Guest Testimonial - Steph
I’ve always appreciated the great outdoors, but mostly from a safe distance - standing on a concrete footpath, admiring the view from an Airbnb window, gazing at a scenic screensaver. So I was both excited and nervous to embark on my first overnight hike. The walking! The camping! The pack! Would I be able to do it? Would I sleep? Would I die of hunger?
Thankfully, with Freeland Hiking Co and Sara and Heather leading the way, all my fears were allayed. And I had the best time. And I may have even put on weight from all the food? (Not confirmed, but suspected. Let’s be real, the dying of hunger was off the cards from the morning tea break 2 hours in).
The walking was broken up into manageable chunks, so it never felt endless or boring. There was always time for a trail mix break (a delicious homemade combination by Sara), and some well-timed tea and lunch stops meant my tummy was never rumbling. I’m talking so much about the food because it was delicious! Aside from the total luxury of having someone else cook for you, the ingredients were all fresh and the meals were divine. And plentiful! I really did not feel hungry, despite all the kms we racked up.
The all-inclusive nature of the tour was perfect for a camping newbie like me (I can literally count the number of times I’ve been camping on one hand), and I was toasty warm in my sleeping bag and tent. The tired legs and full belly helped with sleep as well, and seeing the starry sky and then sunrise the next morning were beautiful reminders to get out of the city more often.
As for the pack, it definitely took some getting used to. Sara and Heather spent a lot of time fitting us each individually with a pack and making sure we were comfortable before heading off, which was both comforting and then, shockingly, more comfortable. Once we got a rhythm going it was OK, but I was very grateful to go pack-free for our two big ascents - Ruined Castle on Day 1 and Mount Solitary on Day 2. I found these challenging, especially climbing up Mount Solitary, but everyone was so encouraging and supportive.
Plus, there really is no feeling like conquering a mountain! The endorphins came in hot, the views were amazing and I once again felt that overwhelming awe of the beauty we’re lucky enough to have right on our doorstep.
I felt amazing after two days immersed in the sounds, sights and smells of nature. I had so much fun with our group, laughing non-stop from pick up to drop off. I felt safe and supported by Sara and Heather, and am already looking at when I can book my next FHC hike. I would absolutely recommend FHC to anyone keen to get out of the city and into nature with ease, enjoyment and in the company of experts!
Steph joined us on the Ruined Castle Overnight tour in March. She wrote this blog with zero coercion, and using 100% her own words, we promise. 😜
If you'd like to be like Steph, have a look at our upcoming dates for the Ruined Castle Overnighter, and book your adventure today!