The Great Outdoors: OutTrekkers
Got a love of the great outdoors? Yearn to share that experience with others? Gerry Buitendag tells us about the Queensland's longstanding OutTrekkers group.
The OutTrekkers group is a mixed-age group of gay people and their friends who go bush walking, cycling and occasionally camping. We have many people on our email list and let them know about our fortnightly activities. We average about ten people on each walk. Most of us have been walking together a long time and know each other well, but there are usually one or two new people on each walk.
The aim of the group is to go bush walking with similarly minded people. Most of us love to get out of the city, enjoy the outdoors, forests and beaches, get some exercise and meet new people and old friends.
I took over the coordination of the group in 2000. We usually have about four experienced people to lead the activities, which is good as it is not all dependent on one person and different people lead different styles, lengths, difficulties of activities. Usually the leaders meet once a year to set up the program for the next year and we usually offer a walk about every second weekend. This year is the first year that we have been coordinating cycling days, which is great to offer something different, thanks to one of our new leaders, Lawrence.
Women are welcome to join us, and do occasionally come, but might feel more at home in the women’s group: Brisbane Hiking Dykes – meetup.com/Brisbane-Hiking-Dykes
Nearly all of our walks are on tracks. Generally, they are suitable for anyone of good average fitness and endurance. On average, we do day walks of about 15km, one to two hours from Brisbane, but we can walk up to 22km in a day and climbing mountains maybe shorter, but more strenuous.
Cycle trips are a bit closer to Brisbane centre (averaging 30 minutes away) and the cycle distance averages about 40km. These rides will appeal to hybrid/mountain bike cyclists who wish to explore bike paths in and around Brisbane where the emphasis is on social enjoyment, rather than point to point times on lightweight racers. Race bikes are welcome too of course, but the pace will be relatively slower.
For our walks and rides, we vary the speed to suit the activity, but participants should have a reasonable standard of fitness appropriate to the particular activity, so need to read the descriptions in the latest email about the activity. Some walks may be more demanding than others, if participants are unsure how fit they need to be, they should contact the leader of the activity to discuss it. We like all first time participants to phone the leader of the walk beforehand to make sure that our pace will match yours. It can cause safety issues for everyone if the group is mismatched.