AHH bushwalking, the sport of kings. Hang on, that’s racing.
Bushwalking is the sport of Malcolm Naden, isn’t it?
I’m going to find out this weekend when we embark on a two-day weekend up the valley known as “Preliminary Expedition Training”.
‘‘Parent Boot Camp’’, as the grunts like to say.
It’s what happens when you don’t pay attention to notes that come home from school. And I’m anticipating a few grunts, and plenty of groans.
There certainly were when I looked over the handout midweek.
It pays to be prepared, but there are some things you probably don’t need to know.
Such as that training will involve two 10-kilometre walks over consecutive days.
Neither, as far as I can make out, to cushy restaurants or bars.
Naturally there was apprehension.
Correction, make that fear.
First point under the Orwellian heading “Planning for your adventure” is that “training is vital preparation”.
Cue a slight tone of urgency in the voice.
‘‘Have we really committed to this yet, honey?’’
I’m anticipating at various stages of the trek to hear Manu in my head saying: “Ope you unjoy your dry water crackair.”
I was thinking paralysis through analysis may be preferable to paralysis from two days slogging through the bush.
But there’s no backing away from greatness. The whole point is to get out of your comfort zone and we’re leaving the loungeroom.
That’s going to be uncomfortable.
Next point: ‘‘Physical fitness is essential.’’ Great.
We did a test run up the hill behind our house last Sunday, and it turned into a sequel for Lord of the Flies within minutes.
(Note to Star log: The bush is full of insects and sticks and sunstroke.)
It didn’t help when it was later pointed out that the character ‘‘Simon’’ is the first guy to die in Lord of the Flies.
Chilling. But don’t let fiction get in the way of fact, even though a lot of fiction is based on fact.
You’ve got to get your head in the right space.
Hopefully then the rest of your sorry arse will follow.
Next topic in the handbook: Weather.
‘‘Investigate lightning, thunderstorms and high wind incidence in selected area.’’
Yep. Pretty sure the place we’re going to gets all three, particularly this time of year when the word ‘‘mini-cyclone’’ seems so popular.
‘‘Food.’’ Yep we’ll need food.
I’m not expecting Pete and Manu from My Kitchen Rules to pop out from behind a eucalypt and give a score on my meal.
I’m anticipating at various stages of the trek hearing Manu in my head saying: “Ope you unjoy your dry water crackair.”
Fatigue brings on the voices, you know.
The handout emphasises that ‘‘All rubbish must be carried out.’’
This is a plus, because last resort, you can admit what you suspect – that you’re rubbish – and hope someone carries you out.
‘‘At times it might be convenient to share food.’’
I’m assuming this only applies if fellow walkers don’t realise you’ve nicked it from their pack.
‘‘Try to be creative with your menus.’’
But remember, Aerogard is not a sauce, even if Manu says it is. The voices are not real.
‘‘Water is critical.’’
No mention of craft beer, unfortunately, nor cheeky chardonnays. Damn.
‘‘Camel packs [bags of water which hang on your back] are useful, but expensive.’’
Actual camels are better, but failing that, remember the old line when bushwalking with your spouse – man is not a camel, so don’t expect me to carry your stuff.
Which is what happened 10 minutes into the sequel to Lord of the Flies last Sunday.
Do expect to be called an ass, or worse, if you say this to your spouse.
‘‘Clothing is critical.’’
So avoid nude-ing up, unless totally deranged, which can happen if you drink Aerogard. Remember, the voices.
‘‘Short sleeved shirts and pants are OK.’’ But only if you ‘‘unjoy’’ (thanks Manu) being torn to pieces by thorns and stinging nettles. Otherwise, suit up in Kevlar and prepare to sweat.
Ironically, the handout says keeping dry is essential, particularly when it rains.
So try not to carry too much, but remember to bring wet weather gear.
‘‘When it comes to outfits, layering is essential.’’
New season colours from Paris are probably out. Go for something Crimean.
Nouveau Cossack is very happening.
‘‘Always leave a change of clothes in the return car for the journey home.’’
Ideally, make that return car an ambulance.
Navigation and route planning are vitally important.
But judging by previous map reading experiences, if you make it to the assembly point on time, you’ve probably overachieved.
Why raise the bar unnecessarily high?
Compass is a thing generally associated with spiritual matters on the ABC.
And after two days in the wilderness, I’m not expecting that to change a great deal.