Hiking Mount Difficult

Hiking Mount Difficult

It’s amazing how long it takes to come down from the high that a weekend of fresh air, exercise, and great company gives you. A few days later and my legs are still reminding me about the challenge and fun that was Mount Difficult.

 

Setting off with our small group along one of the only sections of gently undulating walking track, it doesn’t take long to reach Beehive Falls. Immediately the scenery has me excited for what’s to come, unaware that the landscape is going to change regularly, as we hike the Mount Difficult Circuit over the next two days. The trail soon turns into a rocky ascent up the escarpment and it doesn’t take long before my first layer of clothing comes off and the glutes are put to work! It’s on this first incline that I start to notice the unusual rock formations, and get glimpses of the view that awaits us at the top. We take the opportunity to take off our rucksacks and enjoy a packless scramble out to Briggs Bluff. Despite the overcast day, we stopped to take in the spectacular view from the cliff’s edge before making our way back to collect our gear. Halfway up the next escarpment we find the perfect lunch spot for the group to sit, refuel and enjoy the landscape below us. Feeling recharged, we continue along the constantly changing trail, from rock to sand and small flowing water crossings. Arriving at the campsite after a challenging 14kms, it’s not long before we have settled in with some delicious home-cooked food, a rewarding glass of wine and some competitive games of poker!

 

Falling asleep under the full moon and waking up in this beautiful part of the Grampians, makes me feel grateful for the opportunity to be able to spend a weekend outdoors, being active with a great group of people. Day two starts with fresh coffee, breakfast and the last steep incline to Mount Difficult. We’re able to leave our rucksacks, (to the delight of my calf muscles!) before the final accent to the summit. The energy of the group shows as they go bounding up the rocks in front of me, which inspires me to follow suit and it doesn’t take long before we’re at the top, enjoying another awesome view of the area. The trail and the views walking back along the escarpments was a highlight for me, and it was then that I decided I would be coming back for sure! The descent down to Beehive Falls was where I realised just how steep and rocky our walk the previous day was, and the group were pretty quiet around me as we all concentrated on coming down the now slippery track. The flat walk back to the cars was perfect for reflecting on a weekend where we were lucky enough to have perfect weather conditions, and to chat about our next adventure.

25km of challenging walking, awesome scenery, and great company made this overnight hike in the grampians the perfect way to finish 2017 with TSA.

 

And let’s not forget the amazing food we had on this walk!

Why I Love Hiking

Why I Love Hiking

As someone who grew up playing lots of different sports, and has spent 8 years in the fitness industry, working in gyms, hiking wasn’t the type of exercise I saw myself doing until I was much older. To be honest, I didn’t see it has hard enough, as in – not as good as running, spin or lifting weights. That was real exercise to me, walking was what you did to get around.  Though I’ve always enjoyed walking as a way of seeing a new place, but until recently, hiking wasn’t an activity I would normally choose to do. Being part of Take Shape Adventures, I have discovered the many benefits of this type of exercise from fitness, mental health, a community of like minded people, and the solitude of being self-sufficient, with everything I need around me. This has give me a new appreciation for the outdoors.

 

Firstly, walking is great exercise that everyone can do, you just have to choose walks that suit your fitness level. For me, coming off the back of an overnight hike that featured steep, rocky trail and a heavy rucksack, the feeling in my legs rivals that of day two after a heavy leg session in the gym. The endorphin rush I experience after a good run or a tough kettlebell session, is surprisingly the same as what I experience after a day or weekend out bushwalking. It’s a high that lasts until I hit a wall, realising just how tired I am. Exhaustion – the feeling of physical accomplishment. I love it!  

Hiking is something I now enjoy with friends, family and strangers and makes up a big part of my social life and I love the community that has been created with Take Shape Adventures. I’ve met many different people, like-minded but with different perspectives and stories to tell. Similar to a sporting team, I’ve found that the support, encouragement and celebration of achievements between fellow hikers, leaves me feeling part of something, and confident to step outside my comfort zone. I love that I did my last hike with others that don’t regularly hit the gym, being part of a group meant we all went further with each other’s encouragement.

The mental and physical health benefits of being outdoors means I now take every opportunity I can to be out in the fresh air. Better concentration, vitamin D, boosts in serotonin – making me feel happier and reduced stress levels, are just some of the benefits I’ve experienced. Being outdoors also adds variety to my weekly exercise routine, keeping me motivated and expanding my physical goals.

After having done a lot of overseas travel, hiking has opened my eyes to all of the amazing places right on my doorstep, easily accessible as a day trip or long weekend away.  I’m looking forward to experiencing more of these places with the TSA Community.

By Jess Perkins

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