"The Hike That Challenged Me To My Core"
By the Wild Women On Top Team
Coastrek veteran, master hiker, and legendary Wild Woman Ann Jenkins isn't one to shy away from a test.
Ann became a part of our community over a decade ago and it all started when her daughter came back from a Duke of Edinburgh trek in New Zealand. It was a moment that changed the course of her life forever. She thought: "If I could do something like that in my lifetime, I would feel like I could achieve anything". And achieve she did.
Ann has immersed herself fully in our amazing community and is a Wild Woman in every aspect of her life. She has participated in 12 Coastreks and her teams have raised over $40,000 for The Fred Hollows Foundation and Beyond Blue, a staggering feat. She has trekked across rugged terrain, scaled incredible heights and hiked up mountains all over the world.
But there's one adventure that challenged every bone and muscle in her body. As our Wild Woman of the Week, Ann shares how she came out on top.
Q: What do you love MOST about being a Wild Woman?
A: Being a Wild Woman makes me attempt things that, in years gone by, I never would have attempted. It makes me feel fearless. No mountain is too high, no valley too low, no river too wide for me to attempt.
Wild Women has made me think about me, my body, nature and how to bring all three together to get fit and find the most beautiful places in the world. I have a new-found respect and love for things I never noticed before or took for granted. Wild Women has taught me stamina, trust, strength and mental toughness. It's become a bouncing board, a test, and yardstick for all my goals in life.
It has brought me the most beautiful friends I could ever dream of knowing and having. I am lucky with a capital 'L'.
Q: What's the best hike you've ever done and what made it so epic?
A: There are so many beautiful hikes I've done, it's quite hard to narrow it down to one. I love hiking in Europe and New Zealand.
The hike that challenged and rewarded me the most was the GR20 in Corsica. That journey presented me with the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. It challenged me to the root of every emotion and every bone in my body. But I learnt so much about hiking overseas, physical and mental challenges, proper preparation, and about the unerring kindness, understanding, and generosity of Wild Women. My team got me through one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.
Q: Which hiking destination is at the top of your bucket list and why?
A: I would love to lose myself over in Europe, just go where the paths take me and be spontaneous. There is definitely a call from the Italian Alps!
Q: What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on a hike?
A: Life is funny. Sometimes you just laugh to yourself in your tent and wonder: "How on earth did I end up here?"
There are a number of hilarious things that happen on tour that have to stay on tour... so I can’t tell you, I’m afraid!
I potter along with Kate Clissold, my beautiful Wild Woman partner in crime, and we have a laugh taking photos of the sun coming out of our heads. I know, silly us! There is laughter and joy in everything you do when you're out hiking. And if it’s not there, it's up to you to find it.
Q: What's the best hiking advice you've ever been given?
A: Learning the five Ps of hiking: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. It works for everything in life, really.
I have to take my hat off to an amazing Wild Woman, Linda Smith. She was my mentor before I did Everest Base Camp many years ago, my first "out there" hike. She gave me a list of everything I needed, including the weight of each item. She lent me some of her hiking things and was very, very open and warm with her advice. I always look back at her as my guiding light and the person who sent me off on my way fully prepared. So, I would say start planning as early as possible and get comfortable with your gear.
Pack only what you need and keep your hands clean! I always clean my hands and eating implements when I'm hiking and I promise you, it staves off a large number of tummy bugs!
If you’re looking for some hiking adventures to kick off the new year, check out our new South-Easties Trek Training group. We go exploring at sunset on Thursdays and sunrise on Sundays along the stunning trails, cliff tops, beaches, rock ledges and bays from Maroubra to Rose Bay.