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By Pauline McLaughlin and Rosemary McConnell, Border Bushwalking Club.

Bushwalking is an excellent activity for people of all ages. It has many benefits including improved fitness, friendships, developing a sense of adventure and helping to find peace through walking in the quiet of the countryside.  It is also good for our environment as most bushwalkers develop a keen interest in environmental issues through contact with other walkers and increasing their knowledge and awareness while out walking.

Most walkers believe in the policy of ‘leave nothing behind but your footprints’, taking out all that they take in.  Many also carry a bag for collecting any rubbish they find along the way.

Those of us who walk with a club, car pool to walks and while this can save on fuel, wear and tear on vehicles and is less polluting, it also helps to engender friendships through conversations while travelling.

Walking can be a day walk, car camping walking or overnight walks for one night or an extended period. The more we walk, the more we want to because of the magic of being in the bush.

Many bushwalkers go on walking holidays either organised through walking companies or arranged themselves with friends.  Some prefer to carry their pack on their back, while others prefer to have their pack carried for them. Through a walking holiday you see the world from a different perspective and these holidays are often cheaper than other holidays as they are often more basic.  You might camp or stay in huts, eat simple and wholesome food and go to areas not always possible by car.  Lifelong friendships can be developed in this way.

Examples of walking holidays are walking the Larapinta Track, out from Alice Springs, walking across England and walking on the south island of New Zealand.

Bushwalking gives people a heightened sense of the beauty of the environment, leading to a need to do something about it.  As a result of this some bushwalkers volunteer for maintenance of the national parks and huts, others volunteer to help remove noxious weeds from the parks, while others compost, grow vegetables and generally live a simple life. Many are very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna.

A great way to get into bushwalking is to join a club.  In Albury Wodonga we have the Border Bushwalking Club (BBC).  The club not only has an extensive walking calendar but has regular bike rides, snow trips and canoeing trips. Joining a club puts you in contact with like-minded people. The BBC meets on the first Tuesday of the month at the Senior Citizens in Wodonga at 7.30pm and has a website www.borderbushwalkingclub.com.au.