Bushwalking Fitness | Planning a Bushwalk Training Session

What are the essential components of a bushwalking training session? Why are warm ups and cool down important? What types of stretching should be used and when? 

Disclaimer: I have no training in sports medicine nor am I an elite athletics coach, so the advice given below should be discussed with a professional and modified to suit your age and fitness, or you can read the links to the research I have provided and decide for yourself.

This post is to alert bushwalkers to recent changes in the advice given by sports coaches and researchers and to offer some safe alternatives, which can be incorporated in training sessions for bushwalkers, leading to more enjoyable bushwalking.

 Controversy

 In the 80’s, coaches and sports medicine practitioners were recommending static stretches before exercise as a way of preventing injuries and muscles soreness. Unfortunately, this incorrect advice is now incorporated into the pre-walk routines of many bushwalkers.

Recent research has shown that static stretches before exercise don’t prevent muscle soreness or injuries and can actually be counter-productive by reducing the explosive power of major muscles, for as long as several hours after the stretching.

Essential components

If you wish to reduce muscle soreness and injuries, the most important thing  you should do before exercise is to warm up fully and only once this has been done, attempt some dynamic stretches. 

Dynamic stretching increases range of movement, blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues prior to exertion. Increasingly coaches and sports trainers are aware of the role in dynamic stretching in improving performance and reducing the risk of injury. (Wikipedia)

Traditionally stretching before exercise has been static  (ie held for 10 – 60 seconds at maximum contraction), but more recently dynamic stretches, typically swings and lunges, have become favored, as they mimic more closely the actions which occur naturally in the activity and can be considered part of the warm-up. During the controlled swing, the maximum stretch is reached but is not held and this is then repeated in a fluid motion. These are the sorts of activities you see Olympic runners and swimmers doing just before they reach the starting blocks.

After strenuous exercise, low intensity cool down exercises, involving the muscles just used, such as slow walking, are essential to remove metabolic products such as lactic acid from the muscles, to return the body to a pre-exercise levels, to reduce muscle soreness and aid in quick recovery.

 Static stretching can be used as part of the cool down as it stretches tightened and contracted muscles back to original size, and in so doing produces a feeling of relaxation. For those over 65 years, this is the ideal opportunity to increase flexibility, without the risk of injury, as the body is already warm.

Example of a Training Program for Bushwalking (Thanks Jarrad)

Warm up

This may take more than 5 minutes initially, but this will soon decrease with familiarity. Once you have completed the dynamic warm up, try some light repetitive exercise eg walking up and down stairs 10 times just prior to stepping off for your walk. Alternatively, commence your training session at a slow pace and low intensity for the first few hundred metres.

Your training walks

Logically, your training sessions should exercise all the muscles you will be using on your walk. In a gym environment, it is difficult to know which muscles to exercise and upon which to give more focus, but when actually walking this all happens automatically.

If your aim is to walk off-track with a heavy pack, in hilly, rough terrain then that’s the training you should do. If you intend walking on the flat with a light day pack then that’s how you should exercise.  Training off-track has the additional benefits of developing balance, and adding interest to what can be repetitive and boring.  Balance is an often ignored attribute of a good walker, and can have a major impact on speed of movement and safety.

Don’t forget to build up slowly: increasing either distance or speed a little each day, beginning on the flat and increasing the steepness of the terrain, and adding weight to your backpack at regular intervals, when you feel you have reached your maximum speed.

Unfortunately not everybody has access to a suitable training environment, so your gym programme will need to exercise all the muscle groups you will be using, developing the balance and strength that climbing on rough terrain automatically produces. I highly recommend that you incorporate a Pilates or yoga class or two, as they incorporate stretches which focus on the core muscles so essential for balance and carrying a backpack.

Cool downs

  • 3 -5 min slow walk
  • 5 -10 min Static Stretches (eg www.brianmac.co.uk/stretch.htm)
  • Refuel: both fluid and easily digestible food (eg fruit or sport drink)

Once, again Brian Mac has a number of very good stretches that should be conducted after exercising. The longer you can hold a stretch for, without bouncing, the more benefit you will gain. To start with hold a stretch for about 20-30 sec and conduct each stretch twice. Those over 65 years, may need to hold for 60 seconds to get maximum benefit.

Another site which is also very helpful is:

http://www.topendsports.com/medicine/stretches/index.htm

It has pretty much the same stretches as the Brian Mac site, and maybe a few alternatives if you find that some of the stretches are hurting etc.

References:

Brian Mac

About.com

Peak Performance

Related posts 

Bushwalking Fitness | Is stretching a waste of time?
Bushwalking Fitness | Stretches for Bushwalkers
Bushwalking Fitness (9)

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    Bushwalking Fitness | Is stretching a waste of time?

    Is static stretching a waste of time? Does static stretching before exercise prevent muscle soreness and injury? Can static stretching beforehand reduce power during a bushwalk?

    With a couple of  almost 3000m Canadian mountains (Mt.Begbie near Revelstoke and Mt Tupper near Roger’s Pass) to climb in September, and with the festive season having played havoc with my fitness, I have again made my annual New Year’s resolution to improve my fitness.

    Mt Begbie, Revelstoke (© goldenscrambles.ca)
    Mt Tupper, Rogers Pass (© Selkirk Mountain Experience)

    My usual weekly keep-fit regime involves 3 or 4,  45 – 60 minute walks on rugged and hilly tracks near my home, interspersed with a Pilates class or two, and as I approach a major bushwalk/climb, 1 or 2 bushwalk-specific weight resistance sessions at my local gym. In hot weather, I cool down after  my morning walk with a 1 km swim.

    While annual gym fees are substantial, cutting back on my wine consumption by a glass a day, more than pays for the cost! This training schedule may seem excessive to some, but I’ve found that to enjoy a bush walk, and in some cases a 10-12 hour day with a heavy pack, that a high level of fitness is needed. As I get older, it takes more effort to reach and maintain the same level of fitness.

    Training Route, Brownhill (3.83 km)

    I find that, as I usually train on my own, I need some incentive to improve and for this I  use the highly regarded iPhone app Walkmeter which enables me to compare my times from walk to walk and from stage to stage within the walk. It even allows me to select background music with appropriate BPM (beats per minute) and gives me feedback throughout the walk as to how I rate compared with my best, median and worst times at key points ( see map above) along this route. All of these statistics, including calories burnt, can be viewed online , exported to Google Earth (kml or gpx files) or shared with your training partner.

    As I have been noticing a little calf muscle soreness during these walks, I thought I would investigate if a stretching regime could help. To my surprise, I found that the benefits of stretching were rather controversial.

    Researchers Robert Herbert, Ph.D., and Marcos de Noronha, Ph.D. of the University of Sydney conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 10 previously published studies of stretching either before or after athletic activity. They concluded that stretching before exercise doesn’t prevent post-exercise muscle soreness. They also found little support for the theory that stretching immediately before exercise can prevent either overuse or acute sports injuries.  (When to Stretch – Experts Recommend Static Stretching After Exercise ©2013 About.com. All rights reserved.)

    Part 2 of this post outlines a bushwalk training session which has been designed for me by a professional trainer and includes a warm up with dynamic stretches, training walk, and a cool down including static stretches.

    Other Bushwalk Fitness related posts (9)

    Bushwalking Fitness
    Bushwalking Fitness | Stretches for Bushwalkers
    Bushwalking Fitness | Planning a Bushwalk Training Session

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    Bushwalking in Remote South Australia | Warraweena Conservation Park, Northern Flinders Ranges

     Looking for some off-track walking in a remote area in the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia? Already walked the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges? Well here is your chance to walk in a similar environment, but with a few more amenities, a window into the past and a little less remoteness.

    Just back from a week’s bushwalking in the Warraweena Conservation Park, about 30 km south of Leigh Creek, and about 550 km north of Adelaide, in the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia.  (Thanks John for your leadership and planning)

    Warraweena Conservation Park 

    Adelaide – Warraweena (Google)

    View Larger Map

    History

    Warraweena is a 130 year old sheep station, which was originally part of the Oratunga Run (later renamed Moolooloo) until the late 1800s.  It was acquired in 1996 by Wetlands and Wildlife, a private conservation company, destocked and converted to a private Conservation Park. More info…..

    Source: SAAL – NRM – Northern Flinders Ranges – FS-052007

    Nearby is the old Sliding Rock copper mine, dating back to the 1870’s, where hundreds of miners, their families and local shopkeepers lived in its heyday.

    Sliding Rock was discovered in 1870 by John Holding and Joseph Hele because of its pure copper. In 1872 the township of Cadnia was surveyed a few hundred metres east of the mine. The town catered for up to 400 miners and their families and had a sense of permanence. Horse races and cricket matches were held. A court house dispensed justice, the Rock Hotel catered for workers while 4 general stores supplied goods and food. In 1877 the mine was inundated by massive flows of water. Although a steam powered pump was used to stop the water entering the shafts this failed and later that year the mine was abandoned. The town quickly followed. More than a century later the water became valuable as a temporary supply to Leigh Creek. For fossickers and history buffs there is much to see. Enjoy the walk around the ruins of the early township and mining site. There are also 2 cemeteries marking the passage of time. Permissions to camp should be sought from the Warraweena homestead, a short drive from Sliding Rock.  (Source: Leigh Creek Visitor Information Outlet  downloaded 01/10/12)

    Sliding Rock Copper mine ruins © Bush Walker 2012

    More pictures of Sliding Rock mine and town

    More recently, water pumped from the disused mine was used as a temporary water supply for Leigh Creek, until the Aroona Dam was built.

    Bushwalking Potential

    C. Warren Bonython in his book Walking the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1971) pp103 – 118, describes how he walked on the Narinna Station, during early July1968, NE  parallel to the eastern boundary of Warraweena  from Patawerta Gap, through Narina Pound, past Narina Hut, Mt Tilley and Old Warraweena, Claypan Dam, Mt Hack and finally through Main Gap, continuing north towards Angepena. He met the owner of Warraweena, Keith Nicholls  near Mt Hack and had a lengthy chat.

    Extract from Walking the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1971) p104

     

    Extract from Cadnia 50K Topographic Map NB Only the central part of the Warraweena lease is shown

    The Park is 341 sq km in area, accessed by a small number of 4WD station tracks and numerous dry creek beds, making walking relatively easy.   The country is beautiful and typical of the arid Flinders Ranges, with open ridge lines and broad pebbly creek beds, lined with ancient  River Red Gums and native pines on the flats and slopes.

    Warraweena Conservation Park © Bush Walker 2012

    Mountains: The Park includes many of the highest peaks in the Flinders Ranges including Mt Hack, which is over 1000m. The photos below show Mt Stuart (881m), Mt Gill (914m), and Mt Hemming (799m), which are prominent (higher than Mt Lofty) mountains in the region and well worth the relatively easy climbs for the views.
    Vegetation is  relatively open (see Google map above), especially on ridge lines, but there are places where native pines are thick and spreading. Creek lines are easily walked. Beautiful wildflowers abound in season.  The central-western area toward Mt Stuart, is open grassland with a sparse overstorey of drooping sheoak and gum and pine in the creeks.( Source: SEG 1999)

    © Bush Walker 2012

     

    Walk duration: day walks to 9 day extended walks are possible within the confines of the Park, and with a little planning, a variety of circular loops originating and finishing at Warraweena HS or the strategically placed shepherd’s huts are possible.
    Water Availability: water is  available each night, either at one of the 27 permanent springs (Source: SEG 1999), the ephemeral creeks (Black Range Spring, Sandy Camp and Warriooota) or at the shepherd’s huts with their rainwater tanks.

    Mt Hemming (midground) Cockatoo Well (yellow pin NE) Mt Stuart (further back)
    Cockatoo Well – Mt Gill
    Warraweena (yellow pin to NW) – Cockatoo Well – Mt Gill (foreground)

    Accommodation

    The Homestead and Shearer’s Quarters provide a base camp for those planning day walks, with 4WD access from these to more remote sites. Shepherd’s huts, such as those at Cockatoo Well, Dunbar Well and others, provide basic amenities (long drop pit toilet, bed frames, water tank, fire ring and table) and are spaced about a day’s walk (15 km) apart throughout the park.  They are accessible by 4WD, but not 2WD. More info and bookings…

    cockatoo well hut © Bush Walker 2012
    Cockatoo Well Hut  Warraweena © Bush Walker 2012

    Wildlife

    Red and western-grey kangaroos, euros, dunnarts, bats, emus, native birds (Inland Thornbills, Southern Whitefaces, Australian Ringnecks, Yellow Throated Miners, Red-capped Robins, White Browed Babblers) and reptiles (sleepy lizard, snakes, tree dtella, geckos, skinks) and frogs abound. (Source: SEG 1999)

    Thirteen Colonies of yellow-footed rock wallabies have been sighted and one very rare plant, Menzell’s Wattle. There is an enticing panorama of open hillsides, pine forests, ranges, creeks thick with red gums, waterfalls and water holes and towering the eastern section of the property is Mount Hack, 1086 metres and the second highest peak in the Flinders. Bird surveys have counted 77 species here and the property is a great place to observe bird life. Around 168 species of plants were found. Anyone can camp here, bushwalk or bird watch for a nominal fee. There are shearer’s quarters with amenities that are very comfortable.  (Source: Leigh Creek Visitor Information Outlet  downloaded 01/10/12)

    You will see the occasional small woolly flock of sheep, invaders from a nearby sheep station. Unfortunately, there are still some large herds of goats remaining, despite the efforts of sports shooters. Foxes and rabbits are common.

    Dragon Lizard © Bush Walker 2012

    Weather

    Best months for walking are May to August when the average monthly maxima are in the low 20’s (19-24ºC). Overnight temperatures are just above freezing (2-7ºC). These are also the driest months, as most rain falls December – April.

    Check the Copley weather  and Leigh Creek Airport forecast (Weatherzone)

    Links

    1. Contact the Park Manager, Stony Steiner, by email  or phone (08) 8675 2770
    2. Warraweena in the North Flinders: In the Flinders Ranges area of the Outback region of South Australia (Postcards)
    3. Warraweena Wetlands and Wildlife (Wetlands and Wildlife is a conservation company that was founded by Mr Tom Brinkworth to hold land of significant conservation value for the benefits of future generations. )
    4. Warraweena: The Sentimental Bloke (Spectacular pictures by Peter MacDonald, capturing the essence of the Flinders Ranges and outback South Australia. )
    5. Warraweena (Flickr photo search)
    6. Goats on Warraweena (Sporting Shooter Magazine,  22 Sep 2011)
    7. Expedition Warraweena pdf (Scientific Expedition Group)
    8. Warraweena – Cockatoo Dunbar Loop (LCOOL Flinders Ranges Trip Day 7 – 3 Oct )
    9. Warraweena – Mt Gill Day Drive (LCOOL Flinders Ranges Trip Day 6 – 2 Oct)
    10. South Australian Arid Lands – Natural Resources Management Group – Northern Flinders Ranges – FS-052007 Fact Sheet (pdf 1.2Mb)
    11. Copley weather and Leigh Creek Airport forecast (Weatherzone)
    12. Public Access to Pastoral Lands (pdf) Four Wheel Drive SA
    13. Public Access Routes  Four Wheel Drive SA
    14. Public Access Routes Fact Sheet (lists 24 routes, including Warraweena)  DEWNR (pdf)
    15. Pastoral Access Request Form DEWNR (pdf)
    16. Arid Lands Information System DEWNR ( zoomable map of pastoral leases)
    17. Bushwalking in Warraweena, Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia Ian Bate, Shannon Carne, Shane Hutchins ( Wetlands and Wildlife, South Australia 2003)
    18. Corbett, David A Field guide to the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1980)
    19. Barker, Sue et al Explore the Flinders Ranges ( Royal geographical Society of Australasia
    20. Davies, M et al Natural History of the Flinders Ranges  (Royal Society of South Australia, 1996)

    Similar posts

    1. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges,  South Australia | Pt 1 Trip Planning Resources
    2. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges,  South Australia | Pt 2  A Key to Learning About the Gammons 
    3. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges, South Australia | Pt 3 Useful Planning Notes from Bonython’s Walking the Flinders Ranges
    4. Other BushwalkingSkills posts related to the Gammon Ranges(7)

    Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Bushwalking in Remote South Australia | Warraweena Conservation Park, Northern Flinders Ranges

     Looking for some off-track walking in a remote area in the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia? Already walked the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges? Well here is your chance to walk in a similar environment, but with a few more amenities, a window into the past and a little less remoteness.

    Just back from a week’s bushwalking in the Warraweena Conservation Park, about 30 km south of Leigh Creek, and about 550 km north of Adelaide, in the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia.  (Thanks John for your leadership and planning)

    Warraweena Conservation Park 

    Adelaide – Warraweena (Google)


    History

    Warraweena is a 130 year old sheep station, which was originally part of the Oratunga Run (later renamed Moolooloo) until the late 1800s.  It was acquired in 1996 by Wetlands and Wildlife, a private conservation company, destocked and converted to a private Conservation Park. More info…..

    Source: SAAL – NRM – Northern Flinders Ranges – FS-052007

    Nearby is the old Sliding Rock copper mine, dating back to the 1870’s, where hundreds of miners, their families and local shopkeepers lived in its heyday.

    Sliding Rock was discovered in 1870 by John Holding and Joseph Hele because of its pure copper. In 1872 the township of Cadnia was surveyed a few hundred metres east of the mine. The town catered for up to 400 miners and their families and had a sense of permanence. Horse races and cricket matches were held. A court house dispensed justice, the Rock Hotel catered for workers while 4 general stores supplied goods and food. In 1877 the mine was inundated by massive flows of water. Although a steam powered pump was used to stop the water entering the shafts this failed and later that year the mine was abandoned. The town quickly followed. More than a century later the water became valuable as a temporary supply to Leigh Creek. For fossickers and history buffs there is much to see. Enjoy the walk around the ruins of the early township and mining site. There are also 2 cemeteries marking the passage of time. Permissions to camp should be sought from the Warraweena homestead, a short drive from Sliding Rock.  (Source: Leigh Creek Visitor Information Outlet  downloaded 01/10/12)

    Sliding Rock Copper mine ruins © Bush Walker 2012

    More pictures of Sliding Rock mine and town

    More recently, water pumped from the disused mine was used as a temporary water supply for Leigh Creek, until the Aroona Dam was built.

    Bushwalking Potential

    C. Warren Bonython in his book Walking the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1971) pp103 – 118, describes how he walked on the Narinna Station, during early July1968, NE  parallel to the eastern boundary of Warraweena  from Patawerta Gap, through Narina Pound, past Narina Hut, Mt Tilley and Old Warraweena, Claypan Dam, Mt Hack and finally through Main Gap, continuing north towards Angepena. He met the owner of Warraweena, Keith Nicholls  near Mt Hack and had a lengthy chat.

    Extract from Walking the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1971) p104

     

    Extract from Cadnia 50K Topographic Map NB Only the central part of the Warraweena lease is shown

    The Park is 341 sq km in area, accessed by a small number of 4WD station tracks and numerous dry creek beds, making walking relatively easy.   The country is beautiful and typical of the arid Flinders Ranges, with open ridge lines and broad pebbly creek beds, lined with ancient  River Red Gums and native pines on the flats and slopes.

    Warraweena Conservation Park © Bush Walker 2012

    Mountains: The Park includes many of the highest peaks in the Flinders Ranges including Mt Hack, which is over 1000m. The photos below show Mt Stuart (881m), Mt Gill (914m), and Mt Hemming (799m), which are prominent (higher than Mt Lofty) mountains in the region and well worth the relatively easy climbs for the views.

    Vegetation is  relatively open (see Google map above), especially on ridge lines, but there are places where native pines are thick and spreading. Creek lines are easily walked. Beautiful wildflowers abound in season.  The central-western area toward Mt Stuart, is open grassland with a sparse overstorey of drooping sheoak and gum and pine in the creeks.( Source: SEG 1999)

    © Bush Walker 2012

     

    Walk duration: day walks to 9 day extended walks are possible within the confines of the Park, and with a little planning, a variety of circular loops originating and finishing at Warraweena HS or the strategically placed shepherd’s huts are possible.

    Water Availability: water is  available each night, either at one of the 27 permanent springs (Source: SEG 1999), the ephemeral creeks (Black Range Spring, Sandy Camp and Warriooota) or at the shepherd’s huts with their rainwater tanks.

    Mt Hemming (midground) Cockatoo Well (yellow pin NE) Mt Stuart (further back)
    Cockatoo Well – Mt Gill
    Warraweena (yellow pin to NW) – Cockatoo Well – Mt Gill (foreground)

    Accommodation

    The Homestead and Shearer’s Quarters provide a base camp for those planning day walks, with 4WD access from these to more remote sites. Shepherd’s huts, such as those at Cockatoo Well, Dunbar Well and others, provide basic amenities (long drop pit toilet, bed frames, water tank, fire ring and table) and are spaced about a day’s walk (15 km) apart throughout the park.  They are accessible by 4WD, but not 2WD. More info and bookings…

    cockatoo well hut © Bush Walker 2012
    Cockatoo Well Hut  Warraweena © Bush Walker 2012

    Wildlife

    Red and western-grey kangaroos, euros, dunnarts, bats, emus, native birds (Inland Thornbills, Southern Whitefaces, Australian Ringnecks, Yellow Throated Miners, Red-capped Robins, White Browed Babblers) and reptiles (sleepy lizard, snakes, tree dtella, geckos, skinks) and frogs abound. (Source: SEG 1999)

    Thirteen Colonies of yellow-footed rock wallabies have been sighted and one very rare plant, Menzell’s Wattle. There is an enticing panorama of open hillsides, pine forests, ranges, creeks thick with red gums, waterfalls and water holes and towering the eastern section of the property is Mount Hack, 1086 metres and the second highest peak in the Flinders. Bird surveys have counted 77 species here and the property is a great place to observe bird life. Around 168 species of plants were found. Anyone can camp here, bushwalk or bird watch for a nominal fee. There are shearer’s quarters with amenities that are very comfortable.  (Source: Leigh Creek Visitor Information Outlet  downloaded 01/10/12)

    You will see the occasional small woolly flock of sheep, invaders from a nearby sheep station. Unfortunately, there are still some large herds of goats remaining, despite the efforts of sports shooters. Foxes and rabbits are common.

    Dragon Lizard © Bush Walker 2012

    Weather

    Best months for walking are May to August when the average monthly maxima are in the low 20’s (19-24ºC). Overnight temperatures are just above freezing (2-7ºC). These are also the driest months, as most rain falls December – April.

    Check the Copley weather  and Leigh Creek Airport forecast (Weatherzone)

    Links

    1. Contact the Park Manager, Stony Steiner, by email  or phone (08) 8675 2770
    2. Warraweena in the North Flinders: In the Flinders Ranges area of the Outback region of South Australia (Postcards)
    3. Warraweena Wetlands and Wildlife (Wetlands and Wildlife is a conservation company that was founded by Mr Tom Brinkworth to hold land of significant conservation value for the benefits of future generations. )
    4. Warraweena: The Sentimental Bloke (Spectacular pictures by Peter MacDonald, capturing the essence of the Flinders Ranges and outback South Australia. )
    5. Warraweena (Flickr photo search)
    6. Goats on Warraweena (Sporting Shooter Magazine,  22 Sep 2011)
    7. Expedition Warraweena pdf (Scientific Expedition Group)
    8. Warraweena – Cockatoo Dunbar Loop (LCOOL Flinders Ranges Trip Day 7 – 3 Oct )
    9. Warraweena – Mt Gill Day Drive (LCOOL Flinders Ranges Trip Day 6 – 2 Oct)
    10. South Australian Arid Lands – Natural Resources Management Group – Northern Flinders Ranges – FS-052007 Fact Sheet (pdf 1.2Mb)
    11. Copley weather and Leigh Creek Airport forecast (Weatherzone)
    12. Public Access to Pastoral Lands (pdf) Four Wheel Drive SA
    13. Public Access Routes  Four Wheel Drive SA
    14. Public Access Routes Fact Sheet (lists 24 routes, including Warraweena)  DEWNR (pdf)
    15. Pastoral Access Request Form DEWNR (pdf)
    16. Arid Lands Information System DEWNR ( zoomable map of pastoral leases)
    17. Bushwalking in Warraweena, Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia Ian Bate, Shannon Carne, Shane Hutchins ( Wetlands and Wildlife, South Australia 2003)
    18. Corbett, David A Field guide to the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1980)
    19. Barker, Sue et al Explore the Flinders Ranges ( Royal geographical Society of Australasia
    20. Davies, M et al Natural History of the Flinders Ranges  (Royal Society of South Australia, 1996)

    Similar posts

    1. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges,  South Australia | Pt 1 Trip Planning Resources
    2. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges,  South Australia | Pt 2  A Key to Learning About the Gammons 
    3. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges, South Australia | Pt 3 Useful Planning Notes from Bonython’s Walking the Flinders Ranges
    4. Other BushwalkingSkills posts related to the Gammon Ranges(7)

    Creative Commons License
    This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Bushwalking Equipment | Boiling Water on a Wood Fire

    Want to quickly boil water on an open wood fire? Tried a traditional Stockman’s Quart Pot yet?

    History

    Boiling water on an open fire is a tradition that is fast disappearing as “Stoves Only” signs become more common in our parks and campgrounds. While the opportunity remains, why not try a traditional method that has been around for well over a 100 years and was used by the cavalry in the Boer War and by our early drovers and stock men?

    Traditional tin
    Modern stainless steel

    On my last few bushwalks to the Flinders Ranges, I have used one of these traditional pots and found it to be excellent. I have listed some advantages and disadvantages to help you decide.

    Advantages

    • Steeped in history
    • No wire bail (handle): fold away handles make it easier to pack
    • Fast boil, as it can be placed directly in the coals
    • Dual purpose, as it includes a cup, which also acts as a firmly fitting lid to keep out ash
    • Space saving, with matches, gripper, tea bags, sugar inside
    • High efficiency, as flames surround the pot without any possibility of melting the handles
    • Easy to hold, as wire handles cool quickly
    • Maintains shape and packs easily, due to strength and oval shape
    • Easy to remove from fire with a stick placed through the wire loop on the lid and wire loops on main container (not shown)
    • Large size (1.1L): large drink (500ml) and water for freeze dried pack (400ml)

    Disadvantages

    • Weight: heavier than titanium
    • Cools rapidly, compared to a plastic mug
    • Rusts, if you don’t dry before packing, unless you buy the stainless steel version
    • Dangers: don’t let it boil dry or the solder will melt on tin versions (stainless steel versions available)
    • Health Risk: traditional tin version has lead solder

    Alternatives

    There are a variety of titanium kettles available but they either lack the bail to lift from a fire, have no integrated cup or have plastic coated handles. They are also much easier to damage while packing.

    Some Links

    Bushcraftoz 

    Related posts

    Campfire or stove?

    What do you use in your campfire?

      Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Bushwalking Skills | Making a Bushwalking Aide-memoire

    Do you lead bushwalks? Thought about carrying an aide-memoire  for emergencies? What resources will you need?

    In the nineties, when I was actively upgrading my bushwalk leadership qualifications, I kept an aide-memoire to help me remember the key points of bushwalking for in-the-field examinations. This was initially kept in several “Granny’s brag books”,  4″ x 6″ photo albums with the cardboard stiffeners removed and with the individual plastic pockets sealed, then progressed to a Sharp Organiser, then to a Palm PDA and finally to my Nokia Smartphone, before being archived to a wiki (see link above). To keep the number of “album” pages to a minimum, the text was reduced to 7 pt.

    The first aid was collated from Senior First Aid courses which I did with St John’s and the Red Cross, with additional information added from wilderness first aid courses and books I had read.

     Disclaimer: Although I culled information, which I knew was out-of-date, when I first set up this wiki, I have not updated the first aid information for the last few years, and as some things change every few years eg snake bite and EAR, the aide-memoire needs to be checked with an up-to-date first aid manual.

    For many years, I carried this information, in note form, as a resource for emergencies, especially when leading bushwalks to remote areas of Australia. You might find such a concept useful, and perhaps be able to use the topic outline as  a worthwhile starting point.

    If I was making one today, I would add it as a pdf to my Smartphone, which I usually carry with me. You could of course use your camera-equipped smartphone to copy relevant pages from books and save as a photo album. If you carry a Kindle with you, for your light reading, you have another alternative. However, in a pinch, I think “Granny’s brag book” would prove to be the most reliable of them all!

    Recently I have added some excellent  leadership articles by Rick Curtis (Director, Outdoor Action Program), which no longer seem to be online at his website. This material is the Group Development and Leadership Chapter from his Outdoor Action Program Leader’s Manual. You can find some of the more useful articles in the sidebar to the right, under Bushwalking Resources, and the rest in my wiki. The text may be freely distributed for nonprofit educational use. However, if included in publications, written or electronic, attributions must be made to the author. Commercial use of this material is prohibited without express written permission from the author. Copyright © 1995 Rick Curtis, Outdoor Action Program, Princeton University.

    Discussion: 
    I’d love to know if you carry an “aide-memoire”, what type and what it contains.

    Other related leadership articles
    See Categories or Labels in the sidebar on the right.
     

      Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Bushwalking Boots | Preventing Blisters in Poorly Fitting Boots

    Ever found that perfectly good boots are giving you blisters? Too expensive to throw away? Discover some solutions to this problem.

    Leather boots often take ages to break-in. Some brands of expensive leather boots, with a full thickness hide, can take months, before they feel comfortable.

    Some  solutions I have tried include:

    • wearing multiple socks to increase the padding ( eg two thick or one thin inner and one thick outer)
    • wearing the boots for a few months, for short durations, until your feet toughen
    • soaking the boots in a bucket of water, and then wearing them until they dry
    • preemptive bandaging of your feet, before beginning your walk
    Blister location

    The outline sketch on the left shows where I usually got blisters after an extended pack-carrying walk, with my old leather boots. HINT: To help you remember where the blisters occur, make a sketch by standing on a sheet of paper, immediately after your walk
    If you have a similar blister pattern, it may be related to where the toe of your boot bends, just below the lower end of the tongue, which often produces a ridge, which can rub on the top of your toes, causing blisters. Try stretching the boot to get rid of the ridge (see below)

    Stretch boots
    • add extra padding to your boots eg inner soles (gel are best but expensive and have a shorter life)
    • stretch the boots, by soaking thoroughly and then jamming something like a bottle or log of wood inside the boot and waiting for it to dry.

    Don’t forget that:

    • your feet are often different  sizes, and that this can vary depending on the temperature of your feet. Don’t be surprised if you need two socks on one foot and three on the other.
    • leather doesn’t like intense heat. It will crack, if placed too close to a fire. 

    Related post

    Bushwalking Boots |Selection and Fitting Criteria

      Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Bushwalking Navigation | How to make a customised, calibrated map from an .ecw map file.

    Do you have a Mac computer? Want to know how to use a ecw map file to produce a customised, calibrated, topographic map? Don’t know which software to use? Don’t want to use a Windows emulator? Not sure which map datum to use?

    UPDATE (Tuesday 3 July): advice on calibrating TOPOMaps version 2 ecw files  modified

    The following discussion relates exclusively to two highly regarded Mac applications that I, and millions of other Mac users, have been using for what seems like a lifetime. Both are fully supported with user forums, have a prompt response to enquiries, are low cost for what you are getting, and are actively being updated by developers who have a love for Macs. These applications are

    It is of course possible to use OziExplorer on a Windows computer or emulate a Windows machine on your Mac, but these are a poor substitute for powerful, user friendly software, running natively on a Mac.

    I assume that you are using the latest version of Graphic Converter (GC) (there is a trial period so you can fully test it before purchasing) and have it running in 32 bit mode. You can do this by control clicking on the GC file icon, selecting the Get Info box and then checking the  “Open in 32 bit mode” check box if this choice is available [ see diagram] NB  ecw files won’t open in 64 bit mode and you will get an error message if you try to do so.

    MacGPS Pro doesn’t have a demo version, but it does have a 30 day money-back guarantee.

    iOS Applications

    MacGPS Pro also has an iPhone/iPad/iTouch version iHikeGPS which is  suitable for New Zealanders and North Americans, due to the availability of free maps. Australians miss out as our maps have to be purchased.

    Bit Map (Australian design) allows uploading and viewing of custom maps made using the technique outlined below, using an iPad or iPhone, which is something that few other apps can do. While its plotting features are not as complete as MacGPS Pro, it does allow the plotting of waypoints and routes,  or uploading from an OS X mapping application such as MacGPS Pro via iTunes. Like MacGPS Pro it allows live viewing of your current position using the built in GPS.

    Disclaimer: I have no relationship with the  developers of the software discussed above.

    For my review of Bit Map click this link.

    Steps

    IMPORTANT: If you have a small (a few map tiles only) .ecw file and the accompanying .map geo-referencing file is in the same  folder, then MacGPS Pro will open and calibrate the ecw file, as soon as your drop it on the MacGPS icon, without any further action on your part. If you don’t have the corresponding .map file then you will need to calibrate the newly imported ecw file as in Step 7.

        1.    Drag  the  ecw file from your CD to the GC icon, and dialogue box below will pop up. Select a slightly bigger area than you want by dragging the square corners of the large box [see diagram below] and then position the box by dragging from the middle of the box. Select Downsample.”None”, then click OK. HINT: It doesn’t need to be accurate at this stage. Just make sure the area of interest is inside the selected area.

      2.    Select the part of the image you want by using the selection tool (the dashed square, second line on the right) [see diagram] from the toolbox (bring to forefront by clicking command-K)  and save as (file/save as) a pict file, which is the native MacGPS Pro format. Make sure you have checked the radio button Save Selection Only.[see diagram below]  [Steps: name file, select file format ie PICT, check save selection only]

     3.    Open Mac GPS Pro, set the units (file/unit choices) to the appropriate datum,
    which should correspond to the map datum of the paper maps you have or will be purchasing.

    If you intend printing labelled maps directly from MacGPSPro as pdfs, then I would suggest you set to GDA94, as this is most likely to be compatible with the maps of others in your group.

     eg GDA94, UTM, kilometres, metres magnetic, click OK. [see diagram below]

        4.    Drag the cropped pict  file from your Finder onto the MacGPS Pro icon.
        5.    A dialogue box will open and ask you to “Set the map’s Datum  and Projection type”  [see diagram below] Select GDA94 for most discs recent mapping discs and Transverse Mercator. Click OK

        6.    It will then pop up a “Standard Coordinates for the Map” dialogue box. Enter the grid zone (see image)

    and check the ‘Store calibration in PICT file” box, then OK [see diagram below]

        7.    You will then have a “Click known Points to Calibrate Map ” dialogue box pop up. Check the map datum is set to the same as your hard copy maps before proceeding. [see diagram below]

    Complete this for any four easily recognized features (eg trig point, windmill)  located near the four corners of the map, using a hard copy of the map to provide the 7 digit eastings [eg 0262600] and northings [eg 6553800]. Click DONE.

    HINT: Make sure you have zoomed in as far as you can, without the map becoming too pixelated, using the zoom icon top right, to increase your accuracy.
     
    VERY IMPORTANT: If you are using an ecw file from a TOPOMaps version 2 disc (South Australian), then be aware that the grid lines on the ecw file are those of the AGD84 datum, as the file has been scanned from pre-94 maps. If however, you open these maps in OziExplorer you will find that the associated .map file (found on the disc) has calibrated the maps as GDA94 hence the disc markings.

    The Instructions file on the disc ( who reads the instructions?!) say

    The map image displayed (in OziExplorer) has been recalibrated to the Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994 (GDA94). The Easting and Northing readouts for any point at the cursor position will in GDA (94) coordinates.

    Please Note:
    The map images were scanned from AMG 84 based maps. Therefore, if the cursor is placed at the intersection of two grid lines, the coordinate readout will not correspond to the values of those grid lines. Future map editions will display a grid pattern based on the GDA94 datum and therefore the readout will then correspond to the grid values. See also p25

    The warning above is very important, if you normally use grid line intersections as your calibration points, as this will result in inaccurate calibration, with the whole map displaced 100-200m. If you use recognized topographic features this problem doesn’t exist.

    HINT: To speed up the process in case you need to start over again, keep a record by printing a copy of the map and annotating it with the four corner grid references which you previously entered. If MacGPS Pro won’t let you click the DONE button it is probably because you made a mistake entering the GR and will need to start again, or perhaps you have failed to select a point on the map, to register the grid reference.

    The Ultimate Goal

    Remember that the goal of calibrating a map, plotting waypoints and joining them to form a route using MacGPS Pro is so that you can transfer them to your GPS and use your GPS to find your location relative to these waypoints, on either a purchased map or one printed using the software. For this reason, the map datum set in your GPS MUST match the paper map you are carrying.

    My next few posts will explain how to export your data from MacGPS Pro to your GPS, overlay the calibrated map you have produced on Google Earth to help you visualize the terrain and get the UTM coordinates from Google Earth by overlaying with UTM grid.

    Visit some of my other related navigation posts

      Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Bushwalking Navigation | Documenting Your Route Plan

    How do you document a route plan? How can you use Google Earth to check the route and save pics of critical navigational decision points? How do you use mapping software to plot and export the waypoints to your GPS, print the route and elevation graph? How can you annotate your map pdfs? How do you protect your maps from the weather?

    This post is part 2 of  Bushwalking Navigation | A Route Plan Workflow

    Getting the “big picture”

    The first step in planning any trip is to read guide books, talk to other bushwalkers and search  bushwalking forums, websites and blogs to discover which routes are popular. 

    Once you have decided on your intended route you will need to check water availability, weather conditions, locate existing tracks, property boundaries and permitted camping spots.  Don’t forget to check photographic websites such as Flickr, which give a good idea of popular sites and the scenery to be expected.

    Next study the terrain to work out your likely speed, keeping in mind height gains and losses, the density of vegetation, the amount and difficulty of any off-track walking, and the presence of waterfalls in creek lines, which may need to be bypassed.  Once you know these you will be able decide how far apart your camping spots can be and determine each day’s starting and finishing times.

    I have discussed many of these navigation techniques and route plan design in previous posts (21) and won’t go further into detail now.

    Finding a Map

    You should never rely solely upon a GPS for critical navigational decisions and for this reason bushwalkers should always carry topographic maps covering the route, and the surrounding countryside just in case you get off track. These can be purchased from a local map or outdoors shop, and are usually available at 1:50,000 scale but sometimes at 1:25,000, which provide more detail, for popular areas.

    If you are walking the Heysen Trail in South Australia, there are two excellent guide books (Northern and Southern), with log books readily available available which include maps that are adequate for most walkers. The CFS also publishes (Mapland) excellent map books, and these too are available from map and outdoor shops. Many downloadable walking brochures for our parks are available from the Department of Environment’s Parks SA website.

    With digital maps readily available, many people are using mapping software to select just the relevant parts of maps and to enlarge these beyond the 1:50K scale than is usually available in printed maps, making it easier to see the contour and creek lines. If you are lucky enough to live in NZ, you can download 1:50,000 maps free of charge and even Australia has 1:250,000 maps for free download from Geoscience which are useful for getting the big picture and planning access roads.

    Using Mapping Software

    My apologies to Windows users for the following Mac centric discussion. 

    As a MacBook Pro user I have used MacGPS Pro mapping software for many years to import my scanned maps, plot my routes and export the waypoints to my GPS. A print out of the waypoints file is an essential record of each waypoint’s  name, grid reference, comments, and elevation

    One big advantage of mapping software is that it is possible to enlarge the map on screen to locate the exact position of known waypoints  or to determine the grid reference to 7 figure accuracy of any point you can see. Once you have decided on your waypoints you can rapidly link these to form a route, calculating distances and bearings automatically by dragging from point to point, and plotting a route elevation graph by selecting the route single click. The elevation graph is useful for estimating time to be taken.

    From MacGPS Pro

    The disadvantage of using a Macintosh is that without a Windows emulator, such as Bootcamp, and an installed version of Windows, OziExplorer software doesn’t work.

    For older Macs (not using intel cpu) use Virtual PC or for new OS X Macs with the Intel CPU use either Bootcamp or emulation software called VirtualBox or ParallelsVirtualBox (Sun Microsystems Inc.) is free for personal use. It works in OS X on Intel Macs. (OziExplorer – Running OziExplorer on a MAC or Linux Computer )

    There is a way to overcome this and that is to import the maps from the disc in .ecw format into a graphics program such as Graphic Converter, select the relevant part and then save as a PICT or TIFF file.  Some of the .ecw image files are small enough to import directly into a mapping program such as MacGPS Pro.

    Often the .ecw image file will be accompanied by a matching .map calibration file and providing you keep it in the same folder as the ecw file, you can then import into MacGPS Pro and automatically calibrate the map. You could of course still do it the old way which was to scan and process a hard copy of the map.

    Assuming there is no matching .map file available, calibrating a digital map using MacGPS Pro requires that you first rotate the map (using GraphicConverter) so the northing gridlines are horizontal and then enter the full 7 figure grid references of four widely spread points, usually near the corners of your map.

    Top Left:  Easting 0263000 Northing 6540000, Grid Zone 54J, AGD94

    From MacGPS Pro

    You must also enter the UTM grid zone and know the projection and map datum eg I am using a portion of the Oraparinna map for a forthcoming trip

    From MacGPS Pro

    NB UTM Grid Zones is SA are either 52 (far west), 53 (west) or 54 (central and east)

    Annotating your pdfs

    Annotated portion of Oraparinna map

    There are several programs (I use Skim) that allow you to annotate a pdf. This is particularly useful as it allows you to add grid references to the margins of your map (NB MacGPS Pro has a menu item “View/Gridlines” which does this automatically for you) and add notes about the route. Most programs allow you to add arrows showing routes and highlights. Once you have done this, you can export as a pdf and if you have the full version of Acrobat take advantage of its ability to reduce the file size significantly, to as much as a tenth.

    Using Google Earth to Plan a Route

    Google Earth can be used to visualize the route, finding 4WD tracks, checking whether creek lines are heavily vegetated and to see if ridges would be easier going. Cattle, goat and sheep tracks converging on a creek line probably indicates a waterhole, spring or a shallow crossing. Rainwater tanks, galvanised iron shelters, windmills and bores can sometimes be seen in Google Earth, even if they are not marked on the map.

    Flinders Ranges: Google Earth screen capture

    Simply import your .kml file showing your waypoints and then zoom in and tilt to see your route in 3D. Use a screen capture program, such as  Snapz Pro X, to capture pics of significant parts of the route, with your waypoints shown. Save these to your iPhone, camera or print, for later reference while on the walk.

    NB I can never get my GPS waypoints to exactly match those in Google Earth, as I assume it uses a different map datum

    Protecting your maps

    One of the advantages of printing your maps from pdfs is that you can print them in A4 format which means they can either be laminated back-to-back or placed in a map case without the need for folding.

    Other relevant posts

    The Bushwalking Navigation series

    Other Resources

    Geoscience
    Department of Environment’s Parks SA website
    Bushwalk Australia Forum
    Friends of the Heysen Trail

      Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Bushwalking Photography Workflow Pt 2 | Using iPhoto to Select, Rank and Sort

    Ever come back from a bushwalk with a huge number of photos to select, rank, sort and show? The traditional way is to set up a series of folders to which you then drag those you like, to produce a slideshow. Not any more…….there are much more efficient workflows and great software such as iPhoto to help.

    The first task with any collection of digital photos is to delete those that are out-of-focus, taken by error or poorly centered on the subject. Next you will want to select the best of the multiple shots you have taken of each scene and decide which you are going to incorporate into your slideshow. You will probably want to remove any movies you have made as they can make the production of the slideshow more difficult. Finally you will want to crop some and perhaps change contrast, exposure, sharpness.

    Traditionally this has been done by deleting unusable photos and then dragging the images you want to keep into folders. There are more efficient workflows today that use readily available photo software to allow easier sorting and ranking and which make any changes instantly reversible. The key to an efficient workflow is to assign “keywords” to groups of photos and then rank each using a “star” system or some equivalent. The final step is to establish “smart” albums, which automatically group your selections by searching according to set criteria, rather than requiring that you drag and drop photos, which can easily lead to errors.

    The workflow that follows applies to iPhoto, which is available at low cost for iPhone, iPad and Apple computers but there are many alternatives both for Apple computers and those running Windows. The workflow is easily adaptable to any software, including online storage.

    WORKFLOW

    STEP 1 IMPORT

    Import your photos from your camera card into a single album which you have named by location, and date. The fastest way is to use a card reader connected or inserted into you computer.

    STEP 2 INITIAL RANKING

    Add rankings

    Give each photo a single star (*) ranking by selecting all, and then pressing cmd-1  [Photo on left]. Your software may require a different key action.

    STEP 3 ASSIGN KEYWORDS

    Select groups of photos and assign keywords according to topic or location. iPhoto allows you to manage your keywords so the a single key press will allocate a keyword(s) to the photo or group you have selected.

    Suitable keywords might be the location, birds, flowers, people, photographer, camera, date, person’s name etc.

    You can assign keywords to indicate the type of editing that needs to be done eg crop, enhance, sharpen.  I crop all my photos to the 16:9 format for showing on a HD digital TV, but you can save some effort  and card space by doing this automatically in advance using your camera settings.

    Once you have assigned keywords you can then create a smart album to dynamically group all photos with a particular keyword.

    STEP 4 ESTABLISH SMART ALBUMS

    Set up “smart albums” which will automatically group your photos according to multiple keyword(s) and  star ranking.

    STEP 4 DELETE UNWANTED FROM ALBUM

    Remove photos and movies from the smart albums by removing the single star ranking (cmd-0) but they will still remain in your original album even when they have no star. (See above diagram)

    STEP 5 SELECT SLIDESHOW PHOTOS

    Go back to your first album and assign ** to each of the photos you wish to include in your slideshow. Set up a “Best of…” album which includes all your two star or higher photos.

    Set up smart album

    The advantage of smart albums is that they are dynamic with a simple change to a keyword or rating automatically and instantly reflected in the smart album.

    NB I have chosen iPhoto as my software of preference; not too expensive, not too complex and usable cross platform (iOS 5, OS X) with both Apple computers, iPhones and iPads.

    See also:

    Bushwalking Photography Workflow Pt 1| Share the Best of a Group’s Photos Using iPhoto

      Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.