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Night hikes a hit

Jo-Cordell Cooper*

HIKING has certainly increased in popularity since our COVID-19 lockdown last year.

Hiking in groups was one of the last group activities to be cancelled and one of the first to be reinstated after isolation.

Hiking is good for you physically, mentally and socially so my group of beginner hikers were keen to get back into our Friday Night Hikes routine.

However, it was mid-winter and dark.

As an experienced hiker, I knew there was benefit in hiking at night.

Just about every global walk I have completed has an early morning or late night hike offering – to see the sun rise or set on a remote mountain somewhere on the globe.

I knew if I could encourage my clients to come hiking in the dark, I would be meeting their needs in so many ways.

The question was – would they want to hike mid-Winter?

Would the cold and dark put them off?

All but one of my clients thought it was a great idea, and I was back in business.

Every Friday night we meet, with flashlight and warm clothing, at a different location on the Eastern Shore.

We use well marked tracks and surprise the infrequent but curious dog walkers with our head torches and beanies.

We are winding around the neighbourhood green spaces that are largely without anyone in them at all.

We know where all the local frogs hang out and which walks are best to do when the moon is full.

There is always a hill – it is a fitness walk after all.

We explore all the little known cut through paths to access different views, but generally we see the Derwent, city lights, the bridges and glorious Kunanyi as the sun sets.

It is a calming and a definite full stop to the working week.

When I began the Friday Night Hikes, I was only thinking in terms of hiking fitness, but it soon became obvious that people come for a number of reasons and mostly that was for the social connection and jump start to a great weekend.

These participants have become friends and welcome ‘newbies’ with a warm and supportive environment.

As our fitness improves, we look forward to half day walks on Kunanyi and we recently visited Mount Field for the turning of the fagus – Australia’s only deciduous beech.

This is an iconic Tasmanian thing to do.

If you are wanting to improve your fitness through hiking, if you do not like the gym setting, but thrive in the outdoors, you’d be welcome to join our Friday Night Hikes.

•Jo Cordell-Cooper founded the award winning business Jo CC Holistic PT.  She specialises in hiking fitness, as well as working with a range of clients who have a few complexities like arthritis, cancer, or back issues.  Free Hiking Fitness resources can be downloaded from www.jocc.com.au/hiking.  Make contact if you are interested jo@jocc.com.au, or 0409 86 2206.  Jo Cordell-Cooper is licenced for commercial hikes.