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We were greeted with the revelation that ‘Overnight Hiking’ doesn’t in fact involve Hiking during the night.

“Who would want to do that?” exclaimed Graham.

“You can’t see anything; you would probably get cold, lost or hurt. Far better to enjoy ones company, with a ‘wee dram’, around a good camp fire”.

And so the tone was set. We were gathered under the rambling construction, better known as Katie’s and Grahams outdoor ‘toy shed’ for the first of a 2 part ‘Introduction to Overnight Hiking’.

This information session was the brainchild of Graham, Katie and Ken and designed to provide information, advice and confidence for those new to, or interested in returning to overnight hiking.

It was claimed that “Overnight Hiking is both a very achievable and a most rewarding activity. With the correct gear, some training, a sense of adventure and good company many, many opportunities will beckon you”.

Surprisingly, we were told, you don’t have to be a fitness guru to enjoy overnight hikes. If you regularly walk with the Club and can cope with most of our Tuesday Walks you should have no problem hiking overnight.

Yes, some practice carrying a pack would help and perhaps some exercises, but if you are reasonably active, you will be fine.

Our group of ten consisted of some seasoned walkers and some who hadn’t carried a pack for some time and were a little apprehensive of what was ahead.

Graham presented the program as an ‘information sharing’ exercise, preferring to learn from one another rather than conduct a classroom styled workshop.

Our adventure started with Coffee and Scones, compliments of Judy, and quickly moved thorough a range of subjects covering trip preparation, planning, safety, gear, first aid, packs, outdoor gear and a raft of other material.

We all learnt something:

  • how to use ‘the centre of gravity’ to pack our packs
  • how to tie our boots to properly anchor our feet in the boot (and thus prevent bruising and/or lost toe nails on steep descents)…we were even introduced to the latest in individual toe Gel protection socks!!
  • how to ‘strap’ a sprained ankle
  • the benefits of ‘Futurelight’ – The North Face outwear technology which offers genuine advancements in lightweight, breathable and waterproof outdoor gear.
  • technology and the many phone apps available to make life easier

The ‘show and tell’ soon finished so now it was time to put the theory into practice. We repacked our packs and set off to and explore the beautiful Mirboo National Park and surrounds.

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While we all had our own gear, it was noted that the Club also had gear for use by newcomers and those who would prefer to try before committing to purchase.

Anyway, 7.1kilometers later (but who was counting), we returned to the ‘Toy Shed’, a little foot weary but better for the experience. We sampled yet more Coffee n Scones, recounted our days outing, and set ourselves for the following week when we are expected to camp overnight in small tents, eat dehydrated food and tell tall tales.

All shall be revealed in the next instalment

Thanks to Katie, Graham, Ken, presenters and all those present for an excellent days adventure.