Before Walking

Things to Consider Before Walking

The shed offers members the opportunity of participating in some occasional walks as a supplement to our usual activities. The aim of this is to expose members to some of the delights of nature around and within Canberra, as well as getting some exercise. Most walks will be designed to be undertaken within 3 hours from start to finish including breaks and be no more than 10-15Km and include climbs of no more than 250 metres in total. However there may be an occasion where we could go to Namadgi and do a half day or more walk.

Generally walks will be held every two weeks on a Thurs with walks alternating between easy social strolls around simple locations like Lake Ginninderra versus more challenging scenic walks to places such as Cooleman Ridge. These latter walks will tend to be more the medium and sometimes medium/hard type of walk. Most walks will be on tracks or easy open country with minimal scrub bashing or cross country style walking.

Checklist of Things to Do and/or Consider

  1. check the grade and distance of the walk and ensure you are capable of doing it. If in any doubts call the leader
  2. check the start time and meeting place
  3. wear sturdy walking shoes with good grip (essential for steep slopes or rocky creeks etc) (you don’t normally need heavy & expensive ie $250 Scarpa bushwalking boots or similar)
  4. wear sensible clothes including warm clothes in winter
  5. wear a wide brim hat in summer, autumn & spring
  6. bring a water bottle (You could use staminade or similar. However water is more functional and can be used to e.g. to wash a wound). See notes below for CamelBak options
  7. bring a raincoat when its threatening
  8. use sunscreen cream in non winter months (Sept-Apr) especially SPF 30+, 50+
  9. bring a snack if we are taking more than 2 hours
  10. bring a mobile phone (Sep 2015 – This Canberra Times article on finding Kathleen Bautista highlights the benefits of carrying a mobile. Walkers should take special note)
  11. consider a well built walking stick (or pair of sticks) if your frail or with damaged knees. A lot of people use them all over the world and swear by their assistance value
  12. advise the leader if you have had any serious condition that might be exacerbated by a vigorous walk (i.e. stroke, heart condition, dementia, asthma, etc)
  13. ensure your contacts details & those of your emergency contact are on the Walking Contact Sheet (we don’t publish this)

Before Walking

Insurance Issues – The Shed has AMSA Insurance which does cover us for “Excursions, including by bicycle or foot, on designated tracks, pathways and other outside locations”. So generally we are covered for public liability issues as long as we don’t get into significant off-track adventures or rock climbing, etc. For personal injuries we should first seek medical assistance through using Medicare and any private medical cover we may have. Refer to this page for the Shed policy and FAQs.

Note that any non-members who walk with us are not covered by the Shed’s policy. Thus any non-members will be required to accept that they walk at their own risk.

Members should have an ability to walk at least 3Km in 1 hour. Some scenic walks may require climbs such as Black Mountain, Mt Ainslie, or Mt Taylor where the altitude change may be up to 200m (660 feet). This is likely to be the maximum. If undertaken slowly most can do this. However members should carefully assess their abilities for any walks before turning up. If in doubt seek advice. Most of these walks should be fairly safe and we will take enough time to allow for adequate rests.

You need adequate footwear. Sneakers with a good soul and grip would be mostly suitable. Also you need comfortable trousers, shirt and jumper. You will need a polar fleece lightweight jacket or similar in winter. You definitely need a good hat in the warmer months.

Dehydration can impact anyone. Ensure you keep well hydrated especially in summer.A small water bottle <300ml is adequate from May-Sept, Oct-April 1000ml (i.e. 1 litre) or more is recommended. Note we now have had 2 people feint due to dehydration. Both of these occurred just after the walk finished. If you are carrying water you also have to drink it. You don’t bring it to carry it home again. You can also use a Camelbak type of pack that comes with an inbuilt 1.5 to 2.5L water capacity with a tube you can suck water out of. Some of their packs double as a day pack and can be used with the reservoir in or out. See Camelbak Australia. Greg now has a Camelbak Rogue which comes with a 2.5L reservoir and some compartments for snaks and emergency gear. Its probably more for cycling than hiking. The Cloud Walker model might be best for hikers only.

Simple snacks ie apple, banana, muesli bar or similar is adequate for such walks. Sometimes if we go for full half day or more to Namadgi you may need to carry lunch plus snacks.

Other items to consider: Camera, Mobile phone, strong headache pills, band aids, sunscreen cream in non winter months (ie Sep-Apr) preferably SPF 30+ or better, and a small 50ml bottle of hand sanitiser. The leader will carry a mobile and small first aid kit, as well as have knowledge of the route. It’s unlikely that anything more than a small day pack would be needed. In fact if you can place things in the pocket or bum bag then this would be best.

Weather: If the weather is bad on the morning we will postpone. Cool weather above 5C is good for walking, however strong winds with rain or drizzle is not suitable when combined with cold weather. Over 30C is also too hot in the middle of the day. In summer we will consider early morning walks.

Walking Grades: Please understand that some walks are harder than others due to distance or the amount of altitude change, or rocks, or steep slippery surfaces or just the gradient of the walk (ie steepness). See the grades used here

Car Costs & Other Fees: For some walks to places further away such as Namadgi, Tidbinbilla, Googong, etc it is suggested members should help share the cost of petrol with others in the car. The concept of sharing can be based on an average vehicle using approx 10litres/100km and $1.50 per litre. This equates to $15 per 100Km. Thus for a trip of about 65Km each way, ie. total 130km trip, suggest passengers consider sharing cost of petrol; say 13 litres, ie about $20 to split in average sized vehicle. For 55Km each way. total 110 Km, about $18; for 75Km each way, total 150Km, about $23, etc. We should also share entry charges as these occur, as they will at Tidbinbilla or car parking costs which will probably occur around Central Canberra.

Snake Protection – The best protection is avoidance. However if your paranoid about these critters then good boots and gaiters may give you piece of mind. You might like to read this: Snake Facts Which You Probably Didn’t Know – thanks to Mike Munk. Product details. Here is a YouTube video on the product. These Protex Snake gaiters look well made but may cost around $144. Availability of these gaiters is through safety places such as Protector Alsafe, Unit 1, 80-82 Kembla St, Fyshwick 6290 0155, or Fyshwick Outdoor Power Centre, 6 Wiluna St 6280 5203. Normal gaiters can be sourced through Macpac | Paddy Pallin | BCF, 47 Newcastle St, Fyshwick, 6280 8888, now also at Nettlefold St, Belconnen, Anaconda, 36 Iron Knob St, Fyshwick, 6123 3600; Kathmandu, Belconnen Mall, 6251 7678. Mont of 18 Pirie St, Fyshwick, 6162 1661 also has lots of excellent items and is worth checking. Note Macpac has been bought by the Super Group. Mountain Designs has been bought by the owners of Anaconda, the Spotlight Group and have been closing stores.