Combining his love for digital technology and the outdoors, hiking blogger Neil Fahey credits his website ‘The Bushwalking Blog’ for playing a significant part in his obsession with hiking.
Despite being obsessed with it these days, Neil says it wasn’t always the case when he was younger.
“I didn’t grow up in a very outdoorsy family but I always spent a lot of time outdoors, whether exploring the farmland at the end of my street or catching turtles and yabbies in our local creek,” he says.
“I guess I always felt drawn to being in nature.”
Camping with his friends quickly became a regular occurrence for Neil in his teen years, but it was during his late twenties that his passion for the outdoors really took off.
“Having heard my brother’s stories about the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas, I was inspired to take on something similar,” he says.
“I decided on Peru’s Inca Trail and made the booking, only to realise that I was seriously out of shape.
“It was time to get training, so you could say it was at this point that my passion for hiking, and also The Bushwalking Blog, was born.”
“It’s worth mentioning that they were all guided hikes, though,” he says “The Colca Canyon even has a resort along the trail, complete with swimming pools.”
“I’ve done plenty of solo overnight and multi-day hiking, but none of it was as notable as these guided trips.”
Most outdoor enthusiasts have a favourite trail, mountain or area that brings back fond memories for them, and Neil is no different.
However, at least one of his favourite spots holds a very special place in his heart.
“The King River (located in north-east Victoria) is one of the places I used to swim as a kid,” he says.
“But my connection to Sugarloaf Peak (located in the Cathedral Ranges) is harder to explain or at least it was at the time – now it’s where I proposed to my wife as well.
“I’ve just always felt drawn to the place, and there are few other places where I feel as at peace.”
The Bushwalking Blog
Despite getting out as much as he can, Neil cites work, parenthood and life in general as some of the reasons why he finds it hard to hike regularly.
However, it would seem his outdoor website is making up for it.
“The main purpose of The Bushwalking Blog, when it started back in 2008, was just to share detailed information on hiking trails,” he says.
“At the time, it was really difficult to find solid information on where to go and what to expect, so I wanted to provide that in a form that was easy to navigate and nice to look at.
“Since then it has become so much more than this, though…it’s also become as much an adventure travel blog as just a hiking blog.”
With a new direction for the website, Neil has set about redesigning the entire look to reflect the adventure travel element that has evolved over time.
“Aside from the new homepage design, hikers and aspiring hikers should definitely check out my new feature, The Trail Finder,” he says.
“It’s an easily searchable list of walks in Australia and a few abroad.
“At the moment it covers only trails that I’ve done myself or rather that I’ve done and then written up for The Bushwalking Blog, but I’m planning to expand this over the coming months.”
Neil’s plans for expansion on his website include featuring his hiking bucket list, as well as all the necessary information ‘need to complete the hike as I research them for my own use’.
He also plans to ‘share the love amongst the blogging community’ by highlighting other relatively new hiking with the goal of giving them some attention.