One of the more recent additions to our team of guides, Kellie Fennel has already made a great first impression in our community (thanks Kellie!).
Her ability to lead a fun, social, and challenging hike didn’t just come from nowhere, though. She’s had a life full of adventure that has given her these skills and integral qualities. So if you’re interested in how our guides have gotten to be so talented, or just want to learn a bit more about Kellie after meeting her on a hike, keep reading!
My love of nature begins in Horsham. I was a country kid who, with my brother, jumped on a bike straight after school and raced “down the creek”, with my parents yelling out behind us to be back by dinner. There would be making jumps and creating cubby houses in trees. Hours of fun often ended with my Dad grounding us and throwing our bikes on top of the shed for a week when we got home late! We never learnt our lesson and the adventures have never stopped.
Life has been filled with fun outdoorsy stuff, including camping with my family, finding the next mountain bike park, hiking, and kayaking; simply enjoying life and making memories! On family trips, if we are in town, we have a tradition which has progressed through to adulthood (can’t break tradition). We simply throw the rules out the window and head to the supermarket where we all frivolously choose our own tub of ice cream. Straight home we head to sit on the floor beside the coffee table, spoons in hand, diving into the tub, bowls nowhere in sight, smiles and laughter filling the room, and ice cream filling our bellies for dinner. There was a time in Tassie when we were in the tent doing our ice cream ritual and we actually did grab bowls. However, they were to catch the drips when the tent started leaking as it was raining so hard!
I love that feeling of being absolutely spent and exhausted after pushing yourself past the limits you thought you had and accomplishing something epic. It’s especially rewarding when you are able to reflect on what your body has just done for you. It’s pretty amazing when you actually think about it. But seemingly endless kilometres, ascents, and descents are all incidental when you are banking memories!
A few years ago, I came across an older couple as we were all scrambling over the same boulders to reach the peak of a pretty massive climb. We stopped and chatted for around half an hour about the places we had been (I was as happy to have a breather as they were when we stopped). Their combined age was about 170. I was so inspired by them and decided then and there that if I was privileged enough to reach their vintage, that’s exactly where I want to be – up the top of a mountain somewhere or under some trees breathing in the fresh air in my happy place. So, it’s all about the next hike! The big 50 happens in a couple of years! I think I’ve decided upon Kilimanjaro; that would be pretty epic and a great way to celebrate (no going back now… it’s in writing).
Life did a one-eighty for me last year when my husband passed away after a short illness and, with the kids already set off to begin their own lives, it was time to plan what was next for me! What a whirlwind! I had a choice; do I mope around and forever think about what I am missing, or should I grab the bull by the horns and go? Long story short, I grabbed my backpack and hiking shoes, booked a trip to NZ with TSA where I met Tracey and Adrian, and the rest is history. Nature, exercise, and finding a community of like-minded people has been the best medicine!
If I had to pick a favourite hike in Victoria, it would have to be Wilsons Prom (that sunrise as you set off in the morning after camping at Sealers Cove is such a wow moment). It is there that I learnt very quickly that I was merely just a catering service for the local wildlife, with the Currawongs stealing precious biscuits from my pack. I had been rationing them to ensure I had a yummy treat to eat on my last night, too! Needless to say, I was seriously peeved and have since learnt how to outsmart the little buggers.
What’s next? A simple life for me – plenty more dirt tracks, more chatting with new hiking buddies and listening to their stories, and more jumping in the car to see what’s around the corner in our beautiful country. Throw in a sighting of a platypus (they still elude me) and I’ll be a happy camper!
What an inspiring story from Kellie, I know I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to read it and I hope you are too. If you would like to share your adventure story (or lots of little adventure stories from your life!), then feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any photos to go with your adventure, that would be great too!