Set yourself a challenge

How many times have you read an article encouraging you to set yourself a challenge? Any sort of challenge? Eat better! Exercise more! Read the Iliad!

Today is our first day of significant heat, with an estimated max of 27 degrees C. There can be no more denial; its time to prepare for summer.

So today, I’m going to add to that growing list of challenging articles. Here are my tips.

Go for quirky

Not the heading you were expecting? My social feed has been filling up with charity walking events that people do solo or with family. “25 kilometers in 5 days”. That sort of thing. That’s kind of quirky.

Another requires a slightly longer term plan. Why not try selecting three locations that you can revisit every season? That’s one major outing each month of the year.

What can you think of that’s a bit offbeat?

Timing is everything

You’ll have noticed that each of those suggestions involves a time frame. Mark it on your calender. Set an alarm on your phone.

Plan ahead

Know what you need to make it happen. Water bottle and walking shoes by the front door. Picnic basket in your knapsack. A knapsack.

Understand the weather

Download the Bureau of Meteorology app to your phone, if you haven’t already. Don’t forget to take your phone with you.

When I want to add a new walk to this site, I keep an eye on both the temperature and wind speed. Not too hot, so I can think clearly and the brain doesn’t fry. Not too windy, so the trees and grasses stay still in the photos.

Find a sound track

Everything significant in life should have a sound track. Pick one for this challenge and use it to get you motivated and keep you interested.

What will you pick? Jazz! Classical! Or a bit of goth rock?!!

Happy walking your way up to that next level.

Photo of a section of the Federation Arch sculpture at Orange Botanic Gardens, NSW.

Site revamp

Every now and then, a website starts to feel stale and the only option is a redesign.

Motivation was one of the reasons for starting the website, and clearly that motivation had declined because I was not walking regularly, not exploring new paths, not taking lots of photos and not adding anything to Walking in Parkes.

Plus, I’v never been happy with the photos used on this site. Composition was OK, but technically they felt very unprofessional. Not the quality I was aiming for.

Something had to change.

With no classes for two weeks, and no rain in the weather forecast, it seemed the ideal time to make those changes.

I’m delighted to report that Walking in Parkes now has a brighter look. Much of the success is thanks to the continual improvements WordPress is making to the flexibility it offers website developers.

The other breakthough was discovering how to improve the technical quality of photos taken on my phone, thanks to a google search and a helpful website.

The task now is to update each of the walks. Some have been completed, but there are still a few to do. It means revisiting each walk and taking a new set of photos, while finding new paths to add.

Spring cleaning really makes it feel like Spring has arrived.


Is there value in short bursts of walking?

Apparently, most Australians are like me. We don’t get enough exercise, according to this article from the ABC website:

It contains the usual list of excuses for not exercising, and suggests that short bursts of walking are a way of getting back into action. Think of it as snacking on exercise, one block at a time.

The article also contains a host of links to other great material, with lots of tips to get us up and walking.

And have you noticed? Spring is almost here!


So Many Choices: Some fundraising walks for August

Do you need an excuse for a fresh start when the weather starts to warm up?

Three fundraising walks popped up in the social media feed this week. I wonder if there will be any more before Spring arrives?

For these types of fundraisers, you set yourself a kilometer target and organise some sponsors. If you are going to be sponsored, you need to register with their website. Links included below.

Why not find some walking buddies, work out the social distancing, and give one of these a go!


Fred’s Big Run

Started in Australia, the Fred Hollows Foundation now works world-wide to restore sight, with the aim to end avoidable blindness.

Link to website.


The Bloody Long Virtual Walk

The Bloody Long Walk raises funds for the Mito Foundation, which supports those affected by mitochondrial disease and associated research.

Link to website.


Step Up to Breast Cancer

The National Breast Cancer Foundation has one simple mission: To stop breast cancer deaths.

Link to website.


Is walking still allowed?

We are not in lock down. So, technically, if not told to self-isolate or quarantine, we are able to walk. But should we?

In this context, the idea of a solitary walk would seem to fit with the current rules of social distancing. That’s what I thought, until this morning.

It was a glorious sunrise. The chap who overtook me on the stairs even said so.

I noticed him in the corner of my eye. He was going to head up the narrow path I was already on. I knew I couldn’t match his pace. The required distancing was going to be impossible.

This is why staying at home is being repeatedly recommended. It’s just too risky.

I paused at an opportune spot, posed as if I was taking in the view and ensured I turned on that spot while he passed by, thereby keeping my back to him when he insisted on saying hello. I politely replied, but not to his face. Thankfully, he didn’t stop.

The path was not wide enough and he not thoughtful enough.

The lesson is in the location. I have no control over how thoughtful people will be, but I can ensure I only step onto paths wide enough for us to mind the gap.

If these restrictions are to continue for some months, without an actual lock down, perhaps we should plan options for walking that ensure everyone’s health, safety and well being. Parkes has plenty of wide footpaths. Let’s stick to them.

If we can manage it in supermarkets, we should be able to manage it on a walking track.