Hiking and Camping: What’s Your Why?

Regardless if you are a beginner hiker or you have been at it for several years, everyone has a reason as to why they venture into the outdoors on a regular basis.

Perhaps it’s an alternative form of exercise for you? Perhaps a friend dragged you along to a camping trip one weekend and you found that you absolutely loved it?

Maybe it’s something that you’ve done since you were little and have continued to do in your adult years?

Whatever the reason, everyone has a reason why.

mitchell river
Walking across a section of Mitchell River

For me, it was an alternative to exercise. To give you some background, I play Australian rules football on weekends. Towards the latter half of 2014, and as my study load began to increase, I felt I couldn’t commit to football in 2015 as I normally would and decided to take a break.

However, I recognised that having 12 months off without doing any exercise would be a poor decision, so I needed an alternative. So, I decided to find something I could do on weekends and not have to commit much time to during the week.

Mitchell River camping
Camping near Mitchell River

Using that as the criteria, I decided to take up hiking.

It was something that had always been relatively foreign to me. My younger sister has always had an interest in the outdoors and spent a large part of high school hiking and camping with her outdoor education class. But, for me, I had never really had any interest in it.

The first decision was to research somewhere to go and hike. The Dandenongs are pretty much my backyard, so I settled on doing the Sherbrooke Forest Circuit.

I filled up a couple of plastic water bottles, grabbed some random snacks, my Volcom backpack and various other bits and pieces, and made my way to the forest.

Keppels Campground
Taking a break at Keppels Campground, Marysville

The trail had taken me just over two hours to complete, but I was hooked within the first 20 minutes.

I knew there and then that I had found something that not only was I going enjoy doing over the next 12 months whilst I studied, but something I would continue to do for many years to come.

And, naturally, as I continued to hike, the thought of camping entered the equation and I planned and organised my first overnight trip about 6 months later. Since then I have done many hiking and camping trips in Victoria and spent 10 days hiking and camping in New Zealand over the Xmas/New Year break.

Mount Ngaurahoe
On the top of Mount Ngaurahoe, New Zealand

Thus far, it’s been great and it’s going to get even better as there are still so many places in Victoria, Australia, and the world that I want to visit and explore.

What about you? Why did you take up hiking/camping? What was memorable about your first ever experience doing either or both?

Let me know in the comments section below.

4 Responses
  1. I always enjoyed escaping the pressures of life grounding myself out in nature. I would take whatever free time i had to go out and explore. Then work life took over preventing time to get out. A few yrs back my health took a turn for the worse when i was injured in a boating accident. My gym time of training cross fitness came to a abrubt end. Devo i was limited in what i could do, i left full time work being placed on part time work only i had free time as a breakfast cook to get back out into the h mountains. Started off slow and before i knew it my stamina improved and overall fitness took me to new levels. I love taking photos and got into tracking my hikes for others to see what they are missing out on.lol 12mnths on i took to climbing mts and travelling around nsw and qld national parks. Covering 52ks on a heritage track had me hooked for the longer tracks. Have covered over 12 national parks and several national reserve areas….climbed over 6mts and camped over swag style. Solo hiker/camper/traveller with future trips mapped out to explore. My favourite area is out west in the Tenterfield area…love the huge boulders of granite and the terrain is so different to the tropical rainforests. I do for fitness…for the adventure…for the life experiences and photography opportunities to build on my gallery to look back on and say” i lived life” !!!

    1. John Feeney

      What an incredible story, Debby. Thank you so much for sharing it. Sounds like hiking and camping gives you the outlet you need. What an incredible turn around from not being so well to travelling around 12 national parks, many national reserves and 6 mountains. Keep up the great work 🙂

  2. Danny Goss

    Great article!! I used to love hiking as a kid, but mine is a story of recovery really. Long story short, and without detail that no-one needs to hear, I didn’t cope too well with a couple of traumatic life events and led a terribly unhealthy lifestyle. Too much drinking, smoking and other self destructive behaviors. It got to the point where I thought life was going to go in one of two directions and one of them wasn’t very attractive. I got help for a few things, rediscovered a passion for the outdoors and got busy hiking. I’m so grateful to have found it again and have been lucky enough to do some awesome hikes in the last few years (overland, Three capes, mitchell river, oxfam and others). Its also a huge part of the reason I haven’t had a drink in 3.5 years and haven’t smoked in 3. I do it for fun, for health (Physical and mental) and for the sense of freedom and adventure. A happy hiker these days 🙂

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Danny! Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to respond in such an in-depth way. I genuinely appreciate it and your willingness to share some insight into your why. I’m really happy to hear that you’ve been able to fight through your issues and that the outdoors has been the cure. You’d be surprised at how many other people out there are in a similar situation to you.

      Thanks again
      John

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