It’s Springtime and the walking is wonderful. Time to get your boots on and get out in the open. If you live in the green, South West of Western Australia, now is the time to be out there. And you know, walking is good for you. Low-impact, enjoyable (you can still chin-wag) and a good way to attain a high level of health and fitness.
Have you walked any sections of The Cape to Cape track?
I was trying to think of walking songs, and realised there are so many, and a few came to mind which dragged up amazing memories with them. I love the way that music does that. You haven’t heard a song for ages, and Wham, suddenly you hear it on the radio and a flood of sensory memories come back with it.
- ‘I’m walkin on sunshine,’ Katrina and the Waves
- ‘Walk of Life,’ Dire Straits
- ‘The long and winding road,’ The Beatles
- ‘Walk on By’, Dionne Warwick
- ‘These boots were made for walking’, Nancy Sinatra.
- ‘Just walkin’ in the rain,’ Johnny Ray
- Take a walk on the wild side,’ Lou Reed
- ‘Climb every mountain’ – Sound of Music.
- ‘Walk like an Egyptian,’ The Bangles
- ‘I walk the line,’ Johnny Cash
South West Australia for walks and trails
The South West of Western Australia is a great place for walking. There are so many bush, forest,and coastal tracks where you won’t find a single car in sight. Nope, not a ute to be seen, until you reach the popular fishing or surfing spots. The best time to go (I think) is in spring, when the wild flowers are out – you might find yourself walking through carpets of colour, intercepted by patches of bright yellows, pinks and blues including delicate orchids and irises. Snakes are still (mostly) hibernating at this time. But watch out, because they are still around.
There are two well known long hikes; the revered Bibbulman Track of course, stretching nearly 1000kms from Kalamunda (Perth Hills) to Albany (South Coast) which runs through the heart of the South West, and then there’s the Cape to Cape Track which runs along the coastal ridges, beaches and forests from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the South www.capetocapetrack.com.au. Both trails can be done in segments of varying degrees of difficulty – some are easy tramps, others require a little more fitness and durability of spirit (especially some of the longer, soft sand beach walks on the Cape to Cape).
Crooked Brook Forest in the Ferguson Valley has some lovely walks , there’s a promenade that’s nice and flat all along the Dunsborough beachfront, Bunbury offers easy coastal, forest and inlet walks, and there are a number of walking trails around Margaret River Western Australia and Nannup . I could go on, and on ……
For more information and ideas, check out these books; ‘Bushwalks in the South-West’ produced by the Department of Environment and Conservation (available at most Visitor Centres and local book shops) gives details of 48 walks, ranging from easy to tough, that take you through Karri and Jarrah Forests, across mountains and sea cliffs and along the picturesque Limestone Coast. Jane Scott writes about 27 circular walks in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, in her book, ‘Walking Round in Circles’, and the ‘Cape to Cape Track Guidebook’, by Jane Scott and Ray Forma, tells you almost everything you need to know about the 136kms Cape to Cape trail.
Making it fun
To get back to the walking for life thing and its benefits … Getting out there in your boots or walking shoes will most likely lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, control or even reduce your weight, improve your mood, lower your ‘bad’ cholesterol and keep you strong and fit.
“But I don’t have time”, I hear you bleat. I know, I feel the same too, so I’m trying to make it a part of my routine during the week, and then at weekends gather friends together to get out and enjoy longer walks sometimes over-nighting in beach cabins or self catering accommodation which makes it lots of fun.
So why not try to get up and get out early, stretch a little first and then set forth at a comfortable gait increasing the pace and the distance every day. Enjoy our clean WA air and our untouched vistas. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your body gets used to the rhythm of walking, and soon you’ll feel like stepping out for longer, going a little faster, perhaps including more hills or walking with hand weights – all of which will increase your fitness.
Beating the exercise demons
Walk with friends or join a walking group
Walk your dog
Plug in to your iPod
Have faith in the fact that you will start feeling fitter and sleeker soon.
Who’s got a favourite walking song or a groovy short or long walk to recommend? Zigazagers, please drop your intelligent comments in the comment box below for everyone to share.