Hiking is relatively straight forward right? You head out in the bush and walk. You might carry some water and snacks, or perhaps you are a little more adventurous and there is a tent shoved in there somewhere. You might have hiked for a few days only to return with a busted knee, sore toes and so hungry you stop at the first pub for a Parma? As you devour the deep-fried chicken and chips, reflectively you ponder on why it went a little askew and how emotionally broken you feel.
Alpine Hike - Crossing from Cope Hut to Dibbins Hut
Did you pack enough food?
Did you have the appropriate clothes? Shoes? Hat? Sunscreen?
First Aid kit?
Sleeping gear? A heavy tent?
Were you mentally prepared for the challenge?
Pack hiking in particular can be an arduous task if you are new – trust me. I’ve hiked with a 4kg tent and whilst you might baulk at that, added with the additional ‘rookie’ pack weight and you are asking for a knee reco – and strong resistance to ever attempt a hike again.
(A day pack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of your body weight and overnight pack hiking – aim for 25% of your body weight. The longer the trip, the more it will weigh)
A holistic approach involves considering the client’s needs, desires, and expectations as a whole; physically, emotionally, and socially.
All our clients are unique and will have different experiences influenced by age, gender, culture, life events, and beliefs – among other things. It would be remiss of us to assume that we all share the same apprehension, and expectations or have the same abilities. It is a holistic approach that considers all aspects and works with each of our clients to ensure that from booking to after your hike, you are informed to address concerns, and dietary requirements are met and to assess any physical demands of a specific hike.
Tara pack hiking along the Alpine Trail
So, what does a Holistic Hike Involve?
Of course, there is the physical aspect of the hike to first consider. Are you able body, injury-free? Are you currently exercising? If you have a baseline fitness then great, the fitter you are the less challenging the terrain will be and the more enjoyable. Hiking is a full-body workout, more than working on your glutes and quads, you want to ensure full-body strength including a strong core to support your back and upper body strength to help distribute the weight of a pack.
A holistic hike considers the group's abilities to ensure that the pace considers rest stops. It’s a more mindful approach when we are in nature, rather than a race to the finish.
When we challenge our bodies, we are challenging our minds. We understand that there are many factors that influence our mindset on any given day. Have you slept enough? Insufficient rest can affect our emotional ability to deal with stress. Equally, our mindset – our attitude and approach to a challenge- in general, can play a large part of your outdoor experience. Taking into account the emotional response of our clients and ‘reading’ the group is all part of making sure that we are supporting your experience and celebrating your victories.
A holistic hike is a journey of personal growth.
Social connections on the trail as Jean and Deb only met on the hike and shared stories on a beach walk
We are all social creatures; it is in our DNA that we feel safe and supported when we are connected within a group. Share the experience of empowerment and confidence with your fellow hikers creating a bond that improves our well-being. With many hikers joining us solo, they meet and make new outdoor friends who share the same love of nature and hiking in a fun and safe environment.
The sharing of stories, being seen and heard, and having a safe space to share is important to us. Connection is important to our well-being and on a Holistic hike, we love to see these social connections bloom.
Nature is the perfect place to anchor into mindfulness – the mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness is widely used as a therapeutic technique to reduce stress and anxiety. Holistic hikes integrate mindfulness techniques and meditations on many of our hikes as we believe that spending time in nature is what creates balance in a busy world.
By engaging our senses we can better connect with the environment around us and benefit from the number of ways that nature supports our holistic health; mind, body, and soul.
Nutrition is the fuel for our adventures, it nourishes our bodies and minds. The food we eat has remarkable power over the way we feel, how we fight disease and illness and how we function physically. In taking a holistic approach to hiking adventures, we consider that nutrition is a pillar of our performance. Our guided pack hikes and retreats are fully catered and served with a healthy serving of education. It’s important to understand what drives us, why our bodies function and react in certain ways, and importantly, nutrition is about the enjoyment of food.
Dinner time at Camp. Shan oversees the group as they boil water for their dehydrated meals
Recovery is multi-faceted. Not only considering muscle recovery and the techniques that assist with performance, but hydration, nutrition, stretching, active rest, and the emotional recovery post-hike. Often, after a new empowering experience we can feel what I refer to as the post-hike blues. It's due to the drop in endorphins from your adventures but don’t worry, we are here to share all you need to know from stretching on the trail to post adventure advice.
A holistic hike is a considered approach to guided hikes. One that ensures that all aspects are covered to make your hiking experience with us memorable.
Check out the events page for upcoming hikes and fuel your sense of adventure.