So I thought I’d share a little personal story of mine from my first multi-night hike and how I learnt first-hand that your mind can control what limitations are actually there.
I always tend to feel quite nervous/excited before new walks, the unknown and getting outside my comfort zone. I knew that there was going to be challenges, as there were some big climbs and long hours amongst it, but I also knew I had a cool crew with me – my sister and our brother from another mother (btw your crew is super important to a great experience!).
I think that since having kids and now being a larger version of myself I have allowed some self-doubt to creep in. I’ve always been a very active person, but I know that some things are just more physically difficult being the size I am now. Anyway I push negative thoughts aside and tell myself “come on, you got this” ……..
But actually after only 5 hours …. “I didn’t got this”…. My legs were cramping, I got the shakes and my mind gave up – I was done, I was convinced I could not climb up anymore. I was well prepared and had everything I needed to be ok, if I had to stay in the bush I could have – emergency blanket, dry shell, first aid kit, PLB etc etc, it was one of those moments you realise how important it is to be prepared, and to carry all that “what if” stuff = Hope for the Best, Plan for the worst!
Though I was still in a space where I could communicate clearly and make good decisions – I knew I had to get warm. I stripped off my sweaty top, threw on dry warm clothing + hat, gloves, jacket, and my amazing crew looked after me with electrolytes and a miso soup 👍. After about 5 minutes my body came right, but I was shocked that that had happened, I had done bigger climbs and longer days ?? never had I reached a moment like that, where I fully doubted my ability.
So sadly, after 5 hours of walking, we turned around and walked 2 hours back to a hut we had passed and had lunch at. I was Gutted!!! I sat on the deck crying and crying, I was so disappointed in myself.
Here’s the thing though: we were probably closer to the other hut when we turned around, but getting myself back to somewhere I’d been, a distance I knew, was doable in my mind, not the unknown ahead of me. Crazy huh.
But, yay, after a restful night, we spent the next two days on a different circuit, I was determined to get that first multi-night under my belt. My mind was stronger, I knew I could do it and I was not going to let what happened the first day take me down.
There were a couple of decisions us, as a group, decided contributed to the situation:
- We started the track too late in the day putting us under time pressure, light became an issue and it wasn’t the type of track we wanted to navigate in the dark
- We had the choice of 2 routes from our lunch stop and we chose the longer one
- We didn’t fill up our water from the stream before heading up the ridge, so water was limited if we were to stay on the track
Know yourself, know who you are tramping/hiking with, know their strengths, know their weaknesses and be sure to choose tracks to suit the abilities of everyone in your group.
The mind really is the strongest muscle in the body.
Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️