Daisy Hill Conservation Park & Winds of Change
"Sometimes through the winds of change, we find our true direction."
My journey back to feeling strength and increased vitality includes hiking.
I recently decided that I would like to complete a bush walk each week if possible. And to help me plan, I'm using a wonderful resource and new site that lists hiking, mountain biking and waterfall trails in SE Qld. I discovered the site via my instagram feed, called Get Out There Adventures @getoutthereadventures. I highly recommend you check it out.
I didn't realise how many walks there were which were within such a short distance of where I lived. What I like about this site is that it tells you how long the trails are and the difficulty level of each one. So I'm starting with short walks at beginner level to get a feel for them. This will allow me to work my way up the scale in both distance and difficulty of terrain as my fitness improves.
A short walk close to home I thought would be the best place to start. So I chose Daisy Hill Conservation Park, which is 25km south-east of Brisbane or 50km north of the Gold Coast, but only a 15min drive for me. It's an important conservation area for koalas and other wildlife and is where the Daisy Hill Koala Centre is situated.
For my first hike, I walked the Spotted Gum Circuit, which was 5.2km. Sally from Get Out There Adventures says to allow 2.5 hours. I took my camera so it took a bit longer for me.
This circuit is a multi-user trail, so you get to share it with mountain bikers and horses.
The further along you go though, the less bikers, horses and people (and less noise).
Hiking...What is it really about?
Let's get one thing clear. For me, hiking isn't a race to get from the start to the finish. Of course that's okay if that's your goal. Sally did an interesting post on her IG account called 'Five Types of People Connecting to Nature'. Which type are you?
Even though it forms part of my fitness goal, for me, hiking is a way of connecting with nature and myself by being fully present to what's around me. It's an opportunity for a new experience and discovering what is unique to this part of the land. These walks are part of a spiritual quest.
It brings a rush of the feeling of utter freedom and exhiliration. And as a I walk I observe the plants and animals...the changing vegetation; what birds I can see and hear; the textures and patterns in nature.
And the light...oh the light! How it changes depending on the time of day. Where it falls and how it falls. Whether its' streaming through the trees or the orange glow, first thing in the morning, settling on and illuminating the surfaces of tree trunks and lighting up its' foliage. So breathtaking!
I also make a mental note of the names of plants and animals if I can, not only through observation and the carriage of the birds, but also their sound.
I love listening to the sounds of nature...the wind in the trees, the calling birds, the ground crunching beneath my feet. Sometimes I stop so that I can no longer hear just my breathing and crunching. And when you stop you also allow the animals to come out again into the open.
If there are people about, I find it interesting and peculiar when I observe others walking along, how little many of them really see. Most are caught up in their own head, and walking so fast there is little time to notice what is around them, above them, or below them.
For me it's important to not only see the bigger picture, but to notice the details. For the combination of all of it tells its' own story. And most of all, by engaging all my senses makes for a deeper, richer and more memorable experience.
Winds of Change...
From the outside, not much has changed, but I feel different. I haven't felt like this since my early 40's when I embarked on a health and fitness journey after childbirth. It was the fittest I have ever been.
I'm not aiming for that level of fitness or to be that lean (though it would be nice). Looking back, I realise now that it was extreme. But that was how I rolled back then. Mind you, I have no regrets. Now I use this as my beacon back to fitness.
Age has mellowed me and wisdom has vanquished my self-criticism. I am gentler on myself these days. And I'm more accepting of my body and the changes that nature brings, like menopause. I'm not being so hard on myself.
I finally came to the realisation that I had to change the way I did things when it came to my nutrition and training. I have to work with my body now. Old ways and approaches no longer work. It's about working with what I have and being flexible in my approach. Both in mind as well as body. Life is too short to get hung up on the little things.
So that's what I'm doing...changing the way I do life. It's taken me a number of years to make the decision and make my way back. It really is about making health your priority and it's all about mindset.
I'm not sure what the outcome will be, but I do know that I'm so enjoying this present journey and the anticipation of what's to come. Hiking and getting out in nature is part of this new journey and new chapter in my life where it's about moving my body in ways I enjoy. It's feels sooo good to be back in my body again.
* Next post....Hiking: White Rock Conservation Reserve.