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...A collection of battle scars, cherished memories, an enduring strength, and the kind of knowledge you can’t find in books. Yet, the most unexpected gift I stumbled upon on the trail was love.
They say love has a knack of showing up when you least expect it, and nowhere did this ring truer than in the heart of the isolated Byadbo Wilderness. Back in 2019, a local outdoor education company were looking for teacher aids to support on an upcoming expedition camp. Seizing the chance to try my hand at guiding, I was paired up with my friend and head guide, Ash. Together, we took our group of less-than-enthused kids into the untouched corners of Kosciuszko National Park, hiking to forgotten huts, over rugged hills, and meandering beside rivers.
On the last day of the trip, we reached camp on the banks of the lower Snowy River, only to find another group already settled in. As we approached, a tall, bearded man came over, giving Ash a big warm hug. She introduced me to her long-term friend, and fellow lead guide, Josh. Curiosity got the better of me, and immediately, I bombarded him with questions about his peculiar tent setup. To this day, he still says it was my intense interest in his tent that first got his attention.
Later that night, amidst our dinner preparations and daily debriefing, we spotted an enormous plume of smoke coming from the neighbouring camp. “Is their camp on fire?” I asked Ash. We ventured over to investigate further, and discovered the biggest bonfire I had ever laid eyes on. There stood Josh, nonchalantly offering a cup of tea out of his weathered old billy.
From here, our romance unfolded against the backdrop of the Snowy Mountains; moonlit ski tours, off-track hikes to visit bucket-list-worthy huts, Josh patiently teaching me to kayak, and the joint endeavour of learning to mountain bike. In Josh, I found a companion whose rhythm matched my own in every adventure.
Love had found its way to us in the most unexpected places – the untamed wilderness. The beginning of our love story reminds us that the most extraordinary adventures are the ones written by Mother Nature herself.
Here are my top gear picks that Josh and I use out on the trail.
The Sea to Summit Amplitude AMIII Down Double Sleeping Bag is perfect for our cold alpine camping trips. It is really spacious and comfortably fits the two of us without feeling squished. The comfort rating of -8˚C keeps us warm and the bottom zipper can be opened if we need a little extra breeze.
Our Osprey Soelden Snow Backpacks come with us on any snowy adventure. When we head into the backcountry, safety is priority and the Soelden Backpacks have a front storage compartment which is easy access to our avvy kits and the main compartment has heaps of room for our layers, snacks and skins.
We take this tent everywhere with us from chill weekend camping trips, backcountry hiking or bikepacking - the Big Agnes Copper Spur can do it all. Our version is the mntGLO which includes internal LED fairy lights so we don’t use up our headlamp batteries and also adds a nice vibe too.
The Patagonia Long Sleeve Sun Shirts are nice as an extra layer when out in the sun. They’re quick drying if you get sweaty and are made from a stretchy material which makes it really comfortable when riding my bike for long distances.
Another couple that found love on the trails are the Jetboil Minimo and Jetboil Summit Skillet combo. The Jetboil Minimo will boil 500ml of water in 2 minutes and 15 seconds so while our pasta sauce is cooking away in the Jetboil Summit Skillet our pasta is done in no time.
Not sure what you need for your next adventure? Chat to our friendly team of Outdoor Gear Specialists in-store or online today and don’t forget to share your adventures with us on Instagram by tagging @wildearthaustralia and #mywildearth in your next post.