Follow the leader

I’m so glad Chris posted about being an influential follower.  I’ve had a post percolating for a couple weeks about why I hate bush bashing, and it seems like a good time to share it.

Two weeks ago on an over-night hike near Kiandra, we were picking our way down a really steep slope.  Mary was in the lead, navigating by dead reckoning and the help of a compass.  I was wondering how she managed to watch her feet and the direction at the same time, when I snagged my boot lace on a stick and nearly went splat.  I was very happy there was no-one behind to watch.   

So I’d like to share my list of reasons to follow someone else:

  1. The leader walks into all the spider webs, and scares away most of the snakes.  Usually by accident.
  2. Navigating is a thankless task.  Everyone second guesses you, and when you get it wrong there’s always words.
  3. It’s really nice to be able to watch your feet and the scenery instead of the bearing you’re on.
  4. If you stay a few metres behind the leader, you can watch how they climb over and around obstacles and maybe spy out a better path.
  5. A few metres further back again, and you don’t have to hike so far up the hill when they realise you’re in the wrong gully.
  6. There’s no-one behind you to watch you go splat.

I’m sure there’s a lot of satisfaction in leading a hike, and more in being the first to the top of the hill.  But I still got there, minutes behind, and enjoyed the same pleasure in the view.


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