Why The Hikes You Don't Finish Can Actually Be The Best

By Sophia Hatzis

Angela Wagland has always loved travelling. Before she joined Wild Women three years ago, Ange had already done plenty of solo exploring around the world. She'd only recently come back from Machu Picchu in Peru when a couple of her girlfriends asked for her help. They were doing Sydney Coastrek and one of their teammates had to pull out due to injury. The event was just six weeks away. Ange knew she was reasonably fit and could slot right in. So she signed up for the challenge and officially became a Wild Woman!

Since then, Ange has put her foot on the accelerator. She never misses a Trek Training session on Wednesday, has signed herself up for two Wild Women trips in 2019 and completed a marathon last year. She loves trail running so much, she now has her sights set on doing her first ultra marathon. That's a whopping 50km run.

Ange during the UltraTrail 22km trail run in the Blue Mountains. 

Ange has smashed some serious goals. But the high moments haven't come easily. She's had to contend with a serious health problem that can get in the way of her training and her competing. She has to be hyper aware of her nutrition and hydration when she's walking or running long distances. She's careful to listen to her body but she hasn't let health hiccups hold her back from doing what she loves, pushing herself in the bush.

Any experienced trekker will tell you things don't always go to plan when you're in the wilderness. You might suddenly fall ill, injure yourself, or get a bit lost. Mother Nature might decide she wants to get involved and gift you with torrential rain or a snowstorm. There are plenty of physical, emotional, and mental barriers that stop us from crossing the finish line or climbing to the top of the mountain. But a skilled trekker like Ange will also tell you the most challenging adventures, the ones you simply can't or don't complete, can also be the most memorable. 

Ange shares why her favourite hike was one she didn't finish.

Q) What do you love most about being a Wild Woman?

A: I love the connections and close friendships I've made with people who share similar dreams and values. People who just get how amazing it is to stand on top of a mountain, see a sunrise, or appreciate the beauty of the world we live in. Those friendships have extended beyond Trek Training into activities like indoor rock climbing. The ability to try new adventures with like-minded souls simply adds to the fun.

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

A: That's such a touch question! I'm going to pick Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in the United States. I didn't make it all the way to the top of Half Dome as vertigo got the better of me. But that day, it didn't matter.Half Dome yosemite
The vertigo-inducing Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. 

It had been raining for several days beforehand, and this is a hike that can only be done with a lottery allocation due to the cables on Half Dome itself. It's tough when you're in the area for just one day and you're reliant on the lottery win and the weather playing nicely. It's a long day out but the views are simply spectacular. There was a light dusting of snow on the trees and best of all, it was a hike shared with friends.

Half Dome yosemite
The ascent is subject to perfect weather and a lottery system, so you may not have the opportunity to summit.

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

A: I can't go past the Alps. The bonus is I get to go there with a wonderful group of Wild Women in August this year! I love the sheer size and beauty of the European mountain ranges, they have a way of making you feel so small and yet so free.

Q) What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on a hike?

I'm not sure if this one is funny or a horror story. I did an overnight hike with a friend from the UK on the Main Range Circuit in Kosciuszko National Park. We found our camping spot for the night, light was fading so there wasn't a lot of time to check out our surroundings. A stunning sunrise the following day was certainly a highlight. But it was not too long after this that we realised, in going about a fairly standard morning routine, that there was no shortage of alpine funnelwebs in all the surrounding grasses. I'll leave the rest to your imagination!

A couple of nights later, down near Yarrangobilly, we had wild brumbies licking the moisture off our tent at about 11pm, so you could say it was an adventurous few days!

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

A: If you just go out for an adventure, you'll never be disappointed.This speaks as much to my love of trail running as it does to Wild Women. Your attitude is everything.

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