exercise challenge is that it can be quite social.  Or maybe I just have friends that are the same kind of crazy as I am.  Even though it was summer in the tropics (read hot and humid) I had two friends immediately volunteer to come with me.  One friend travelled 4 hours to catch up for a couple of nights, and the other was up at 4am to drive ninety minutes to meet us at the base of the mountain.  I am very thankful for such good friends who make the effort as my visits are very few and far between these days.

Walsh's6

I was a little worried that it would be quite difficult to find the start of the track (and copped some good-natured ribbing about my recent adventures getting lost) but I am happy to report that it is quite well marked.  From the Gordonvale Service Station it is only 5 minutes drive along the highway, heading towards Innisfail, that you will come across Moss Road on your right hand side.  There are signs for parking ahead and you will come to a gravel parking area after only a couple of minutes.  The track is well marked, no really it is, I don’t think even I could get lost.  From all I had read this was supposed to be a 6km return climb but the girls and I think that it could be a bit closer to 8km return based on some markings on the track and how long it took us.  The time to the top for us was 3 hours and only 90 minutes back down at a fairly comfortable pace.

We left at 6am from the base and would not leave it any later in summer.  It was a really hot and humid morning and I was literally dripping half way up so make sure you have plenty of fluids if you are crazy enough to do it in Summer.  There were quite a few people on the mountain which did actually surprise us.  It would be a beautiful walk in the cooler months.  It WAS a beautiful climb even in the heat and one everyone with reasonable fitness should try.  The views are amazing.

The track was quite steep in places with quite a few scrambles up rocks however there were plenty of flat-ish sections to catch a breather.

We did find that just when you thought you were near the top…..it wasn’t…..then you would think that this must be it…..and it wasn’t……then finally this must be it……and we still weren’t quite there.  Eventually we did make it and I love this photo taken of my good friend at the top of the Pyramid as it just seems to capture the spirit of adventure and satisfaction from making it to the top.

Thanks ladies for a wonderful catch up, we will have to start planning our next adventure.  This was a wonderful hike, so give it a go next time you are in the area!

Rewind and Review

Now that we have settled in Pannawonica, I have time to do a quick review of my last hitlist.  I think it is really important to acknowledge the things that went well and the things that did not work so well, celebrate all the good stuff, take the lessons learnt, and shrug off any failures or mishaps.  At the end of the day it is all about movement….active movement, forward movement, progress, living life and making the most out of your opportunities. So how did I go with Hitlist No. 2?  To be honest I can’t even remember what was on the list now, I was a little consumed by the Adventurethon but looked forward to reviewing to see what I did get done.Hitlist 2.2

  1.  Run 5km (Couch to 5km running program) – Loved this running program and will be doing this again with the kids in my new hitlist item ‘4km Mother’s Day Classic Fun Run’ with whole family.  Also really glad I achieved my 5km running goal along the cliffs of Kalbarri.Warm up walk to Island Rock which is where I started my run and the boardwalk ended.
  2.   Mundaring Weir Stair Workout – That was painful, only completed 3 full return runs from top to bottom.  Beautiful place to work out though.End of the final stair climb!!  Thank God, stairs officially suck balls!
  3.  Volunteer at OXFAM 100km – I loved this night, such a great atmosphere and very well run.  I liked that I felt that I was giving back in some small way to a good cause and back to events that I love to participate in (without much thought to all the volunteers that make these things happen).This was at the start of my shift, all four members completing the 100km which was quite a feat.  Quite a few teams lost members due to injury or exhaustion.
  4.  Try a Kickboxing Class –  I didn’t get to do this and I still want to do a class.  This was simply that I just couldn’t juggle all my comittments to make it happen.  Another time.
  5. John Forrest National Park Troll Bridge – This was awesome and still my favourite day out with the family.After only 800m we came across the 'Troll Tunnel'.  You have to make it exciting and a little scary for boys.  In we go.....dah da daaaaa (thats supposed to be scary music).
  6. Kayak to Penguin Island – This didn’t happen either sadly.  Realised that I probably didn’t quite have the skills or knowledge to do this on my own and couldn’t justify the expense to do a guided trip at this point in time.
  7.  Kings Park Tree Top Walk/Jacob’s Ladder – This was a great, easy day trip with the kids.treetops2

    Jacob's Ladder, Kings Park

    Jacob’s Ladder, Kings Park

  8.  Join the local MTB social ride – Everyone should try mountain biking it is such a great way to get and/or stay fit.  Social rides are a great way to meet people, learn great tips and learn about fun places to ride.Love the trails....although trees and I have a love hate relationship.  I often struggle to get through gaps without hitting my handlebars lol.  I'm so cool!!
  9.  Complete my Healthy Exercise Challenge with the kids – Really liked doing these things with the kids and just remembered that I was going to try it during school term and not just on the holidays…hmmm, and this is why we review!Find a local bike path - Where does it take you?
  10.  Trail Run at Bold Park – This didn’t happen as I left it to the last minute, then ran into the calf injury, then ran out of time.  Bummer, will have to keep this at the back of my mind and try and get there next time I am in Perth.
  11.  Participate in the Perth Marathon Club’s 7.5km run along the Esplanade – I feel like I am making a lot of excuses…buuut this was a scheduling clash with my husband’s FIFO roster.  This was a Sunday morning and usually the husband is home except for this very weekend.  I couldn’t very well make the kids wait at the finish line for me….I did think about it.
  12.  Try and MTB once a week – This was about a 16 week block for this hitlist and while I managed to ride every week I think I only managed to actually MTB maybe four times over that period.  This was a fail.
  13.  Organise to be fitted for my bike properly – Success!  I did do this one and very glad I did too.Managed to get on and stay balanced....Yay!
  14.  Sullivan’s Rock to Monadnocks Campsite, Bibbulmun Track –  What do we call this one? 50/50?  I did do a portion of the Bibbulmun Track and walked Sullivan’s Rock, but then failed to go in the planned direction and proceeded to get lost.   Points for trying??Bibb Track
  15.  Complete in Adventurethon Albany – Too right I did, feeling quite proud of that one.

I managed to complete 9 out of 15 items for a 60% completion rate.  Looking back I feel like I achieved so much more.  It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter about the things you don’t do only about the things you do.  I still believe that I complete more when I write them down and plug away.  So get busy dreaming, planning, and most importantly just get outside and move!!

Linking up with One Mother Hen.

Helloooo from Pannawonica

Well I am finally back in action after quite a long leave of absence.  What have I been up to?  Let me give you a quick summary of all the things that I have been doing over the last five weeks….

  • We packed up our house and prepared it for rental before flying the 5 hours back east to visit family.
  • My husband and I had a lovely couple of days in Palm Cove, kid free, to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.Palm Cove Collage
  • Stayed with my sister and had some fun on the Blue Sky Farm
  • Beach Holiday with extended family and friends at the lovely Bramston Beach.  My sister has already done a great blog post about that one so if you want to see how much fun we had, read all about Bramston Beach here.Beach
  • Climbed a mountain or two…Baldy Walsh's Pyramid
  • Walked around a lake and of course swam in said lakeLake4.jpg
  • Swam in some beautiful tropical north Queensland locationsJo Falls Babinda Boulders
  • Visited with lots of family and friends
  • Went off road to visit a beautiful little known waterfall 4wd Mackenzie Falls2 Mackenzie Falls MFalls
  • Flew back to the west coast before embarking on a road trip of 1600km to move to our new home town of Pannawonica in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.leaving perth Mesa Panna2 Panna3
  • Visited the dolphins at the beautiful Monkey Mia Monkey Mia Dolphin Shell Beach

It has been a busy, but wonderful four weeks and now we are finally settling in to our new life at Pannawonica.   It is a small town of approximately 800 people with one grocery store, a gym, a school, medical centre, library, post office, tavern and sports club, and a pool.  We can walk from one end of town to the other in about 10 minutes and I have learnt that a ‘Bung Arrow’ is a goanna.  Apparently the locals feed the goanna’s to keep the snakes away.  I have heard that the flies are not so bad this year but even so I have snorted quite a few from my nostrils and have had my husband look at me like I am a creature from another world as I preceded to gag, cough, spit, and splutter in front of him to try and stop myself from swallowing a fly.  Hmmm, such a lady, needless to say I had already swallowed the fly.  The temperature has been mid to high forties this week with the highest being 49oC.  Despite all this I think we will quite enjoy our time here and I have a hitlist already started!! I have a backlog of blog posts that I will get to in the near future including the following:

  • A wrap up of my previous hitlist
  • The best things to do in FNQ
  • Climbing Walsh’s Pyramid
  • Reasons to check out Monkey Mia
  • My new Exercise Hitlist

I will also be trying to add a few more Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention posts in the future.  If you want to hear more about anything else that I have done over the last few weeks or other topics in general please let me know in the comments.

Hike Gone Wrong – Part 2

I left Part 1 of the story at the top of the mountain, two and a half hours into a hike that I expected to be finished in 3 hours, 4 at the latest.  It had taken us longer than expected (and seemed further than estimated distances) to get this far but my friend and I still thought we were walking the track we had planned which meant that we should have an easier, flat walk back along a fire trail.  At this point we could have retraced our steps and not have had any dramas.  But I have this thing about going back over the same ground….I hate it and try not to do it where possible.  Also I wanted to make it to Monadnocks Campsite, which was the goal of the hike.  So we pushed on….

Bibb track7 Bibb track6Bibb track5

Going downhill….literally and figuratively.

Did see lots of these little guys on the rockface.  The Ornate Crevice Dragon apparenly.

Did see lots of these little guys on the rockface. The Ornate Crevice Dragon apparently.

The beginning of the end...

The beginning of the end…once we had come down the mountain we came to this access road.  The trail markers indicated we should go right and further south to stay on the Bibbulmun trail.  We knew we needed to head North and that there was an old loggers track to take us back to the starting point.  I had been guzzling water til this point as I hate getting dehydrated, but I was starting to worry whether the water would last.  It had taken us 3 and half hours to get to this point.  We decided to follow the access road and knew that we would need to take a left hand turn not too far along which should link back up with the Bibbulmun Track again.

Not the Bibbulmun Track...

Not the right track and no trails to the left as yet…realization has dawned and with it the question…Where the bloody hell were we??

You sick of the photos of this road yet?  Yeah well so were we...it was endless....and those hills up ahead were heart breakers.  Not only were they steep, we thought that over the rise would lie our salvation....Nope, nothing but empty water bags and a slight sense of panic.

You sick of the photos of this road yet? Yeah well so were we…it was endless….and those hills up ahead were heart breakers. Not only were they steep, we thought that over the rise would lie our salvation….Nope, nothing but empty water bags and a slight sense of panic.

Told you the photos ended when we stopped having fun.  The good news was that under the telegraph poles we had signal so we pulled up google maps and worked out we were on Mt Cooke which was a completely different area than we thought.  We were quite a distance from our car which had sports drinks and spare water, we had been hiking for about four and a half hours, we had no water left, and while we knew the general direction we needed to take we didn’t know if we would find a trail/fire road to take us in the right direction or exactly how far it would be.  We thought it might take us 1-2 hours to make it back to the car in a Westerly direction.  (Hey, I forgot to mention that we saw an emu along the way!)

emu

Image Credit

I won’t lie it was quite stressful.  We had eaten and had a spare nut bar each so that was not a big concern.  We knew that we weren’t that far from the highway and we were currently on an access road so we could be found quite comfortably especially as we could even give a pole number to pinpoint exactly where we were.    So why didn’t we call Parks and Wildlife or emergency services?  Calling emergency services is not to be taken lightly.  We didn’t feel that we were in life threatening danger, had only just run out of water and were otherwise feeling OK.  Besides, we would NEVER live it down if we had to be picked up by a Park Ranger or god forbid make the news!  Two women lost while hiking….arrgghhh.  Really didn’t want to go down that path.  The downside was that it was now the middle of the day and really starting to heat up.  How long could we go before heat stroke or heat exhaustion became an issue?

A plan was made and we decided to head down a fire road that would take us in a westerly direction.  We would give it an hour and reassess at that point.  Off we went and slow and steady was the name of the game.  The trouble was that another hour went by and we thought we were still heading in the right direction but now we had no signal to check our position.  Decision time again.  Do we keep going and trust that we were heading in the right direction?  Or do we admit defeat and go back to the access road and call it in?  We couldn’t even call anyone now, emergency calls only.  The decision?  Trust our gut instinct and forge ahead.  Thirty minutes and reassess.  My lips were cracked, my mouth so dry.  All I could think about was the Staminade waiting for me in the car.  My poor friend was starting to feel the effects of over five and a half hours of hiking, her hip was twinging and the calves starting to cramp.  I was grateful for all my Adventurethon training that’s for sure, as my body did not let me down.

A further thirty minutes passed and still no signal.  We had been without water for over ninety minutes.  Snooze was starting to feel a little fatigued and we still didn’t know how far we had to go.  We decided to call emergency services (only call we could make with no signal) to at least advise of our situation.  BUT it didn’t work!!  No ring tone no nothing….seriously how is that supposed to work?  Time to keep walking.  We had got to our lowest point and then a little bit of hope.  We hit an actual dirt road with a sign….Millers Log Road.  This was very exciting, yay!!  Just keep walking, just keep walking….then not much further along we got signal!!  While I rang the hubby (several missed calls from him) and explained our situation and what road we were on, Snooze managed to clarify that we were 4.3km from the Albany highway.  Insert groan.  On the plus side we were no longer lost!  However, it would take us about 45 minutes to walk that distance and we didn’t know how far to the car once we made it to the highway.  My hubby decided that he would drive and meet us to make sure we got back to the car safely.  As we were walking along this road we saw a small bridge and wondered about water(really quite thirsty at this point, just saying), so we stopped to see if it was drinkable.  Suddenly there was a rustle of leaves and shrubs and something ran out and away from us.

wild-pig Image Credit

It was a frigging small wild pig!!  I kid you not and the only thing worse than a little wild pig is a big one.  GET ME OUT OF HERE!!

Turns out we came out only a couple of hundred metres from the car and as hubby took a wrong turn we told him to turn around and go home.  I am glad I was lost with Snooze, what a trooper.  No freaking out, no stressing, just cool under pressure and tough to the end.  So after seven and a half hours hiking (worked out later that it was about 30km), three hours without water, we made it to the car and the Staminade……ahhhh.  We stopped at the closest service station and bought more gatorade and an ice cold coke.  Washed a couple of panadol down with these drinks, got home and had a nice cold shower, put the feet up and we all lived happily ever after and ready to hike another day.  Don’t let this trip deter you, just learn from my mistakes, plan well, and go explore.

Tell me what would you have done in this situation??

Hike Gone Wrong – Part 1

In Western Australia, the Bibbulmun Track is a very well known hiking trail and is one of the world’s great long distance walking trails.  It stretches nearly 1000km from Perth and surrounds to Albany in the south.  It is marked clearly by these little trail markers, representing the Waugal – the serpent of Aboriginal Dreaming.

Waugal

You can read more about the history of the track, all the different track sections, hiking and camping information,  and purchase maps from the official site.  The track actually starts up in the Perth Hills so I have seen a lot of the little markers.  I have also seen them on our travels in Albany, Denmark, and Walpole, which is why my interest was definitely triggered and it had to go on the Hitlist.  Well at least a portion of it anyway.  Deciding on which portion was the difficult bit but I opted for something close to home and that was recommended as the top hike in the Perth area by Inspiration Outdoors website.  The walk I wanted to complete was the Sullivan’s Rock to Monadnocks Campsite portion of the Bibbulmun Track.

After completing the Adventurethon, starting school holidays, and surviving Christmas I was itching to get outside and do something active….time to walk a portion of the famous Bibbulmun track.  Now the clock was ticking a little for me to complete this item as the family and I are on holidays in Queensland and then we would be moving way up North to a remote mining town that is a world away from the Bibbulmun track.  So even though Summer is not the most ideal time to go hiking I reasoned that if we did a short section of the track (10-15km) and left early in the morning to beat the worst of the heat we shouldn’t be too bad.  The other issue that I rushed through in my wish to explore this track was not organising to purchase a decent map of the trail.  (You can purchase them here) Instead I found another map which was fine but not very detailed…yeah, sounds stupid now doesn’t it?

Map

The website actually had some good information and quite a detailed description of the walk and landmarks.

Now I don’t want you to think that I take any hike lightly.  These are the things that I check off when preparing for a decent hike.

  • Fitness level appropriate?  I am in good health and have a good fitness level.
  • Experience level appropriate?  I have been hiking and bush walking pretty much my whole life.
  • Map of the Trail?  I had a map of the trail (albeit in hindsight not very detailed) The other thing I will admit to is that we had the map saved on the phone, didn’t need signal to access but reliant on battery.  Next time I will make sure I have a hard copy map.
  • I checked DFES (Department of Fire and Emergency Services) alerts to make sure there were no fires or back burning in the area.
  • Checked DPAW (Department of Parks and Wildlife) for any alerts in the area.
  • Also checked the weather forecast for the day of the hike.
  • I had packed 2L of water each for my friend and I as recommended for this particular walk on one of the websites I had been reading.
  • I had food and energy gels
  • First Aid Kit?  I packed 2 compression bandages but I really should have a basic first aid kit.
  • I had a phone, fully charged for once (I know, amazing right); and
  • I wasn’t walking alone and my husband knew where my friend and I would be walking.

All set and ready to go.  Fully prepared for the walk provided things go right.  This is probably the biggest lesson I learnt from this walk, you need to pack for worst case scenario not the average hike.  I will stop talking now and let the pictures tell the story….

Bibb Track

Not a care in the world...heading up Sullivan's Rock the start of the day.

Not a care in the world…heading up Sullivan’s Rock the start of the day.

This was the point where it all went wrong...not that we knew it then...but the age old should have gone left not right.  Literally 10 mins into the walk.  We still followed those little markers though...

This was the point where it all went wrong…not that we knew it then…but the age old should have gone left not right makes a big difference. Literally 10 mins into the walk. We were still following those little markers, just up a totally different mountain…doh.  We also dropped the phone here and cracked the screen, very difficult to see our map very clearly after that.  Just a comedy of errors.

Enjoying the walk still oblivious that anything was wrong.

My friend Snooze.  We were enjoying the walk still oblivious that anything was wrong.

Just some of the sights and obstacles from the trail.  The photos stopped when it ceased being fun...

Just some of the sights and obstacles from the trail. The photos stopped when it ceased being fun…

Mt Cooke Campsite...first little seed of doubt planted at this point.  Mt Cooke was not on the map, but I did vaguely remember reading about it on my research of the area.  Plunged ahead as we had not gone off the trail or come to a fork at all.

Mt Cooke Campsite (these little huts are built all along the trail for overnighters to make use of).  First little seed of doubt planted at this point. Mt Cooke was not on the map, but I did vaguely remember reading about it on my research of the area. Plunged ahead as we had not gone off the trail or come to a fork at all.

How did we not know we were going the wrong direction I hear you ask?  We were following the markers still and on a well defined track.  The general course of the trail was still following the directions of the map we had.  We were questioning distances at this point to...starting to believe that we should have climbed at least the first peak in 90mins, but only just starting to climb.

How did we not know we were going the wrong direction I hear you ask? Well, we were following the markers and were still on a well defined track. The general course of the trail was still following the directions of the map we had. We were questioning distances at this point too…starting to believe that we should have climbed at least the first peak in 90mins, but instead we were only just starting to climb.

First peak?  Mt Vincent we thought.  Vaguely reassured that we were actually on track.

First peak? Mt Vincent we thought. Vaguely reassured that we were actually on track.

Bibb Track4 Bibb track10

We thought this was North Rocks, right?  Easy to convince yourself that you are on track.  We hadn't veered off the marked track at all and hadn't come to a fork in the road except early in the piece.  Still enjoying the hike, the company, and the views.

We thought this was North Rocks, right? Easy to convince yourself that you are on track. We hadn’t veered off the marked track at all and hadn’t come to a fork in the road except early in the piece. Still enjoying the hike, the company, and the views.

Well I am going to leave it there for now, while we were still happy and things were still under control…although a little behind schedule, two and a half hours in.   I will go and finish the final part of the story where we realize that we are lost, have no water, and are not quite sure how to get out of this situation.

Linking in with Jess for IBOT and her very random post on her focus points for 2015.

Fitness Events in Australia – Challenge Yourself

One of the reasons for getting this blog up and running was to inspire people to set some goals and make a start on living a healthier lifestyle.  As I have mentioned before, when I put together a hitlist for myself I try and have a goal that is a bit scary and out of my comfort zone so that I continue to challenge myself.  I thought I would help you out and put together some of the sites that I look at for some inspiration for my big hitlist item.  Stop procrastinating…..lock in an event….and get training!!

Australian Running Calender – I’ll kick off with running events because it requires very little equipment and training can be done absolutely anywhere.  If you are new to running don’t forget to check out My Top Running Tips from an ‘I can’t run’ Mum and Exercise Physiologist.

Park Run Australia –  This is a free weekly event, a timed 5km run held in many parks across the world.  Good place to start if you are nervous about participating in an event.

parkrun2

Eventfinda – Upcoming Sports & Outdoors Events.  This is a calender of many, many, different sports.  You just have to choose one that tickles your fancy.

Eventlist – Australian Triathlon, Running, Obstacle Racing & Multisport Event Calender

Oxfam Trailwalker – Challenge Yourself, Challenge Poverty

This was at the start of my shift, all four members completing the 100km which was quite a feat.  Quite a few teams lost members due to injury or exhaustion.

Stairclimbing Australia – Looking for something different?  Stairclimbing is a thing!  Looks tough but covers some pretty great locations.

Ocean Swims – Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Pacific, and Europe

Adventurethon Australia – Off road multi sport event (Kayak, Mountain Bike, Trail Run).  Different distances for different levels of fitness, also can be done as a team event.  You can read about my first Adventurethon here.

Albany finish

Adventure Race Australia – This race involves a bit of everything.  It is off road so trail running and mountain biking is involved.  For the water component you can often choose whether to kayak, canoe, or swim.  There is also an element of navigation/orienteering involved as well as some alternative challenges (these are optional).  It looks like a lot of fun and encourages family and team participation along with individual racing of course.  There are some great prizes up for grabs too.

Tough Mudder – Mud Run

Basic RGB

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it should give everyone a place to start.  What are you waiting for?

If you know of any other great events that I should check out please get in contact with me and share the fun.