You’ve been hiking on our Slow and Steady hikes for a while and you’re feeling pretty confident. You’ve made friends, had great opportunities to get outside and you’re having lots of fun. When are you ready to take the next step – moving to More Challenging hikes?
Most of our hikes are rated Slow and Steady – that is, most beginners can complete them without any prior experience. The longest a Slow and Steady hike can be is 7km, but generally they are shorter than that. More Challenging hikes are the next rating up – and today we’ll be breaking down what you can expect on a More Challenging Hike, and how you will know if you’re ready to give it a go.
What makes a hike More Challenging? You can expect them to be longer (although not always), with more hills, some rock scrambling or slippery trails. More Challenging hikes go for up to 15km, although most of them are much shorter than that – there’s one hike that’s coming soon that’s just 4km. You’ll spend more time going up and down hills, and your legs are really going to feel that workout when you’re done! We still have the same ethos though – you’ll never be left behind, and there are plenty of opportunities to catch your breath and take some pictures of the surroundings.
I spoke to Natalie, one of our members who has recently made the jump from Slow and Steady hikes to More Challenging ones, and she had some great pieces of advice. She’d started out, as many of us do, wanting to make friends and have an opportunity to do more hiking, and was recovering from plantar fasciitis (which can make walking really painful). Some of her earliest hikes with Escaping Your Comfort Zone were harder than she expected, but she felt great at achieving more than she thought she was capable of.
“Know the level that you are comfortable with and [believe] that you can achieve more. My approach was to break it down – when I was comfortable with the Slow and Steady with limited aches or soreness afterwards then I looked for a hike in the 5-10km to do as a challenge. And I was sore afterwards at first, but now it is mostly good. ”
Natalie suggested that the most challenging parts of a More Challenging hike would be the last couple of kilometres, or maybe when there’s a big hill to climb. I’d argue that one of the benefits of a big climb is a great view from the top, which feels so much better because you worked for it.
On the flip side, she suggested that the best part of More Challenging hikes is the challenge to escape your comfort zone, the fun of hiking with friends and getting a very good night’s sleep when it’s all done.
So if you’re no longer feeling stiff and sore after a Slow and Steady hike, it might be worth having a look at a More Challenging hike. The description will clearly outline the kind of trail you can expect, including the distance and terrain, but you can also check in with the hike organiser on Meetup or Facebook to see if they have any advice for you.
So what’s next for Natalie? “I am thinking that my next challenge is in the 10-15km. It isn’t always the distance sometimes – it is a greater elevation that will be the challenge. The best part is that there is always good people to hike with.”
I couldn’t agree more! See you on the trail, whatever hike rating is right for you!
Have you been on a More Challenging hike? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments, we’re always interested to hear your thoughts.
Want to meet up with other positive women and gender diverse folks to encourage you to challenge yourself? Come on any of our hikes!
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