Trip objectives

Having decided where to go you should now have a close look at what you want to achieve on your trip and how you can make it enriching and enjoyable. There are many objectives ranging from purely physical ones, such as climbing Mt Kosciuszko, New South Wales, in winter in the shortest possible time (ensuring total safety), to more abstract ones such as enjoying the landscape or the feeling of wilderness.

Generally, trips are planned around one or two main objectives, plus some minor objectives contributing to the feeling of enrichment. For instance, you may plan a trip in spring to the Grampians with the specific objective of looking at the wildflowers, but at the same time you will be stimulated by the varied landscape, the unique geology and hopefully the pleasant weather and a congenial group. Table 1.1 lists some issues which should be considered in your planning.

Once you have defined your objectives, tell your group members about them. Prepare a pamphlet on the aims of the trip, or give a talk on what you hope the group will see and experience on the trip. Allow time at the start to remind people of interesting things that they may find along the way.

After deciding on your broad objectives, try to plan for specific highlights on each day of the walk. Psychologically it is often quite helpful to 'arrange' for highlights after tedious or difficult stretches of walking or skiing. On a two or three-day trip, plan a climax during the last afternoon. These trips can sometimes deteriorate on the last day as people become keen to get back home. Try to arrange a good view or an interesting feature toward the end of the trip and they will go home feeling pleased with the day.

Table 1.1 Some issues to be considered in trip planning
FieldComments
Geology and geographyStudy the broad geological and geographic features of the area such as base rock, stream pattern and mountain ranges. Plan to visit features of interest, such as mountain tops, granite outcrops, river flats and so on. Some geological maps are also excellent topographical maps.
HistoryFind out about the historic features of an area and plan to visit some of these a whole walk may be based on visits to historic sites.
Botany and zoologyDivide the state into regions and become familiar with the major plant and animal communities. Learn to recognise features of contrast such as changes in vegetation with altitude and soil (rock) type, and the different ages of forests. Buy some small booklets and use them to identify flowers, plants and birds.
ConservationLearn about the conservation problems of the area and the manner in which they affect bushwalking and skitouring. Become familiar with major issues such as land use in the alps. Read reports from government bodies. Join a conservation organisation. See Chapters 23 to 25.
SeasonsPlan trips with the seasons in mind: visit the foothills in spring, the alps in summer and winter, the tall forests and beaches in spring and autumn.
EntertainmentPlan for some evening entertainment, carry a song book, a book of verse, a small musical instrument or a pack of cards.