The Two Pieces Of Hiking Advice This Wild Woman Swears By

By Sophia Hatzis | Digital Content Producer 

When Susie Ashton-Davies thinks back to her first Coastrek in 2014, she remembers it quite vividly. Just five weeks out from Event Day, she was approached by some friends to join their team. Susie wasn’t a stranger to long treks and she decided to give it a go.

That year, the 50km challenge was overnight from Balmoral to Coogee. Aside from childbirth, Susie says it was the most challenging experience of her life. And she’s so proud to have made it.

Since joining Wild Women over five years ago, Susie has ditched the gym for the outdoors. She’s doing her fourth Coastrek this year, taking on the 60km challenge in Adelaide, proudly supporting Beyond Blue.

As our Wild Woman of the week, Susie shares two pieces of hiking advice she'll always swear by.

What do you love most about being a Wild Woman?

There are so many aspects I love about Wild Women. Of course, there’s the adventure, the camaraderie, and the gloriousness of regularly being immersed in nature. There's nothing like feeling the full force of a howling southerly storm on a clifftop to me make feel alive. But Trek Training is more than that. It’s the confidence it builds from being physically and mentally pushed that makes me healthier and stronger.

It never ceases to amaze me how I happily hop out of bed at 5:30am on a cold, rainy winter’s morning to join a like-minded crowd to enjoy nature and share a sense of adventure. Even after five years, every session has something new to offer. The way the sun glints off the water, how the colourful swirls of sandstone change with the weather, and all the chit-chat with trekking buddies. It brings me back to earth and reminds me of what's important in life. If I’ve learned anything it’s that we're all capable of achieving far more than we think, and that self-doubt can be conquered. Walk 60km Coastrek in a day? Trek to 5985m? Who would have thought!

What's the best hike you've ever done and what made it so epic?

I love an experience that both daunts me and excites me, such as the altitude of Mount Kilimanjaro, the relentless mud and sweat of Kokoda, the never-ending scree of Mount Rinjani. Living in a busy city where my senses are continually bombarded, the best adventures are those with friends that take me to remote destinations.

Mount Kenya will forever be in my heart as the most wonderful experience, walking through the alpine meadows with friends, seeing not another soul for five days, then being rewarded with a spectacular sunrise with the summit all to ourselves.

Which hiking destination is at the top of your bucket list and why?

Please don’t make me choose! There are still plenty of places in Australia I would like to explore but Terra Del Fuego, Patagonia, and the Sahara Desert in Morocco are all calling me.

What’s the most memorable thing that’s ever happened to you on a hike?

Nothing beats being able to stand aloft Gokyo Ri in Nepal on a beautiful, still, cloudless day and see the whole Everest range laid out in all its glory. I fought hard to overcome the sleeplessness and heart palpitations that come with crippling altitude sickness. It was so worthwhile for that spectacular view.

What's the best hiking advice you've ever been given?

There is never any shortage of advice but generally there are two things I swear by. First, always start your trek a little bit cold as you’ll soon warm up. Second is the Wild Women mantra: "every step, every step". This has saved me on many occasions at the end of a long, tough day of hiking.

Looking for an adventure? We've got some amazing treks planned in Europe, South America, and Asia. Find your adventure today.

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