Nature is my champion

Written by Steven Barnard

I had planned for a week of outdoor adventure amongst the bush, with no power, no running water and best of all no noises from cars and city life.

I gathered as much information as I possibly could about where I planned on going, which ended up being a location west of Tenterfield in New South Wales..

I spoke to locals, found maps through Google and got consent from landowners to explore.

Understanding maps and knowing how to read topography is something I was taught at a young age and the mates I take on trips appreciate this skill. It makes scouting new land a lot easier.

Our hiking bags took a lot of thought and care to pack, essentials like food and water for our week ahead, but also survival tools, first aid kits, snake bite kits and electrolyte tablets … these are all life savers if I was to be injured, fall ill or become lost.

When we had driven to the spot to begin our bush trip it was a new moon, which means it was a very black night.

We thought that it might be best to just set up base camp and sleep for a few hours.

At first light, we got up and found our bearings, ran through our maps and decided what way we could explore for that day, while setting clear intentions on where we would break and when we would head back to camp.

Having a mate with me really is important. It keeps you grounded and also having a yarn can make the trip really fun.
Our first day hike went well but really drained up both, we ambitiously trekked to the highest point available to us, which was more climbing then walking and a real workout on the body!

A few hours passed by and we finally made it, wow, it was worth the effort to get there!

A natural spring, spectacular views, wildlife and our days goals reached.

On our way up we took our time to embrace and enjoy what was around us.

We took note of all the different types of bugs, plants and animals around us.

With some study and knowledge you can learn what you can and cannot eat around you, which will save your life! One thing I learnt is that baby ferns, before they unfurl are an excellent source of vitamin C.

After some rest and unforgetable site seeing we decided to head back down to camp via the agreed path.
We took slow intentional steps through the dense bush area as we had some very steep paths to accomplish, and one small mistake could lead to a bad situation.

Another reason we kept quiet was not to spook the wildlife, to catch a glimpse of animals in their element is truly breathtaking. Time stands still when you are out there amongst it.

Wearing the correct gear is important, we both wore a pair of “Gaiters” which helped prevent snake bite penetration and also kept our feet dry. Visible clothing is recommended.

After a few days exploring and learning the area we hoped to encounter some deer that some locals had mentioned were breeding ferrel in the area.

Unfortunately not enough rain had fallen and the creeks had run dry for some time so the deer were not around.

Our last few days left and a little more ground covered, I’ve learned to appreciate what’s around me, what we can make of it, how we can use it to be our saviour, nature is my hero.
What or who is your hero?