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Planning Your Walk
Your walking experience will be influenced by your level of fitness, experience, prior planning, equipment selection and understanding of the environmental conditions of the Larapinta Trail. Take in to consideration some of the following planning points:
key point Familiarise yourself with the Larapinta Trail Conditions
key point Familiarise yourself with the climatic conditions of the trail
key point Know your physical limitations and acknowledge your skills levels
key point Carefully select your emergency signaling equipment
key point Submit a Trek Plan to NT parks or friends.
key point Complete the Log Books while on the trail
Health and Fitness Considerations
Attempting any outdoor activity will require a reasonably good level of individual health and fitness. However walking the Larapinta Trail will require a very good level of fitness particularly cardiovascular and endurance based fitness. If you plan to complete some of the harder sections of this trail, you may consider planning and training for the following common Larapinta Trail conditions:
key point Walking over steep, rugged and broken terrain
key point Walking in warm and sunny conditions
key point Carrying a 15-20kg pack over rough terrain
key point Regular or constant exposure to sun and UV
key point Dry winds, low humidity increasing thirst and dehydration
Seeking Advice and Understanding Your Limitations
All aspects of the body will be used along this trail, namely the legs, ankles, thighs, shoulders, hands, wrists and back. In order to plan for such physical exertion, exposure and impacts to your body, it is recommended that you consider the following:
key point Discussing the walk with your GP and seek advice
key point Developing a fitness program before hand
key point Seek professional advice from physio’s and personal trainers
key point Physiologically preparing yourself for the walk
key point Be acutely aware of the trail conditions and climatic conditions
key point Recognise your limitations & constraints
key point Manage your previous injuries and conditions
key point Choose the right equipment
key point If necessary acclimatise to Central Australian climate before the walk
Medical and First Aid Kit Considerations
First Aid and medical kits are one of the most basic essential equipment items for hiking. Most experienced hikers customise their first aid and medical kits which includes packing all the basic items (see list), items for personal medical needs as well packing specific items for the conditions of the area or trail they are walking in. The following are some first aid and medical kit items specific and directly relevant to the Larapinta Trail;
key point Crepe bandages for muscle/ligament sprains, strains or bone breaks
key point Sunscreen with maximum protection
key point Skin moisturiser
key point Electrolyte powder
key point Water purification tables
key point Antiseptic cream/liquid for cuts and infections ( i.e. spinifex pricks)
key point Antibacterial hand wash or wipes
key point Anti Inflammatory cream or jel
key point Anti histamine
key point Insect bite cream with lignocaine
key point Multivitamin Tablets
key point Moisturisers for dry and cracked skin
Constantly monitor your physical condition while on the trail. Over exertion is one of the greatest risks with hikers on the Larapinta Trail. For example, once dehydration sets in, so does exhaustion and the onset of other heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. When in a weakened state, accidents are also more likely to occur. While this may sound like obvious advice, we never ceased to be amazed at how many hikers are caught out this way.
key point Take time to rest (preferably in the shade)
key point Rehydrate your body by regularly drinking water
key point Have some energy based food whenever possible
key point Supplement your water with electrolytes
key point If you like hot drinks, try drink tea more than coffee
key point Monitor your physical condition at all times
safety If You Get Sick or Injured and Need Evacuation
A surprising number of people develop some form of illness or injury while on the Larapinta Trail such as gastro, throat infections, sprained ankles, blistered feet or infected cuts. While most walkers manage their injuries and continue walking, other more serious conditions need external agency evacuation. Some points to consider:
key point Carry out immediate first aid to yourself or others
key point Make yourself as comfortable as possible
key point Know exactly where you are to assist in evacuation
key point Prepare all your emergency communication devices to aid in the evac
key point Advise authorities of your need for evacuation
key point Advise authorities the level of seriousness of the injury/illness
key point Advise authorities on what the injury or illness is
safety If You Get Lost on the Larapinta Trail
This does happen. There are a number of points along the Larapinta Trail where the track is difficult to identify, particularly on the high ground, steep areas, gorges, creek lines and gullies. Hikers regularly veer off the trail. But some people truly get lost on the Larapinta Trail. Here are some courses of action to consider:
key point Stop, rest and stay calm ( preferably in the shade)
key point Don’t panic. Look for soil or ground compaction & footprints
key point If it’s dark stay where you are until daylight
key point If you are in a group, don’t separate
key point Study your map and make an appraisal where you might be
key point Use your GPS ( if you have one)
key point Don’t back track unless you are absolutely sure where to backtrack to
key point If you are absolutely totally lost, signal for help ( for nearby hikers)
key point If all fails use your SATPHONE & call for help or initiate your PLB
key point Prepare to signal people or aircraft as they near you
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