Giving Back: 12 Hike Challenge

This month I decided to take on the “Giving Back” theme walk in my 12 Hike Challenge. The intention is to give back by doing something hiking related that is community focused and worthwhile. This month I did three very different walks that fall under this goal.

1. Hike it out

I recently took the “Hike it out” pledge which committed me to leaving trails in as good or better condition than I found them. I always carry some garbage out but this month I decided to do a dedicated hike it out walk. I took the kids to a local firetrail and lookout that I noticed recently was a bit messy. We wore gardening gloves and hiked down to the bottom of some cliffs where the items that are thrown from the top come to rest. There were a lot of climbers out today and I didn’t want to disturb so we picked a quieter part of the cliffs and started collecting. (Sorry for lack of photos- I’m being more cautious about putting my kids faces on the blog). My youngest found part of an old skateboard and my eldest seemed to enjoy finding different coloured cans. We reached into rock crevices to get the items that were stuck and didn’t have to move far to find something to collect including lots of glass. We steadily worked our way up the cliff ledges until we realised we were only a couple of meters below the lookout! So we went the quick way out and had a rest while taking in the view and listening to the climbers go about their business. We then collected whatever was at the lookout and made our way back to the car. We had collected a good bag full. My son said “I like the skateboard but we should throw it away to save the animals.” I’m thrilled he got the point. He even seemed proud of what he had done. My eldest is with girl guides so it’s a natural thing for her to occasionally head out on clean up walks. But she kept going the extra mile to pick up the hard to reach items because if she left it the animals could get hurt.

I’m so glad I did this with my kids. It shows they are already aware of environmental issues and care about wildlife protection. It makes me happy as we talk about it all the time when we are on walks and I think it has sunk in. They didn’t complain about doing the walk, they wanted to do it and understood why they were doing it. And now we have a clean trail.

2. Orienteering

Orienteering NSW recently put on some free orienteering sessions to try to get folks into the sport. So my family headed out to the Hornsby Heights session to give it a go and I have to say it was fantastic! You are given a map with various points marked on it and a timing stick. We had 45 minutes to reach as many markers as possible to build up a score. If we took longer than 45 minutes points were deducted! A few other families that we knew also attended so that was awesome! Once we found out where North was using the sun then the map was easy to follow. We had visions of completing every marker but reality sunk in pretty quickly so we had to plan a shorter course that hit all the high score points we could realistically reach.

We tapped our timing stick into the starter point, heard the beep then set off! The first point was easy to find then we descended into the bush to reach the others. The markers were bright orange squares and each had a device that you put your timing stick in to record your time electronically. We decided to take a road route back as that had some high scoring points. We reached the finish only a minute or two late. We scored 250 points with 20 deducted for taking longer than 45 minutes. Some of the other families lost almost all the points as they took too long to get back! It was fun to compare results at the end. We were in the middle of the pack which wasn’t bad for first timers!

This sport was lots of fun and I can see how it becomes addictive I kind of want to attend one without the kids so I can run it! But it’s certainly a great activity for all as you can walk or run, go by yourself or with friends or family.

So I give back by participating in this community activity and by sharing it on this blog. Fantastic fun that I highly recommend and will definitely do again!

3. Geocaching

Geocaching is lots of fun! You use GPS or a phone app to locate a hidden container in the bush or other interesting destination. You can do it alone of with others. I’ve done it about twenty times now either on my own or with kids and each time it has taken me to someplace amazing!

This week I took off from work during my lunch break to head into Lane Cove National Park to find a cache I’d had my eye on for a while. The trip led me across a river by stepping stones then up to join the Great North Walk. The final stage was a bush bash along a partial trail straight up the side of the valley! I found the cache then sat on a nearby rock to eat lunch in the breeze. I then headed back to the office. It took the full hour so I had planned it well.

Geocaching can provide mini adventures in an otherwise normal day and is great for wellbeing. I give back by sharing and recommending this activity.

Giving Back

This months contribution to my twelve hike challenge was very different in character to my previous walks. I completed three very different but highly satisfying walks both by myself and with my family. I’ve maintained my wellbeing, joined in with the community, and cleaned up a trail whilst ensuring wildlife and environmental protection are traits my children will grow up holding dear. It’s been a fantastic month and I highly recommend trying out all three!

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