Its been a while since you last heard from me, I’ve been super busy with non-hiking things, but the weekly blog posts are back! We get back into the swing of things by hearing from Claire – a tough cookie who knows what it means to push yourself in uncomfortable directions.
So Claire, who are you, where are you based, and what do you do for fun?
My name is Claire and I’m based in Hoppers Crossing. I love exploring new trails solo as well as with new friends and also getting outdoors with my family – my hubby and two girls.
What are your top achievements in your life to date?
The first was just surviving 2017, which saw me out for over 9 months while I fought a spinal infection and had surgery on my foot.
Second would be completing my first ever solo bike tour that saw me carry all my own gear along the Warbarton Rail Trail, camp overnight, then return the next day. I wasn’t ready, nor fit enough, and I had NO experience but gave it a shot anyway – and SURVIVED!
Also, being an example to my two young daughters that even though I don’t fit into the stereotype of the typical outdoorsy woman, I go out and do it anyway! I’m not afraid to push my limits and my comfort zones. And in turn they are following my footsteps (with the help of a crazy husband/Dad!)
What’s a fact about you that people might not know?
As I hike more with others it is becoming known that I am terrified of walking over swinging bridges! Why do they have to swing?!
You are trapped on an island with three people, living or dead. Who would you choose, and why?
Hannah Gadsby, I think I could talk with her for hours! (editors note: If you haven’t seen Nanette on Netflix yet, do yourself a favour and watch it!)
Betty White, because why not?!
Finally, my grandmother on my father’s side. I never met her and I fear her story hasn’t been heard.
What does being outdoors mean to you?
Freedom. Peace and quiet. Self sufficient. A place where I can be 100% crazy old me.
Why did you become a hike leader? What do you enjoy about leading hikes?
I’ve hiked for as long as I can remember, through all stages of my life. I have certainly been lighter, fitter and faster than I am now; but I’ve grown to understand nothing of that matters. Regardless of my size, I was still getting to see the same sights as everyone else! I lead hikes to allow other women to reach this conclusion themselves. That self-doubt can stay in the car while we go off to explore, and the great outdoors is for EVERYONE!
The best part of being a hike leader is the surprised look on a new hikers face when you tell them they’ve just hiked 6km and they were worried about the first 2km! The realisation that they are more capable then they thought.
Where are your favourite places to hike?
I love Blackwood in Melbourne’s west, and the Victorian Alpine areas.
What’s your favourite piece of gear to go hiking with?
I love a good Buff. I get really sore ears when there is even a slight cool breeze. Whack a buff on my head and it’s happy days!
Why would someone want to join one of your hikes?
Being in the great outdoors solves many of life’s problems. A few hours away from screens, work, hell – even family sometimes, is good for the soul. There is a certain peace and energy that is found on a hike, I want everyone to experience that!
Want to join one of Claire’s upcoming hikes, or one of our many other hikes with other women and gender diverse folks? Check us out
Canberra – Facebook
Sydney – Facebook
Are you on Instagram? So are we! Check us out at @escapingyourcomfortzone