Welcome to yet another hiking blog! :p
I figured I’d set up this site to share my various trail adventures, which is something I only really started to get into as of late September 2016, after years of refusing to hike or even walk more than necessary. I was honestly that lazy before, lol, but I could afford to be, as I was young(ish) and naturally toned, thanks to good genes. No hiking or walking for me! Join a gym or play a sport? Pfft! Run a marathon? Are you kidding me?? No way, never!
So, why the sudden turnaround regarding hiking and walking? Circumstances changed, namely my body weight and employment status, lol. With all that free time on my hands and the realisation that my metabolic rate was no longer quite what it used to be (I had somehow managed to gain an obvious 15 lbs, which had never happened to me before), I finally decided to embrace the great outdoors as my personal gym. It’s free of charge, after all, which is particularly appealing when you’re not earning an income!
And guess what? I quickly came to enjoy my hikes and trail walks! Not just the nature, scenery and fresh air (on good days, at least), which goes without saying, but also that whole sense of discovery, the physical challenge/satisfaction, and of course the various health benefits. Indeed, slowly but surely, the pounds have been dropping off, woo-hoo! The peace and quiet up in the hills and amongst the trees is also nice and calming (scary nature sounds excluded, lol).
My first proper solo hike, however, was quite accidental, hence the name of this blog (“The Reluctant Hiker” would have also been just as apt, but there’s already a site by that name, heh). That hapless experience predated my current trekking obsession by a couple of years, and until this recent turnaround, regrettably managed to kill off what little enthusiasm I had for the great outdoors at the time.
To cut a long story short, I set out on what I had assumed (never assume!) to be just a short, leisurely stroll across a low ridge of hills in my neck of the woods, but ended up doing a proper, much longer than expected hike up to an elevation of well over 400m. Yeah, I was also confused as to how that happened! I wasn’t too alarmed, though, as I hadn’t gone off course and had stayed in the correct general direction the whole time.
My intended endpoint was obviously lower than where I found myself but nevertheless in the vicinity, yet still perplexingly nowhere in sight by dusk. Instead, I was faced with a confusing intersection of seemingly identical looking trails, none of them properly marked. My phone battery was also down to a worrying 20%. Yikes. The air pollution that day happened to be shockingly bad (no idea how I had failed to notice that when I first set out!), which further compounded the situation, as visibility was near naught.
Not surprisingly, I started to freak out a little.
After a couple of aborted mini exploratory attempts and uncertainty about which path I had even arrived upon (everything honestly looked the same!), I didn’t know what else to do but to notify a family member and call emergency services (a personal first). I was informed that several firemen would be sent up to get me, that it would take them an hour or so to reach me, and that I should remain put until then. Path directions from the intersection point would have been preferable, but alas!
A helicopter was subsequently dispatched to locate me by searchlight, as after all that waiting, it had become pitch-black, not to mention rather nippy on the exposed hillside (I was on an open trail, huddled near a rock). Once sighted by the chopper on its second fly-by, the rescue team of firemen magically appeared behind me, and that’s how I came to be found and guided back down to the base, where a host of emergency vehicles were on standby as per standard procedure, lights flashing and all…
Yes, I was one of *those* hapless hikers (albeit an accidental one!) whom you read about in the news in need of rescuing, wasting government resources, etc. Oh, the shame and embarrassment. :s And after all that hillside drama, I didn’t even get to fly in the chopper! Just kidding. I did get a lift home in a police car, however, thanks to the two kindly officers who had been called out to the ‘scene’, which was very nice of them.
On the first blue-sky day that same week, I brazenly repeated my ‘leisurely stroll’ at an earlier start time and much quicker pace to see how I could have got it so wrong and was amazed by the immense difference good visibility can make. Suddenly, that pitiful excuse for a trail (heh, more like a steep runoff ditch; probably both) down which the firemen had guided me looked so obvious – at least in terms of where it went – with clear landmarks left, right and centre. Doh, if only it had been like that the first time!
Anyway, that’s my Accidental Hiker story and I certainly learnt my lesson after that, even if I didn’t need to put any of those lessons into practice until almost two years later, lol. I am now much better prepared and equipped, having successfully covered numerous local hiking and walking trails in these past three months alone. Obviously, I am nowhere near seasoned veteran status, but as such, I still have that awestruck factor whenever I do a trail, and that’s what I hope to share via my photos and site. 🙂
So, yet another hiking blog this may be, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless! New trails will be added as and when I complete them, so be sure to check back from time to time.
The Accidental Hiker