The One Mistake I'll Never Make On A Hike Again
By The Wild Women On Top Team
When Nitu Gupta joined Wild Women On Top three years ago, she felt a little lost in life. Her two sons were toddlers, she was working part-time and she was forgetting to take care of herself. But in 2019, her life looks quite different.
Nitu has joined Wild Women on some epic adventures locally and overseas and she's a regular at Trek Training. In 2018, she snorkelled in frigid Icelandic waters and this year she trekked the Jatbula Trail - which pushed her well outside her comfort zone.
Over the years, Nitu has certainly learnt what to do on a hiking adventure. But she's also learnt what not to do and unfortunately she had to learn the hard way. Trekking with a friend along the iconic Overland Track, Nitu made a mistake she won't be making again.
What hiking gear are you loving most right now?
My Hyperlite pack. It literally weighs less than 1kg, is really comfy and holds a lot. I used it to hike around Iceland for two weeks last year and I still love my pack.
What are five things you always have in your backpack when hiking?
A first aid kit, water and electrolytes, a snack, my dorky bushwalking hat, and gaffa tape. Never leave home without gaffa tape! It's amazing stuff. It can repair tears in your clothes or pack and hold your boots together when the sole falls off.
What's the best hiking advice you've ever been given?
The best advice is to take responsibility for where you're going and to not trust others blindly just because they've been there before. Along part of the Overland Track, my friend and I got lost and ended up at the completely wrong hut because we were chatting so much we missed the turn off. I didn't even know there was a turn off as she'd assured me she knew the way so I didn't do any research of my own. We arrived at the correct hut at 10pm, exhausted after carrying a full pack for an extra six hours, barely able to eat as we were so tired. We then had a cold night's sleep. I'll never do that again!
When was the last time you got out of your comfort zone?
In June on the trip to the Northern Territory with Coach Jacq Conway. We walked the Jatbula Trail, which was really beautiful, and I found it really tough.
I had heat stroke on the Jatbula trip, and it was only when Ange asked me if I was ok, that I realised I wasn't. I was shaking, disoriented and really struggling. When the guide poured water over my head and back it helped and it was heavenly to jump into the water at our camp site, fully clothed. Heat stroke can come on relatively quickly so as soon as you start to feel even a tiny bit woozy, nauseous, dizzy or just not yourself, stop and let someone know and ask for help.
For me, a lot of the trip was about mental toughness, to be able to carry that weight - 18.5kg - for the whole trip and to enjoy myself, despite being physically challenged. When I booked the trip my husband asked if I was crazy as I don't like the heat. I'm really glad I went as we had an awesome group and I managed to experience some of Australia's stunning landscape and history.
What do you love MOST about being a Wild Woman?
What I love most about Wild Women is that I feel like I've found my tribe with this community. I feel blessed to have met such an amazing group of women who are supportive, fun, funny, challenging, tough, inspiring, and occasionally muddy. There's no other space like it. I get to laugh and get fit at the same time.
What's the best hike you've ever done and what made it so epic?
The best hike I've ever done was the recent Wild Women trip to Iceland. I had been planning that trip in my head for 20 years, saving for it for 10 years, and nagging Di about it for two years before it finally came to fruition.
I had very high expectations of Iceland and they were all blown out of the water. From climbing to the top of an active volcano one day, to snorkelling between tectonic plates and descending 120 metres into an inactice volcano the next, is really indescribable.
Which hiking destination is at the top of your bucket list and why?
Although it's a bit of a cliché, walking the Overland Track in Tasmania is my next bucket list trip as I'd love to do it with my family. My boys are only four and five years old, so hopefully in the next five to 10 years we'll do this as they continue to share my love of bushwalking. Tassie is one of my favourite places in the world and after experiencing the beauty of part of this track last year, I can't wait to share the experience with my kids and my husband (who is a reluctant bushwalker).
Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone and join us on an adventure? We've got epic trips planned in 2020 and there are still a few spots left on some seriously lifechanging local adventures! Find your next adventure here.